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in San Francisco's Glen Park neighborhood

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What Was Communism?

What Was Communism?

We sure as hell ain’t sure… but they’re contemplating the question big time at Kolkata’s Seagull Books.  (That’s Calcutta to you!)  Specifically, they’re wondering why it’s so abruptly gone by the boards — and whether that implies the death of the associated ideals.

Seven volumes in Seagull’s “What Was Communism” series examine the overall mystery, and the individual circumstances in six countries:  the USSR, Yugoslavia, China, Cuba, Indonesia and India.  The writers (Tariq Ali, Boris Kagarlitsky, Slavenka Drakulic, Mo Yan, Piero Gleijeses, Max Lane and Mahasweta Devi) wonder if the idea of communism has really been so thoroughly discredited that nothing is to be learned from it — and ponder these specific cases for answers, or at least for deeper questions.

Series editor Ali muses, “The Communist system lasted 70 years and failed only once. Capitalism has existed for over half a millennium and failed regularly. Why is one collapse considered final and the other episodic?”

With the chaos that is global capitalism these days, and manifestations among the young and the restless of their persistent desire for a vibrant commons, we at Bird & Beckett have to wonder if there are lessons to be learned, and think it worthwhile to look back while looking forward.

We’re not immune to the book designer’s stunning work on these titles either!

Here’s to Seagull Books and West Bengal’s thriving intellectual and creative environment.

Come into the shop to browse these titles — and anything else that catches your eye…  or click here to buy them in our online shop…



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The Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project

Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.

The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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The Independent Musicians Alliance

Gigging musicians! You have nothing to lose but your lack of a collective voice to achieve fair wages for your work!
The IMA can be a conduit for you, if you join in to make it work.


Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site

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