Eric Hobsbawm Documentary

April 20, 2021

A new documentary on the life and legacy of the great historian Eric Hobsbawm, The Consolations of History, has been released by the magazine London Review id Books,

Hobsbawm wrote many articles for the magazine as the documentary touches upon but the film’s strength is its focus on his scholarship, the political scope of his work, and the political activism that he was involved in throughout his life.

Hobsbawm was not a neutral observer, a Marxist whose views of history and politics were informed by the class struggle.

I found the story of his childhood to be very interesting. He was a citizen of the world from the beginning of his life.

Also, listening to Hobsbawm speaking in Italian, fluently, was disarming and wonderful.

His four books on world history which cover the time period from the French Revolution through the 20th century are absolutely essential, The depth of analysis and the high quality if the writing are extraordinary.

This documentary provides an insightful and fascinating look at Hobsbawn’s personal, professional, and political life.

Highly recommended.

C.L.R. James and E.P. Thompson in Conversation

January 7, 2013

This is a truly priceless video of a long conversation between two great historians, C.L.R. James and E.P. Thompson.

Their meeting took place in the 1980’s hence their discussion of Reagan and Thatcher as well as a fascinating dialogue on the state of the international Left and peace movement.

Al Jazeera Coming to 40 Million US Homes

January 5, 2013

Al Jazeera Coming to 40 Million US Homes

The right-wing attacks and fear mongering are in full swing but the day has finally arrived.

A cable news network broadcasting in the US whose news coverage and analysis will offer a different perspective that will not serve as a mouthpiece for the US government.

Will America survive? 

Why are English and American novels today so gutless?

April 12, 2012

Why are English and American novels today so gutless?

The great Bengali thinker Rabindranath Tagore, born 150 years ago, was a passionate political author. Sadly, literary writers today seem to have no time for politics

The past sometimes shames us. At least, visitors this weekend to Dartington Hall in the south Devon town of Totnes must have come away feeling taunted by history. Because while the festival they attended was celebrating the life of Rabindranath Tagore, the great Bengali artist and thinker born 150 years ago, it also cast a shard of light on a gaping, and usually unremarked upon, hole in today’s culture.

You glimpsed it every time a musician performed one of Tagore’s songs urging fellow Indians not to give up their struggle against British rule, and you confronted it directly in discussions of the poet’s political and social campaigning. Because what his legacy draws attention to is a creature so rare in today’s culture as to be semi-endangered: the political author.

Click here to read the entire article

Bertrand Russell Interview

October 23, 2011

Here’s one of those priceless videos found on YouTube.

A 1959 BBC interview with Bertrand Russell.

Politics is heavily discussed with the topics ranging from his family’s political history, his move away from philosophy into politics, his political views of the United States and his own political activism.

A truly fascinating interview with one of the great public figures and minds of the 20th century.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

What Paul Robeson Said

September 15, 2011

What Paul Robeson Said

In April 1949, just as the Cold War was beginning to intensify, actor, singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson traveled to France to attend the Soviet Union-sponsored Paris Peace Conference. After singing “Joe Hill,” the famous ballad about a Swedish-born union activist falsely accused and convicted of murder and executed in Utah in 1915, Robeson addressed the audience and began speaking extemporaneously, as he often did, about the lives of black people in the United States. Robeson’s main point was that World War III was not inevitable, as many Americans did not want war with the Soviet Union.

Before he took the stage, however, his speech had somehow already been transcribed and dispatched back to the United States by the Associated Press. By the following day, editorialists and politicians had branded Robeson a communist traitor for insinuating that black Americans would not fight in a war against the Soviet Union. Historians would later discover that Robeson had been misquoted, but the damage had been almost instantly done. And because he was out of the country, the singer was unaware of the firestorm brewing back home over the speech.

It was the beginning of the end for Robeson, who would soon be declared “the Kremlin’s voice of America” by a witness at hearings by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Committee chair John Wood, a Georgia Democrat, summoned baseball great Jackie Robinson to Washington. Robinson, appearing reluctantly, denounced Robeson’s views and assured the country that the singer did not speak on behalf of black Americans. Robeson’s passport was soon revoked, and 85 of his planned concerts in the United States were canceled. Some in the press were calling for his execution.

Later that summer, in civil rights-friendly Westchester County, New York, at the one concert that was not canceled, anti-communist groups and Ku Klux Klan types hurled racial epithets, attacked concertgoers with baseball bats and rocks and burned Robeson in effigy. A man who had exemplified American upward mobility had suddenly become public enemy number one. Not even the leading black spokesmen of the day, whose causes Robeson had championed at great personal cost, felt safe enough to stand by the man dubbed as the “Black Stalin” during the Red Scare of the late 1940s and ’50s.

Click here to view the entire article

Al Jazeera English Launches In New York City

August 1, 2011

This is really great news.

Al Jazeera English will easily standout in the US media market for the quality of its reporting of world events especially in the middle east. The channel also has many interesting talk shows. I really like Riz Khan’s One on One show.

I’ve been watching the channel online for the last few years and one of its strengths is that it presents a completely different perspective & analysis on world affairs than the US corporate media.

It will not be a mouthpiece of the US government nor have on its programs the same, old, pundits that appear on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, etc….

I think once Aljazeera English builds up an audience of US viewers it will begin to attract high ratings and become a powerful & influential news network in the US.

It is a much needed alternative in the US mainstream media.

Al Jazeera English Launches In New York City

NEW YORK — Six months after New York City news junkies flocked to Al Jazeera English’s website for up-to-the-second coverage of the Egyptian uprising, they’ll now have a chance to watch the 24-hour news network on its original platform: television.

At midnight, Al Jazeera English launched in New York City on Time Warner Cable, a major step in the network’s goal of expanding further into the U.S. cable market and a chance to reach two million households in a world capital of culture and commerce. The network will also launch on Verizon FiOS in the coming days.

Click here to view the entire article

Marx Reloaded

July 14, 2011

Marx has been declared dead so many times and yet the man and his ideas are resurrected again and again.

It is perfectly understandable.

Marx’s economic writings remain as relevant and influential as ever because they are the most clear and cogent analysis of world capitalism, its inner workings and its inherent contradictions, which are responsible for the constant unleashing of economic havoc.

The devasting effects always fall on working people.

Marx had it right way back in his time when he foretold Globalization long before it became a reality, his theories of Alienated Labor, Wage Labor and Capital, Labor Power, Labor Theory of Value, Commodity Fethisism, just to mention a few examples, are all theories that have not just endured through the ages, they carry the same economic and political force today because they are indisputable, they are the truth.

Something as simple as following the news is all the confirmation one needs.

The hatred towards Marx by his class enemies continues unabated, even in the year 2011 they try desperately to discredit him.

They fail.

I’m not a fan of Zizek but I think his description of the current economic conditions is completely on point:

“We are in deep shit.”

As clear as it can be said.

Tariq Ali Interview

June 30, 2011

Here’s Tariq Ali being interviewed on the Al Jazeera English program “One on One”.

Ali talks about his family and life growing up in Pakistan, his political activism, his books and lots more.

Beginning of the Great Revival

June 30, 2011