Marx gave us a great big bag of tools for looking at the world, and an understanding of how history works. What he didn’t do much of is tell us what it’s all going to be like once the age of capital is done and dusted. We’ve seen one attempt at it – the Stalinist one – and it wasn’t a lot of fun. But that particular branch of Marxism-Leninism has never been our only option. There’s tons of really fun-looking post-capitalist visions. We in Thee Faction have a tendency to concentrate on the analysis of the now, and counter-hegemonic strategies that might get us to the world of joy and hope which will follow. But we don’t, perhaps, talk enough about how we might design that vision of a better tomorrow.
We have all, of course, waded through libraries’ worth of books on this stuff. We don’t necessarily recommend that you do the same. Instead, our old friend and comrade Darrow Schecter has written a book (well, he wrote it 15 or so years ago), which handily digests lots of these competing ideas into one beautifully written guide to our options for the post-capitalist world, concentrating on the politicisation of civil society as the means towards it. That is to say, Comrade Schecter is well and truly with us on the Gramscian counter-hegemonic strategy front.
Thee Faction make no secret of their own preference for Guild Socialism, of course – and there’s a splendid chapter on that peculiarly British vision of a socialist society. As Bertrand Russell put it: ” The best practicable system, to my mind, is Guild Socialism, which concedes what is valid both in the claims of the State socialists and in the syndicalist fear of the State, by adopting a system of federalism among trades for reasons similar to those which are recommending federalism among nations.” This is, perhaps, our main reason for including a portrait of Russell on the walls of the DDRofR&B, along with other socialist and R&B figures of note. Ruskin, Morris, Penty and, perhaps most importantly, GDH Cole, all contributed to the formation of this set of ideas which look most attractive to Thee Faction as a post-capitalist way of life. Indeed, we try to organise Thee Faction along guild socialist lines.
But it isn’t up to us, any more than it’s up to these fellas at their university desks. It’s up to you to build post-revolutionary society. Comrade Schecter’s book just gives you some ideas. He takes us a on a tour of: revolutionary syndicalism, anarchism, council communism, guild socialism, market socialism and green, post-industrial socialism. You can treat it as a pick’n’mix, brothers and sisters. No need to pick one of these wholesale. When capitalism falls there will be much talking and debating, and all of these ideas will be in the mix. But now is as good a time as any to start planning. It won’t be long now.
Comrade Schecter has always been a Chicago punk-rock kind of guy – he always preferred The Effigies or Naked Raygun to Thee Faction back in the day. But we’re pretty sure there’s still room in his heart, along with all the space taken up by GDH Cole and Antonio Gramsci, for some Socialist R&B. Comrade Schecter, we salute your handy guide to post-revolutionary society.