It is the year 2025. The war in Donbas is over and the National Guard of Ukraine has emerged victorious against the Russians. What’s left of the Donetsk Basin is a scarred landscape of flooded mines, unexploded ordnance, and bodies yet to be buried. This is the story at the heart of director Valentyn Vasyanovych’s festival darling Atlantis, Ukraine’s official entry for the 93rd Academy Awards.
Nora Loreto’s ‘Spin Doctors’ is a book everyone in Canada should read
Rather than treading over ground that other journalists and writers have covered, Nora Loreto has done something very different with her new book, Spin Doctors: How Media and Politicians Misdiagnosed the COVID-19 Pandemic. Loreto writes about work and workers and what has happened to them during the pandemic. She writes well, with her eyes open and fueled by a wry sense of humour.
Caroline Elkins explores the ruthless violence and ideology of the British Empire
Legacy of Violence constructs a longue durée view of the British Empire, beginning in the late 1700s and moving through the Victorian era, the World Wars, the “imperial resurgence” of post-Second World War Britain, the “new liberal imperialism” of the Blair government, and the comparatively recent rise of right wing imperial nostalgists such as Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.
Canadian internationalists and the people’s war against apartheid
Histories of internationalism are often dominated by European accounts, from volunteers in the Spanish Civil War to foreign fighters in the French resistance. But there exists a growing literature on those anti-colonial internationalists who challenged empire at home and abroad. In this vein, an important new book sheds light on a group of Canadian volunteers involved in the armed struggle against apartheid South Africa.
Every weakness is claimed as strength
Public discourse regarding the pandemic has eroded, with disinformation campaigns and lab leak theories reaching wide distribution, which has furthered the conspiratorial discourse against China as a civilizational enemy. These dire conditions make Chuang’s book, Social Contagion: and Other Material on Microbiological Class War in China, including a revised version of the titular essay, all the more critical.
‘Don’t Look Up’ or: How Adam McKay learned to keep worrying and love the nihilism
At best, Adam McKay’s new Netflix film, Don’t Look Up (2021), is an emotional salve for those activists and climate scientists experiencing frustration at government inaction on climate change, and the media’s failure to inspire a response to the Anthropocene. For others who are already familiar with these inglorious trends, McKay preaches to the choir without offering any viable road to salvation.
Cheri DiNovo reflects on life as a queer evangelist
Cheri DiNovo is a well known figure among activists, including the queer community, progressive religious groups, and socialists in Toronto. This autobiographical book is a remarkable story of transformation, a perspective on challenging church and state (both from within and from without) and coming away victorious after a life of “speaking truth to power.”
Views on China
What is the experience and future for China and its Communist Party rule? It seems appropriate to consider a number of new books on China that have been published that try to answer this question. In this review, Michael Roberts takes a closer look at Isabella Weber’s How China Escaped Shock Therapy, John Ross’s China’s Great Road, and China’s Engine of Environmental Collapse by System Change Not Climate Change co-founder Richard Smith.
Byung-Chul Han and capitalism’s ‘death drive’
Capitalism and the Death Drive is a set of essays and interviews published between 2012 and 2020 by South Korean-born Swiss-German philosopher and cultural theorist Byung-Chul Han. The stress in these pieces is on such ideas as the “digital panopticon” of the internet, the surveillance state and our voluntary cooperation with it, the idea of the foreign, capitalism as death drive, and so on. Each is pervaded by a general hopelessness.
Chronicling the decline of the industrial age in Hamilton
Stephen Dale’s Shift Change examines the trajectory of Hamilton, Ontario. This city of more than half a million people on the western shores of Lake Ontario was, for most of the twentieth century, synonymous with heavy industry, especially steel and associated manufacturing. Though the book covers the Stelco strike of 1946 and a history of the city’s industrial decline, it is Hamilton’s “urban renaissance” that is Dale’s primary focus.
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