Our cultural picks of the month
14 March 2019
Things to read, listen to and watch. Here are some cultural picks put together by people at Global Justice Now.
A history of the world in seven cheap things
Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore, Verso, 2018
Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore explain the history of capitalism, and provide radical alternatives, through the following ‘cheap things’: nature, money, work, care, food, energy – and lives. From the symbolic importance of the Chicken McNugget, to the expanding of empires, the authors give a detailed and engaging account of how colonialism and capitalism go hand in hand. It’s a stirring introduction to the damages the global north has inflicted on the global south.
The book is also an essential read to understand how black, brown and indigenous people have always resisted and rejected systems of exploitation despite being treated as disposable objects in the name of profit. Patel and Moore not only lay out the history of the West’s capitalists past, but also provide a manual on how we can challenge climate change, capitalism and colonialism in the future. Through recognition, reparation, redistribution, reimagination and recreation of the current exploitative capitalist system, we can start to give things their proper value.
(Reviewed by Rosanna Wiseman)
Your queen is a reptile
Sons of Kemet, Impulse!, 2018
Crank up the volume and make space to stomp, jazz is back. And to quote from the opening song from Sons Of Kemet’s latest album it’s “Black and proud, and determined”. If you've not heard Your Queen Is A Reptile yet, you need to. Its immense energy pummels you with a mix of beautiful anger and joyful militancy. It’s truly hard to believe this beautiful cacophony of music is made by just two brass instrumentalists and percussion.
This is riotous joy straight out of the beating heart of south London’s blossoming new jazz scene. Each song title is named for an influential black woman in history. Joshua Idehen’s spoken word further exposes the deeply political essence of the music: “I’m born strong, the son of an immigrant… I’ll be here when your cities are sediment, and only your borders and fences are left… I’ll be here when your banks stop selling debt”.
(Reviewed by Sam Lund-Harket)
Felipe Bustos Sierra Debasers Filums, 2018
With repressive, nationalistic regimes on the rise globally, Nae Pasaran! is a timely and welcome riposte to hopelessness. Set in the 1970s in the wake of the USbacked coup against left-wing Chilean president Salvador Allende and the neoliberal policies which followed under General Pinochet, the film documents four former workers of the Rolls Royce plant in East Kilbride, who refused to repair Chilean planes. Director Felipe Bustos Sierra doesn’t shy away from the horrors which wracked Chile.
Through contemporary footage interwoven with personal testimonies, we see bodies in the streets and hear pain still raw 40 years on. It’s direct, visceral, and heartbreaking, but as it draws together the threads of the Scottish boycott – and we see, with the workers, the true impact of their solidarity actions – the picture which emerges is moving and full of hope. Nae Pasaran! presents a remarkable image of the ripples sent out by local activism, and though at times it had me in tears, I left the cinema inspired and reinvigorated.
(Reviewed by Ruth Wilkinson)
These reviews first appeared in the January issue of our member's magazine Ninety-Nine
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