Summer Reading: Fully Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani

Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto – Aaron Bastani

I just loved this book.  Well written and exciting, with lots of thought-provoking arguments.  For all fans of Andrew Yang, Bastani’s text is a must read.

FALC.jpeg
Despite the claim that Marx favoured violent revolution, the truth is he never believed that transition beyond capitalism would be an exclusively political process – something so simple to achieve as to merely require replacing one group of rulers with another. It certainly entailed class struggle and the working class gaining political power, but it also needed new ideas, technologies, and social relations.
— page 55
Liberal ends, specifically the individual being uniquely placed to determine their path in life, are impossible without communist means. The possibility of most people finding happiness and meaning is impossible as these things are commodities – subject to profit rather than need.
— page 194

Das Magazin

I've been flea market shopping in the former east of Berlin, and I am now the proud owner of about 90 copies of Das Magazine from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. These monthly issues were the rough equivalent of the New Yorker mixed with Playboy in the GDR. It cost me a fortune to post them back to the United States, but hopefully they will offer a nice glimpse into life under state socialism.

Das Magazin.jpg

Berlin days

The first couple of days in Berlin have been amazing so far. I am sinking deep into the history of the DDR, and trying to better understand the transition after 1989. I met with my brilliant German editor at Suhrkamp on Thursday, had dinner with my dear friend Susan Neiman on Friday, and have hit the Berlin Trödel markets hard this weekend.

In front of a portrait of August Bebel in Prenzlauer Berg.

In front of a portrait of August Bebel in Prenzlauer Berg.

Berliner Dom by night

Berliner Dom by night

DDR-era bust of Marx purchased in the Weissensee trödelmarkt for 3 euro

DDR-era bust of Marx purchased in the Weissensee trödelmarkt for 3 euro

Two new typewriters from the trödelmarkt: An Olympia Traveller de Luxe and a Prvileg.

Two new typewriters from the trödelmarkt: An Olympia Traveller de Luxe and a Prvileg.

the Plaza of the 9th of November 1989

the Plaza of the 9th of November 1989

Images from the Bulgarian village of Lyutibrod

So I spent a day in a village in the northwest of Bulgaria, near the town of Vratsa. This is a very poor part of the country where people live quite close to the edge, and is probably one of the poorest regions in the European Union. But it is also breathtakingly beautiful, and it is in this part of the country that many people maintain an allegiance to leftist ideals. I am always humbled and honored to be a guest here.

IMG_3046.jpg
IMG_3047.jpg
IMG_3033.jpg
IMG_3044.jpeg
IMG_3034.jpg
IMG_3055.jpg