Drew's Reviews > Build It Now: Socialism for the Twenty-First Century

Build It Now by Michael A. Lebowitz
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's review
Apr 14, 09

did not like it
bookshelves: politics
Read in April, 2009

Sadly, the only thing good about Lebowitz's book is that I bought it from a collective book store in Boulder, Colorado. The end notes mention that each of the chapters appears to have been a separate speech, essay, or collection of notes from some other event. They are thrown together here, with little thought for making a discussion that flows from start to finish.

The book also appears to be preaching to a small choir that is well-versed in the terms the author uses. Without a better background section, perhaps simply adding an appendix that gives a background on economic systems and 20th century development approaches, this book will only reinforce the faith of believers and fail to engage those who may be interested.

I'm disappointed in the author's deification of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. I liked Chavez a great deal early on, but his rhetoric has veered more to the authoritarian rather than the socialist. In fact, he appears headed to creating the thing he most despised in his early years in office, the Soviet Union's failed approach to building a better future.

Finally, I felt a bit of a Stalinist flashback when the author writes "Everyone knows that there are people wearing the red shirt who are opposed to the revolution. Here is the real threat to the Bolivarian Revolution– it's not the private ownership of banks, media and other parts of the existing capitalist enclave. The threat is from within the Bolivarian Revolution itself" (p. 115). To me, this reeks of creating a state of fear and paranoia and seems a slippery slope to purges and persecutions.

There are many fine books on Socialism that aren't poorly written by acolytes. Search them out and give this book a pass.
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