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How to be an anticapitalist

st
for the 21 century
Erik Olin Wright
University of Wisconsin – Madison

April 2017
THE CENTRAL QUESTION
Is it possible to have a viable
strategy for transforming and
transcending the fundamental
structures of capitalism as an
economic system?
Strategic logics of Anti-Capitalism

Goal of Strategy

Neutralizing Transcending
harms structures

The state Taming capitalism Smashing Capitalism


Primary
locus of
strategy Civil
Escaping Capitalism Eroding capitalism
Society
Strategic logics of Anti-Capitalism

Goal of Strategy

Neutralizing Transcending
harms structures

The state Taming capitalism Smashing Capitalism


Primary
locus of
strategy Civil
Escaping Capitalism Eroding capitalism
Society
Strategic logics of Anti-Capitalism

Goal of Strategy

Neutralizing Transcending
harms structures

The state Taming capitalism Smashing Capitalism


Primary
locus of
strategy Civil
Escaping Capitalism Eroding capitalism
Society
Strategic logics of Anti-Capitalism

Goal of Strategy

Neutralizing Transcending
harms structures

The state Taming capitalism Smashing Capitalism


Primary
locus of
strategy Civil
Escaping Capitalism Eroding capitalism
Society
Strategic logics of Anti-Capitalism

Goal of Strategy

Neutralizing Transcending
harms structures

The state Taming capitalism Smashing Capitalism


Primary
locus of
strategy Civil
Escaping Capitalism Eroding capitalism
Society
Strategic logics of Anti-Capitalism

Goal of Strategy

Neutralizing Transcending
harms structures

The state Taming capitalism Smashing Capitalism


Primary
locus of
strategy Civil
Resisting Capitalism Eroding capitalism
Society
Strategic logics of Anti-Capitalism

Goal of Strategy

Neutralizing Transcending
harms structures

The state Taming capitalism Smashing Capitalism


Primary
locus of
strategy Civil
Resisting Capitalism Escaping capitalism
Society
Strategic logics of Anti-Capitalism

Goal of Strategy

Neutralizing Transcending
harms structures

The state Taming capitalism Smashing Capitalism


Primary
locus of
strategy Civil
Resisting Capitalism Escaping capitalism
Society
Strategic logics of Anti-Capitalism

Goal of Strategy

Neutralizing Transcending
harms structures

The state
Social
Taming capitalism Smashing Capitalism
Primary Democracy
locus of
Civil
& Labor
strategy Resisting Capitalism Escaping capitalism
Society movement
Strategic logics of Anti-Capitalism

Goal of Strategy

Neutralizing Transcending
harms structures

The state Taming capitalism Smashing Capitalism


Primary
locus of
strategy Civil
Society
Social
Resisting movements
Capitalism Escaping capitalism
Strategic logics of Anti-Capitalism

Goal of Strategy

Neutralizing Transcending
harms structures

The state Taming capitalism Smashing Capitalism


Primary
locus of
strategy Civil
Resisting Capitalism Escaping capitalism
Society
Introduction

Three additional issues to be resolved:


1. The destination: what is the alternative?
2. The theory of the state: Can a capitalist state
contribute to eroding capitalism?
3. Agency: Who are collective agents for struggle?
Introduction

1. The Destination
Socialism as radical, heterogeneous
economic democracy:
• Replace a market-conforming democracy
with a democracy-conforming market
• Expand and deepen the cooperative market
economy, the social/solidarity economy, and
the peer-to-peer collaborative economy
• Protect the commons and expand the array
of publicly provided goods and services
• Democratize the corporation
Introduction

1. The Destination
Socialism as radical, heterogeneous
economic democracy:
• Replace a market-conforming democracy
with a democracy-conforming market
• Expand and deepen the cooperative market
economy, the social/solidarity economy, and
the peer-to-peer collaborative economy
• Protect the commons and expand the array
of publicly provided goods and services
• Democratize the corporation
Introduction

1. The Destination
Socialism as radical, heterogeneous
economic democracy:
• Replace a market-conforming democracy
with a democracy-conforming market
• Expand and deepen the cooperative market
economy, the social/solidarity economy, and
the peer-to-peer collaborative economy
• Protect the commons and expand the array
of publicly provided goods and services
• Democratize the corporation
Introduction

1. The Destination
Socialism as radical, heterogeneous
economic democracy:
• Replace a market-conforming democracy
with a democracy-conforming market
• Expand and deepen the cooperative market
economy, the social/solidarity economy, and
the peer-to-peer collaborative economy
• Protect the commons and expand the array
of publicly provided goods and services
• Democratize the corporation
Introduction

1. The Destination
Socialism as radical, heterogeneous
economic democracy:
• Replace a market-conforming democracy
with a democracy-conforming market
• Expand and deepen the cooperative market
economy, the social/solidarity economy, and
the peer-to-peer collaborative economy
• Protect the commons and expand the array
of publicly provided goods and services
• Democratize the corporation
Introduction

2. The Capitalist State


Democratizing democracy to expand
the limits of socialist relations within
capitalism.
Introduction

3. Agency
Constructing a democratic
egalitarian coalition for
multilayered collective action.
Introduction

Thanks
Introduction
Introduction

THE PROBLEM
We live in a world in which capitalism
generates enormous harms and yet to
most people it seems like the only way of
organizing a complex economic system.
FOUR TASKS
1. Normative foundations
2. Diagnosis and critique of capitalism
3. Alternatives
4. Transformation: how to get form here to there.