Sometimes you get little signals that the war of position might be at a tipping point. When Thee Faction’s comeback began, back in April 20010, people laughed at us. They told us we were anachronistic. They told us that class politics was a thing of the past. They told us we were part of the ‘old politics’. We even lost a band member over it.
We knew we weren’t wrong, though, and the following month’s General Election in the UK convinced us that a comeback wasn’t enough. We needed a fightback.
Since then one thing has become clearer and clearer, from day to day. A historical materialist analysis of the world is the only one that makes sense. Class divisions in the economy engender class politics and class society. We always knew that. Now more and more people are agreeing with us. Our timing was perfect. We’ve always known that to get rid of the class divisions in the economy we need proper revolutionary upheaval. But to get there means fighting a culture war. Hearts and minds. And that’s what we’ve been doing. It’s a war of position.
Today something significant happened. An album by a fringe band of socialists, playing unfashionable RnB, who have been plugging away trying to change people’s minds and provide bit of joy and a bit of hope, as well as a focal point for a small portion of the culture war for civil society, has been named in the Daily Mirror’s Top 20 albums of 2011. At number 17.
If you’re Mumford & Sons this kind of thing is routine. It’s why you make music. It’s a step further on the path to global megastardom. We couldn’t give a monkeys about such questions. For us it’s an achievement because we shouldn’t be there. It’s not a natural step. It represents a massive rupture in bourgeois cultural expectations. It’s an achievement because something significant has changed. It’s an achievement for the struggle itself.
This year has seen a ramping up of the struggle. And as it gets more and more intense, so more and more things that once seemed impossibly radical are now beginning to seem mundane. The Occupy movements, the new radicalisation of Britain’s biggest trade unions, the willingness to take to the streets, the refusal to lie back and take it anymore…this is everyday stuff now. And it is that – not anything Thee Faction have done – that allows Up the Workers! to sit at Number 17 in the Daily Mirror’s Top 20 albums of 2011.
So that’s not an achievement for Thee Faction. It’s an achievement for the class. It is a measure of just how much progress we are making in the war of position. Gramsci wrote that counter-hegemonic struggle in civil society works in such a way that, eventually, that complex blend of force and consent that constitutes hegemony grows to rely entirely on force. Consent to the rule of capital is withdrawn.
We’re not there yet. But Thee Faction are at Number 17 in the Daily Mirror’s Top 20 albums of 2011. And nobody is batting an eyelid. It seems perfectly natural, reasonable and normal. That’s how far the struggle has come in the last 20 months.
Where do you think we’ll be 20 months from now, brothers and sisters? Prepare yourselves. Be ready for the revolution.