Friday, May 21, 2021

Questions Americans Want Answered: "What Is Fully Automated Luxury Communism?"

 From the Anarchist Communist Group, April 6, 2020:

Fully Automated Luxury Communism (FALC) has been much in vogue lately, especially with the publication of Aaron Bastani’s book of the same name by Verso this year. It was originally a slogan/meme developed by people around the group Plan C. They began using the expression “Luxury for All” and this was backed up by a Tumblr called Luxury Communism. Plan C members spotted the slogan “Luxury For All” on a demonstration in Berlin, and at first adopted it as a tongue in cheek joke but they then started taking it seriously. They believe it had its origins in the science fiction Red Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, where a socialist utopia is established on Mars, and in A Pattern Language written by three architects, Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa and Murray Silverstein in 1977 which describes a similar utopia. We also have the book written by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professors Erik Brynjofflsson and James McAfee, The Second Machine Age, who envisage an increasingly robotised world where work has been abolished.

The expression has picked up traction among the “woke” generation, who seem also inspired by Corbynism. In some ways it has recuperated the concept of communism, originally more or less the reserve of anarchist communists before being seized as a label by the Bolsheviks with the resulting discrediting of the idea.

Both Plan C and Bastani seem to think that the development of technology under capitalism will lead to the end of work and the end of capitalism itself. In this scenario somehow capitalism assists at its own death, it voluntarily places a gun against its own temple and pulls the trigger. Technology, rather than being seen at the moment as an instrument of capitalism to further itself, is seen as an agent of radical change.

Marx too thought that advances in technology would bring about the conditions for communism. Bastani says that this was flawed, that capitalism had to reach a higher stage that Marx could not foresee. He thinks we have now arrived at this higher stage, further, he locates this to the year 2008 with its financial crisis.

Like another predictor of the future, Paul Mason, Bastani believes that advancing technology will lead to widespread unemployment. This cannot be answered by the creation of new jobs, which Bastani believes are impossible to create. At the same time the development of technology will replace scarcity with abundance, “extreme supply” as Bastani calls it. The capitalists will respond to this with artificial scarcities, because abundance leads to a fall in prices and of markets....


Also at the ACG, Questions Britons Want Answered: 

Peterborough, 23rd May: What is anarcho-communism?