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Celebrating an African Marxist writer

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o turned eighty this year. He has written prolifically. Arguably his most famous (non-fiction) book is Decolonising the Mind, about the constructive role that language plays in national culture, history, and identity. The reclaiming of African languages as keepers of memory, of African history, became central to Ngũgĩ’s […]

Culture

War destroys not only lives

The 11th of November 2018 is the centenary of the ending of the First World War. During that bloody slaughter the propagandists described it as “the war to end all wars.” A hundred years and as many wars later, the militarists in the United States and Europe—many of them the […]

Culture History

Books – Between sectarianism and neo-liberalism

Paul Stewart, Tommy McKearney, Gearóid Ó Machail, Patricia Campbell, Brian Garvey, Between Sectarianism and Neo-Liberalism: The State of Northern Ireland and the Democratic Deficit (Glasgow: Vagabond Voices, 2018) If, like me, you mourn the loss of intelligent debate among Irish republicans as they descend into the gobbledegook of bourgeois democracy, […]

Culture

Freedom becoming

Thro’ the shattered mainstream of life the waste land bears testimony to the shadow Hear mothers wail for dead children whose fathers slave to re-erect the rubble Upon the rubble their fathers erected This alter for sacrificed generations Build fast! Build furious! Erect the citadels of despair Light high in […]

Culture History

Another world is possible

Twenty years ago, on 8 October 1998, the communist writer José Saramago became the first Portuguese author to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. The first fifty years of Saramago’s life were defined by the fascist dictatorship that ruled Portugal from 1926 to 1974 and his active resistance against it. […]

Culture

Robin Hood, Ireland, and the communists

Robin Hood, the legendary outlaw known throughout the world, has an unusual connection with Ireland, and an even stranger connection with the communist movement. No-one knows for certain whether Robin Hood ever existed or was based on a real individual. There are records of people named Robin Hood or similar […]

Culture

A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born has been remade for the fourth time and was released in Irish cinemas on 5 October. The retelling follows the familiar story of an aging male star—this time the country singer Jackson Maine (played by Bradley Cooper)—who happens across an ordinary woman whose talent is being […]

Culture History

Victor Jara sings on

Forty-five years ago, on 11 September 1973, the Chilean military, under the command of General Augusto Pinochet and backed by the United States, overthrew the democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende. Allende, who had won the election in September 1970, was faced even before taking office with the enmity […]

Culture

I Come And Stand At Every Door

Originally a poem by the great Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet and translated into English by Jeannette Turner. Here Gabriel Rosenstock translates Pete Seeger’s version of this great antiwar song (https://tinyurl.com/pnyykae).   Im’ sheasamh ar gach tairseach bím   Im’ sheasamh ar gach tairseach bím Ní chloistear áfach mo choiscéim An […]