Re: [OPE-L] Build It Now

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Thu Aug 31 2006 - 02:34:49 EDT

Hi Jerry,
         Let me stress that I did not design that cover; however,
insofar as I battled against the first cover idea, which can still be
seen on Amazon--- as a passive, defeated image which was contrary to
the message of the book--- I am in a sense responsible. I much prefer
this cover (which is striking and some people LOVE it), but I did try
to get something else. From a note to MR about the cover:

>I feel a bit sheepish about not recognising that cover as a classic
>Soviet poster. It's a celebration of the collective farm from 1930
>('Come and Join our Collective Farm, Comrade')-- at the very time
>that peasants were being hustled abruptly into them and were quickly
>consuming their farm animals in anticipation. With my legendary
>perverse sense of humour, I love it (and it is a very striking
>image, as I indicated); however, I think it is rather important that
>there be some indication on the cover that socialism for the 21st
>Century will not reproduce this particular experience. Not the
>cellphone--- could be seen as being used for a call for help!
>Anyway, anything that could prevent the easy shots at the 'fresh,
>clear and innovative vision of a socialist future'! Please.

         in solidarity,
At 20:25 30/08/2006, you wrote:
>Hi Mike L:
>Congratulations!  Who designed and chose the cover design? Despite the
>contemporary symbolism of a cell phone, I think that its 'socialist
>realist' art is ironic for a book which is "a fresh, clear and innovative
>vision of a socialist future".
>More info. on the book follows.
>In solidarity, Jerry
>Socialism for the Twenty-First Century
>by Michael A. Lebowitz
>Build It Now puts forward a clear and innovative vision of a
>socialist future, and at the same time shows how concrete steps can
>be taken to make that vision a reality. It shows how the
>understanding of capitalism can itself become a political act-a
>defense of the real needs of human beings against the ongoing advance
>of capitalist profit.
>Throughout the book, Michael Lebowitz addresses the concerns of
>people engaged in struggle to create a better world, but aware that
>this struggle must be informed by the realities of the twenty-first
>century. Many chapters of the book began life as speeches to worker
>organizations in Venezuela, where worker self-management is on the
>agenda. Written by an eminent scholar, this is far more than an
>academic treatise. The book brings an internationalist outlook and
>vast knowledge of global trends to bear on concrete efforts to
>transform contemporary society.
>Build It Now is a testament to the ongoing vitality of the Marxist
>tradition, drawing on its deep resources of analytical insight and
>moral passion and fusing them into an essential guide to the
>struggles of our time.
>Table of Contents
>1. The Needs of Capital vs. the Needs of Human Beings
>2. Ideology and Economic Development
>3. The Knowledge of a Better World
>4. Reclaiming a Socialist Vision
>5. Socialism Doesn't Drop from the Sky
>6. Seven Difficult Questions
>7. The Revolution of Radical Needs:
>Behind the Bolivarian Choice of a Socialist Path
>August 2006
>$14.95 paper
>128 pp.
>Political Theory
>About the Author
>MICHAEL A. LEBOWITZ is professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser
>University in Vancouver, Canada, and the author of Beyond Capital:
>Marx's Political Economy of the Working Class, winner of the
>Isaac Deutscher memorial prize for 2004.

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at
Residencias Anauco Suites
Departamento 601
Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1
Caracas, Venezuela
(58-212) 573-4111
fax: (58-212) 573-7724

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