Reviews

Barbarism or barbarism?

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 10:42
Author

Paul Cooper

The South Korean film Parasite, a satire of social and economic inequality, has made quite an impression on two major institutions of world cinema.

At the Cannes film festival it won the Palme d’Or, and then it won Best Film at the Oscars.

It is not difficult to satirise such things, especially when there is an appetite for such in the institutions and audiences of the bourgeoisie. These are feel-good films because they help maintain the myth that world cinema is in fine aesthetic and moral health.

In his previous works (The Host, Mother, Snowpiercer, and Okja) director Bong Joan-ho follows

Shedding the cloak of invisibility

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 10:30
Author

Daisy Thomas

Analysing and discussing the gender data gaps across employment, transport, car manufacturing, homes, medicine, academic research, and more, in her book Invisible Women: Exposing the Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, Caroline Criado Perez came to the conclusion that there are three themes that define women’s relationship with the world at large.

First, the seeming invisibility of the female body and how that invisibility can result in architectural, technological, and medical design which fails to accommodate the needs of women. This can result in prescription of medication that hasn’t

After 12 years of Tory misrule

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 09:30
Author

Barrie Hardy

Prolonged periods of Tory rule have a habit of ending in a tide of sleaze and scandal. John Major gained the largest Tory vote in history in 1992, but his party was brought to a historic low five years later, with their worst election result in 90 years.

A similar set of circumstances faced the Tories in 1964, after what Labour Party leader Harold Wilson famously called “thirteen years of Tory misrule”. On that occasion the most infamous scandal besetting them was “the Profumo Affair”. Today we are in a third long period of continuous Tory rule (from 2010), so BBC’s The Trial of Christine

Being “minimally civil”

Published on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:32
Author

Cathy Nugent

Keith Kahn-Harris, in his book Strange Hate: Antisemitism, racism and the limits of diversity, argues that selective anti-racism and selective racism have become dominant modes.

Certain minorities, and certain sub-sections of minorities, are approved when they express a political or social orientation that is a close fit to another group. In other words, there is a process of political selecting out going on.

For Kahn-Harris, Jews have precipitated the development of selective anti-racism, and in his book how Jewish people are treated forms a “case study”. Unfortunately he does not make any

Revolutionary organising in the German army in World War II

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2020 - 11:30
Author

Paul Hampton

War-torn France 1943, occupied by the German army and administered by the Vichy regime: the tide had begun to turn against the Nazis, but they still ruled most of Europe.

The extermination of Jewish people proceeded relentlessly. Within France, the resistance was dominated by Gaullists and the Communist Party (PCF). Both expressed virulent nationalism, summed up by the slogan: “à chacun son boche” (let everyone kill a Hun).

In April 1943 Robert Cruau, a 23-year-old postal worker moved to Brest, along with Georges and Henri Berthomé. They were members of the Parti Ouvrier Internationaliste (POI

Read Rosa!

Published on: Wed, 20/11/2019 - 13:58
Author

Elizabeth Butterworth

Elizabeth Butterworth reviews the Workers’ Liberty pamphlet on The German Revolution. Get and read more about the pamphlet here.

Around the anniversary of Rosa Luxemburg’s brutal murder, I saw numerous posts on social media apparently celebrating Luxemburg’s contribution to anti-fascism, Marxism and free thinking.

Luxemburg must be one of the most quoted Marxists on the internet. These two quotes are often shared: “Those who do not move do not notice their chains” and “Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.”

In my ten years on the left, I’ve seen

The Unwomanly Face of War

Published on: Mon, 11/11/2019 - 16:49
Author

Justine Kennedy

Kantemir Balagov’s film 'Beanpole' follows two female ex-Red Army soldiers working in a hospital in Leningrad after the siege, painting a striking and intimate picture of the febrile lives of Russians after World War Two.

The film’s titular character is Iya, nicknamed “Beanpole” for her long and lanky build. She is awkward and quiet and periodically suffers from fits of catatonic shock. Early in the film, her friend Masha returns from the front to join her working in the hospital.

In the beginning, there are flickers of happiness for the two women, until a horrific incident pushes them to

The world of online hate

Published on: Wed, 30/10/2019 - 10:09
Author

Cathy Nugent

In 2013, the Australian journalist Ginger Gorman became the subject of an online hate campaign.

In 2010, she had interviewed two gay men, seemingly an ordinary couple, about their adoption of a young boy. Three years later the men were convicted of child sexual exploitation; they had been involved in an international paedophile network.

Naturally Gorman was mortified that she had, however inadvertently, given these men a platform. But a few days after the conviction Gorman began to be inundated by tweets from ″conservatives″ saying she was a paedophile collaborator, and, equally horrifying to

Becoming wiser and stronger

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 09:17
Author

Kieran Miles

Note: this review discusses themes from the latest Philip Pullman book but avoids major plot spoilers; it does discuss previous books in depth, however.

Twenty-four years have passed since Philip Pullman first published Northern Lights, the first volume of the groundbreaking His Dark Materials trilogy.

In the world of Northern Lights, people’s consciousness exists both inside their heads, and in the form of a daemon, an animal that reflects aspects of their personality/consciousness/soul, which is both part of and independent from their human counterpart.

The book follows the adventures of

The message from Andrew Murray

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 09:18
Author

Ann Field

Ever the Stalinist nostalgic, in his new book The Fall and Rise of the British Left, Murray laments the passing away of “a largely vanished world of working-class power” and the fact that “none of the scenarios which gripped the left I grew up with in the twentieth century appear fully plausible any more.”

What is to fill the vacuum?

Murray’s answer is not: Slough off the dead weight of Stalinism, re-assert the centrality of independent working-class politics, and reforge a labour movement fit for the overthrow of capitalism.

Instead, and this is his explanation for Corbyn’s election as Labour

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