Sally Campbell

Theatre: 1984

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Playhouse Theatre, Until 23 August

We all know about 1984, whether we have read the book or not. George Orwell wrote it just as the world was staggering out of the most brutal war ever, with the Stalinist regime victorious in the East, and McCarthyism taking hold in the US. But it has become shorthand for any discussion of state repression, surveillance and attacks on civil liberties.

The Double

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Director: Richard Ayoade, Released 4 April

The opening scene tells us everything about Simon James. He sits on a commuter train, nervously staring ahead. A man comes up to him and says, "You're in my place". We glance with Simon around the empty carriage. Uncomprehending but seemingly unable to argue, Simon gives up his seat and stands for the rest of the journey.

Why read The Junius Pamphlet

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Right up until July 1914 anti-war activity was rife across Europe, led by the socialist parties of the Second International. In the face of growing nationalism Rosa Luxemburg and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) organised mass rallies and the SPD headquarters put out statements confirming their stance against war: "The class conscious proletariat of Germany, in the name of humanity and civilisation, raises a flaming protest against this criminal activity of the warmongers."

Limits of Intersectionality

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A whole series of new and renewed groups, protests and movements have appeared in response to the "new sexism" - personified by raunch culture popular on campus - that are increasingly defining themselves as feminist. Some of those involved with these movements are drawn to the ideas of "intersectionality", which attempt to explain how race, gender and class oppressions "intersect" and influence each other.

Classic Read: Roxana

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Daniel Defoe

First published in 1724

This lesser known novel by the author of Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders is the "autobiography" of a professional mistress, set during the Restoration of the late 17th century. But it feels like Defoe's own time - the new world of capitalist London, in which traders are competing with aristocrats and a delicate social etiquette is coming under strain.

Engels revisited

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There has been a recent resurgence in writers about women's oppression looking to Marx and Engels for answers, with some arguing he crudely emphasised class at the expense of oppression. Here, Sally Campbell looks at the claims of those writers and defends Engels from the critics

There is a common assertion that Marxism as a set of ideas does not or cannot account for oppression. Some argue, for example, that Marxism is a form of economic determinism that reduces all the complexity of human interaction down to production; because we see workers' revolution as the solution, we see all other struggles - against racism or gender oppression - as subordinate to the struggle in the workplace.

This comes from the right - they want to attack revolutionary ideas, full stop.

Lore

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Lore begins at the moment the German war effort collapsed in spring 1945 and US, Russian and British forces swept across the land.

Lore, a girl of about 13, must take charge of her four younger siblings after their Nazi parents are imprisoned. They are the privileged children of a top SS officer, born and raised under Hitler's regime and benefiting from it as other children suffered. Now they must travel alone some 500 miles from Bavaria to their grandmother's house near Hamburg.

Hysteria

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Directed by Tanya Wexler, out now

Angela Carter once wrote an essay called "Alison's Giggle", which was about the changing representations of women's sexuality in literature. Alison was the carpenter's wife in Chaucer's The Miller's Tale, written at the end of the 14th century. She finds her husband repulsive and has taken another lover. She humiliates the older and rather ridiculous carpenter by tricking him into kissing her arse. "Tee hee, said she", Chaucer writes, showing Alison's glee as she returns to her lover.

Socialism and women's liberation

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It is 100 years since the first International Women's Day was held in March 1911, yet despite many victories gender inequality still exists today. Sally Campbell argues that only socialism can bring genuine liberation

We live in a time of contradiction. There are more women in positions of power than ever before, yet attitudes to women seem to be going backwards. Angela Merkel is the chancellor of Germany, a country debating imposing a quota for women in the boardrooms. Yet the head of Deutsche Bank, when asked if he supported the proposal, said yes, of course - women would make boardrooms "more colourful and prettier".

Let Me In

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Director: Matt Reeves; Release date: 5 November

Let Me In ticks three boxes which put it firmly at the top of the "current trends" pile.

Firstly, it's a film about young people, one of whom is a vampire. Thankfully these are not the tortured teenagers of the Twilight saga, whose petulant faces give me a whole new insight into why my mum didn't take me seriously when I was 15. Our protagonists are 12 year olds ("or thereabouts", in the case of Abby, the vampire). This is a much less examined age, a precipice between childhood and full-on adolescence.

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