Barry Healy

GLW author Barry Healy

The Sherpa struggle for rights and dignity on Everest

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.

Superbly written and acted, Trumbo offers a partial look at Hollywood's red scare

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.

Paul Mason's wild ride to a socialist future

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.

Coen brothers produce wacky take on Hollywood McCarthyism

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.

Germany: VW emissions problems spread

In a January ruling marking a turning point in German transport policy, an administrative court in Wiesbaden ordered the regional government of Hesse to clean up diesel exhaust fumes by September or face a fine.

Following the deepening VW diesel emissions testing scandal, the ruling puts pressure on the entire German vehicle industry production of diesel cars — which has been central to their business model.

No mausoleum can contain Lenin's lessons

Unfinished Leninism
By Paul Le Blanc
Haymarket Books, 2014
237 pp., $23.00

This collection of 12 essays rests comfortably alongside Lars Lih’s Lenin Rediscovered and Canadian socialist John Riddell’s huge work in translating the proceedings of the first four congresses of the Comintern, the international organisation set up by the Bolsheviks in 1919.

These works are part of the renewed interest in the “real” Lenin — separate from the mausoleum that Stalinism built and pro-capitalist commentators’ slander.

Spotlight's old-fashioned storytelling targets Church cover-ups

Spotlight
Directed by Thomas McCarthy
Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery & Stanley Tucci
In cinemas now

In 2002, the Boston Globe newspaper's Spotlight investigative journalism team dropped a bombshell when they reported that at least 87 paedophile Roman Catholic priests had been actively shielded for decades by the archdiocese.

Suffragette offers paean to women's struggle, but a distorted story

Suffragette
Directed by Sarah Gavron, written by Abi Morgan
Starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter & Meryl Streep
In cinemas now

Suffragette, written by a woman (Abi Morgan), directed by a woman (Sarah Gavron) and co-produced by two women (Alison Owen and Faye Ward) is a paean of praise to the British women who rebelliously demanded the right for women to vote.

Perth Freight Link: round 1 to the people

The Perth Freight Link (PFL) project ground to a halt on December 16 when Supreme Court Chief Justice Wayne Martin ruled environmental approvals for the Roe 8 freeway through the Beeliar Wetlands were invalid.

Incredibly, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) had argued it was not bound by its own policy when assessing and granting approval. This result comes on top of a 2013 decision that the EPA had bungled approvals for the James Price Point gas processing facility.

Nowhere left to hide: VW and the crisis of the global capitalist business model

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed on September 18 that Volkswagen (VW) diesel engines had been fitted with software enabling them to flout US engine emissions standards for nitrous oxides. That has precipitated a crisis in one of the vital structures of world capitalism.

A perfect storm is emerging, jeopardising the entire automotive/industrial/financial complex that propelled world capitalism from the end of World War II until recently.

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