Cultural Dissent

GLW Issue 1095

The Hidden Wealth Of Nations: The Scourge Of Tax Havens
Gabriel Zucman
University of Chicago Press
2015, 129 pages

Criminal heists do not come any bigger than the global theft every year by the ultra-rich of about US$200 billion courtesy of the off-shore tax haven banking industry.

The Panama Papers has grabbed headlines, but in The Hidden Wealth of Nations, Gabriel Zucman, economics professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, also takes a close look at the famous tax-evading practices in Switzerland.

The Meddler
Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria
Starring Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne, JK Simmons

One place where the personal is very political is the sometimes fraught relationships between mothers and daughters.

Some time ago Hollywood screenwriter Lorene Scafaria, while dealing with a major project, also had to grapple with difficulties with her mother. That became the raw material for her new film, The Meddler.

The Coalition government’s arts funding cuts have deepened in a confused, inconsistent fashion that has only added to the sector’s turmoil.

The Australia Council for the Arts has told 62 small-to-medium-sized arts companies and organisations that their applications for grants for the next four years have been rejected. Yet more than 40 new organisations have been given grants.

GLW Issue 1094

Leon Trotsky
By Paul Le Blanc
Reaktion Books, 2015
224 pp, $39.99
Trotsky & the Problem of Soviet Bureaucracy
By Thomas M. Twiss
Brill, 2014
502 pp., $205.00

Leon Trotsky was one of the central leaders of the Russian Revolution. As the organiser and Commissar of the Red Army that saved the Soviet power and as the leading light of the struggle against Stalinism, he is surely one of the great heroic — and tragic — figures of the 20th century.

A guitarist manipulates tension. She picks up six strings stretched to almost their breaking points and proceeds to squeeze them, snap them and caress them to produce as many sounds and emotions as her skill and soul can conjure.

GLW Issue 1093

Fighters in the Shadow: A New History of the French Resistance
By Robert Gildea
Faber & Faber Press, London
593 pages, 2015

Upon his inauguration on May 16, 2007, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited the Bois de Boulogne in Paris and paid homage to 35 anti-fascist resistance fighters shot by the occupying Nazis in August 1944, just before Paris was liberated.

He also read the last letter of Guy Moquet, a 17-year-old Communist, to his parents on the eve of his execution by the occupiers in 1941 along with 26 other Communist resisters.


Elizabeth Jarrett.

Well here it is 2016
Yet we are still ruled under an illegal regime
It's time for a change in
Histories what's, when's and how's

What they say was once discovered is invaded now
We don't want recognition in the constitution
For being recognised is not the solution

What we need is this current government’s dissolution


Nafez Abed at his Gaza rooftop workspace. Photo: Momen Faiz/Electronic Intifada.

A small room on a rooftop in the occupied Gaza Strip’s crowded Beach refugee camp resembles a miniature archaeological museum.

It is the workshop of Nafez Abed, 55, who studies archaeological artefacts in order to replicate them in exquisite detail.

GLW Issue 1092


Photo: Arabfilmfestival.org.

Speed Sisters
Directed by Amber Fares
2015
http://speedsisters.tv

Google “sport” and “Palestine” and what does the search engine return? Football, football and more football.

Black Panther #1
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Marvel comic series

The new Black Panther is “Black as hell” — a phrase Ta-Nehisi Coates used to describe himself on Twitter a week ahead of the release of Black Panther #1, the highly anticipated first issue in a new 12-part Marvel series penned by Coates.

That's no small thing in the comics world. Sure, comic companies have begun to show an understanding that their core audience is diverse, increasingly female and of colour.


Left-wing supporters of Scottish independence in the 2014 referendum campaign.

Is There A Scottish Road to Socialism?
Edited by Gregor Gall
Scottish Left Review Press
Third edition, 2016
£5.99, 164 pages

This is the third edition in a series previously published in 2007 and 2013. A range of left-wing activists and commentators debate the question of whether Scottish independence would help or hinder the prospects for socialism in Scotland.

GLW Issue 1091

Veteran rocker Bruce Springsteen made waves when he announced on his website on April 8 that he was cancelling a show in North Carolina in protest at a new bigoted law. Ringo Starr also cancelled a June show in North Carolina over what is often called the “bathroom” law — a new law that restricts which bathrooms trans people can use as well as restricting LGBTI rights to sue over discrimination.

As part of the Sydney Comedy Festival now under way, writers of satirical website The (un)Australian have put together a live show of political satire and sketches for May 3 — which also happens to be Budget night.

Farmageddon
The True Cost of Cheap Meat
by Philip Lymbery with Isabel Oakeshott
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014

It is impossible to read Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat without coming to the conclusion that the world's food and agriculture system is screwed.

Sherpa — Trouble on Everest
Directed by Jennifer Peedom & Renan Ozturk

The Sherpa are a Nepalese ethnic minority who have a reverent regard for the world’s highest mountain, Chomolungma — known in English as Everest.

GLW Issue

Trumbo
Starring Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane & Helen Mirren
Directed by Jay Roach
In cinemas now

Communist Parties around the world, despite their Stalinist degenerations, won mass support in the period during and after World War II, even in the homeland of imperialism — the United States. Among the industries in which the Communist Party of USA had influence was Hollywood.

The movie industry was a dream machine, a factory churning out cultural product. Dalton Trumbo, a CPUSA member, achieved stellar status and great wealth in the 1940s writing hits for the studios.

Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology & the Accumulation of Capital
By Jason Moore (2015)
Verso Books

Jason Moore’s book is a great new addition to our thinking about capitalist ecology. It is not an easy book — Moore draws on a wide range of ideas, in particular world-systems thinking and Karl Marx’s value theory, but it is well worth the effort of deepening our understanding in this vital area.

Taking a cue from the title — it is capitalism “in” not “and” the web of life — one central theme is that capitalism and nature are co-produced.

GLW Issue 1090


US women's soccer team celebrates winning the 1015 Women's World Cup.

“Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” That quote is often attributed to Marilyn Monroe, but was more likely said by psychologist and LSD guru Timothy Leary.

On April 8, US rock star Bruce Springsteen published the statement below on his website.

***

As you, my fans, know I'm scheduled to play in Greensboro, North Carolina this Sunday. As we also know, North Carolina has just passed HB2, which the media are referring to as the “bathroom” law.

GLW Issue 1089

PostCapitalism: A Guide To Our Future
By Paul Mason
Allen Lane, 2015, 340 pp., $49.99 (hb)

Paul Mason is a well-known British economics journalist, who made a name for himself with commentary on the BBC and more lately on Channel 4. PostCapitalism has created a big splash in Britain, where it has been widely reviewed and debated.

Where To Invade Next
Written & directed by Michael Moore

Michael Moore has made another poignant, funny and politically sharp movie.

In spite of the title, it has little to do with US foreign policy. In Where to Invade Next, the documentary filmmaker behind Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine goes after social problems that continue to plague the US, like homelessness and lack of health care — and shows that the US could learn a lot from the rest of the world.

GLW Issue 1088


Palestinian performance poet Rafeef Ziadah on stage with Phil Monsour, with whom she is touring Australia's in late March and April.

We Teach Life
CD & Australian tour
Rafeef Ziadah & Phil Monsour
http://www.rafeefziadah.net

Rafeef Ziadah is a Palestinian campaigner and spoken word performer of such immense power that she demands to be heard.

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine and the Foundations of a Movement
By Angela Davis
Haymarket Books, 2016
180 pages, $15.95.

In the summer of 2014, images spread across the world of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, facing off against police in riot gear, driving tanks and hurling tear gas grenades in the wake of the police shooting of Black teenager Michael Brown.

Slick Water: Fracking – and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry
Andrew Nikiforuk
Greystone Books/David Suzuki Institute
2015, 350 pages

The fracturing of rocks to mine more fossil fuels was born with the oil business, writes the Canadian journalist, Andrew Nikiforuk, in Slick Water.

During the world’s first oil boom in Pennsylvania in the 1850s, highly volatile nitro-glycerine and other explosives were used on sluggish wells with lethal risk, to turn them into gushers by creating new fractures to channel blocked oil to the surface.

GLW Issue 1087

Sydney-based Kinetic Energy Theatre Company’s April season opens on April 1 with two plays. It starts with a new show about asylum seekers, Refuge (April 1-3, 8-10, 15-17), and ends with an acclaimed play about urban homelessness, Home (April 22-24).


Joe Solo.

Joe Solo is a “folk, punk and blues” artist from north Yorkshire, who sings about how it is in working-class Britain, without all the pretence and romance. And, as the name suggests, it's just him and his guitar.

He's a prolific live performer, recording artist and writer, and was also instrumental behind various projects like We Shall Overcome (WSO) — a series of gigs with “the purpose of uniting in the face of a government whose agenda of austerity we oppose”.


Drawing by S Nagaveeran.

From Hell to Hell
By S Nagaveeran
Writing through Fences
2015
Email fenceswritingthrough@gmail.com for copies

From Hell to Hell is the powerful new work of poems and drawings by S Nagaveeran, also known as Ravi.

In detention for 33 months in Nauru, Ravi turned to writing and drawing as a way of dealing with the emotion and despair that overwhelmed him.

Hail, Caesar
Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes
Written & directed by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
In cinemas

There must be something in the zeitgeist. Within weeks, two Hollywood movies have come out referencing the left-wing victims of the McCarthyite period of US anti-communist witch-hunting — the Hollywood 10.

But while Jay Roach's Trumbo takes a realistic view of the case and is sympathetic towards the victims, the Coen brothers Hail, Caesar is wild, wacky and hilariously disrespectful of everyone.