Capturing the horror of war in Beanpole
Opening at the Film Forum in New York City Beanpole is a Russian film set in Leningrad just after the Second World War has ended. In addition to the shattered buildings left behind in the 900-day siege, there are also shattered human beings who survived by their wits and a stubborn desire to enjoy a normal life once again.
Marx at the Movies
It is the story of how the youthful Marx and Engels became fast friends and worked together as a team to overcame the obstacles they faced in order to build the first communist organization in history based on a scientific analysis of the capitalist system. For millennia, the lower classes had always dreamed of overthrowing their oppressors and creating a new world based on freedom and equality but it was only in the 1840s that a theoretical basis for such a transformation was developed.
Flint’s poisoned water and capital’s second contradiction
In recent days Flint, Michigan has been in the news because the city’s water has not only become undrinkable but also hazardous for use in bathing or dishwashing. To save money, the cash-strapped city discontinued using nearby Detroit’s water supply in April 2014 that fed from Lake Huron and switched to the Flint River.
Naomi Klein, Jodi Dean and ‘Green Keynesianism’
Despite its obvious intention to challenge the corporate-dominated status quo, some Marxists fault Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything for supposedly straddling two opposing and mutually exclusive systems: capitalism and socialism.
In early 2009 the anarchist movement in Austin was shocked to learn that Brandon Darby was an FBI informant who had helped entrap David McKay and Bradley Crowder, two young activists from Midland, Texas, into constructing 8 Molotov cocktails. The documentary Informant tells the story Brandon Darby,
The myth of Vladimir Putin’s progressivism
Mr Putin represents himself as a left-wing politician, but in reality he is rightwing. This is the master stroke of his PR. He wants to reform communal services, education and health, in a most libertarian way.
We are Legion
We are Legion not only interviews key figures associated with Anonymous but presents a fairly scholarly but riveting account of its origins, much of which should be of avid interest to the left. When so many gray-haired veterans of the left fret over when “fresh blood” will arrive, We are Legion makes it clear that help is on the way even if it does not exactly conform to past expectations.
The Forgotten Space
Directed by Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, The Forgotten Space, is a probing examination of modern-day transportation systems like container ships that make global trade possible—their impact on workers, the environment, and more subtly the quality of life for city-dwellers living under its influence. When the Communist Manifesto first appeared in 1848, most on the left would have agreed with its authors that the development described in these words was deeply revolutionary:
Lula: Son of Brazil
In a way the absence of politics goes hand in hand with the creative team’s understanding of Lula’s legacy. Ironically, despite their best (or worst) intentions, the end product is very much political since it depicts Lula very much as a careerist and an opportunist.
The Company Men
In many ways, I could not help but think of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” when watching this film. Miller, a committed Marxist, understood the depths of the illusions that “company men” (salarymen in Japan) had in the system.
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