Joseph Choonara

No such thing as a safe bet in the market

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In April the International Monetary Fund dubbed the growing economic crisis "the largest financial shock since the Great Depression", leading to a one in four chance of a full-blown global recession.

There is little doubt that the US economy is already contracting.

The immediate problem is a pool of bad debt, so-called "toxic waste", clogging up financial markets. The waste is a consequence of the scramble to lend money during the property boom of recent years. Arcane financial innovations, which saw debt parcelled out and gambled on by banks, hedge funds and corporations, ensured that the contagion from dodgy mortgages went global.

I'm a Cyborg

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Director Park: Chan-wook; Release date: 4 April

An earlier film by Korean director Park Chan-wook, Oldboy, was widely (and foolishly) accused of inspiring the Virginia Tech massacre in the US last year. In that work brutal violence was the counterpart to a tender, but utterly doomed, love story.

Revolutionary Horizons

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Forrest Hylton and Sinclair Thomson

Some years before the French Revolution, Bolivia's indigenous masses, the Aymara, the Quechua and others, rose up. The names of the heroes of the 1780-1 rebellion - Tomás Katari, Tupaj Amaro and Tupaj Katari - still echo through Bolivia, where two thirds of the population define themselves as indigenous.

Bolivia: Right Wing Threatens Morales

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The fledgling left wing administration in Bolivia faces growing challenges to its programme of reforms.

Recent weeks have seen "strikes" coordinated by business organisations and renewed demands for regional autonomy in the east of the country. The growing tensions flow from the attempts by the new government to reconcile competing demands from different sections of Bolivian society.

A War Waged by the Wealthy

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Acclaimed Marxist geographer David Harvey talks to Joseph Choonara about the rise of neo-liberalism, and why it should be seen as a ruling class project.

In January New York based academic David Harvey spoke at a packed London School of Economics public lecture to promote his latest book, A Brief History of Neo-Liberalism. He set out, with characteristic precision, the story of three decades of assaults carried out by a global ruling class. These attacks, made in the name of neo-liberalism, have seen growing social polarisation, the rise of new elites and the impoverishment of many of those at the bottom of society.

Cold and Lifeless

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Review of 'For Marx', Louis Althusser, Verso £6

The essays in For Marx were published as an intervention in a crucial political debate. The collection was first published in French in 1965, a time when cracks had begun to emerge in the distorted version of Marxism taught by the Stalinist Communist parties.

When Boys Became Men

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Review of 'Silent Revolution', Duncan Green, Latin America Bureau £13.99

Duncan Green's book explains how the policies of neoliberalism have swept Latin America over the last 25 years. Silent Revolution first appeared ten years ago. As Green writes in the preface to this new edition, back then 'critics of neoliberalism were derided as fools or nostalgics'. The decade since the first edition appeared has seen the economic implosion of the Argentinian economy, the Zapatista uprising in Mexico, the election of Lula's Workers Party in Brazil and the rise of a global anti-capitalist movement. The new edition takes all of these developments into account.

Bullets and Ballet

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Review of 'Matrix Reloaded', directors Larry and Andy Wachowski

The 'Matrix' films take place in two parallel worlds. In the real world, machines rule. Most humans are kept in tanks to be farmed by the machines to provide their fuel. The few that remain free live in the last surviving city, Zion, deep within the earth's crust. Our world is the world of the Matrix - a computer simulation designed to keep the bulk of humanity pacified while the machines feed. The 'Matrix' trilogy chronicles the struggle against the machines, which takes place in both the real world and the illusory world of the Matrix.

'Fighting for Tomorrow': George Gomez

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George Gomez has been a Trotskyist since 1948. He recently attended the Asian Social Forum at Hyderabad and spoke to Joseph Choonara about his life.

I was born in 1927 in the state of Tamil Nadu. I come from a Roman Catholic family in a fishing community. I was born and brought up among fishing workers. My parents were socialists and progressive. Through them I got interested in the problems of the people and started looking for solutions. After I had finished studying I had to go to Sri Lanka to find work. My father had died and I was the only member of my family earning money. I wanted to get involved in progressive groups in Sri Lanka, and I contacted Indian socialists to get magazines.

Much to Console

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Review of exhibition 'Game On' at the Barbican, until 15 September and transfers to the Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, in October

The 'Game On' exhibition, an exploration of the culture and history of videogames, is very timely. It comes at the start of a new wave of consolidation in the games console industry. Microsoft's X-Box and Nintendo's Game Cube have just been launched in Britain, where they will be pitched against Sony's PlayStation 2.

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