The Editors' Introduction

Submitted by Django on May 2, 2011

John Holloway’s book, Change the World Without Taking Power (London, Pluto Press, 2002) has provoked wide-ranging debate on the left in Latin America (where Holloway is based) and beyond, and particularly in the global justice movement. We have brought together here a number of documents which reflect this debate – articles and speeches by some of Holloway’s critics, with replies by him.

We start with a critique of Holloway’s book by Daniel Bensaïd, a French philosopher, author of many books on politics and philosophy, and a leading member of the French Revolutionary Communist League (LCR). There follows a reply by Holloway to a series of his critics, including Bensaïd, and Bensaïd’s reply to the reply.

The next document is a critical review of Holloway’s book by Phil Hearse, a longtime political activist and journalist in Britain who is an editor of the paper Socialist Resistance.

There follow transcripts of a debate that took place in October 2004 at the European Social Forum in London, around the theme “Strategies for Social Transformation”. The protagonists were Holloway, Hearse, Hilary Wainwright (writer, editor of the journal Red Pepper and activist in the global justice movement) and Fausto Bertinotti of the Italian Party for Communist Refoundation. Unfortunately there appears to be no written record of Bertinotti’s contribution, but we publish the other three.

Finally, we publish the transcript of a debate that took place at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre in January 2005 between Alex Callinicos and Holloway, including contributions from the floor. Callinicos is a leading member of the British Socialist Workers’ Party, who has written widely on politics and philosophy and has been particularly concerned with the perspectives for and debates in the global justice movement.

These documents do not by any means represent the whole of the debate. A number of other contributions have been written by Latin American activists and have not been translated into English. Nor do they conclude the debate, which deals with fundamental issues which concern all those who want to change the world and which are of particular relevance to the movements sweeping Latin America today.

The IIRE would like to thank the web site of Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières ( from which we have taken the documents published here