Radical media, politics and culture.

Moore Turns Up Heat on White House

Charlotte Higgins, Agence France Presse

Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" is without doubt the film the Cannes film
festival crowds all want to see. And with good reason, because Moore hopes
it will bring down the US Government.

The American film-maker has hitherto kept a tight lid on the contents of
the documentary, and said only that it includes evidence of links between
the Bush and bin Laden families.

"The Knee Jerk Review of Books"

Louis Proyect, Marxmail

In the winter of 1962-63, during a strike of the NY Times, Robert Silvers and a few close friends decided to launch the New York Review of Books, which is considered the premier intellectual print journal outside of academia.

When I first joined the SWP in 1967, I was a regular reader of the New York Review. Once when I was sitting at party headquarters thumbing through its pages, an old-timer named Harry Ring raised an eyebrow and said, "Oh, you're reading the social democratic press." Of course, I practically took the magazine out and burned it after hearing that. As I began shamefacedly apologizing for reading it, Harry reassured me that if he had the time, he'd read it too since it is important to keep track of the social democracy. These words were hardly reassuring. Did I have so much time on my hands because I was one of those half-digested petty-bourgeois elements that James P. Cannon railed against during the Shachtman-Burnham fight?

"Cannes Stands to Cheer Story of Che's Road to Revolution"

Hugh Davies, Telegraph

As the 20th century's most romanticised revolutionary,
Ernesto "Che" Guevara, dead since 1967, is being
immortalised in a rash of new films led by a British-backed
epic based on his writings. At two screenings in Cannes
yesterday, audiences reacted with standing ovations.

"Fascist Labyrinths"

Loren Goldner, Break Their Haughty Power

Reviewing Joao Bernardo, Labirintos do Fascismo:
Na Encruzilhada da Ordem e da Revolta
Porto, Ed. Afrontamento, 2003.

“The victory of the fascist parties cannot be understood without discussing and analyzing the ties, through shocks and convergences, of a considerable number of working-class milieus and sources,  with the radical right…Wiping out leftist leaders and leading masses was only possible because of leftist echoes in the slogans of the new leaders”.

The Portuguese Marxist  and prolific writer Joao Bernardo remains virtually unknown in the Anglophone world, a situation hopefully to be remedied soon by an English translation of his three-volume masterpiece on the Middle Ages, Poder e Dinheiro. Now, only a year after the appearance of the final volume of that book, he has published another sprawling 900-page work, Labyrinths of Fascism: At the Crossroads of Order and Revolt.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

Here is a quick translation of a three-book review from the Dutch newspaper NRC-Handelsblad of 7 May 2004. The author is Arnold Heumakers, a philosopher. It discusses three books that throw light on the ‘split within western culture.’ NRC-Handelsblad is the newspaper of the Dutch economic and cultural upper strata, with liberal-democratic, neoliberal and anti-populist inclinations (and a good book section). The review itself expresses a rather sophisticated notion of the west as a global entity, with all kinds of internal antagonisms and a ‘peculiar schizophrenia’.

“Our Intimate Enemies”

Arnold Heumakers

"A Black Book of Ultra-Communism"

Loren Goldner, Break Their Haughty Power

Reviewing Christophe Bourseiller, L’Histoire generale de “l’ultra-gauche” [Paris, Ed. Denoel, 2003].

One might be a bit suspicious of any author, such as Christophe Bourseiller, who publishes 25 books, some of 500 pages and more, in 15 years. But logorrhea by itself does not necessarily mean falsehood. Bourseiller’s 1999 biography of Guy Debord already showed that historical accuracy is not the author’s strong suit. People mentioned there, as in the book at hand, have said often enough that everything Bourseiller wrote specifically about them was false, casting serious doubt on the rest. Before turning his hand to writing books, Bourseiller tried a number of venues in the media, including a stint at the pulp weekly Paris-Match. He is neither of the far-left or ultra-left. (1)

“The New Imperialism” by David Harvey
reviewed by William bowles

“Military interventions are the tip of the imperialist iceberg”

“Almost certainly those European governments, such as Spain and Italy, that have supported the US against the clear wishes of their peoples will fall”
David Harvey, “The New Imperialism”

“It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup…We are to continue to generate maximum pressures toward this end utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that United States Government and American hand be well hidden.”
CIA cable to the US State Department cited in “Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire” by Chalmers Johnson

For most, mention the word economics and eyes glaze over and turn elsewhere, but without some basic understanding of economics, making sense of our world is all but impossible. The corporate media rarely, if ever, mentions economics as intrinsic to politics in its coverage of events unless it’s about interest rates, taxes or employment. Delving deeper into the mechanics of capitalism as relevant to events and most importantly, the reasons behind events is forbidden territory. The media’s role is to project the view that the capitalist system with all its faults is still the best solution available. And what better proof of this approach could we have than the common reaction in the corporate press to the suggestion that oil could have something to do with the invasion of Iraq. By dismissing the idea as a conspiracy, oil is relegated to the nether regions, along with flying saucers and telepathy.

"The Birth of Fascism"

Terry Eagleton, New Statesman, May 3, 2004

Reviewing Robert O Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism

Allen Lane, the Penguin Press, 336pp, £20
ISBN 0713997206

Nobody knows on which day of the week the Renaissance started, or in what month the Dark Ages came to a halt. The origins of fascism, however, are surprisingly well documented. As Robert Paxton informs us in this lucid, engagingly readable study, the movement began on Sunday morning, 23 March 1919, at a meeting called by Benito Mussolini's supporters in Milan "to declare war against socialism". That, at least, was when fascism acquired its name.

On Joe Hill

Loren Goldner, Break Their Haughty Power

Reviewing Franklin Rosemont's Joe Hill: The IWW and the Making of a Revolutionary Workingclass Counterculture. Chicago, Charles H. Kerr, 2003.   

Franklin Rosemont’s Joe Hill is in many ways a beautiful book. In these days of war without end in the Middle East,  and Kerry vs. Bush,  and visible “politics” in the U.S. seemingly reduced to a right-wing party and a far-right party,  the book gives me a high that makes me wants to run out the door and organize. I feel like a curmudgeon criticizing it in any serious way. The book is above all important for a new generation of activists trying to situate itself in the rubble bequeathed by the 20th century bureaucratic-statist “left” (Social Democratic, Stalinist, Third Worldist, Trotskyist) and the latter’s wooden ideologies.

"Mumken on Postmodern Anarchism"

Stefan Paulus

Reviewing Jürgen Mümken's Freedom, Individuality and
Subjectivity — State and Subject in the Postmodern
Anarchist Perspective,

2003, S. Edition AV, Frankfurt, ISBN 3-936049-12-2,
Bestellfon/fax: 069-51 35,79; mail: editionav@gmx.net

Jürgen Mümken investigates such questions in this book
as those of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: "why do
people fight for their servitude, as well as for
their well-being? Why do they want for centuries to
live in exploitation, abasement, slavery, and to be
sure in a certain manner, that it is such not only for
the other, but rather also for themselves?"