reading for ‘conceptualising communist society’ discussion group

The next of The Commune’s London reading groups on ‘communism from below’ will take place on Monday 25th May from 7pm at the Old Red Lion, near Angel.

The title of the meeting is ‘conceptualising communist society’. The recommended reading material includes sections of two late 19th century utopian novels outlining a future communist society – Looking Backward 2000-1887 by Edward Bellamy (chapters 6-7), and News from Nowhere by William Morris (chapter 14). See these chapters as a Word file here.

Bellamy’s vision of communism (read whole book here) spurned a number of so-called “Nationalist” clubs around the United States and the book was also very popular among the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War. He envisages a technocratic society where the state is the sole capitalist and every worker’s abilities are used to the full.

Morris’s book (read in full here) was written as a rebuttal of Bellamy’s work, outlining a libertarian view of communism based on collective decision making, extreme democracy and personal freedom from state control.

We will be discussing the following questions:
– What differences are there between the methods of decision making imagined in the books, and what does that tell us about how such societies might have come about?
– What parallels can we draw between the visions of communism in the two works and the experience of 20th century communist revolutions?
– In what ways are the structures outlined in the works replicated within the left and trade unions, and what does this tell us about the social system such groups would create?

Email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com for more details, to register your interest, or if you would like printed copies of the texts.

5 thoughts on “reading for ‘conceptualising communist society’ discussion group

  1. This is slightly more recent:

    https://thecommune.wordpress.com/2008/08/28/the-fundamental-principles-of-communist-production-and-distribution/

    Much more recent is the “PARECON” system, which stands for “PARticipatory ECONomics” – a fairly highly developed ‘nuts and bolts’ account of how communist society might operate on the economic level. There is a book-length statement called PARECON (Michael Albert), and a more concise one in the second half of Robin Hahnel’s Economic Justice and Democracy.

    If you look at this portal: http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/topics/parecon – you can see at the top of the middle column some links to introductory articles.

    The Wikipedia page might be worth a look as well:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_economy

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