Marx

Victory at Stalingrad – The Movie

 

On 2nd February 2013 Thee Faction took part in a fantastic night, organised by the comrades at Philosophy Football, to celebrate the 70th anniversay of the Red Army smashing the Nazis at Stalingrad. It was one of the best thought-out and planned events we’ve ever been a part of. There were speakers (historian Geoffrey Roberts, Seamus Milne, Clare Solomon, Susan Richards), bands (Thee Faction and the Trans-Siberian March Band),  and a disco (with our own Billy Brentford spinning some floor-filling proletarian sexy club funk), all held together with rabble-rousing polemic from Philosophy Football’s Mark Perryman. It was sold-out, yet the move from seated lecture hall to vibrant dance hall was executed super-smoothly, and the whole event was a wonderful example of why socialism is always going to be more efficient than capitalism. Thee Faction had a tremendous time, and the comrades on the merch stall managed to sell record breaking quantities of our records, despite stiff competition from the Great Patriotic War memorial plates.

The whole thing is available as a movie (above). It’ll take up a quarter of an hour of your time to watch, but it gives a real flavour of how special this event was. We pop up in the middle doing ‘366’ and at the end stumbling through the harmonies on ‘Marx, My Main Man’. Watch, enjoy, and make sure you go to these comrades next event. Us? We’ve got our fingers crossed for an invite to perform at whatever they do in 2017. That’s a pretty big anniversarsary….

Oh, the comrades at Philosophy Football made some superb shirts to commemorate Stalingrad. Pop across and have a look. Buy them for all your family.

VICTORY

 

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Nostalgia of the Future: a Baby Face interview and exclusive chance to hear five new songs

Comrade

You know we have a new record coming out soon. You are anticipating it eagerly. Well, here is your chance to check out five of the songs, and to hear an exclusive interview with Baby Face.

Nostalgia of the Future has long been our most approved podcast (though there is very close competition from Planet Mondo, The Proper Gander, SSP Campsie and others), so it will be no surprise that we granted Billy Reeves this interview. It turned into a discussion of some of our favourite socialists, including Raymond Williams, GDH Cole, Karl Marx, Thomas Frank and Leon Trotsky. Have a listen.

Further news on the record itself will be up soon. But we can at least tell you the title:

Up The Workers, or, Capitalism is Good For Corporations That’s Why You’ve Been Told Socialism is Bad All Your Life.

Bankers, Fire Extinguishers, Marx and Trotsky

Picture stolen from the massthink blog. Click on it to see the accompanying explanation of Marx's base/superstructure theory.

In a week where the British state has sent an over-enthusiastic kid to prison for a disproportionately long time as a ‘deterrent’, and the government has huffed and puffed in a pantomime pretence of blowing the bankers’ bonus house down, while the bankers themselves have made a moving and impassioned plea for us to let them stop apologising, it is important to remind ourselves of a few things:

  • Individual acts of terrorism are foolish, self indulgent, and un-socialist. The thinking socialist knows what motivates people to commit them, but recognises that they are the least useful method of achieving our aims.
  • The bourgeois courts act in the interests of the ruling class. On this occasion, quite explicitly.
  • Capital, in the last analysis, rules governments. Governments can’t really control the forces of capital. Some try harder than others, mind. The current mob won’t try at all.
  • The relationship between base and superstructure occasionally becomes quite explicitly clear. This is one of those occasions. Most of the time it seems far more complex (indeed, most useful contributions to Marxist thought, post-Lenin, have sought to interpret and explain this complexity – see Gramsci, Althusser, Raymond Williams and others). But every now and then the stark, Marxian model of the economic base dictating the form of the cultural/ideological/social/political/judicial superstructure reveals itself in almost caricatured form. That’s what the newspapers have been full of this week.

So, as socialists, none of this week’s news is news.

A foolish kid commits a dangerous act. It was bound to end in prison. Is it a shock that the courts decide explicitly to use his sentence to send out a message to other protestors? No. Because we know whose courts they are. There may have been a ‘just’ prison sentence that could have been handed down. This one ain’t it. And the judge knew that, and pretty much said so.

A couple of years back, the state stepped in to sustain the capitalist system when it hit crisis point. Just like in 1929. Capitalism only keeps existing because people intervene to sustain it. Those interventions never, ever conform to the philosophy of liberal democratic political theory. But liberal theory developed in the wake of capitalist production relations, and at a considerable distance behind it. In reality, those whose interests are best served by capitalism will do all they can to sustain the system, and that includes massive state intervention in the economy –  the very thing that is supposed to be the enemy of capitalism. In the last analysis, the interests of capitalism itself, rather than the individuals who benefit from it, will always prevail. Nonetheless, the beneficiaries are now in a brilliant position to start thriving again. The state was super-handy when the system needed saving. But the state is incapable of intervening when the system is thriving. Marxists have always known that. It takes the announcement of a banking bonus bonanza to clarify it for everyone else.

So of course we want revenge and of course it is tempting to undertake stupid individual acts of criminal defiance. As someone far cleverer than us once put it: “the point, however, is to change”. So let’s focus on getting rid of this laughable system, and replacing it with something much much better. As a class.

Let’s give the last word to Trotsky, from his 1911 essay: Why Marxists Oppose Individual Terrorism

Trotsky, with really really good hair

“If we oppose terrorist acts, it is only because individual revenge does not satisfy us. The account we have to settle with the capitalist system is too great to be presented to some functionary called a minister. To learn to see all the crimes against humanity, all the indignities to which the human body and spirit are subjected, as the twisted outgrowths and expressions of the existing social system, in order to direct all our energies into a collective struggle against this system — that is the direction in which the burning desire for revenge can find its highest moral satisfaction.”

Capital’s Crisis in Cartoon Form

We posted this on our facebook page a few months ago. But it is far too good not to be captured for posterity on our blog too. Comrade David Harvey, our favourite Marxist geographer and close textual analyst of Marx’s Capital, has had a lecture of his on crises of capitalism illustrated by the clever RSA Animate people. What you get is an evolving cartoon explaining, in the most accessible way, why a Marxist analysis of history (and especially the current crisis) is the only reasonable one. It is honestly a brilliant piece of work. Even if you are in that minority of people who shout for ‘less talk more rock’ at Thee Faction gigs, you need to watch this.

Of course, the only thing wrong with it is the soundtrack. It needs At Ebbw Vale throbbing away in the background. Comrade Harvey – if you’re reading this, you can get your copy here. Only £8.50 for the CD, with free 12″ vinyl album, and a badge to be worn proudly when next you’re lecturing the unconverted on Marx.

We hope everyone had a good time at the Historical Materialism Conference in London. We were sorry not to make it. Maybe next year we could provide some evening entertainment for you, comrades.

GDH Cole and Guild Socialism. A Beginner’s Guide

A lot of you who have bought At Ebbw Vale have been asking who GDH Cole is. He gets mentioned on the sleeve, and is, apparently, a bit of a mystery to many of you. For his low profile you can blame an array of people. The Left in the 60s didn’t think he was very sexy – when you’ve got Marcuse and co to market, a rather stuffy old Brit who did a sideline in detective fiction doesn’t quite have the caché you’re looking for. The Labour Party never thought he was very sexy either. He knew all the right people, and was a prominent Fabian, but his blueprints for a better tomorrow weren’t quite in line with the democratic socialist orthodoxy of the moment. He was talked about as having a ‘Bolshevik soul in a Fabian muzzle’. Not the kind of guy the Labour Party were likely to make a song and dance about (though, weirdly, Labour List has published a piece about him today, pointing out that Cameron’s Big Society is just a bourgeois version of GDH Cole’s Guild Socialism). And the rest of the British left simply never knew how to categorise him. He was non-communist, but clearly Marxist in his analysis. That didn’t appeal to the CPGB. He was against a strong state, and had no truck with State and Revolution type thinking, so the Trots didn’t like him much either. Overall, there was no one who was likely to keep the GDH Cole momentum going after he’d left us.

We, of course, have always tried to. We’re a Socialist R&B band. We employ a Marxist analysis of history. But our vision of a better tomorrow is not necessarily informed by communists. Indeed, we have always seen history like Marx, the immediate struggle like Gramsci, and the vision of a better tomorrow like GDH Cole. The three pillars of Thee Faction’s thinking.

You all know how to apply Marxism as a critical tool. You all understand the nature of the war of position, as outlined by Gramsci. But the release of At Ebbw Vale has shown us that you don’t, necessarily, know your way around GDH Cole. So here is the briefest of guides to his way of thinking. There’ll be more of this, should it interest you, in the weeks and months to come. Think of today’s post as a very simple beginner’s guide.

GDH Cole was born in 1889. Between then and his death in 1959, he effectively did all the things you’d expect a man of the British Left to do. He wrote for the Guardian, the Left Book Club and the New Statesman, he ran the Fabians, he was huge in the cooperative movement, he was a Professor at Oxford, he taught Wilson and Gaitskell (not well enough, of course), and he was the inspiration behind Professor Yaffle in Bagpuss (if we tell you that his wife was Margaret Postgate, that might explain why). But so far this is a fairly standard portrait of a solidly Establishment British left-winger of the Webbs, Orwell, HG Wells, GB Shaw type. What separated Cole out from the rest of the gang?

The answer is: Guild Socialism. A million and one blueprints for socialism exist. Most lead unavoidably to Stalinism, because they hand everything over to the State. Guild Socialism doesn’t. That whole area of life that exists between the individual and the state is what needs to be democratised: Civil Society. So where Stalinism destroyed all the space between the individual and the State, ensuring that the State was everything, Guild Socialism offers a path to a socialism where the State is almost nothing.

Guild Socialism is a libertarian socialism for democrats. It’s a way of democratising civil society. The emphasis is on democratising the workplace, and all the other associations we find ourselves a part of when we walk out of our front doors. We self manage everything. Yup, there’ll still be a State. But it won’t have that much to do – just mediate between the different guilds and deal with criminal law. It’s the logical conclusion to the British cooperative movement. It’s socialism as it should be. Imagine – your workplace is democratised. As is the bus service to your workplace. As is the club you drink in after work, and the library you get your books from after that. All of which must work out ways of organising society to make sure all can thrive.

A month or three back we recommended that you read Darrow Schecter’s Radical Theories. There’s great stuff in there on Guild Socialism. But if you can get your hands on any of Cole’s original stuff, read it. It’s great. Avoid his detective novels, mind. They’re deadly dull, as befits a man who Beatrice Webb reckoned had no sense of humour.

Anyway, hope that clarifies things on the GDH Cole front. When you hear about the Big Society, or other daft attempts by the bourgeois state to abdicate responsibility for what goes on in civil society, remember that there is a way of doing just that, but without the abdication of state responsibility, without the moral abacus of the market, and without it being a patronising, top-down gesture. It’s called Guild Socialism, and it rocks like a motherfucker.

Eyes left. We describe ourselves as a Guild, see. Because we try to run ourselves along Guild Socialist principles. Relations between Thee Faction and Soviet Beret are a superb example of life under Guild Socialism. Things are not always harmonious. But they are democratic, and we’re all empowered. Can the same be said of Sony Records and its music-making-minions?

Guild Socialism. Get ready for it, cos it’s on its way brothers and sisters.

Blame the workers. Obviously.

 

 

This poster,  outside East Putney tube station, gathered quite a crowd the other day. There was a broad mix of tutting and moaning, with a smattering of wailing and gnashing of teeth. The consensus? It’s all that Bob Crow’s fault. Yes, brother and sisters, the lack of investment by management that the RMT repeatedly and continuously highlight is, in fact, the fault of the rail workers and their union.

In next week’s instalment we will learn how the spotty youth behind the counter in your local branch of HSBC is responsible for the global economic crisis. We’ll then give you a report on how the archeology PhD candidate working the nightshift in the Texaco service station round the corner is responsible for global warming. Finally, expect a full-length package explaining how the students protesting the extension to the retirement age in France only have themselves to blame.

Tired of capital. Bored of its hegemony. Frustrated with the prevailing ideology.

Marx wrote the German Ideology (one of my favourites…) in 1845. Not much has changed, comrades:

“The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance. The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things consciousness, and therefore think. Insofar, therefore, as they rule as a class and determine the extent and compass of an epoch, it is self-evident that they do this in its whole range, hence among other things rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age: thus their ideas are the ruling ideas of the epoch.”

‘Nuff said, brothers and sisters. But do make an effort to resist this nonsense.

A Proletarian Tea Party? Think again, comrades

Comrades. Capitalism is tapdancing on my balls, and the dull compulsion of the economic, as Engels put it, is forcing me to engage in the most alienating of labour rather than hurling myself into creative, Thee Faction-based, labour. Yes, even members of Thee Faction are subject to the rule of capital. That’s why we’re in Thee Faction.

So there is little time for blogging today. All I can do is hurl a handful of things in your direction, and you can turn them into a coherent political argument. Do this, and by the end of today, you will have all the ammunition you require to dismantle the Tea Party. You need an analysis. Under normal circumstances we would give you one. Today is DIY analysis day.

So, Exhibit A:

 

I know I bang on about Thomas Frank a lot, but that is largely because Thomas Frank is as good as it gets in today’s world of political, economic and cultural criticism. The Baffler was (is?) the New Left Review or Neue Rheinische Zeitung for our generation. Thomas Frank is its Marx.  Anyway, I have no time to explain this – I’ve blogged about Frank before. Point is, if you want to understand why the Tea Party movement does, undoubtedly, contain huge numbers ofworking class people who consider themselves  to be seekers of a radical solution, and who are ready to work for a vision of a better tomorrow, then you could do a lot worse than read What’s the Matter with Kansas?    Because these people are genuine working class radicals. It’s just the radical solution on offer isn’t one that is ultimately going to be better for them. Their vision of a better tomorrow has been orchestrated and designed by the ones who really stand to benefit from it.

Which brings us to Exhibit B: George Monbiot’s piece in today’s Guardian. Now, I don’t always have time for George Monbiot. But recently he has become much better, particularly since he accepted the lunacy of some of the numbers he has been hurling around for years about how much food and water it takes to produce animals for eating (I keep meaning to alert Billy Brentford to this piece). So, the new improved George Monbiot begins his piece on the Tea Party movement todaay with these three sentences:

“The Tea Party movement is remarkable in two respects. It is one of the biggest exercises in false consciousness the world has seen – and the biggest Astroturf operation in history. These accomplishments are closely related.”

What’s the link between this and Frank’s book? What looks like a grassroots movement, emerging from hotbeds of working class radicalism (like Kansas) is, in fact, just astroturf; grass with no roots. Monbiot goes on to show that “the biggest company you’ve never heard of” – Koch Industries – is bankrolling and orchestrating the whole thing. And they’re doing it in the interests of the Koch brothers who run it, and their cronies within big business. Surprise surprise, comrades.

Monbiot finishes with this:

“Astroturfing is now taking off in the United Kingdom. Earlier this month Spinwatch showed how a fake grassroots group set up by health insurers helped shape the Tories’ NHS reforms. Billionaires and corporations are capturing the political process everywhere; anyone with an interest in democracy should be thinking about how to resist them. Nothing is real any more. Nothing is as it seems.”

As always with Monbiot, he offers superficial observation, but no depth of analysis. So you need to read Thomas Frank to understand how and why, and Monbiot to see what is going on right now.

But for what to do, we have to go to Exhibit C: Karl Marx’s On the Jewish Question. This is an often massively misunderstood piece of work (read it in full here). It is a response to Bruno Bauer, I think, who had been arguing for civil rights for Jewish people in Germany, so long as they dumped their religion. Marx wrote his piece to make it clear that civil rights are, to a great extent, a bourgeois sham, and that the only emancipation that counts is real emancipation. He was making a point about the nature of civil society, and its possibilities as a battlefield (see Gramsci for the extension of this metaphor into the mid-20th Century). There is also ten tons of stuff on the separation of church and state in the US and beyond – perhaps Christine O’Donnell should have read it? Now, a lot of people shy away from this piece of work – Marx’s finest in my opinion – because of rumours of anti-semitism. You will find no anti-semitism here. Instead you will find a glorious description of the relationship between state and civil society, and a dismissal of the state-based route to freedom. It is economic inequality that forms the greatest barrier to our freedom, whether we are an oppressed minority, as the Jews were in 19th Century germany, or part of the ‘majority’ which organisations like the Tea Party or the EDL claim to represent. We are only going to be free when we destroy what stops us being free. Capitalism.

So your project for today is to read Thomas Frank’s book, George Monbiot’s article, and Karl Marx’s essay. In that order. By the end of which you will have the analysis you need. Apply this analaysis to all situations – that’s the beauty of marxism as a critical tool. And while you’re doing your reading and forming your analysis, you’ll need a soundtrack. Can we humbly suggest At Ebbw Vale by Thee Faction? Buy it here – for £8.50 you get a beautiful piece of vinyl, a CD, and postage and packing. Not owning At Ebbw Vale is bourgeois. Fact.

Protest the Pope?

Papa Ratzi is on his way to the UK, a large proportion of whose citizenry is up in arms about the whole thing. Protest the Pope, a coalition of various organisations all equally committed, for one reason or another, to stopping the State Visit of the Pope next week, have organised all sorts of anti-pontiff shenanigans while he’s here.

Thee Faction cautiously support this too, but remain concerned about some stuff on the periphery of the protest. The stated aims of Protest the Pope sit well with us (go to the website and scroll down). In fact, within the context of those aims, we’d go one step further: the UK, or any other ‘respectable’ state, has no business recognising the Vatican as a State. It isn’t one really, and, though it gets all sorts of outrageous priviliges at the UN, isn’t recognised as one there. That the UK wastes money on doubling up its consular and diplomatic presence in Rome is absurd, and only happens because of a bunch of popular misconceptions about the Lateran Treaty. So we’d be all for withdrawing State-status from the Vatican, and, in the meantime, for the international community to put pressure on them to start operating like a civilized country by recognising global human rights treaties.

So we’re all for protesting this State visit, because we don’t see The Vatican as a State. We’re also very keen on people pointing out the Vatican’s woeful record on stamping out child abuse, and its often contradictory and hypocritical, and always dangerous, policies on contraception, divorce, abortion and so on. That is, we think, a given for any progressive-thinking group of people. This Pope in particular has all manner of blood on his hands and damaged children on his conscience, and we’re against the British state treating him as a distinguished visitor.

We’re less keen on this protest being co-opted by the anti-religion lobby, who are becoming increasingly boring. People keep saying to me: you of all people should be anti-religion – after all, what was it Marx said about the opium of the masses? Well, we’ll tell you what he said, cos not enough people seem to know. In fact, not enough people read Marx. So, in context, here’s what he said (in his Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right):

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

Does that sound like the words of someone who was anti-religion? That ‘heart of a heartless world’ brought us liberation theology, for example. Would the struggle in Latin America have been better off spending its time arguing that god didn’t exist, or pointing out the logical provenance of evolutionary or Big Bang theory than feeding, organising and politicising the people suffering under fascist regimes?

Challenging religious belief is by no means a pre-requisite for the socialist revolution. Marxism is a materialist philosophy, of course. No Marxist believes that the order of things is ordained by a spiritual source, nor that spiritual or idealist notions are what engenders change in society. But is belief in a religion any worse than believing in a ‘great men’ version of history, or in the liberal absurdity of a priori rights? Religion helps a lot of people get through the day. And that’s a hell of an achievement for a lot of oppressed and exploited people in this world.

Will there be religion under socialism? Of course there won’t. There’ll be no need for it. Religion’s a human construct, and it serves a very particular purpose. Is it any worse a human construct designed to sustain the prevailing order than, say, parliamentary elections, or ‘mass’ shareholding? Not really, no. Religion offends liberals because they sneer at the idea that people might need a crutch to get them through a pretty miserable existence. Actually, they don’t sneer at the idea. They sneer at the people themselves. We won’t do that.

So yes, protest the Pope. Stand against this ‘State Visit’, disastrous Vatican policies and prejudices, and this Pope in particular. But don’t ask us to join the anti-religion movement, or to attack Catholics. When liberals work as hard for oppressed and exploited people as those committed to liberation theology have, and when liberals’ stated aim is a socialist society for those people, then we might join in. But in a world where capitalism pulls the wool over our eyes on a minute by minute basis, whether through marketing or advertising or ‘stakeholding’ or any other slight of hand trickery and ideological smoke and mirrors, we’re really not going to lose sleep over people believing in god.

Protest the Pope, but let’s recognise that the theists are just trying to get through this shit the best they can. They’re our comrades too. We’re no liberation theologists, but if it’s a choice between liberation theology or liberal individualism as the emancipatory strategy we’d be most keen to embrace, our answer is pretty clear.

Anyway, all those going to the Protest the Pope rally on Saturday 18th, enjoy it, and make your point strongly. We can’t join you, cos we’ll be getting our kit together for the gig that night. When you’re done protesting, jump on the Northern Line to Kentish Town and come to the Bull & Gate to wind down with a little Socialist R&B. The perfect political end to a day of protest. Details are here.

The Baffler

At the DDRofR&B we spend a lot of time reading, and talking about what we’ve read. While we were going through, and polishing up, the tapes of At Ebbw Vale last week, Dai Nasty mentioned an essay by Steve Albini that appeared in The Baffler about 17 years ago. You probably know the one – where he employs the analogy of a trench full of shit and uses it to explain the whole ‘band meets A&R man, band gets signed, band records record, band gets dropped’ saga that happens to everyone who chooses the major label route to misfortune.

Anyway, I suddenly realised that the essay in question has been reprinted a million and one times, in a million and one places. So, though you’ll all doubtless have read it, you may not have read it in The Baffler. Indeed, you may not be aware of The Baffler. And you really do need to be aware of The Baffler.

The Baffler is probably the finest journal of our times. Under the stewardship of Thomas Frank, it explores the themes that Frank’s own work, both scholarly and popular, has always explored: that of the business of culture. Back in the early 80s people never understood why Thee Faction had no interest in being co-opted into the culture industry, despite the recording contracts, music press cover stories and concert promotions everyone assumed we would take ‘advantage’ of. An issue or two of The Baffler should help you understand why we steered well clear.

Between 1988 and now, The Baffler has been irregularly published, hard to get hold of – even from the leftest of left wing news stands – and under horrific financial pressures – not least when its offices mysteriously caught fire about 10 years ago. But every time you’ve been able to get a copy, you’ve been provided with an absolute treat. The culture industry, the culture of business, the business of culture – each has been picked apart by a posse of the finest minds the American left has to offer. And, in the tradition of Marx, they don’t just moan or mock – they look at how the world might be, and what we need to do to get there.

At the root of Frank’s work, and that of The Baffler, is a pretty simply premise: rebellious consumption is nigh on impossible. All that counter-cultural stuff that you buy into? It’s The Man’s idea. He’s planned it, promoted it, and now reaps the benefits of it. A flick through Thomas Frank’s The Conquest of Cool – a scholarly work, impeccably referenced, which rips apart the myth of the counter-culture – gives you a clear idea of what to expect. You can read Chapter One of it here. If you bought into punk, as brought to you by Virgin, CBS and McLaren, or grunge, as brought to you by Geffen and MTV, or if you have been buying into Wired’s high-tech utopia, you might not fancy delving too deeply into Frank and friends….you’re going to be pretty disappointed in yourself. But be brave. We were, thanks to a recommendation from Comrade “Doc” Fraser back in the early 90s, and since then we’ve redoubled our efforts in this war of position we find ourselves in.

Thee Faction have made no secret of their aim of building a genuinely counter-hegemonic movement – one that can’t be co-opted or bought by The Man. It’s possible. The contributors to The Baffler know it’s possible. But it’s very hard, and it requires us all to stay one step ahead of The Man at all times. Thomas Frank and his huge team of comrades help us do that, by giving us a much clearer understanding of how The Man works, and how to spot bogus counter-cultural activity from a  mile away. It is essential reading for all of you, brothers and sisters.

It’s pretty difficult getting hold of copies of The Baffler. But you should be able to find yourself a copy of the first compendium of Baffler articles, from the first 9 years of the magazine (from 1988 to 1997). It’s called Commodify Your Dissent, is published by Norton in the UK, and is full of brilliant articles that make you simultaneously: hate yourself for caving in to The Man in your weakest moments, clutch your head at the sheer brilliance of what you are reading, and hurl the book down, pick up a pick axe handle, and staff a barricade.

For those of you who (wrongly) think reading the classical texts is a bit boring, or for those who (equally wrongly) feel that the old guard (Marx, Trotsky, Gramsci and co)  are a bit outdated and don’t really address contemporary capitalism, this is the stuff you need to be reading. Seriously. Read it now. Cos this speaks to you, directly, about the era of capitalism we live in, now, and about the kind of future we should be planning for, tomorrow. And it does it in a funny, biting, satirical way, in exactly the language you and your friends dissect the state and civil society in around pub tables before a Thee Faction show.

You genuinely need to read as much of this stuff as you can. Now. The future depends on it.

What the Sun front page *should*have been

What the Sun front page *should*have been
To quote Brother JC Crawford of our comrades, the MC5: Brothers and sisters, the time has come for each and every one of you to decide whether you are gonna be the problem, or whether you are gonna be the solution. You must choose, brothers, you must choose. It takes 5 seconds, 5 seconds of decision…Brothers, it’s time to testify and I want to know:
Are you ready to testify?