up the workers

3 Things you need to know about Thee Faction

1. There’s a new album coming VERY soon, and it’s our best yet. It’s called Reading Writing Revolution. Here’s a sneak preview of the cover in progress.
3Rs_front_inprogress

2. Our next gig will be in London on 22 April, at a very special ‘Kick out the Tories’ night at The 100 Club, with some massively exciting names on the bill. More on that soon.

kickoutthetories

3. Our products and services available on Bandcamp now includes t-shirts, and three of our albums – At Ebbw Vale, Up the Workers! and Singing Down the Government. The more stuff we sell, the more stuff we can create.

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Socialist Santa Knows What Your Friends, Family & Comrades Need

We are sitting here at Thee Faction HQ with a pile of jiffy bags, badges, records and CDs, just waiting for those last minute seasonal orders to come in. It is the simplest possible way of getting your Christmas presents in. Order right now, and we’ll post them straight away. Think about how many people in your life:

1. Would love Thee Faction

2. Need to hear Thee Faction

3. Would be so affronted by Thee Faction that it’s worth seven quid just to see the look on their face

Your socialist friends need a soundtrack. Your liberal friends need their minds changing. Your conservative friends need a kick up the arse. Thee Faction records are the gift that keeps on giving, in all three of these departments. Order a big bundle of them now, and distribute them amongst everyone you know.

It’s worth remembering that we have the next record written and rehearsed. We’re booked in to record it mid-January. But we can’t get it properly recorded and mixed and pressed until we have sold a lot more of Singing Down The Government.

The deals are still on:

£7 gets you Singing Down The Government

Singing Down cover

£10 gets you Singing Down The Government and Up The Workers:

two albums

£15 gets you At Ebbw Vale (on vinyl and CD), Up The Workers and Singing Down The Government:

three albums

Of course, you can still buy Up The Workers or At Ebbw Vale on their own too.

Order right now, comrades. Much depends on it. Not 100% convinced? Catch up on what the media has been saying about us.

All three Thee Faction albums for £15

The comrades at Soviet Beret Records are down to the last few copies of At Ebbw Vale. So they have put together this ridiculous offer. It won’t be around for long, so take advantage now. All three of our albums for £15 (incl.P&P). Just to be clear, that’s:

1 x CD of Singing Down The Government, or, The War of Position And How We’re Winning It*

1 x CD of Up the Workers!, or, Capitalism is Good For Corporations That’s Why You’ve Been Told Socialism Is Bad All Your Life

1 x 12″ 33 1/3 LP (what the kids today call ‘vinyl’) of At Ebbw Vale

1 x CD of At Ebbw Vale (in case you don’t have a record player – in which case stick the LP on the wall, as it is an undeniable design classic)

and a cardboard envelope with some stamps on it. For £15.

As we said, the Trots at Soviet Beret say this probably won’t last long, as there aren’t very many At Ebbw Vales left. So order now.

Click the image to order

Of course, many of you will still have their original beloved bootleg cassette of At Ebbw Vale from back in 1985. If that’s the case, and you see no value in the three album package, you can get the two studio albums for a tenner. That’s £10 for two beautifully packaged CD albums.

Click the image to order

*Soviet Beret are anxious that we remind you that the new album isn’t officially out until 20th October. But we also understand that if you order now, it’ll be dispatched very quickly indeed. That is to say, we understand they’re not really waiting.

Thee Faction’s Up The Workers: the Daily Mirror’s 17th best album of 2011

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.

 

GDH Cole on Guild Socialism

This might not pump all of your ‘nads. But it blimmin’ should do. Comrade Waterhouse has been on. He’s alerted us to this pamphlet. It’s the transcript of a speech GDH Cole made to the Fabian Society in 1919.  It’s all about Guild Socialism.

Now, as you know, the Guild loves Guild Socialism. Absolutely bloody loves it. And the optimism of both the intellect and the will reflected in the first part of this pamphlet is so exciting. There was a time when, with the Russian revolution but two years old, the possibility of Guild Socialism was genuinely imminent. Let’s recreate that optimism, brothers and sisters. Let’s make it happen.

Where’s GDH now? We need him. But, in his absence, we just sing about him.

Now, if you need to hear us do so, come down to our next gig. It’s going to be brilliant. Mods Against The Cuts at Blow Up! August 13th. Denmark Street. Do not miss this. You’ve got our new album? Y’know that song ‘Only Marxism Leninism Can Set You Free’? Y’know how top notch the piano is on that? That’s cos it features Ivan Chandler, pianist to Dusty Springfield, Lulu and others, back in the day. Well, he’ll be playing with us. Yup, he will be onstage with Thee Faction. Do not miss this gig. Under any circumstances.

See you there, brothers and sisters.

Happy Birthday to the NHS (and thanks for having us to Marxism 2011)

Today is the 63rd birthday of the National Health Service. If ever a day merited National Holiday status it’s this one. Instead we got a day off to watch a couple of posh kids get wed. Nonetheless, it’s our duty to honour the creation of one of the finest antidotes to free market capitalism the world has seen. The NHS is the reason why loads of right-wing Americans see us as, effectively, a communist country. And that’s how its architect, Nye Bevan, would have wanted it to be. In place of fear Nye wanted us to be safe in the knowledge that the state would provide. And he chose one of those very few moments – when men come home from bloody wars, tooled up and refusing to accept that things would be as bad as they were before – to slide it under the radar of the ruling class. But what choice did they have? It was that or a proper workers’ state.

Now, you can argue that, were it not for Nye’s blueprints for an evolutionary democratic socialist society, we would have gone the whole hog by now, and successive Tory governments wouldn’t have clawed back all those gains that Nye, and those around him, fought so hard for. They’ve got a point. But Nye made things better for his class. Full stop. He improved the lives of working people more than any other British politician, by driving through change with the force of a thousand bulldozers. And so today we pause for a moment to remember him, and his finest creation.

Of course, let’s not forget that Nye was MP for Ebbw Vale – a town Thee Faction will be forever associated with. If you were amongst the comrades at the Marxism 2011 After Party at the Vibe Bar last night you might have picked up a free CD in a plastic wallet, with  no information on it other than a link to this blog. What you have in your hands is a copy of Thee Faction’s legendary At Ebbw Vale. Recorded in situ, it captures a band at the peak of its powers in 1984. So, if you’re listening to it, here’s the artwork and track listing:

At Ebbw Vale

 

1. Union Man/Proletarian Man

2. Don’t Sell Your Consent

3. Conservative Friend

4. Charm Alone

5. The Cactus

6. Gone Too Long

7. Hands Untied

8. Rise Up

9. Julie Got a Raise

10. Social Inclusion Through Marxism

11. 4Evry1

12. I Can See The Future

 

If you love the album, and want to own it on vinyl (the format we recorded it for, and still our most approved format), you can get it from Soviet Beret Records for very little money.

If you’re wondering why lots of your favourites from last night at Marxism 2011 aren’t on it (366, Marx My Main Man, Ready, Customer and so on), you’ll find them on our new album: Up the Workers! or Capitalism is Good For Corporations That’s Why You’ve Been Told Socialism is Bad All Your Life. You can get that from Soviet Beret too. But you might prefer to take advantage of our special comradely offer (which we’ll reveal in our reply to you) by emailing us at theefaction85@googlemail.com and placing the words “one solution: revolution” in the subject box. We promise it’s a good one.

Wear your badges with pride, brothers and sisters. And come and see us at the next gig: Mods Against the Cuts at Blow Up, Denmark Street on Saturday August 13th.

So, Happy Birthday to the NHS, and thanks for having us to the SWP. We had a great night. Can we come back next year?

Happy Birthday Karl Marx

Happy birthday Karl Marx. 193 years old today. And more relevant than ever.

Note the words on his headstone, comrade. And note the title of our new album: Up the Workers!, or, Capitalism is Good for Corporations That’s Why You’ve Been Told Socialism is Bad All Your Life. The message remains the same.

We’ve no doubt that Dr Marx – Padre Nostro – would agree that it’s the most important album ever to be released. If you want to take advantage of the special comradely offer we have put together for people keen to spread the word, email us immediately on theefaction85@googlemail.com and place the words “Happy Birthday Marx” in the subject box. We’ll reply immediately with your instructions. This is a chance for you to do your bit, while being rewarded with a copy of the most important album ever released. Don’t miss the opportunity. The war of position depends on it.

Oh, and vote ‘No’ in the referendum, if you’re a UK voter. AV? It’s a bourgeois sham.

It’s the economy, stupid

Right, the circus is over and there’s still no bread. There are, of course, all manner of reasons to object to hereditary privilege, medieval social arrangements, ostentatious displays of luxury and so on, and liberals aplenty moaned about most of them yesterday.

But that bourgeois nonsense doesn’t interest us. We’re all about the economics. The other stuff follows. An elected head of state would be nice. But the installation of an elected head of state would only offer a diversionary sideshow along similar lines to yesterday’s. Things are bad – people are losing their jobs, vital services are having their budgets cut, the state is cracking down on those trying to fight back – so the ruling class needed to bring the smoke and mirrors into action. In the UK this has long been how things are done. Elsewhere they had bourgeois revolutions, giving them the chance to elect heads of state periodically. They get the chance to hit the reset button on the public mood much more regularly. So in Britain they need to do it with way more theatre and pomp. But it all amounts to the same thing. A magic lozenge, as WS Gilbert might have had it, designed to produce the illusion of soothed pain. In the ‘we’re all in this together’ balance, yesterday’s extravaganza is on the other side of the scales to the redundancies, closed Sure Start centres and lost child benefit.

The depressing thing is that it has worked. The public loved the circus. But give it a day or two and the pain will return. The lozenge is time-limited.

And we’ll be back to what Engels called ‘the dull compulsion of the economic’. Cos that’s what counts. Economics. And capitalism is going to continue to serve up the misery, and its ruling class are going to continue to serve up the diversionary sideshows, until we make the requisite changes. So don’t lose sleep over the circuses. They only exist to mask the unequal distribution of the bread. Sort that out and the rest of the absurd house of cards crumbles.

Join the war of position, comrade. Get yourself a copy of our new album, Up the Workers!, learn the words, and then repackage the messages and deliver them to everyone in  your home, your workplace, your gym, your local pub, your band, your choir, your rugby club, your internet forum, your corner shop, your drama group, your supporters’ association, your union branch, and anyone else you come across. And give them a copy of the album too. It’s the soundtrack to the war of position.

If you want to buy the album in a straightforward way, Soviet Beret will sell you a copy. If you are interested in spreading the word and buying the album in a more interesting way, email us at theefaction85@googlemail.com placing the words “GDH Cole” in the subject box. We will reply with an interesting proposition. Get in touch, comrades. Let’s make the network work in our favour.

Important announcement about Up The Workers!

Do you own a copy of At Ebbw Vale? If you do, and you haven’t received a vital email from Thee Faction this afternoon, you need to email us at theefaction85@googlemail.com . Put the codeword “GDH Cole” in  the subject box.

Sorry to be so cloak and dagger about this. But it is really important that you do this. It is absolutely in your interests to act on this advice. We can’t say very much more except that we might be able to help you own the most important record ever to be released some time before anyone else, and with approximately double the value. A ‘comrades only’ deal, if you like.

So email us now. You will be very very pleased that you did. We kid you not.