Pluto Press


Pluto Press

Pluto Press is a progressive, independent publisher based in London. It was founded in 1969 by Richard Kuper and others as an arm of International Socialism, the forerunner of the Socialist Workers Party in the UK. In 1979 they broke with this political affiliation and became truly independent.

According to the official Pluto Press webpage, "Pluto Press has always had a radical political agenda. Founded in 1969 as a publishing arm of International Socialism, the forerunner of the Socialist Workers Party in the UK, in 1979 we broke with this political affiliation and became truly independent. Today, we represent authors from a wide range of progressive political viewpoints. With over 550 titles in print, Pluto Press is one of the world's leading radical book publishers. We publish more than 70 new titles each year." [www.plutobooks.com/shtml/aboutpluto.shtml ]

Controversy over Distribution Arrangement with Pluto Press

Pluto Press was distributed in the United States by the University of Michigan Press. In the fall of 2007 this arrangement became the subject of a controversy when a pro-Israel advocacy organization, StandWithUs, criticized the University of Michigan Press for distributing "anti-Semitic" books issued by Pluto Press, including those by Israel Shahak and "Overcoming Zionism," by professor of social studies at Bard College, Joel Kovel. U-M Press Director Philip Pachoda wrote to Kovel, saying that no one at U-M Press had read the book before distributing it and that after reading it that he and other faculty "were apalled [sic] by your reckless, viscious [sic] and unmodulated attack on Zionism and all Zionists. For us, the issue raised by the book is not free speech but hate speech. Perhaps such vituperative and aggressive rhetoric works for the barricades, but it cannot be countenanced or underwritten by the university or the university press, even in this peripheral, distributed capacity." [ [http://jnonline.us/main.asp?SectionID=23&SubSectionID=58&ArticleID=3797 Denied:1up! Software ] ]

Betsy Kellman, director of the Michigan regional chapter of the Anti-Defamation League described Kovel's book "Overcoming Zionism" as dealing in "anti-Semitic canards." [ [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1192380734150&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter Israel critique on campus | Jerusalem Post ] ] A group of six pro-Israel organizaitons, including the National Christian Leaqdership Council for Israel and the Michigan chapters of the American Jewish Congress, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and B'nati Brith, issued a statement describing Kovel's book as "often anti-Semitic in nature." [ [http://antiracistblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/detroit-jewish-news-editor-calls-on.html Anti-Racist Blog: Exposing Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism on American College Campuses: Detroit Jewish News Editor Calls on The University of Michigan To Break All Ties to Joel Kovel and Pluto Press ] ] The American distributor, the University of Michigan Press, temporarily suspended distribution of the book.

The controversy was not about the right of Kovel or Pluto to publish the work, rather, critics challenged was the propriety of a university press distributing a book that the director of the University Press characterized as "hate speech." [ [http://jnonline.us/main.asp?SectionID=23&SubSectionID=58&ArticleID=3797 Denied:1up! Software ] ] Three University of Michigan regents called on U-M Press to end its relationship with Pluto Press. [ [http://media.www.michigandaily.com/media/storage/paper851/news/2007/11/16/UAdministration/3.Regents.Call.On.u.Press.To.Drop.Distribution.Deals-3107212.shtml 3 regents call on 'U' press to drop distribution deals - U Administration ] ] The Regents criticized distribution of Kovel's book on the grounds that it "debases the press’ franchise and leaves the press and the university open to damage." [ [http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/11/19/qt Quick Takes: Publishing Controversy, Concerns on A&M Search, Decline of Reading, Hunger Strike Ends, Maricopa Hire Questioned, Win for David Noble, Schools Won't Tell, Tuition Hikes Faulted, Gallaudet Off Probation, Reprieve for Paintings, Rhodes Scholars :: Inside Higher Ed :: Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education ] ]

The U-M press suspended distribution of Pluto Press titles in August, but resumed distribution in October. [ [http://antiracistblog.blogspot.com/2007/10/breaking-news-university-of-michigan.html Anti-Racist Blog: Exposing Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism on American College Campuses: Breaking News: University of Michigan Press Decides To Continue Its Relationship With Pluto Press ] ]

In December, an editorial in the Detroit Jewish News called on the Press to sever all ties to Pluto Press. [ [http://antiracistblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/detroit-jewish-news-editor-calls-on.html Anti-Racist Blog: Exposing Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism on American College Campuses: Detroit Jewish News Editor Calls on The University of Michigan To Break All Ties to Joel Kovel and Pluto Press ] ]

In January, 2008, the Press issued new Distribution Guidelines [ [http://www.press.umich.edu/distributed.jsp The University of Michigan Press: Distributed Clients ] ] that Peggy McCracken, an associate dean at Michigan who is chair of the executive board of the University Press said that Pluto will probably not meet. [ [http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/01/21/qt Quick Takes: Bowdoin Drops Loans, Scrutiny for Pluto Press, Another Indian Student Murdered, Diversity Training Questioned, Purchasing Card Fraud, Admissions Snafu, Rules on 529 Plans, Strike Ends in Israel, Tokyo Starts English-Only Grad Program :: Inside Higher Ed :: Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education ] ] The guidelines call for "scholarly publishers whose mission is aligned with the mission of the UM Press and whose academic standards and processes of peer review are reasonably similar to those of the UM Press [ [http://www.press.umich.edu/distributed.jsp The University of Michigan Press: Distributed Clients ] ] whereas Pluto Press has "a radical political agenda." [ [http://www.plutobooks.com/shtml/aboutpluto.shtml Welcome to Pluto Press ] ]

Publishing list

Today, Pluto have over 500 titles in print and represent authors from a wide range of progressive political viewpoints including the following:

Classical authors

* Karl Marx
* Frederick Engels
* Leon Trotsky
* Frantz Fanon
* Andre Gorz
* Manning Marable
* Jack London
* Antonio Gramsci

Contemporary political writers

* Noam Chomsky
* Edward Said
* Howard Zinn
* bell hooks
* Ariel Dorfman
* Susan George
* John Pilger
* Ziauddin Sardar
* Israel Shahak
* Greg Palast
* Milan Rai
* William Rivers Pitt
* Boris Kagarlitsky
* Robin Hahnel
* Saul Landau
* Norton Mezvinsky
* Sheila Rowbotham
* Peter Fryer
* Joseph Rotblat
* Frank Füredi
* Eduardo Galeano
* Vandana Shiva
* Sara Roy

In translation

* Jean Baudrillard
* Guy Debord
* Raoul Vaneigem
* Pierre Bourdieu

Pluto Press are noted for publishing books on controversial issues - Greg Palast's "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" first revealed vote rigging in Florida during the 2000 presidential election. Other notable Pluto authors include Noam Chomsky, Istvan Pogany1, Susan George, Paul Rogers and John Pilger.

Pluto Press Australia is not related to the British company.

External links

* [http://www.plutobooks.com/ Pluto Books]

1 Professor Pogany, Istvan, The Roma Cafe: Human Rights and the Rights of the Romani People, Pluto Press, April 2004.


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