What a Way to Run a Railroad
An Analysis of Radical Failure

Landry, Charles; Morley, David; Southwood, Russell; Wright, Patrick
Publisher:  Comedia Publishing Grooup, London, United Kingdom
Year Published:  1985
Pages:  101pp   ISBN:  0-906890-80-2
Library of Congress Number:  HV245   Dewey:  361.80941
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX6635

How can the high failure rate of radical projects, in the media and elsewhere, be understood? This book analyses the reasons why many of the key organisations and projects in this sector, which grew up during the 1970s boom in cultural politics, either collapsed or moved into a state of permanent crisis. In attempting to come to terms with this 'history of failure' the key concepts of this movement -- collectivity, internal democracy, participation -- are critically re-examined, and an argument is presented as to how and why radical projects also need to redefine their priorities and take on board questions of efficiency, financial control and marketing if they are to survive.


Table of Contents


Chapter I: History and Ideology
The days after
A history of blind spots
The impact of feminism
The revolt against structure
The roots of failure

Chapter II: A case-study in failure
Cultural politics in the 70s
The Leveller: collective problems

Chapter III: Living in the market
Cultural snobbery and commercial ignorance
Political economy in the ghetto
Manager, coordinator or commander
East End Blues
Profiting autonomously

Chapter IV: The collective decides
Accountability and the rationality of bureaucracy
Voluntary disorganization
Political guarantees
The collective attitude to skills
Are skills a good thing?
How to share skills you can't admit to having

Chapter V: Looking at management with a jaundiced eye
Soldiers and Sailors: leaders and led
The managerial technology of 'excellence'
Turning the questions around

Chapter VI: Where do we go from here?
Recurring issues in organization

Chapter VII: The political economy of the future?
Clearing debris
The state
The polity
The economy

Subject Headings

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