Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century

A Reader of Radical Undercurrents

Edited by John Asimakopoulos and Richard Gilman-Opalsky
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1358-1
Publication: Feb 18

HC: $104.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1357-4
Publication: Feb 18

Ebook: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1359-8
Publication: Feb 18

358 pages
6 x 9

A broad, nonsectarian collection of anti-capitalist thinking, featuring landmark contributions both classic and contemporary

Read an excerpt of the Introduction (pdf).


The problems of capitalism have been studied from Karl Marx to Thomas Piketty. The latter has recently confirmed that the system of capital is deeply bound up in ever-growing inequality without challenging the continuance of that system. Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century presents a diversity of analyses and visions opposed to the idea that capital should have yet another century to govern human and non-human resources in the interest of profit and accumulation. The editors and contributors to this timely volume present alternatives to the whole liberal litany of administered economies, tax policy recommendations, and half-measures. They undermine and reject the logic of capital, and the foregone conclusion that the twenty-first century should be given over to capital just as the previous two centuries were.

Providing a deep critique of capitalism, based on assessment from a wide range of cultural, social, political, and ecological thinking, Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century insists that transformative, revolutionary, and abolitionist responses to capital are even more necessary in the twenty-first century than they ever were.

Contributors include: Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Hakim Bey, Murray Bookchin, Henry Charles Bukowski, Cornelius Castoriadis, Ralf Dahrendorf, Guy Debord, Raya Dunayevskaya, Martín Espada, Frantz Fanon, Silvia Federici, Alicia Garza, Henry Giroux, David Graeber, Robert Greenwald, Félix Guattari, David Stanley Hill, John Holloway, C.L.R. James, Selma James, KRS-One (Lawrence Parker), Staughton Craig Lynd, Peter McLaren, Angela Mitropoulos, James O’Connor, Fredy Perlman, Penelope Rosemont, Sayres Rudy, Stevphen Shukaitis, Marina Sitrin, Constantine D. Skordoulis, Isabelle Stengers, Raoul Vaneigem, John Zerzan


"Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century makes a formidable—and highly original—contribution to the literature. The central themes and arguments advanced in the volume, which are always stimulating and provocative, enjoy a direct relevance for many central and increasingly urgent interdisciplinary debates across the social sciences. Empowering and liberating in equal measure, a particular strength is the richness, nuance, and impressive depth of insight and analysis, driven by an uncompromised intent to move society beyond the entrenched and intersectional crises faced at this time. Finally, the choice of intellectuals, all recognized as leading scholars in their own fields—both past and present—with which to capture and animate the book’s content, serves to further strengthen its excellent quality and relevance. In short, I hope that it will be read widely, and repeatedly."
Richard J. White, Reader in Human Geography, Sheffield Hallam University

"This is a fantastic collection, likely to be adopted in final-year undergraduate and postgraduate courses in radical politics, sociology, and cultural studies courses, of which there are an increasing number in Europe, the UK, and the U.S. As the editors note, readers will inevitably exclude important authors, but the list here is interesting, broad, and, as they also rightly point out, un-sectarian. There is no equivalent text that I can think of which brings together such a rich collection of primary writings and which will help readers make sense of the interests and concerns of contemporary radical activism."
Ruth Kinna, Department of Politics, History, and International Relations, Loughborough University, and author of Kropotkin: Reviewing the Classical Anarchist Tradition

"In Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Asimakopoulos and Gilman-Opalsky have assembled a collection of texts that traverses the borders of Marxism, feminist radicalisms, anarchism, and the interstices existing between them. This will be the leading collection for contemporary students of radical thought and practitioners of freedom for decades to come."
Deric Shannon, editor of The End of the World as We Know It? Crisis, Resistance, and the Age of Austerity and co-author of Political Sociology: Oppression, Resistance, and the State

"Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century is more than just a reader. Drawing upon a vast body of theoretical, scholarly, and political literature, ranging from the theoretical ideas of Cornelius Castoriadis to the transformative analysis of Staughton Lynd, this book generates stunning insights into the continuity and transformation of radical thought. It deserves the widest possible readership."
Andrej Grubačić, Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology and Social Change at the California Institute of Integral Studies

"In this extremely timely volume, Asimakopoulos and Gilman-Opalsky do an excellent job of weaving together the loose and disparate ends of transformative theory into a unified, mutually-reinforcing whole. Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the theoretical and practical trajectory of radical thought in today's world."
Nathan J. Jun, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Midwestern State University

"Against Capital s uccessfully accomplishes its three main aims. First, it provides an admirably thorough critique of capitalism. Second, it offers a variety of approaches to politics that are not limited to the state as the principle political agent. The editors make a point to emphasize that the book is not an anarchist work. Nevertheless, the volume as a whole represents the attempts to think about politics in new ways, especially in ways that decentre institutions. Third, it presents readers with a broad spectrum of radical thinking.... The collection is a very welcome addition to anti-capitalist bibliography.... (A)n extremely valuable collection of texts from the ‘other side’ of capitalist logic, with a wealth of inspiring references and ideas." — Anarchist Studies

"One of the points of this collection is to capture undercurrents of thought that run counter to mainstream ideological understandings of the world.... Asimakopoulos and Gilman-Opalsky have put together a selection of readings that aptly delineate the problems created and/or perpetuated by capital while also supplying considerations of possible avenues that could potentially offer substantial resistance to the role of capital.... Against Capital is a timely contribution. The articles look at the extant threats to humanity from multiple angles while maintaining a consistent understanding of the radical root of the problem in each piece: Capital itself." — Theory in Action

Table of Contents


Introduction: Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century • Richard Gilman-Opalsky and John Asimakopoulos

1 | Theory/Praxis
1.1. Think Hope, Think Crisis • John Holloway
1.2. The New Spaces of Freedom • Félix Guattari
1.3. The Theory of State-Capitalism: The Soviet Union as Capitalist Society • Raya Dunayevskaya
1.4. Death, Freedom, and the Disintegration of Communism • Raya Dunayevskaya
1.5. Revolution and Counterrevolution in Hungary • Raya Dunayevskaya
1.6. Dialectics: The Algebra of Revolution • Raya Dunayevskaya

2 | Ideology
2.1. Socialism or Barbarism • Cornelius Castoriadis
2.2. Ideology Materialized • Guy Debord
2.3. American "Common Sense" • Fredy Perlman
2.4. Radical Learning through Neoliberal Crisis • Sayres Rudy

3 | Class Composition and Hierarchy
3.1. Karl Marx's Model of the Class Society • Ralf Dahrendorf
3.2. Sex, Race, and Class • Selma James
3.3. Wageless of the World • Selma James
3.4. Hierarchy of Wages and Incomes • Cornelius Castoriadis
3.5. A Brief Rant against Work: With Particular Attention to the Relation of Work to White Supremacy, Sexism, and Miserabilism • Penelope Rosemont

4 | Racialization and Feminist Critique
4.1. The Lived Experience of the Black Man • Frantz Fanon
4.2. The Negro's Fight: Negroes, We Can Depend Only on Ourselves! • C.L.R. James
4.3. Harlem Negroes Protest Jim Crow Discrimination • C.L.R. James
4.4. Feminism and the Politics of the Common in an Era of Primitive Accumulation • Silvia Federici
4.5. #BlackLivesMatter • Alicia Garza

5 | Critical Pedagogy
5.1. Beyond Dystopian Visions in the Age of Neoliberal Violence • Henry A. Giroux
5.2. Chapman Democracy Activist Offers a Radical Critique of Capitalism: Interview with Peter McLaren • Jonathan Winslow
5.3. Neoliberal Globalization and Resistance in Education: The Challenge of Revolutionary Critical Pedagogy • Constantine Skordoulis
5.4. Transformative Education, Critical Education, Marxist Education: Possibilities and Alternatives to the Restructuring of Education in Global Neoliberal Times • Dave Hill

6 | Capitalist Culture and Cultural Production
6.1. The Revolution of Everyday Life • Raoul Vaneigem
6.2. Info-labor/Precarization • Franco "Bifo" Berardi
6.3. Imaginal Machines • Stevphen Shukaitis

7 | Language, Literature, and Art
7.1. How We Could Have Lived or Died This Way • Martín Espada
7.2. My Name Is Espada • Martín Espada
7.3. Vivas to Those Who Have Failed: The Paterson Silk Strike, 1913 • Martín Espada
7.4. Factotum • Charles Bukowski
7.5. Interview with Robert Greenwald • John Asimakopoulos
7.6. Sound of da Police • KRS-One

8 | Ecology
8.1. What Is Social Ecology? • Murray Bookchin
8.2. Socialism and Ecology • James O'Connor
8.3. Why Primitivism? • John Zerzan
8.4. In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism • Isabelle Stengers

9 | Historical Transformations
9.1. Conflict Groups, Group Conflicts, and Social Change • Ralf Dahrendorf
9.2. Debt: The First 5,000 Years • David Graeber
9.3. When the Future Began • Franco "Bifo" Berardi
9.4. Post-Fordist, American Fascism • Angela Mitropoulos

10 | New Modalities of Collective Action
10.1. From Globalization to Resistance • Staughton Lynd
10.2. Platform for a Provisional Opposition • Guy Debord
10.3. The Temporary Autonomous Zone • Hakim Bey
10.4. The Conscience of a Hacker • The Mentor
10.5. Horizontalism and Territory: From Argentina and Occupy to Nuit Debout and Beyond • Marina Sitrin


About the Author(s)

John Asimakopoulos is Full Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York. He is the author of Social Structures of Direct Democracy: On the Political Economy of Equality, and the co-author of The Accumulation of Freedom: Writing on Anarchist Economics, and Revolt!: The Next Great Transformation of Kleptocracy Capitalism to Libertarian Socialism through Counter Ideology, Societal Education, & Direct Action.

Richard Gilman-Opalsky is Associate Professor of Political Philosophy in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois, Springfield. He is author of Unbounded Publics: Transgressive Public Spheres, Zapatismo, and Political Theory; Spectacular Capitalism: Guy Debord and the Practice of Radical Philosophy; Precarious Communism: Manifest Mutations, Manifesto Detourned; and Specters of Revolt: On the Intellect of Insurrection and Philosophy from Below.