A tribute to Mitch Podolak: 1948 – 2019

By BOB LYONS This is my best friend, Mitch Podolak. He and I have been comrades in the Trotskyist movement for more than 50 years, in Mitch's case since 1961. Mitch will be remembered for his enduring contributions to the Canadian folk music scene. He was the founder and artistic director of some of the … Continue reading A tribute to Mitch Podolak: 1948 – 2019

Michael Moore flays Trump in ‘Farenheight 11/9’

Michael Moore plugs ‘Farenheight 9/11’ (Paul Morigi / Getty Images) By LISA LUINENBURG Michael Moore’s new documentary film, “Farenheight 11/9” debuted in theaters across the country on Sept. 21. The title of the film is a reference to the date on which Trump was declared the winner of the U.S. presidential election in 2016. And … Continue reading Michael Moore flays Trump in ‘Farenheight 11/9’

Cecil Taylor: Jazz revolutionary, 1929-2018

By MARTY GOODMAN “Technique is a weapon to do whatever must be done.”— Cecil Taylor “Conquistador” was the first Cecil Taylor jazz album that I ever heard. It astonished me, and the title piece nailed me to the wall with its dangerous, urban sound. Taylor’s sideman, Jimmy Lyons, blew amazing sax riffs; the coolest, hippest, … Continue reading Cecil Taylor: Jazz revolutionary, 1929-2018

Buy one, get one free: On capitalist propaganda

By ANDY BARNS The more pervasive and unchallenged propaganda is, the more effective it becomes. As a salesman by trade, I handle a lot of promotional materials for the products we sell at my workplace (booklets and product samples). These range from decking, to fasteners, all the way to kitchen faucets. I have a front-row … Continue reading Buy one, get one free: On capitalist propaganda

A children’s book that teaches about justice and resistance

By JOHN LESLIE  “P is for Palestine,” a children’s alphabet book by Golbarg Bashi, illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi. The publication of the book, “P is for Palestine,” has sparked controversy and charges of anti-Semitism from pro-Israel parents and politicians. Some parents were particularly upset by the choice of “I is for Intifada” as part of a … Continue reading A children’s book that teaches about justice and resistance

Film classics: Irish socialist portrayed in ‘Jimmy’s Hall’

By ANNE-MARIE MONTEBELLO “Jimmy’s Hall,” a film by Ken Loach. The word hall, in this Franco-British-Irish film from 2014, is understood in French to mean dance hall. But it is much more than this. It is a meeting place, a place of learning, drawing, music, boxing, literature, and also of course a place to dance and celebrate in a country … Continue reading Film classics: Irish socialist portrayed in ‘Jimmy’s Hall’

Film: Defiance in the Old South

By GAETANA CALDWELL-SMITH “Free State of Jones,” directed by Gary Carr. “The Free State of Jones” is based on a true Civil War story, a little known story, because its subject matter is in a controversial gray area. Here we have Newton Knight (a spot-on Matthew McConaughey at his scraggly, unkempt, bearded best), a Confederate … Continue reading Film: Defiance in the Old South

200 years ago: Journeymen shoemakers strike in Philadelphia

By MICHAEL SCHREIBER The autumn of 1805 was unusually mild. Farmers were able to plough their land almost until Christmas. And in Philadelphia, the balmy tem­peratures might have “gone to the head” of a group of jour­neymen cordwainers [shoemakers], who had the temerity on Nov. 1, 1805, to undertake what was one of the earliest … Continue reading 200 years ago: Journeymen shoemakers strike in Philadelphia

Laura Poitras: Astro Noise

By CHRISTINE MARIE “Astro Noise,” Whitney Museum of American Art, Feb. 5 – May 2, 2016. In the “Seeds of Time,” Frederic Jameson famously wrote of our cultural moment, “It seems to be easier to imagine the thorough-going deterioration of the earth and of nature than the breakdown of late capitalism; perhaps that is due … Continue reading Laura Poitras: Astro Noise

Party time? A review of two classics

By BARRY WEISLEDER Is it time to build an international revolutionary workers' party? James P. Cannon consistently said yes. Isaac Deutscher, for most of his adult life, said no. Both were highly esteemed Marxists, selflessly dedicated to workers' self-emancipation. But their difference on this crucial point amplified important political divergences. Some 45 years after their … Continue reading Party time? A review of two classics

Harper Lee’s discarded leftovers

By JOE AUCIELLO Harper Lee, “Go Set A Watchman,” (New York: HarperCollins, 2015), 288 pp., $27.99. Why throw away the Christmas turkey after it’s been eaten? It can still be used. Take the carcass, simmer with water, and the bones make a good stock for soup. Take the carcass of a popular novel—its discarded rough … Continue reading Harper Lee’s discarded leftovers

Film: The Danish Girl

By JOHN WILSON “The Danish Girl,” 1 hr. 59 min., directed by Tom Hooper. “The Danish Girl” is a mesmerizing, moving account of how transgender pioneer Lili Elbe (originally Einar Wegener) came to be one of the first persons known to have gender reassignment surgery. Adapted from David Ebershoff’s fictionalized novel of 2000, it features Eddie … Continue reading Film: The Danish Girl

A new look at 1959 novel about Trotsky

By JOE AUCIELLO Bernard Wolfe, “The Great Prince Died: A Novel About the Assassination of Trotsky,” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959/2015), 416 pp., $18. Credit the critical and popular success of two recent novels, “The Lacuna” by Barbara Kingsolver and “The Man Who Loved Dogs” by Leonardo Padura, for this year’s re-publication of this … Continue reading A new look at 1959 novel about Trotsky

Film: Battleground of home foreclosures

By GAETANA CALDWELL-SMITH “99 Homes,” a film with Michael Shannon, Andrew Garfield, and Laura Dern. Written and directed by Rahmin Bahrani. “99 Homes,” set in Florida, is an excellent socio-economic film that could have been a documentary. I’m glad it isn’t. It is a well-acted, powerful drama based on the 2007-9 economic collapse, when banks … Continue reading Film: Battleground of home foreclosures

Film: A racist killer on trial

By GAETANA CALDWELL-SMITH  British filmmaker Marc Silver’s documentary, “3 ½ Minutes 10 Bullets,” mainly consists of the trial of Michael Dunn, the killer of Jordan Davis, a Black teen. It plays out like television’s “20/20” or “Dateline” production, with no commercials. Despite the current inflamed debate on racial injustice, director Silver offers us a cool-headed … Continue reading Film: A racist killer on trial

Film: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

By CHRISTINE MARIE  “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry,” a documentary film directed and produced by Mary Dore, 2014.  When the noted documentary filmmaker Mary Dore set about to tell the story of the beginning of the feminist movement that burst onto the scene in the mid-1960s, she could find no funders. Dore was supported when … Continue reading Film: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

British government betrayed its hero

By GAETANA CALDWELL-SMITH and JOE AUCIELLO The Imitation Game, a film biography directed by Morten Tyldum, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightly. Director Morten Tyldum has crafted an excellent fictionalized film biography, “The Imitation Game,” based on the book, ”Alan Turing: The Enigma,” by Andrew Hodges. The film portrays Turing as an intelligent though troubled man, … Continue reading British government betrayed its hero