Publication date:20 August 2021
Length of book:192 pages
Originally published as a pamphlet in 1979 and again by Pluto in 1980, In and Against the State brought together questions of working-class struggle and state power, exploring how revolutionary socialists might reconcile working in the public sector with their radical politics. Informed by autonomist political ideas and practices that were central to the protests of 1968, the book’s authors spoke to a generation of activists wrestling with the question of where to place their energies.
Forty years have passed, yet the questions it posed are still to be answered. As the eclipse of Corbynism and the onslaught of the global pandemic have demonstrated with brutal clarity, a renewed socialist strategy is needed more urgently than ever.
This edition includes a new introduction by Seth Wheeler and an interview with John McDonnell that reflect on the continuing relevance of In and Against the State and the questions it raises.
'The questions discussed in this gem of workers' inquiry and activist reflection are as relevant in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis, when massive stimulus packages signal a departure from monetarism, as they were in 1979, when Thatcher's public spending cuts started to ravage an already problematic welfare state. Only by struggling against the state's reproduction of inequality and struggling for a democratisation of its functions we can start imagining a just and sustainable alternative'