Reading John Holloway’s Change the World Without Taking Power

Andrew Kliman
Alternate Wednesdays, 6:00pm -- 7:30pm
6 Sessions: Oct. 5 & 19,
Nov. 2, 16 & 30, Dec. 14
Tuition: $75 -- $100, sliding scale

Revolution has frequently been identified with the capturing of state power. This notion is now discredited. But the idea of revolution itself will also be discredited unless a different concept of revolution that can replace it is worked out concretely. In Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today (Pluto, 2002), John Holloway argues that genuine revolution cannot be a process of capturing power – not even in order to abolish state power and other relations of domination. Power must be dissolved.

The premise of this course is that, whether one ultimately agrees or disagrees with this idea, Holloway’s book deserves serious consideration. It is an important recent effort to come to grips with the need to work out an alternative concept of revolution for today. We will read and discuss the whole of Change the World. Since fetishism and anti-fetishism are among its major concepts, we will also read and discuss the section on the fetishism of the commodity in Marx’s Capital. Other readings include Peter Hudis’ and Cyril Smith’s reviews of Holloway’s book.

Students should read the Preface and first two chapters of Change the World (a total of 19 pages) before the first class session and be prepared to discuss them. See the syllabus for the other readings, which are available online. For more information contact the instructor at


Andrew Kliman taught a course on Volume I of Marx's Capital last Spring at the New Space. Kliman, a professor of economics at Pace University, has published extensively on Marx’s Capital, crisis theory, and value theory. Co-editor of The New Value Controversy and the Foundations of Economics (2004), he has recently finished a book that reclaims Capital from the myth of internal inconsistency. Many of Kliman's writings are available at his new website:

Copies of Holloway’s Change the World Without Taking Power are available for purchase at May Day Books & Infoshop: