Chris Nineham

Fishing for Truth

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Review of 'Silver City', director John Sayles

John Sayles is unique in American film. He's a leftist who has chosen to stay independent and go off limits to look at race, immigration, class and the state of the movement. Some of his most recent films are among his best. Lonestar and Sunshine State explore how life in America's South is still shaped by its brutal past. Where David Lynch hints at horror beneath the shiny surface of contemporary America, Sayles brings racism, corruption and the history of segregation into the full light of day.

G8: Summit to Talk About

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Over 10,000 people packed Westminster in mid-April for a Trade Justice protest.

Many of them stayed right through the Friday night listening to speeches, praying, protesting or partying. It seemed like all of them are planning to come to the G8 in Edinburgh in July. There are plenty of other signs that the G8 protests will be massive. All available rolling stock has been booked from London to Edinburgh for 2 July, and NGOs in Leeds, in association with the local Stop the War group, are on to their second train.

Make Poverty History

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A new protest movement has emerged which challenges the priorities of the G8, as Chris Nineham explains.

'Make Poverty History' is becoming a rallying cry for 2005. Following the London European Social Forum the Make Poverty History (MPH) campaign promises to take the global justice movement to a new level.

MPH brings together all the developmental NGOs, most trade unions, many campaigning organisations and a range of celebrities. It is campaigning against the debt, for serious aid and for fair trade.

US after the Elections: Never Mind the Ballots

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The re-election of Bush depressed the world, but now the anti-war left in the US is regrouping.

So much for the commentators who thought George Bush was going to mellow in his second term. His new attorney general, Alberto Gonzalez, is the man who called the Geneva Convention 'quaint' and doubted whether torture restrictions applied to 'enemy combatants'. He has also made Condoleezza Rice secretary of state. Bush was sending out a signal - in his view he has political capital to spend.

Anti-Capitalism: Next Stop London

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The European anti-capitalist movement will descend on London next month. Chris Nineham looks forward to an event of debates and demonstrations.

The London European Social Forum (ESF) will be the first time the different strands of the British movement have come together on a grand scale and for many activists it will be their first encounter with the European movement. It will be a great chance to organise new networks of resistance just nine months before the G8 comes to Britain. Anti Third World debt campaigner Susan George, radical economist Samir Amin and Walden Bello of Focus on the Global South will all be there. Plus socialist filmmaker Ken Loach will present a new cut of Bread and Roses.

Moving Pictures

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Review of 'Which Side Are You On? Ken Loach and his Films', Anthony Hayward, Bloomsbury £20

This book is an account of Ken Loach's working life based on interviews with him and others. It is long on detail and a bit short on interpretation, but it works because Loach's record speaks for itself. After working for a while as a theatre actor - 'I was the worst actor in the world,' he says - Loach joined the BBC as a trainee director in 1963. He found himself surrounded by an influx of new talent as the BBC tried to adapt to the new radical cultural trends of the 1960s.

Failure is the Only Option

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Nigel Davey is right about Errol Morris's film Fog of War (April SR) - it gives fascinating insights into the logic of war and the resulting twisted psychology of the imperialists. But it also provides important lessons for today.

McNamara reveals that as early as the mid-1960s he and President Johnson realised Vietnam was a disastrous quagmire for the US. Some 23,000 US troops were dead, there was growing unease at home and they wanted out. The paradox was that politically they could only get out if they delivered a decisive blow against the enemy. So they escalated, and every escalation of course only increased the resistance and the radicalisation.

Death and the City

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Review of ’The Barbarian Invasions‘, director Denys Arcand

This is an apparently simple film about a man‘s slow death, but it seems like all of life is in it. A father is terminally ill in a Canadian hospital, and gradually his family and friends around the world deal with the news, gather round the dying man, and grapple with the meaning of his life and death for both him and them.

Musical Notes

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Review of 'Tropical Truth', Caetano Veloso, Bloomsbury £10.99

Tropical Truth will fascinate anyone interested in music and politics, and it gives plenty of insights into the Brazilian left along the way. Author Caetano Veloso is a popular Brazilian singer and guitarist who has worked with Giberto Gil for much of his life. Gil has become such an iconic figure for the left that President Luis Da Silva has made him minister of culture in the Workers' Party government.

European Social Forum: Growing Pains

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The movement has reached a critical point, and socialists' role in the debates around the European Social Forum will be key.

Politics in France are tense. The right wing Raffarin government scored a victory in the summer by forcing through pension reforms. With the budget deep in the red, they are keen to push ahead with their neoliberal progamme. But after just 18 months in office they have become deeply unpopular.

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