The Info List - Guild Socialist

socialism is a political movement advocating workers' control of industry through the medium of trade-related guilds "in an implied contractual relationship with the public".[1] It originated in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and was at its most influential in the first quarter of the 20th century. It was strongly associated with G. D. H. Cole and influenced by the ideas of William Morris.


1 History and development 2 See also 3 Footnotes 4 External links

History and development[edit] Guild
socialism was partly inspired by the guilds of craftsmen and other skilled workers which had existed in England in the Middle Ages. In 1906, Arthur Penty published Restoration of the Gild System in which he opposed factory production and advocated a return to an earlier period of artisanal production organised through guilds.[2]:102 The following year, the journal The New Age
The New Age
became an advocate of guild socialism, although in the context of modern industry rather than the medieval setting favoured by Penty.[3] In 1914, S. G. Hobson, a leading contributor to The New Age, published National Guilds: An Inquiry into the Wage System and the Way Out. In this work, guilds were presented as an alternative to state control of industry or conventional trade union activity. Guilds, unlike the existing trade unions, would not confine their demands to matters of wages and conditions but would seek to obtain control of industry for the workers whom they represented. Ultimately, industrial guilds would serve as the organs through which industry would be organised in a future socialist society. The guild socialists "stood for state ownership of industry, combined with ‘workers’ control’ through delegation of authority to national guilds organized internally on democratic lines. About the state itself they differed, some believing it would remain more or less in its existing form and others that it would be transformed into a federal body representing the workers’ guilds, consumers’ organizations, local government bodies, and other social structures."[4] Ernst Wigforss—a leading theorist of the Social Democratic Party of Sweden—was also inspired by and stood ideologically close to the ideas of Fabian Society
Fabian Society
and the guild socialism inspired by people like R. H. Tawney, L.T. Hobhouse
L.T. Hobhouse
and J. A. Hobson. He made contributions in his early writings about industrial democracy and workers' self-management. The theory of guild socialism was developed and popularised by G. D. H. Cole who formed the National Guilds
League in 1915 and published several books on guild socialism, including Self-Government in Industry (1917) and Guild
Restated (1920). A National Building Guild
was established after World War I
World War I
but collapsed after funding was withdrawn in 1921.[2]:110 Admiration of guild socialism led to a more "individualistic" form of it being suggested as a natural outcome for a united humanity in the science fiction work of Olaf Stapledon-although hundreds of years in the future. Cole's ideas were also promoted by prominent anti-communist intellectuals[5] such as the British logician Bertrand Russel, and the American liberal reformer John Dewey[6] See also[edit]

Alfred Richard Orage Bertrand Russell Christopher Lasch Council communism Distributism Mutualism National syndicalism Right-wing socialism Workplace democracy


^ " Guild
Socialism". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
Inc., 2012. Web. 31 May. 2012 ^ a b Hirst, Paul (1994). Associative Democracy: New Forms of Economic and Social Governance. Polity Press. ISBN 9780745609522.  ^ Martin, Wallace (1967). "The New Age" under Orage. Manchester University Press. p. 206.  ^ " Guild
Socialism". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
Inc., 2012. Web. 31 May. 2012 ^ “Origins of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, 1949-50.” Central Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, 27 June 2008, www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/95unclass/Warner.html. ^ Ryan, Alan. John Dewey
John Dewey
and the High Tide of American Liberalism. Norton, 1997. Page 116

[1] External links[edit]

 Cole, G. D. H. (1922). " Guild
Socialism". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). 

v t e



socialism Utopian socialism Revolutions of 1848 Orthodox Marxism


Anarcho-syndicalism Syndical Communism National syndicalism Revolutionary syndicalism Yellow syndicalism


Co-operative economics Labour economics

Labour rights General strike Workers' self-management Labour unionisation

Mutual aid


Industrial Workers of the World
Industrial Workers of the World
(IWW) International Workers' Association
International Workers' Association
(IWA-AIT) and affiliates:

Confederación Nacional del Trabajo
Confederación Nacional del Trabajo
(CNT-AIT, Spain) Brazilian Workers Confederation
Brazilian Workers Confederation
(COB) Argentine Regional Workers' Federation
Argentine Regional Workers' Federation
(FORA) Free Workers' Union (FAU, Germany) Confederation of Revolutionary Anarcho-Syndicalists (CRAS, Russia) Norsk Syndikalistisk Forbund (NSF-IAA, Norway) Solidarity Federation
Solidarity Federation
(SF-IWA, Britain)


Daniel De Leon Victor Griffuelhes Hubert Lagardelle Juan García Oliver Rudolf Rocker Georges Sorel Fernand Pelloutier

Related subjects

Criticism of capitalism Post-capitalism Libertarian socialism Criticism of wage labour Labour power Revisionism


^ Stapledon, Olaf (1930). "4. An Americanized Planet". The Last and First Men. Metheun. ISBN 978-1-85798-


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