Chan Lowe: The final debate in Boca




On Strudel and Socialism—Part Two: Karl Marx's Castle

Vienna, the capital of Austria, is full of clean, comfortable public housing. The apartment buildings are dotted throughout the city, intentionally placed in residential neighborhoods where their occupants are accepted as part of the community. One block of apartments I saw had balconies overlooking the Danube River—a prime location for high-rise condos if it were in America.


Some of the buildings date back to the era of the First Republic in the 1920s, right after the centuries-old Habsburg imperial dynasty was overthrown. At the time, these state-constructed dwellings were considered revolutionary in that the working poor, who had previously lived in squalid slums, now had decent, respectable roofs over their heads. One of the complexes (whose public architecture is so strikingly innovative that I studied it in college as an art history major) is named “Karl Marx Hof.” Another has a plaque on the side billing itself as “the castle of the workingman,” and—in something of a reach— boasts crenelated walls and turrets. I changed trams one day at “Friedrich Engels Platz.” It tells you something about the local mentality, all right, when folks name their landmarks after the co-authors of The Communist Manifesto. That wouldn’t even work in Berkeley.


Tomorrow: The wrap-up.



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