Embodying Alternatives to Capitalism in the 21st Century

  • Lara Monticelli
Keywords: Karl Marx, bicentenary, 200th anniversary, capitalism, crisis, utopia, prefigurative social movements


The goal of this article is twofold. First, to illustrate how in the last decade a growing number of critical and Marxist thinkers committed to discussing and developing theories of change have started to broaden their focus by including social movements and grassroots initiatives that are “interstitial”, i.e. initiatives that are developing within capitalism and are striving to prefigure a post-capitalist society in the here and now without engaging in contentious, violent and revolutionary actions and activities. To achieve this, I mainly focus on the work of four authors: Erik Olin Wright, John Holloway, Ana C. Dinerstein, and Luke Martell. The second goal of this article is to understand why these interstitial movements are getting so much attention from critical scholars and to argue that the time is ripe for establishing a theory of (and for) prefigurative social movements. The article closes with some brief reflections on the future of radical thinking that includes an invitation, directed mostly at the young generation of critical and Marxist scholars, to begin a dialogue with theories of change developed within other disciplines, to engage with activists, and to experiment with participatory methods and techniques.

Author Biography

Lara Monticelli

Lara Monticelli is an independent researcher and prospective Assistant Professor and Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy at Co- penhagen Business School (from September 2018 onwards). She is the co-founder of the newly established research network “Alternatives to Capitalism” within the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE).

Karl Marx @ 200: Debating Capitalism & Perspectives for the Future of Radical Theory