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Moving statues

Earlier this year there were attacks on Karl Marx’s grave in Highgate Cemetery in London. Around Europe since the fall of the Soviet Union there have been attempts to destroy or remove any statues or other monuments commemorating those who fought fascism during the Second World War, or previously in […]

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Renaissance man

Leonardo da Vinci, the oldest of the Italian High Renaissance artists, died five hundred years ago, on 2 May 1519. Leonardo was born on 15 April 1452 near the village of Vinci, from which he takes his name. His mother, Caterina, the daughter of a poor farmer, worked as a […]

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Pete Seeger on his 100th birthday

There are few people more famous in the political song movement than Pete Seeger. Along with his contemporaries Paul Robeson and Woody Guthrie, Seeger represented the might of song in highlighting the common cause, strengthening courage, and inspiring resistance. Song was their weapon in this struggle for a fair, equal […]

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A history of working-class writing

■ Michael Pierse (ed.), A History of Irish Working-Class Writing (Cambridge University Press, 2018). This is a book to be welcomed. It is the first study of such scope, attempting, as it does, to present and analyse the entire body of Irish working-class literature. It begins with the first writings […]

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Hollywood cemetery

■ Liam O’Flaherty, Hollywood Cemetery: A Vision of the World to Come (Nuascéalta, 2019). The veteran film-maker Bob Quinn will launch this new edition of Liam O’Flaherty’s novel Hollywood Cemetery, long out of print, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday 10 April at Galway City Library. Published in London in 1935 […]

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Pioneers of women’s emancipation

Priscilla Metscher, Pioneers of Women’s Emancipation in Ireland (Connolly Books, Dublin, 2018) This fascinating study stands out as a commentary on Irish fighters for women’s emancipation, written from a Marxist viewpoint. The author, Priscilla Metscher, examines in turn the ideas and activities of Mary Ann McCracken, Anna Doyle Wheeler, William […]

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Religious fundamentalism in post-socialist Russia

Russian cinema today explores capitalism against the backdrop of a past socialist experience. Open-minded visitors to former socialist states, and particularly to Russia, will come across this living memory and frequently an acknowledgement of the loss of humanist values since the defeat of socialism in Europe. It is interesting too, […]

Culture

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 […]