RaveBookforumWinant is an academic historian, yet his book is marvelously accessible, produced in conversation with those workers, and taking seriously their own understanding of their lives ... In the process, The Next Shift reminds us that they are potential agents of future change. Capitalism is shaped, after all, in those spaces where workers and their bosses collide; it will continue to be so, and those who want to do more than spin nostalgic fantasies must understand the terrain on which they fight. This book is a necessary guide to one very important battlefield—one that has only become more significant with the momentous events of 2020—and a road map for how to think about the changing working class.
PanBookforumIt’s the \'robots are coming for your jobs\' argument, and it’s often offered as a comeback to the \'immigrants are coming for your jobs\' nationalism so prevalent these days, missing the fact that the real threat comes from neither machines nor migrants but management ... That’s one of the major failings of Susskind’s book—he treats so much of history as a trajectory that simply happened, as if no human decision-making went into what kinds of machines to build or how to implement them in the workplace. He compresses the history of capitalism—with a bloody record of enclosing the commons, accumulation by dispossession, slavery, and rebellion after rebellion—into one where, \'when machines drove human beings from a traditional life on the fields, those people transitioned into manufacturing with relative ease\' ... descriptions simplistic enough for a social-studies textbook are unworthy of his subject matter. When he turns to technology itself, Susskind is more willing to dig in to tougher arguments ... He has a technocrat’s preoccupation with individual intelligence ... Susskind doesn’t dare to imagine a world beyond capitalism, but his dreamiest ambition...echoes, perhaps unconsciously, Marx’s famous line, \'From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.\'
MixedBookforumBastani writes earnestly and at breakneck speed. His opening treatment of the current political moment and its various crises is quickly dispensed with—he doesn’t think he needs to convince readers that something is wrong with capitalism ... it’s a whirlwind of possibilities that, for sure, might happen. But Bastani skims past most of the potential hellscapes that also might happen as a result of some of these technologies—like the potential for eugenics if we can custom-select our DNA, to take just one example ... Fully Automated Luxury Communism is at its best when it’s focused on the horrors of the current world ... But these reminders, these moments where he brings a human touch, are too rare, and without them Bastani’s book ends up seeming a little slick, like promo videos for the tech miracles he champions ... Nonetheless, I find Bastani’s optimism refreshing, even if I don’t share his faith in the wisdom of Elon Musk ... We desperately need to dream bigger than the mild social democracy currently on offer—for no other reason than getting just to that point the first time around required actual revolutions.
PositiveThe New RepublicTo those well-versed in the history of feminism, much in this book will be familiar, but many of the connections she draws shed new light on that history: from suffragettes taking jobs in advertising to today’s 'empowertising,' from riot grrrl to girl power to underwear printed with the word 'feminism.' Others seem a bit more of a stretch—like the line Zeisler draws from 1970s radical feminist separatism to the high-powered women’s conference movement. But in each case, she aims to illuminate the route by which feminism arrived at its current state, to draw us all into the fight to make it better by showing us how we might have contributed to making it worse. Zeisler’s years at Bitch show themselves in her accessible tone, even when she’s explaining tenets of Marxist theory; with few exceptions, the book is free of jargon.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe book is spare and arching like a stripped-down rock song, but it rarely has the rawness Sleater-Kinney fans might expect. Running throughout is the tension between wanting to be seen and wanting to hide, wanting to reveal and wanting to retreat, wanting to tell but wanting to decide how much.