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How to Be an Anticapitalist in the Twenty-First Century

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  25 reviews
What is wrong with capitalism, and how can we change it?

Capitalism has transformed the world and increased our productivity, but at the cost of enormous human suffering. Our shared values - equality and fairness, democracy and freedom, community and solidarity - can both provide the basis for a critique of capitalism, and help to guide us towards a socialist and democratic
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Verso
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Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm pleased that this was the last book I finished in 2019. It was another Christmas present and I found it an excellent train read. There is a definite sadness to 'How to Be an Anticapitalist in the Twenty-First Century', though, as Olin Wright died of leukaemia very shortly after finishing it. He'd intended to support this short, accessible primer with a longer, more academic work exploring the issues in much more detail, with references. Sadly, he never had the chance to write this latter ...more
Matt McGorry
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great book! Super clear and broken down into all of its parts. Highly recommend for clarity around the problems with capitalism and how we get to socialism.
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
‘How to be an Anticapitalist in the 21st century’ (VERSO, 2019) is Erik Olin Wright’s (EOW) last book, written in 2018 when he was already battling with cancer from which he died eventually in January 2019 :(

The idea of the 150-page ‘booklet’ was to reproduce (updated) core arguments of EOW’s earlier work on strategies for 21st century socialism for a non-academic audience, no footnotes, no fancy words but still able to make complex ‘no-bullshit Marxism’ arguments. Initially, he planned to write
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, marxism
2020 continues strong - Wright's How To Be An Anticapitalist in the Twenty-First Century feels like an answer or an extension to Fisher's Capitalist Realism. Fisher posited that it has become impossible to think of alternatives to capitalism as capitalism has pervaded through all strands of life.
Wright kind of starts where Fisher ended, by actually finding alternatives to capitalism. Like Judt in Ill Fares The Land he is a huge fan of social democracy, and that is what we should work together,

Andrew Clarke
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I gave it five stars because of the sheer number of new ideas introduced to me in this book. For people with strong backgrounds in socialism, socialist theory, or whatever, they may not be as excited by the eye opening ideas and find it to be less than five stars.

For example, the book really clarified to me the many plausible forms of non-capitalist systems. Solutions like the USSR - where the state owns everything, bureaucrats make business decisions, and there are not markets - these are
Eric Bottorff
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sad that this is Wright's final book. But it's a fitting end to an amazing career.
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: marxism, sociology
A half decent introduction into thinking like a socialist in the 21st century, by one of the more policy and 'on the ground' Marxists of our time.

Whilst I like Cohen's approach of being clear, and slightly dismissive of dense philosophical jargon, Cohen does often come off a little boring. Yeye capitalism sucks, okay cool, but this isn't a conversation I'm having with my boomer grandma. It needn't be so to-the-point that I'm robotically telling her how and why some folks feel that capitalism
Kudakwashe Manjonjo
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading Wright's book had this erry feeling about it. One of those moments when you think you might like but you don't realise how much you will like it. I'd like to think that is how a man feels when they find their wife.

Ad Wright's book provided two distinct but related things, hope and plausible solutions.

1. Hope- it is no secret that left wing politics hasn't provided solutions to current world problems, a part of that probably has to do with fixation over Marx and embarrassment from the
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book. The arguments against capitalism are laid out in a way that is very easy to follow and understand. It gives me many new ideas and a new set of tools to help analyze a system such as capitalism. It's sad that this is the author's last book. I wish I had known him and his work earlier.
Adam Snider
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Short and easy to understand, this provides an outline of what it will take to develop a more democratic and emancipatory economy and political system. Wright isn't ignorant to the challenges or the threat of far right populist movements, but overall he provides a hopeful vision of a better future and a path to help get us there.
Ciaran Kennedy
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
One of the most cogently argued books I’ve read. Despite being written in a short and accessible manor, the book covered a breadth of topics and ideas.
Vassiki Chauhan
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lucid, crystal clear, informative and inspiring.
Emannuel K.
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Não lia nada de política há um bom tempo. E esse é um livro bom para dar uma desenferrujada. Na verdade, ele é apenas a metade mais acessível de uma obra que deveria incluir também um lado mais acadêmico, mas que não pode ser concluído pela morte do autor. De forma geral, o livro traz um léxico interessante para se tratar da luta por um sistema socio-político melhor, com algumas ideias que já são bem familiares a quem tem certa proximidade com o tema, mas apresentado de forma simples e que busca ...more
Sep 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
Another entitled white man talking about the happy days of centuries ago, before industrialization, when women were getting pregnant every time they were having sex and getting food meant having the luck to know where to dig for roots. Now the people are so miserable with cheap food and without the pleasures of betting who is going to die of cold this Winter.
Adam Zivo
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
I read this in an attempt to better understand contemporary critiques of capitalism and the specific recommendations levied by North American socialists. As a disclaimer, my academic career heavily focussed on Maoist China, and, being keenly aware of the dangers and failures of 20th century socialism, I came at this book primarily looking for ideas on how to encourage ethical capitalism.

I was disappointed in the book because it lacked the concreteness and pragmatism that I hoped to find within a
Brian Paul
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book should really be titled: the argument for democratic socialism in the 21st century. The most coherent and cogent critique I have seen of the way modern American society is organized, while providing a hopeful glimpse of a better path forward.
Titus Hjelm
Feb 07, 2020 rated it liked it
It is always refreshing to read a book that wants to move beyond the critique of capitalism. Wright's is not the only one around, and not the most engaging, but makes solid points about the obstacles to creating an alternative to rampant neoliberalism. As an expert in class analysis, he shows how the old Marxist idea of class consciousness is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in the proliferation of identities in the 21st century. That's why we need shared values--something that ...more
Megan Mattes
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book. Wright presents the ideas with great clarity, and he demonstrates such skill in the elegance and simplicity of the typologies he defines in the chapter on Varieties of Anticapitalism. My favourite chapter of all, though, was Anticapitalism and the State. Not surprising given that I'm a student of public policy and governance.

"In politics, the limits of possibility are always in part created by beliefs in those limits."
Alexander Tas
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a well laid out book that put Anticapitalism in some of the simplest ways possible. IT addresses strategies, concerns and arguments in a fluid and concise manner that can be easily picked up by anyone. It succeeds in making the material accessible, while leaving room open for further exploration for those inclined. Wright does not mince words and this is something that should be explored by as many as possible.
Emma Foster
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wright writes in a way that is powerful, persuasive, and convincing. His arguments are accessible and he offers a vision for a future while being clear that the imagining is still not done. A must read for those wanting to take steps towards anticapitalist work
Alex DiDonato
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: socialism, politics
Absolutely essential. I'm so, so glad I read this. Theory made understandable and with real-world practicality. If you want to get a clear handle the ills of capitalism and the alternatives of democratic socialism, look no further.
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A compendium of ideas on spurring collective action for democratic socialism.
Mina-Louise Berggren
I think the only way to meaningfully deal with climate change is by the destruction of capitalism, so let’s go!
William Araujo
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Uma obra extremamente atual e relevante. Todos deveriam ler.
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Erik Olin Wright was an American analytical Marxist sociologist, specializing in social stratification, and in egalitarian alternative futures to capitalism. He was the (2012) President of the American Sociological Association.
Erik Olin Wright received two BAs (from Harvard College in 1968, and from Balliol College in 1970), and the PhD from University of California, Berkeley, in 1976. Since that