Articles Reviews

  • Trees and teargas: worldviews clash at Barriere Lake

    Events from a chilling October day in 2008, on a gravel road entering Algonquin First Nation bush territory, epitomize the contentious history of jurisdiction in what is now known as Canada. Riot cops teargassed the community standing at a blockade and arrested nine people, including two minors, an elder, and a pregnant woman. The alarming story of Barriere Lake reveals much about the tactics and devices used by the state to continue its dispossession of Indigenous peoples’ land.

  • Where Are the Riots of Yesteryear? Remembering May 1968

    Putting aside polemics, the great strength of Abidor’s May Made Me, is that it presents a variety of voices among participants, leaving the reader to ponder their testimony and make up her own mind. Fifty years later, he has gathered the eye-opening oral testimonies of those then-young rebels. By listening to the voices of students and workers, as well as to those of their leaders, his book makes May ’68 appear as an event driven by millions of individuals.

  • The Mirage of Pension-Fund Activism

    Despite the title’s grandiose claims, the book’s argument at times retreats to the far more modest position that large pension funds are an established fact, so we need to engage with them. It’s true that unions must and will continue to defend the pensions they have won. All workers deserve good pensions, but to win these, workers’ power will have to be built to take on the existing system of inequality and insecurity.

  • Indian Horse is a Film All Canadians Must See

    At a time of rampant anti-Indigenous racism and growing residential school denial, the big-budget film confronts the legacy of Indian Residential Schools in Canada and does so in a relatable way for a general audience: the story is rooted in the main character’s relationship with the game of hockey. For anyone interested in hockey and history and figuring out how to strengthen relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, Indian Horse is a must-see movie.

  • 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.

  • Hué Back When: the Bloodbath in Vietnam Was Us

    By consensus in the school of conventional wisdom the Tet Offensive of 1968 was the turning point of the Vietnam War, after which the American war aim was not to win, but how to get out. Mark Bowden makes an excellent case that the fulcrum of that turning point was the Battle of Hue. But what if there was no turning point? In Vietnam the protracted war to expel a powerful foreign invader had its roots in millennia past; the American invasion was just another bump in the road.

  • Force of Evil: Abraham Polonsky and Anti-Capitalist Noir

    Polonsky both wrote (with novelist Ira Wolfert) and directed Force of Evil. Ostensibly a noir melodrama, the film takes direct aim at world of buying and selling as is immediately evident from its vertical opening shot of Trinity Church entombed by the monolithic structures framing Wall Street. We hear John Garfield as Joe Morse, the protagonist, in the following voice over: “This is Wall Street, and today was important because tomorrow, July 4, I intended to make my first million dollars.”

  • Wormwood and a Shocking Secret of War: How Errol Morris Vindicated My Father, Wilfred Burchett

    Wormwood tells the story of Eric Olson’s lifelong investigation into his father’s death. Did he fall? Did he jump? Was he pushed? Was it an accident? A mind-control experiment gone wrong? Was it murder? Was it an execution? To get to the truth, Wormwood also re-enacts the last ten days of Frank Olson’s life. Thus, about 18 minutes into the first episode, Frank Olson is being driven to a lakeside lodge for a meeting with his Fort Detrick and CIA colleagues.

  • Alexander Payne’s take on climate change, overpopulation, social inequality, and more

    Alexander Payne’s new film Downsizing, is an uneven, but engaging science-fiction satire that proposes to solve the earth’s ecological and other problems by “downsizing,” or physically shrinking, human beings. The creator of such noteworthy films as Election (1999), About Schmidt (2002) and Nebraska (2013), Payne employs, in Downsizing, a generally light touch in attempting to address pressing social ills.

  • Roman J. Israel, Esq.: Rebel with a cause

    In Roman J. Israel, Esq., the dilemma of the independent-minded Israel evokes the condition of many conscientious individuals in various fields today, including the film industry. Gilroy must surely be commenting on the current reality in Hollywood, where giant conglomerates attempt to control or smother any oppositional projects. Gilroy explores the moral and creative dimensions and consequences of being trapped in a world that has been reduced, as he puts it, to “transactions,” between people.

Page 1 of 14