John Holloway, author of Crack Capitalism and Change the World Without Taking Power, is the guest editor of the latest edition of the Journal of Classical Sociology. The edition is dedicated to Crack Capitalism and features contributions from Cynthia Cockburn, John Foran and Sergio Tischler, amongst others. In their essay Kevin Young and Michael Schwartz offer a highly topical discussion of Holloway’s work in reference to new social movements and questions of revolutionary organisation. As they write in their abstract:
The desire to overcome the alienated labor of capitalism manifests itself in the daily actions of people everywhere. John Holloway argues that social movements must build upon this liberatory impulse, challenging not only the rate of exploitation but also workers’ loss of control over the process of production and allocation (and, by implication, the loss of control in other arenas of life). Revolutionary change, in turn, will result from these movements creating thousands of ‘cracks’ in the capitalist system by asserting alternative ways of living.
Holloway’s argument for prefigurative movements is ambiguous on several points, however: the role of political organizations, the role of alternative institutions, and the appropriate approach of social movements to the state. We propose some friendly amendments, placing greater emphasis on the need for strong political organizations and counter-institutions, but also for selective engagement with dominant institutions.
A revolutionary strategy must combine the construction of prefigurative counter-institutions with struggles for reform of existing structures. Yet the dangers of oligarchization and hierarchy within movements are very real, and thus there is a need for structures that are ruthlessly democratic and ideologies that are explicitly intersectional in their approach to fighting different forms of oppression.
John himself contributes an introductory editorial and a concluding essay which:
…explores diverse themes such as freedom and mutual recognition, fascism, identitarian thought and intersectionality, the state, justice and dignity, value critique, the immediacy of communization, the antagonism inherent in everyday life, the meaning of science and the importance of Munchausen’s pigtail.
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