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Can Prefigurative Politics Prevail? The Implications for Movement Strategy in John Holloway’s Crack Capitalism.
Journal of Classical Sociology (2012)
  • Kevin A. Young, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • Michael Schwartz
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 orgnaizations, the role of alternative institutions, and the appropriate approach of social movements to the state. We propose some friendly amendments, placing great 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.
  • alienation,
  • dual power,
  • intersectionality,
  • labour,
  • Marxism,
  • prefigurative politics,
  • the state
Publication Date
Citation Information
Kevin A. Young and Michael Schwartz. "Can Prefigurative Politics Prevail? The Implications for Movement Strategy in John Holloway’s Crack Capitalism." Journal of Classical Sociology Vol. 12 Iss. 2 (2012) p. 220 - 239
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