Barry Healy

Warhol to Picasso: Fourteen Modern Artists
Art Gallery of Western Australia
Until December 3

This exhibition brings together 120 of some of the 20th century’s most important art works that catalogue some critical attempts to break through the bourgeois encirclement of human existence and point towards liberation.

Using Spanish artist Pablo Picasso and American Andy Warhol as the convenient gateposts, it allows us to read the rise and fall of the century’s revolutionary sentiment.

Fanaticism, On the Uses of an Idea
Alberto Toscano, Verso 2010
269 pages, $43.00

Review by Barry Healy

“Nothing great has been accomplished in history without fanaticism,” Leon Trotsky wrote in 1938. Certainly, the great turning points in human history, such as the Anabaptist peasant revolt in Central Europe or the Russian Revolution, required their participants to set aside their normal dispositions and assume a single-minded dedication to a cause greater than the self.

Love & Capital: Karl & Jenny Marx & the Birth of a Revolution
By Mary Gabriel,
Little, Brown & Company 2011
707 pages, $39.99

The spectre of Karl Marx still haunts the capitalist world. Only 11 people attended his funeral in 1883 and the corporate press still loves to dance on his grave, constantly declaring that his ideas are irrelevant. Yet with every economic crisis all eyes return to Marx's masterpiece, Capital, to understand what is really going on in our economic system.

Toward the United Front, Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922
Edited & translated by John Riddell,
Brill, 2012, 1310 pp.

Many leftists have spent dreary evenings meeting in draughty community halls where the reading of the minutes of previous gatherings seems to drag on interminably. Refreshingly, for a variety of reasons, this 1200-page compendium of 90-year-old proceedings makes for revitalising and pertinent reading.

Snow White & the Huntsman
Directed by Rupert Sanders
Staring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth
In cinemas now

Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the most derivative of them all? I suppose to even ask that of a Hollywood movie is foolish.

Hollywood thrives on figuring what has previously interested the audience and recycling it through its cultural mashing machine to produce what it knows best: schlock.

Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball: The Best of Joe Bageant
By Joe Bageant
Scribe Publications, 2011
$32.95, 298 pp.

Joe Bageant was a feature on many United States left-wing websites, such as Counterpunch, over the years. His writing is witty, outrageous and with a penetratingly cynical view of working-class American life.

Bageant, who died last year, came from a depressed, working-class community in Winchester, Virginia, and never lost his love/hate relationship with the people he knew so well there.

The Honoured Dead
By Joseph Braude
Scribe Publications, 2011
336pp, $32.95

This fascinating documentary book gives insights into the roots of the Arab Spring that is sweeping dictatorships away across the Middle East and North Africa.

Written as a first person narrative by US reporter Joseph Braude, The Honoured takes the reader into the lived experience of the poor in Morocco, explaining a good deal about the country’s history and culture in the process.

The Vatican has attacked the largest group of American nuns for allegedly promoting radical feminism. It appointed a bishop to “reorganise” the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

This is in stark contrast to how the church has handled its ongoing sexual abuse scandal among its men.
 

Yiddpop
Fayvish
Oriente Musik
www.oriente.de

The Yiddish language, developed out of German by Ashkenazi Jews, was the major language of European Jews before the Holocaust. With the development of modern Hebrew in Israel it started to fade.

However, a Yiddish language and cultural revival has been gaining speed, especially since the collapse of Eastern European Stalinist states in the 1990s.  Many Jews are visiting the lands of their forebears and linking up with, for example, surviving klezmer musical traditions.

Which Side Are You On?
Ani DiFranco
Righteous Babe Records
www.righteousbabe.com

By Barry Healy

Which Side Are You On? is Veteran United States indie folk artist Ani DiFranco’s first CD release in years and her legion of fans will be pleased to hear that she has lost none of her edge.

Rambling in the footsteps of Woody Guthrie, she half sings, half talks through a catalogue of contemporary issues, including human relationships and social oppression.

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