Reviews

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

Lampooning love

Published on: Wed, 16/10/2019 - 08:58
Author

Josh Chown

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, which ran last week at the Network Theatre, London, presents a sequence of comical vignettes of different stages of relationships and romance.

Highlighting the problems of relationships in capitalist society, the show immediately draws comparisons between gender roles and attitudes, with the men possessing overbearing egos, while the women are waiting at home for telephone calls, or for the final seconds of a football match to arrive.

The musical ran for 12 years off-Broadway in New York in 1996-2008. This production intertwines scenes of heterosexual

How debt crushes education

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 10:31
Author

Natalia Cassidy

For many Americans, choices about higher education come with stark consequences in terms of the levels of debt for students and their families will have to take on.

The UK student debt system appears relatively benign in comparison. The levels of repayment are significantly lower than in the USA, the debt repayment threshold much higher.

In the UK, methods of financing are, for the most part, centralised through the state, whereas in the USA a lot of student debt is to private lenders. University fees in the USA are largely unregulated, and have risen sharply, including at public universities.

The sixties turning dark

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 09:27
Author

Duncan Morrison

Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is his first one not distributed by Harvey Weinstein.

It is a semi-fictionalisation of events around Charles Manson’s Family’s murder of Sharon Tate and her associates in 1969.

The film is well worth seeing and seems to capture the feel of late 60s Los Angeles very well. But it is hard not to consider the film in the light of the numerous allegations of sexual assault and rape made against Weinstein and Tarantino’s failure to act on reports, both from his then partner and from actors in his films, about Weinstein’s behaviour

The Irish border and Brexit

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 09:56
Author

Micheál MacEoin

One crucial aspect of Brexit, the impact on the Irish (or, rather, British-Irish) Border, was comprehensively ignored in the British media during the 2016 referendum campaign itself.

It is fitting, then, that it has threatened to unravel the whole Brexit process, in the form of the “backstop”, a set of guarantees against the imposition of a hard border which have been written into the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU.

The flipside of that fact is that Johnson’s drive for a “no deal” Brexit, if it succeeds, will mean in effect a new partition of Ireland, a reversal of the slow

Learning from the rich debates of the past

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 09:18
Author

Paul Hampton

The Communist International (Comintern), founded in the aftermath of the October 1917 Russian revolution, was the greatest forum for Marxist strategic debate so far.

The first five years of the Comintern, between 1919 and 1923 were a school for learning and discussing how revolutionary parties should be built, how to assess the situation and orientate, and how to win a majority of workers to socialism.

The publication of The Communist Movement at a Crossroads: Plenums of the Communist International’s Executive Committee, 1922-1923, edited by Mike Taber, is extremely valuable. This volume is

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