John Molyneux

Henry Moore: young radical

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Henry Moore's monumental artworks adorn forecourts and public spaces around the world. In this review of Tate Britain's new exhibition of Moore's work, John Molyneux discusses the political trajectory of his art, revisiting the radical origins of this famous artist.

Tate Britain, often overshadowed by Tate Modern, is well worth a visit at the moment. In addition to the permanent collection of Turner masterpieces, and the changing but always rich selection of 20th century art, there is currently a substantial Chris Ofili show and an especially interesting Henry Moore exhibition.

Mark Wallinger's horse of another colour

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The selection of Mark Wallinger's proposal for a giant white horse for Ebbsfleet international station in Kent is an event of some cultural significance.

In terms of size alone it will be impressive, if not disturbing. An exact replica of a white stallion, it will be 50 metres tall (164 feet), two and a half times higher than the Angel of the North and roughly the same height as Nelson's Column, and stand on an area the size of 50 football pitches, making it the largest work of public art in Britain.

Socialism can work

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Some people think that socialism sounds great but will never work in practice. John Molyneux challenges their arguments and explores what socialism would look like.

Capitalism isn't working, so what is the alternative? This question must have at least crossed the minds of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, around the world as they watched the credit crunch, financial meltdown and recession unfold over the past few months. The problem, of course, is that for those same millions most of their conditioning - from politicians, media, education and a good deal of their experience - will have been to answer that there is no alternative.

Francis Bacon

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Tate Britain

Reviewing an exhibition is an invitation to comment both on the exhibition as such and on the art presented. Since performing both tasks satisfactorily is impossible in the space available I shall concentrate on questions raised by Francis Bacon's work and say only this about the exhibition.

The Fire Last Time

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Chris Harman, Bookmarks, £5 (special price)

Of all the articles, features, memoirs and books devoted to 1968, The Fire Last Time: 1968 and After, by Chris Harman, the editor of International Socialism journal, is still, by some distance, the best. Its merits are easy to summarise.

First, it is not written in a spirit of nostalgia. I have no problem understanding why people are nostalgic about 1968 - indeed it is much better than being nostalgic about the World Cup or Harold Wilson and Old Labour - but nostalgia is a poor basis for history or analysis.

The Faces of Terrorism

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Neil J Smelser, Princeton University Press, £17.95

Neil J Smelser is a veteran mainstream US sociologist from Berkeley. Following 9/11 he served as a social scientific adviser to the US government on the Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism, and this book offers a broad summary of his research and conclusions on this subject.

By US standards Smelser is a liberal and he is clearly to the left of the aforementioned committee, not to mention the Bush administration. But he also stands firmly within the camp of US capitalism and, though he wouldn't call it such, US imperialism.

The Necessity of Respect

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As Respect is launched John Molyneux looks at the political and historical context of the coalition - and seeks to answer the doubters.

The launching of Respect: the Unity Coalition to mount an electoral challenge to Blair and New Labour is a new political development. It is new for those directly involved - George Galloway, Salma Yaqoob, the SWP, the thousands of ex Labour supporters or formally uncommitted people who will join. It is also new in that no political formation like it has hitherto existed in British history.

Top of the Pops?

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John Molyneux reviews the new Andy Warhol exhibition at Tate Modern.

In 1963 the Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein painted 'Whaam!' It was a huge blow-up of a comic book image depicting a US fighter jet destroying an enemy plane at the press of a button. Nearly 30 years later, in the run-up to the Gulf War, 'Socialist Review' put this picture on the front cover with the caption 'Stop Bush's Mad War'. Similarly, in 1962 Andy Warhol produced his 'Marilyn Diptych', with its rows of yellow-haired Marilyns, and 36 years later the 'International Socialism Journal' referenced Warhol on its cover with rows of yellow-haired Karl Marxes.

Permanent Debate

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Review of 'Trotsky and the Origins of Trotskyism', Alfred Rosmer, Francis Bootle £10

There is now a vast amount of literature on the subject of this book. First and foremost there are Trotsky's own brilliant and voluminous writings, then Isaac Deutscher's mighty 'Prophet' trilogy, Tony Cliff's four-volume political study, works by Victor Serge and Natalia Trotsky, Pierre Broué, Ernest Mandel, Duncan Hallas and many lesser figures.

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