Kevin Best

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

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It's not too often that a Brecht play is staged in the West End and this Jonathan Church production, transferred after a successful run in Chichester Festival Theatre, lends itself well. Brecht wrote the "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui" in 1941 as a refugee fleeing Nazi Germany. He was heading for America and uses the Hollywood Al Capone style gangster movies as an allegory to satirise the rise of Hitler.

Economy Class: The myths of globalisation

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Companies still rely on states to protect their profits


Complex supply chains give groups of workers a lot of power to halt production


Globalisation emerged as a fashionable concept in the years after the ending of the Cold War. Neoliberalism had established itself as the new economic orthodoxy in the West during the 1980s, preaching the need for privatisation and attacks on the welfare state.

With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, champions of neoliberalism declared "the end of history", expecting an end to any systemic opposition to capitalism. Globalisation was to sweep the free market, unfettered and unregulated, into former "communist" countries and beyond.

Why does a mass strike matter?

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Kevin Best looks at why socialists argue for mass strikes

Revolutionaries are arguing hard and organising to put coordinated strikes - and a general strike - at the heart of resistance to the cuts. Strikes represent the working class's most potent weapon, utilising its unique social position as the producers of wealth in society, the source of bosses' profits.

The Company Men

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Director: John Wells, Release date: 11 March

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, US transnational GTX is facing some tough decisions. It has long since expanded from its shipbuilding heritage and into more lucrative markets. As its CEO argues, "Heavy manufacturing is dead... We work for the stockholders now." Rather than damage the company share price - or jeopardise the construction of its new skyscraping edifice - the decision is taken to axe thousands of jobs.

Restrepo

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Directors: Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger; Release date: 8 October

In May 2007 the Second Platoon Battle Company were deployed for 15 months to a remote outpost in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan. Embedded with them were journalists Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington. Their camera follows the platoon through some of the most intense fighting of the war in an area dubbed "the valley of death". The result is a feature-length documentary of the reality of life as a US soldier in Afghanistan.

Slumdog Millionaire

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Director Danny Boyle; Release date: 9 January

Jamal is one question away from winning India's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire when the klaxon sounds and "that's all they've got time for". His anxious wait for the show to resume is helped little by the police throwing him in jail. How can a "chai wallah" (tea maker) from a call centre have got further on the show than any lawyer or army major without cheating?

Michael Clayton

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Director: Tony Gilroy; Release date: out now

With the commercially gratifying Oceans 13 in the bag my expectations were high that the latest George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh collaboration would deliver another gem like the grand chessboard politics of Syriana or the rich dialogue of Good Night and Good Luck.

This time they team up with first time director Tony Gilroy, the writer behind the Bourne trilogy and The Devil's Advocate. The result is that Michael Clayton falls somewhere between those genres in the form of a law-firm espionage.

In the Ghetto

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Review of 'Race, Rock, and Elvis', Michael T Bertrand, University of Illinois Press £11.95

On 5 June 1956, just days after the Alabama State had banned Rosa Parks's organisation the NAACP, a young Elvis Presley, propelled to stardom by his native southern radio stations, was making his eighth nationwide television appearance. The Milton Berle Show, a variety show of the Morecambe and Wise ilk, was taking a risk, hoping for a ratings booster. It got that and a little more as Elvis let loose with the song 'Hound Dog', originally a hit for black artist 'Big Mamma' Thornton.

Who's the Man

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Review of 'Baadasssss!', director Mario Van Peebles

Baadasssss! is a movie about the making of a movie. Mario Van Peebles directs and plays the lead role. He knows the character inside out - the reason is, he's playing his own father. The story of his father, Melvin Van Peebles, is fascinating because of his struggle and determination to make a landmark film in Black America, a film by black Americans to be watched by black Americans. It was an idea not warmly welcomed by white studio bosses distributing to white cinema owners.

Hearts, Minds and Changing Rooms

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Review of 'The Edukators', director Hans Weingartner

Jule has just been fired from her job as a waitress in Berlin. She is passionate about changing the world but something is not right. She confides in her flatmate Jan that she has been on endless demonstrations and wonders what difference it has made. Why should it be different for their generation when the endeavours of past rebels have only been appropriated by a system happy to make Che Guevara T-shirts?

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