Book notes: How to Be an Anticapitalist in the Twenty-First Century

In How to Be an Anticapitalist in the Twenty-First Century, Erik Olin Wright provides a survey of approaches to anticapitalism, and offers his perspective on what practical anticapitalism looks like in the 21st century. His conclusion is that the most viable way of opposing capitalism today is what he calls “eroding capitalism”: a mix of reform and building alternatives “in the spaces and cracks within this complex system”, with the two approaches working together to displace capitalism from its role as the dominant economic mode.

There is a lot to recommend this book: it offers a rigorous, yet accessible, analysis, and lays a solid foundation for further study of the topics of anticapitalism and socialism. I appreciated Olin Wright’s mentions of what he calls “contradictory class location” for some workers in the professional-managerial strata, and how new narratives that include values as well as a class analysis are needed to appeal to them (I see myself as part of this class). This book might be frustrating to many, however, since it dismisses out of hand revolutionary tactics as viable, and takes the stance that any successful anticapitalism must per force play by capitalism’s rules.

For a more detailed summary of the contents of the book, see my Mastodon thread here: https://social.coop/@anaulin/103931251047043603

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