John Holloway’s reading list for the virtual Occupy library

The London Occupy library

In the third instalment of ‘A Reading List for #Occupy’ on the Through Europe blog, John Holloway, author of Crack Capitalism and Change the World Without Changing Power chooses his favourite radical books:


Lawyer, Marxist-oriented sociologist and philosopher, whose work is closely associated with the Zapatista movement in Mexico, his home since 1991. Teacher at the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at the Autonomous University of Puebla.

Marx, Karl (1867) – Capital

It remains the most radical critique of capitalism, and an essential starting point for understanding the debates around capitalist development and the possibility of radical change. It’s best to read it collectively.

Bloch, Ernst (1947) – The Principle of Hope

This is where I started and it remains a constant point of reference. A wonderful book that takes us into all aspects of life and shows them to be a pushing towards that which is Not Yet.

Piercy, Marge (1976) – Woman on the Edge of Time

A novel of hope and fear that takes the notion of communism (or whatever we want to call it) into new dimensions.

Vaneigem, Raoul (1967) – The Revolution of Everyday Life

For me the best of Situationism. Revolutionary thought at its anti-dogmatic and exciting best.

Adorno, Theodor W. (1966) – Negative Dialectics

Fiercely difficult, and well worth the effort. The critique of identity shakes the world.

Tronti, Mario (1964) – Lenin in England

An article that turns traditional Marxism upside down and lays the basis for autonomist/ operaista thought.

Many other contributors to the series have selected books by Marx and Foucault, and Pluto has a number of great books ideal as an introduction to their ideas (see below). We were also pleased to see The Assault on Universities: a Manifesto of Resistance picked by Nina Power who described it as, “an excellent overview of the reasons why so many took to the streets, the extent of government cuts and how the struggle may continue in the UK and elsewhere.”

Visit Through Europe to read all the selections.

Crack Capitalism

John Holloway

A groundbreaking guide to moving beyond capitalism, which shows that radical change can only come from exploiting ‘cracks’ in the system.

“infectiously optimistic” – Guardian

£17.99 only £16.00 on the Pluto site

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Change the World Without Taking Power – New Edition

The Meaning of Revolution Today

John Holloway

New edition of John Holloway’s contemporary classic fusion of political philosophy and activism, including an extensive new preface by the author.

“Holloway’s Change the World Without Taking Power stands alongside Hardt and Negri’s Empire as one of the two key texts of contemporary autonomist Marxism.” – Alex Callinicos, Capital & Class

“This is a refreshing, thought provoking book … A must read for every student and practitioner of political science.” – USI Journal

£14.99 only £13.00 on the Pluto site

Negativity and Revolution

Adorno and Political Activism

Edited by John Holloway, Fernando Matamoros and Sergio Tischler

John Holloway et al explore solutions to postmodern political paralysis in the ‘negative dialectics’ of Theodor Adorno.

“As someone who studied with Theodor W. Adorno forty years ago it is exciting to see how younger generations of scholars continue to work with Adorno’s methods and keep his insights alive.” – Prof. Detlev Claussen, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University of Hannover

“This book could well have been titled ‘Reading Adorno Politically.’ Using Adorno’s work as touchstone and emphasizing the originality of his negative dialectics, these essays engage some of the most important debates among contemporary political theorists and activists.” – Michael Hardt, co-author of Empire and Multitude

£22.99 only £20.50 on the Pluto site

The Communist Manifesto

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Introduction by David Harvey

Beautiful edition of Marx and Engels’ classic manifesto, introduced by renowned social theorist David Harvey.

“The greatest charter of our movement.” – Rosa Luxemburg

“An integral and systematic exposition of [Marx’s] doctrine … the best to this day.” – Lenin

£8.99 only £8.00 on the Pluto site

Marx’s ‘Capital’ – Fifth Edition

Ben Fine and Alfredo Saad-Filho

‘This expert guide to the political economy of Marx’s Capital has always been the very best available.’ – David Harvey

“This expert guide to the political economy of Marx’s Capital has always been the very best available. … It is thoroughly recommended not only for beginners but to anyone interested in the applicability of Marxian theory to the parlous condition of contemporary capitalism.” – David Harvey, author of Limits to Capital and The Condition of Postmodernity

“For almost thirty years, Marx’s Capital has provided an invaluable introduction to Marx’s great work. … It should be compulsory reading for all serious students of economics.” – Professor Simon Clarke, University of Warwick

£12.99 only £11.50 on the Pluto site

How to Read Marx’s Capital

Stephen Shapiro

Clear and comprehensive guide to one of Marx’s greatest works, Capital, written in a highly accessible style.

£14.99 only £13.00 on the Pluto site

How to Read Foucault’s Discipline and Punish

Anne Schwan and Stephen Shapiro

An accessible, step-by-step guide to reading Foucault’s hugely influential text.

“This is a useful and illuminating companion to Foucault’s book, and will clarify much that remains puzzling about this proteiform thinker, dispelling misunderstandings and sending the reader on new and more fruitful paths” – Fredric Jameson, William A. Lane Jr. Professor of Comparative Literature at Duke University

“[A] highly readable guide to one of Foucault’s best-known but often misinterpreted works. … This book will be of great assistance to students and others looking for a clear introduction to Discipline and Punish and for pointers on its theoretical contexts.” – Clare O’Farrell, author of Michel Foucault (2005) and founding editor of Foucault Studies

£12.99 only £11.50 on the Pluto site

The Assault on Universities

A Manifesto for Resistance

Edited by Michael Bailey and Des Freedman

Sharp essays take on the government’s agenda of university cuts and fee increases, and outline an alternative manifesto for higher education.

“The corporatising of universal education is one of the most insidious and dangerous attacks on the very notion of human rights. This book calls us to arms. Every student, every educator who cares should read it.” – John Pilger

“This is an essential book. The future of our universities is up for grabs and the manifesto will play a huge role in providing alternatives at a time when the government says there aren’t any.” – Clare Solomon, President of the University of London Union (ULU) 2010-11 and editor of Springtime (2011)

£14.99 only £13.00 on the Pluto site

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