Chapter 1: Introduction (~10 pages)
A general introduction to the book’s main themes: Socialism, Communism and Anarchism in the public imagination today; the ‘Fundamental Principles of Communist Production and Distribution’ and the lost alternative of 20th century socialism.
Chapter 2: Marx’s Analysis of Capitalism (~10 pages)
Introduction to Marx’s understanding of capitalism’s distinctive features and its place in history as a class society. The nature of specifically capitalist production and accumulation as opposed to other class societies and the possibility of associated production and directly social labour. Explaining the key aspects of Marx’s analysis that are required to critique the existing dominant proposals for a socialist society.
Chapter 3: The Theoretical Historical Development of Socialism (~30 pages)
Beginning with the critique of the Gotha Program, the Communist Manifesto and Capital, tracking the changes in the popular conception of what socialism meant in the early 20th century. Examination of influential theorists – Lasalle, Hilferding, Neurath, Lenin, Bukharin, Preobrazhensky, Kautsky, Bordiga. The central plan and the role of the party. Brief examination of value, in-natura planning and the socialist calculation debates. An overview of the character of ‘actually existing socialism’, and its processes of reform and collapse.
Chapter 4: The Fundamental Principles and the Achievements of the GIC (~20 pages)
The general motivations of the Group of International Communists (GIC) and their significant theoretical advances beyond the terms of the socialist calculation debate. Their focus on the removal of exploitative social relations and a decentralised approach to planning. An examination of the different elements in their schema. The rationality of labour time planning. The importance of the economic “right of disposal” of the direct producers.
PART 2: Critique of Existing Proposals
Note: Page estimates are based upon 400 words per page