Interview

Fort Hood: Iraq and Afghanistan - the resurgence of anti-war cafes

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In Killeen, Texas, the Under the Hood Cafe is getting military families and soldiers organised. Its founder, Cynthia Thomas, talks to Judith Orr


Why did you set up the Under the Hood Outreach Center and Cafe?

The concept of the coffee houses has been around since the 1960s during the Vietnam War. There was actually one here in Killeen during that time called the Oleo Strut. When the wars started with Afghanistan and Iraq, people were talking about setting up a coffee house again.

Structural problems of capitalism

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Economist and author Graham Turner talked to Socialist Review about his new book No Way to Run the Economy, why he believes Keynes is misunderstood and what he has learned from Marxist economics.

You studied mainstream economics, which is often made out to be "ideology-free" and treated like a branch of mathematics. Yet your new book, No Way to Run an Economy, discusses figures such as John Maynard Keynes and Karl Marx. How did you end up there?

I did a degree at City University in London which was heavily steeped in monetarism. Then I went on to do a postgraduate degree that was far more pragmatic and non-ideological at the University of Toronto. I came back from Canada to get my first job in the City and worked in London for Japanese banks throughout the 1990s.

Interview with Tariq Ali: Occupational hazards

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Rising military casualties have stimulated public debate about the war in Afghanistan. Judith Orr asks writer, broadcaster and activist Tariq Ali about the war and the prospects for the US imperialist project.

At Marxism 2009 you spoke about how "things are not going well" for the US and British governments in Afghanistan. It seems since then things have got a good deal worse. Military leaders talk of being in Afghanistan for many years, if not decades, and some are openly admitting the war is unwinnable. Is this a situation where, even if the US know they can't succeed, to withdraw is unthinkable? As the war aims constantly shift, are they now only concerned with not being seen to be beaten?

A journey on the railroad

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Sin Nombre tells the story of a Honduran immigrant family on a dangerous train journey through Mexico to the US. US filmmaker Cary Fukunaga talks to Christophe Chataigné about his astounding and gripping debut

Why did you choose immigration as the subject for your first film? It seems like a risky choice.

I didn't really think about it in those terms. I did a short film while still at film school. It was my second year project, not my thesis project, which typically as a film student you save for your calling card film - the film that you think might start your career. For your second year film you can just do whatever you want. And rather than do something ridiculous I wanted to do a serious film, more about today's issues.

Interview: Mahmood Mamdani on Darfur

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In his new book Mahmood Mamdani puts the war in Darfur in historical context and challenges the Save Darfur Coalition's characterisation of the conflict and its call for international intervention. He talks to Charlie Kimber


You reject the label genocide and question overblown estimates of how many have died in Darfur. This can seem to trivialise the suffering. Why is this an important question?

One does not have to inflate actual suffering to take it seriously. In 2006 the US government's audit agency, the Government Accountability Office, got together with the Academy of Sciences and appointed a panel of 12 experts to evaluate the reliability of six different estimates on excess deaths in Darfur at the peak of the violence in 2003-4.

Interview: David Harvey - Exploring the logic of capital

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Joseph Choonara spoke to acclaimed Marxist theoretician David Harvey about capitalism's current crisis and his online reading group of Karl Marx's Capital which shows the revival of interest in this work.

Some commentators view the current crisis as arising from problems in finance that then impinged on the wider economy; others see it as a result of issues that arose in production and then led to financial problems. How do you view it?

Playing a part against injustice

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Oscar winning actor Julie Christie talks to Sabby Sagall and Judith Orr about her work and political commitment and how she feels about the media treatment of women in the public eye in the age of celebrity culture.

Your first film was Billy Liar in 1963. It was about a woman, Liz, who wanted to challenge conventions and live her own life. Were you aware in your own life about women's changing expectations at that time?

I had absolutely no understanding of the social historical meaning of anything then, let alone of the part I was playing. She was a beatnik, not yet of the 1960s. It's just after the war. Billy represented the fears and repression of post-war Britain and Liz the very beginning of a new culture which youth called "freedom".

Interview with Lillian Faderman: Chronicles of LGBT struggles

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Lesbians faced appalling official discrimination in the US in the 1950s. LGBT historian Lillian Faderman tells Rita Mcloughlin that although conditions have changed dramatically we still need to fight for more.

What was it like coming out as a working class lesbian in the 1950s?

The 1950s were probably the worst time ever to be a lesbian in the US. I look at what the Western world is like now for lesbians and it's a different universe. Of course I recognise that young lesbians might have trouble with their families and still feel that there are certain jobs where they can't be out, but they have no conception of the constant fear lesbians lived in then.

Interview: A structural crisis of the system

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István Mészáros won the 1971 Deutscher Prize for his book Marx's Theory of Alienation and has written on Marxism ever since. He talks to Judith Orr and Patrick Ward about the current economic crisis.

The ruling class are always surprised by new economic crises and talk about them as aberrations. Why do you believe they are inherent in capitalism?

I recently heard Edmund Phelps, who got the 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics. Phelps is a kind of neo-Keynesian. He was, of course, glorifying capitalism and presenting the current problems as just a little hiccup, saying, "All we have to do now is bring back Keynesian ideas and regulation."

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