Guild Socialism Restated

Guild Socialism Restated

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ISBN: 978-0-87855-817-9
Pages: 234
Binding: Paperback
Publication Date: 01-01-1980
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First published in 1920, Guild Socialism Restated is G. D. H. Cole's fullest and most systematic ac­count of his vision of industrial and political reorganization. An Oxford University political theorist and an influential figure on the British Left between the two world wars, Cole was the best-known advocate of Guild Social­ism—a form of socialist thought that sought to transfer control of industry to professional "guilds" or self-governing associations of producers.

The introductory chapters of Guild Socialism Restated develop the theme of democratic citizen­ship in relation to industrial so­ciety. Cole contends that neither capitalism nor state socialism can adequately meet the fundamental requirements of democracy be­cause neither provides institutions through which active citizenship can be achieved. He insists that the latter can be realized only in the realm of industrial relations. In so doing, Cole anticipates such contemporary themes as workers' self-management and participatory democracy, and he envisions also the corporatist mode of or­ganization that some would see as a defining quality of postindustrial societies.

The central chapters of the book develop a view of socialist organi­zation in which citizenship is a vital ingredient in every arena— from that of the workplace to na­tional policymaking. Guild So­cialism Restated is also notable for its effort to come to terms with nonindustrial interests, and to provide representations for indi­viduals as consumers and citi­zens—not only as producers.

Cole's book concludes with an assessment of the transition to so­cialism. He proposes that there is a "third way" in addition to politi­cal reform and civil war—one that will be both revolutionary and gradual. Cole writes that "he who wishes revolution to succeed should hasten towards it slowly."

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition 

I         The Demand for Freedom 
II        The Basis of Democracy 
III       A Guild in Being 
IV       The Guild System in Industry 
V        The Consumer 
VI       The Civic Services 
VII      The Structure of the Commune 
VIII     The Working of the Commune 
IX        Guild Socialism in Agriculture 
X         Evolution and Revolution 
XI       The Policy of Transition 
XII      The International Outlook 

A Note on Books