Alex Callinicos
Alex Callinicos in 2009
Alexander Theodore Callinicos

(1950-07-24) 24 July 1950 (age 73)
RelativesJohn Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton (grandfather)
RegionWestern philosophy
Main interests

Alexander Theodore Callinicos (born 24 July 1950) is a Rhodesian-born British political theorist and activist. An adherent of Trotskyism, he is a member of the Central Committee of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and serves as its International Secretary. He is also editor of International Socialism, the SWP's theoretical journal, and has published a number of books.


Early life

He became involved in revolutionary politics as a student at Balliol College, Oxford, where he read for his BA and came to know Christopher Hitchens, then himself active in the International Socialists (the SWP's forerunner).[1] He also received his DPhil at Oxford. The earliest writing by Callinicos for the International Socialists was an analysis of the student movement of the period. His other early writings focused on southern Africa and the French structuralist-Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser. In 1977, Callinicos married Joanna Seddon, a fellow Oxford doctoral student.[citation needed]

Career and activism

Callinicos participated in the Counter-Summit to the IMF/World Bank Meeting in Prague, September 2000 and the demonstration against the G8 in Genoa, June 2001. He has also been involved in organising the Social Forum movement in Europe. He was a contributor to Dictionnaire Marx Contemporain (2001),[2] and has written articles in New Left Review.

He was Professor of Politics at the University of York before being appointed Professor of European Studies at King's College London in September 2005. He succeeded Chris Harman as editor of International Socialism in January 2010 shortly after Harman died and is a British correspondent for Actuel Marx. Callinicos joined the central committee of the SWP in the late 1970s; he retains this position.[citation needed]

Callinicos was a critic of the humanitarian interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo, arguing that they were conducted solely to promote the global capitalist expansion.[3][4] He has described Russia's invasion of Ukraine as "an ongoing battle between imperialist rivals, driving forward by capitalist competition".[5][6] He has argued against Western efforts to provide arms for Ukraine.[5][6]

In January 2013, in the context of a serious crisis inside the UK Socialist Workers Party (SWP) associated with the party's response to an allegation of rape against a leading member of the party, known as Comrade Delta, and with the demand for changes to the existing form of the system of democratic centralism within the SWP, he wrote a defence of Leninism and democratic centralism. Callinicos disagreed with those who argued for the need to change the existing system.[7] He called the allegation of rape a "difficult disciplinary case",[7] a comment for which socialist feminist Laurie Penny thought he "[mistook] a plea for some basic respect for women's sexual autonomy as an attempt to undermine the revolution from within."[8]

Callinicos took a prominent position on another issue which had divided the Socialist Workers Party (SWP): the use of the Internet in disagreements about confidential party issues. He complained about "the dark side of the Internet" in which individuals have "used blogs and social media to launch a campaign within the SWP".[7]

In order to disentangle a conference organised by the Historical Materialism journal in Delhi during 2013 from the SWP crisis, his invitation to the conference was withdrawn in March 2013.[9]


Books / pamphlets



  1. ^ Callinicos, Alex (16 December 2011). "Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011)". Socialist Worker. No. 2283. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  2. ^ J. Bidet and E. Kouvelakis, eds., Dictionnaire Marx Contemporain Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2001
  3. ^ Savchenko, Andrew (2004). "Review of Against the Third Way: An Anti-Capitalist Critique". The American Journal of Economics and Sociology. 63 (3): 747–753. doi:10.1111/j.1536-7150.2004.00313.x. ISSN 0002-9246. JSTOR 3488152.
  4. ^ Harding, Jeremy (29 April 1999). "Europe's War". London Review of Books. Vol. 21, no. 9. ISSN 0260-9592. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  5. ^ a b Sophie (27 March 2022). "The great power grab—imperialism and the war in Ukraine". Socialist Worker.
  6. ^ a b "Using "anti-imperialism" to avoid siding with Ukraine | Workers' Liberty". 2022.
  7. ^ a b c Alex Callinicos, "Is Leninism finished?" Archived 28 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine Socialist Review, February 2013, posted on 28 January 2013.
  8. ^ Laurie Penny, "The SWP and rape: why I care about this Marxist-Leninist implosion", The Guardian, 12 March 2013.
  9. ^ Hugh Muir, "Diary: A message to the SWP from Delhi: stay away", The Guardian, 27 March 2013.