Build It Now
Socialism for the Twenty-First Century

Lebowitz, Michael
Publisher:  Monthly Review Press
Year Published:  2006
Pages:  127pp   ISBN:  1-58367-145-5
Library of Congress Number:  HX73.L416 2006   Dewey:  335--dc22
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX8238

Influenced by the dramatic proeesses unfolding in Venezuela, Lebowitz re-imagines a socialism for the twenty-first century that places workers and popular communities at the centre of the project.

Lebowitz proposes a new version of socialism from a vision that will lead away from the dangers of capitalism. He claims that the horrors of capitalist society can be seen every day and that they are not accidental consequences, but inherent flaws in the system. Like many others, he argues that Marx's theory must be adapted to modern times and changed from its original form. In the form of seven essays, Lebowitz takes the reader through the problems with capitalism to the solution of socialism.

The essays included in this collection are The Needs of Capital versus the Needs of Human Beings, Ideology an Economic Development, Knowledge of a Better World, Reclaiming a Socialist Vision, Socialism Doesn't Drop from the Sky, Seven Difficult Questions, and the Revolution of Radical Needs - Behind the Bolivarian Choice of a Socialist Path. Most of these essays focus on the socialist vision used in Venezuela. In these essays, Lebowitz argues for the centrality of human development and claims that capitalism does not encourage self-actualization for its intrinsic value. Social labour should lead to the satisfaction of the worker in his or her own accomplishments, while capitalism offers monetary compensation for workers who concentrate on the growth of capital.

In Seven Difficult Questions, Lebowitz chooses to address some of the negative aspects of his socialist system of self-management. There were many problems in the Yugoslav model of workers' self-management. When the workers make the decisions in their own company they are empowered, but Lebowitz does not ignore the difficulties. However, he is optimistic about the workers solving the issues by themselves. He suggests that many of the problems of the Yugoslav model can be avoided. In conclusion, Lebowitz claims that all nations can adapt to an alternative to capitalism. "The struggle for human development...the understanding that people are transformed as they struggle for justice and dignity, that democracy is practice, that socialism and protagonistic democracy are one - these are characteristics of a new humanist socialism, a socialism for the twenty-first century everywhere."

[Abstract by Mia Manns]

Table of Contents


The Needs of Capital versus The Needs of Human Beings
Ideology and Economic Development
The Knowledge of a Better World
Reclaiming a Socialist Vision
Socialism Doesn't Drop from the Sky
Seven Difficult Questions
The Revolution of Radical Needs: Behind the Bolivarian Choice of a Socialist Path



Subject Headings

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