'Aquarius' - looking for inspiration

When you need motivation in times of utter unfairness... 

You look for inspiration: 

'Aquarius' - Official Trailer (2016) - with Sonia Braga 

On women, men, background, no background, power struggle, and respect...

 Some of the best films I saw these past few months all have in common a very unordinary trait in movies: dealing very peculiarly with the concept of female empowerment.

They all have created very strong female roles in acutely difficult situations.

From Aquarius last year and Nocturnal Animals to The Shape of Water very recently, The Young Karl Marx of course, and the very special and puzzling Phamthom Thread.

This of course gives food for thoughts to our everyday life as women working and living in the year 2010s, but especially for those who, like I do, work in fields still largely dominated by men and generally with capturing power... Politics, international affairs, radio, television, the U.N., publishing, writing, film making...

I had some great experiences working with brilliant men. I also had disastrous ones. Full of unfairness, controlling behaviours, desire to dominate and contradict, attempts at humiliating, borderline threatening move of seduction, lack of listening and understanding, and so on and so on.

So reading these words from an actor who has incarnated both Alma in Paul Thomas Anderson's Phamthom Thread and Jenny Marx in Raoul Peck's Young Karl Marx was a huge source of comfort.

I hope some men I worked with could read these words...

Wishful thinking, I guess.

Vicky Krieps Talks About What We Don't Really Talk About


In Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, Luxembourgian actress Vicky Krieps plays Alma, a young woman who captures the affections of a powerful, influential man and then spends the rest of the film dwelling in his shadow. In Raoul Peck’s The Young Karl Marx, she plays Jenny von Westphalen, who also captures the attentions of a powerful, influential man and spends the film dwelling in his shadow. The major difference is that Alma is a fictional figure while Jenny was the wife of one Karl Marx, the infamous, revolutionary socialist. If the subject matter doesn’t immediately distinguish one film from the other, then the matter of history certainly does.
What ties them together in spite of their differences is Krieps. Before 2017, American audiences had mostly been deprived of her work. We caught flashes of her in Hanna, or perhaps A Most Wanted Man, but she didn’t take center stage until Phantom Thread opened wide in January. Now we get to see her once more, not quite at center stage but definitely in a role of prominence in Peck’s new film. The Young Karl Marx is determinedly a “great man” story, focused on Marx’s (August Diehl) friendship with Friedrich Engels (Stefan Konarsky), on their efforts to promote the communist cause through both activism and their writing. It’s also about the cost of Marx’s greatness, and who ultimately pays that cost.
Given Phantom Thread’s proximity to The Young Karl Marx, it’s impossible to watch Krieps as Jenny without recalling her work as Alma: They have the same enduring spirit, a quiet indomitability that prevents them from fading into the background, though perhaps that’s just evidence of Krieps’ innate strength as a performer. In Phantom Thread, she has to find the character without the benefit of background. In The Young Karl Marx, she has plenty of background, but a responsibility, too, to Jenny’s memory. 
That dichotomy played a central part in Paste’s recent conversation with Krieps, along with her personal connection to Marx and the sobering reality of modern society’s lack of familiarity with Marxist principles.

Paste Magazine: How did you end up getting in touch with Peck?
Vicky Krieps: I got in touch with him because he was looking for an actress, obviously, who could speak German and French. So I think this is what brought him to me. I don’t know exactly what he saw of me, but I remember that he or someone from the production sent me the scenes and to me, it was immediately quite clear why they sent them to me. They needed someone who could speak both languages fluently. 
And also, what I found straight away—it’s a funny coincidence—is that [Jenny von Westphalen] was from Trier, which was a little German town very close to Luxembourg, actually. As an actor, you’re like, “Why would this particular role need me,” you know? There are so many good actors. I always need to know why is it me this project needs, you know, or why the character need[s] my voice. Here, it was really because I saw she was from Trier, and I thought, “Oh, wow, yes exactly, that’s why, because I’m from Luxembourg. That’s not far away!” [laughs]

Paste: That’s an excellent coincidence. It was meant to be.
Krieps: Yeah, exactly. And also, because of Karl Marx, obviously. My grandfather, who was in the concentration camps as a very young man, I think when he was 21 he got interned—or at 20 or even before, really really young—it was because of Karl Marx, because they found all these books in his house. They were his father’s books, so his father was sentenced straight away, but when he was brought up in front of the Nazi courts, they saw that he was so young, you know? When they started, they were like, “So, Mr. Krieps, so these books you have there, the Karl Marx books, it’s probably your dad who gave them to you, right? They were only in your cupboard because they’re your dad’s, right?” And this was like a leash they were giving him so he could get out of there, to not be sentenced to go to the concentration camps. He then got up in front of the court and said, “No, no. They’re my books.” 
Of course, Nazis, they didn’t hate anything more than someone who would deny their helping hand, or whatever they were thinking, and then he went to the camps straight away of course. So that was also a strong connection and reason for me, you know, for my grandfather, to go and play Karl Marx’s wife. It was almost like—I don’t know, how do you call this? 

Paste: I would call it fate. It’s perfect.
Krieps: It’s fate and it’s almost like paying justice to someone who was treated in an unjust way.

Paste: Do you feel like that gave you a lot of space to find the character of Jenny for yourself?
Krieps: Yes. Yes, definitely. It was very important to me. If it’s Communism, or if it’s the Nazi, or if it’s the war, I myself always need a deeper or stronger reason to tell the story than just because I’m an actress and I need the role, if you see what I mean. Probably everyone, I hope, treats it that way, but I definitely do because of my grandfather. If I take something on like this, I really take it very seriously. Jenny, to me, I took very seriously. I read almost all of what I could find about Karl Marx. At the time I was doing another movie in Austria, and also I was still breastfeeding. In the morning, I remember getting up even before everyone else, so that was probably around five o’clock, to sit and read the Karl Marx stuff, because I knew afterwards I was going to do this Karl Marx movie. So I took it very seriously, yeah.

Paste: There’s almost something maybe moral about creating art like this. I don’t know if you feel the same way.
Krieps: Yes, I do, especially as a woman nowadays, you know. Both characters, Alma and Jenny, are very special in their way, because they are both strong, yet both of them lived almost in the shadow of a man, and they seem to be fine with it, they seem to be OK, because they don’t need the approval or the appreciation from the outside. I think this is what makes them so strong. It’s a strength that comes from somewhere deep inside, which is a different strength, I think. For me, as a young woman today, I found it interesting to see that. I have two kids, and to see that Jenny Marx, in the end they probably had four that survived but they had many more children who died. With no money, with nothing, they would still have these children. I mean, I could have made a whole movie about her.
I remember one of the things I read was the description of her when they lost I think it was the second or the third child. She came from almost royal background, you know, so she was really used to something else, and she followed this man deep into poverty. This was at the moment when they were living in London, and that was I think Dean Street. She describes how this baby died, and it was almost one year old, and I know when a child is one, it already starts to be a child. It’s not only this little creature. When it died, she said, “Our little angel, we took our little angel, we placed him on the floor,” and the family, Karl and her and their two daughters, they slept around it in a circle. 
It says so much about these people, you know. It means that she really knew what it meant to lose a baby. I think where they were living, other people where they were living, out of pure necessity a dying baby was not such a big deal, because people were poor and this is what happened. But she was from a different background, where babies didn’t just die. She always knew she could have saved the child, let’s say, if she had more money to get the right doctors, or to go to the coast and have some fresh air. That’s the problem I think which makes it more painful, if you know that you could actually save the child if you had different possibilities. And still she would stay with [Marx] all through her life, and she loved their babies, and at some point she had pox or something that changed her face. Do you say pox? Not chicken pox, but it was some kind of disease where your face really became horrible, and she had this. 
To me it was always very impressive that a woman who could have had a different life, just because she knew and deeply understood that he was a genius and that he was going to write something like Capital, that she would devote her life, as well as Engels, to this man and his idea. I don’t know if people do this today anymore, no matter if it’s man or woman, it doesn’t matter, to really see something in someone else and say, “I see it and I’m going to do everything for it to come out.”

Paste: I believe people probably do still do that today, and I think it’s wonderful that you’ve played these two characters. You mentioned this earlier, but they’re kind of in the same position. Maybe you can tell me: Do you feel like playing a real character who actually existed is more challenging than playing Alma, who is made up? She doesn’t even have a backstory, really, but Jenny has a whole history.
Krieps: Yes. I think playing Jenny is more difficult because you want to make it right. You don’t want to call on the ghost and then upset the ghost, you see what I mean? And Alma was in a way more free. But then, now that I speak of ghosts, you know, when I played Alma I was often thinking about my grandmother, really a lot. I wouldn’t have wanted to disappoint my grandmother, and I think this is why I also tried to be as correct as I could with Alma. But definitely, playing Jenny Marx is more difficult. You are more constrained. You have to stay in the confines of the character. 

Paste: Right. There’s reality there, and that reality, you’re kind of beholden to that. You kind of alluded to this earlier, but why tell that story in 2018?
Krieps: One of the first things [Peck] said to me was that he was doing the movie because he wants young people from today to know what it was really about. I thought the same way as Raul. He said he wants young people to understand really the basic idea of Communism, not the political thing it became but the basic idea of saying, “Well actually, I have the same rights as this guy. Just because I was born in a different house, it doesn’t mean it’s OK for me to have no food.” And he’s right. It’s not lost but it’s kind of scary how little young people know about this, and how many young people I met who after seeing the movie who said something like, “Wow, that’s cool, that’s cool, that’s a good concept. That makes sense.” And you go, “What? You don’t know this?” You know what I mean?
I was really surprised! When he said that to me, I was going, “I mean, I like the idea, but probably everyone knows.” But then when the movie came out, I saw that he was right, that there are many young people who don’t know a thing about Karl Marx, and especially if they know about him, they don’t know about this basic idea, which is just the idea of pure justice between people, which is I think the greatest and the most profound condition for society to work, you know?

Paste: Absolutely. You were talking about people not having the resources to go see doctors or even to live, and that’s still a problem in 2018, which is just mind-boggling!
Krieps: Exactly. It’s still a problem, and it’s still a problem that’s kept to the side, you know? We don’t talk about it a lot. We only talk about it sometimes, whenever someone needs to be elected. In the end, we don’t really talk about it.

Boston-based culture writer Andy Crump has been writing about film and television online since 2009, and has been contributing to Paste since 2013. He also writes words for The Playlist,WBUR’s The ARTerySlant MagazineThe Hollywood ReporterPolygonThrillist, and Vulture, and is a member of the Online Film Critics Society and the Boston Online Film Critics Association. You can follow him on Twitter and find his collected writing at his personal blog. He is composed of roughly 65% craft beer.


Link to article: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2018/02/vicky-krieps-talks-about-what-we-dont-really-talk.html



 This film took more than 10 years to come to life...

ARTE first asked Raoul Peck to try and make a documentary about Marx. That's when I started helping him on research, in 2006.
Then after a year, it went into a pause.
Raoul later decided, after months of reflection, to turn it into a fiction and to concentrate on Marx's youth and his close ones. He co-wrote the script with the famous screenplay writer turned director Pascal Bonitzer. They wrote about three versions.

I read the last version of the script in 2015. A few months later, the shooting started in Germany. I received the first photographs to communicate on the film in the autumn.
It's 12 years of my life. I've been waiting for that moment, the release in the English-speaking world especially, since 2009, when I worked again full time for the filmmaker, then writing films on Haiti.

We're so proud of the result.

The Young Karl Marx is now out in the United States. It might be in the United Kingdom in the spring...
Don't miss it!!


Here is the review and interview in Newsweek:


When Raoul Peck, director of The Young Karl Marx, defines what success would look like, it’s not in box office terms. Instead, Peck hopes the movie (and the man, brought to life by August Diehl) can be a rallying point for the disparate leftists, socialists, progressives, social democrats and anti-authoritarians emerging in response to a global wave of right-wing, capitalist power.

From the elemental power of folklore to the presidents, wars and disaster capitalism defining our immediate experience, The Young Karl Marx makes its ambition clear: to capture and analyze both the root relations and specific effects of the world as only Marx could. For Peck, whose documentary profile of James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro, was nominated for an Academy Award, Marx offers a disparate and desperate movement a framework to understand the parameters of a confusing political battleground.
A limited theatrical run for The Young Karl Marx begins Friday in the United States after festival runs and theatrical premieres abroad. Peck found the reception in France especially heartening, where youth movements centered meetings and reunions around screenings. “All those parties fight each other, so it was interesting to see something that rings true, that draws them all together despite their political fights,” Peck told Newsweek. “There’s a fundament to the movement that they need to come back to. Because Marx was not dogmatic. Marx always said you need to reanalyze your current situation and your historic situation.”
Less than a biopic than the history of an idea, The Young Karl Marx builds to the publication of The Communist Manifesto in 1848. Shaped by both the rowdy rally halls of contemporary socialist discourse and his fruitful collaborations with Friedrich Engels, The Young Karl Marx rebuts many of the most common misconceptions about the man and his work. Marx’s analysis of capitalist society in the wake of the Industrial Revolution didn’t invent communism or any of the other ideologies we associate with Marxism, but instead offered a systematic rigor to what was otherwise a loose movement of populists, Young Hegelian intellectuals, street agitators, Christian millenarianism and striking workers.
“Because of my upbringing and my political engagement, I don't believe in an individual saving anybody. That would be very populist and we see that in the electoral process. I think the way to get out is to build new collectives,” Peck said.
The Young Karl Marx is awash in clamoring groups and competing interests, particularly the League of the Just, a loose, revolutionary coalition of international workers riven by strategic disagreements, who find new purpose as The Communist League, for which Marx and Engels wrote the ManifestoThe Young Karl Marxdepicts political infighting and the turmoil of organizing as a necessary condition for change. “You can't force somebody to vote for you. You have to convince them. It's about discussion, it's about proving what you're saying. So it's a long road. There is no secret. Today we expect that unique figure that will suddenly bring us to the light. That will never happen. It's a process,” Peck explained.
The clarifying tools Marx and Engels offered that movement are still there, available to anyone hoping to understand society today. “Hints from a long history,” Peck called it. T he action of the movie doesn’t come from a hero, but from the grinding work of building new political coalitions: the tedious debates, networking, internal strife and sloganeering that builds to a revolution in thought and a change in society. The real plot, The Young Karl Marx says, is process.
And rather than Marx the elder statesman, surrounded by his halo of white hair, The Young Karl Marx valorizes the personal stakes of being part of history. Though depicted as an uncommonly clear thinker, The Young Karl Marx is as much about the high social cost of pursuing political revolution. Marx isn’t a hero for his genius, but for stepping up, even as he struggles with bills, drinks too much with Engels and feels the pressure of failing his growing family. Just as The Communist Manifestoemerged from a movement, with Marx and Engels as the magnifying lens that focused its ideas into clarifying fire, Marx the man arose from his family and friends, especially the relationship with his wife Jenny (Vicky Krieps, Phantom Thread ).
“That's the first thing I wanted: young people to see themselves in the lives of those three other young people who just decided, ‘we are rich, we are a middle-class family or industrial family, but what we see around us isn't acceptable,’” Peck said. “I had to be very close to who they were as human beings. To show that they did not only fight, but they lived through it. They took decisions that were dangerous for them. They lost everything. They were poor, although they could have lived the big life or become intellectual without the suffering. Young people react to that, because it makes everything seem changeable.”
Arriving at this message hasn’t been easy. “There's a reason why there's been no other film about Marx in the Western world, ever,” Peck said.
For a decade, Peck has been working to bring Marx to the screen, but funding proved difficult to assemble, even in Europe. The filmmaker was always wary of the ways a money-dependent, capitalist medium might compromise one of its greatest critics. “It’s an incredible medium, but it’s hard to find the right way to use it, without being used yourself. I’m very conscious that if I make a film in Hollywood, Hollywood is asking very precise things of me.”
“I'm trying to go back to the fundamentals,” Peck said. “When you read an important book like the Communist Manifesto, it was a book written for workers in a very simple way so they can understand their life and their struggle. When you read the first chapter, it's exactly a description of what's happened in the last 30 years. The expansion of capitalism. The total craziness of speculation. The fact that it will invade the whole planet. That's exactly what happened. So it's important to know your history. Otherwise you're just a puppet following the next populist who promises you paradise.”
The Young Karl Marx is in theaters now. Read our full review on Newsweek ’s gaming and geek culture nexus, Player.One.

Link to the article: http://www.newsweek.com/young-karl-marx-movie-raoul-peck-director-review-communist-manifesto-communism-818987

Watch the trailer:


Raoul Peck with Democracy Now! On Marx's Critique of Capitalism

Recorded and published today in New York City:

“The Young Karl Marx”: Raoul Peck on New Film Examining How Marx

Developed Critique of Capitalism 

Published on 23 Feb 2018

https://democracynow.org - World-famous filmmaker Raoul Peck is releasing a film today in Los Angeles and New York on the life and times of Karl Marx. It’s called “The Young Karl Marx.”

The film’s release comes as the head of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, broke his silence after last week’s Florida school shooting that left 17 dead, attacking gun control advocates as communists in an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC.

We speak with acclaimed Haitian filmmaker and political activist Raoul Peck about his new film and the role of Marxism in organizing for gun reform.

- Democracy Now! is an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on nearly 1,400 TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch our livestream 8-9AM ET: https://democracynow.org


 A wonderful fable on our part of humanity and sacredness, the power of self-healing, trust, and how you learn to see without eyes, speak without voice, think with your heart...

'THE SHAPE OF WATER' | Official Trailer 

From master story teller, Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER - an other-worldly fable, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg and Doug Jones. 

Visit The Shape Of Water on our WEBSITE: https://theshapeofwaterthemovie.com
Like The Shape Of Water on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/theshapeofwa...
Follow The Shape Of Water on TWITTER: https://twitter.com/shapeofwater 


My first fascination for so-called "monster" human begin with David Lynch's unique Elephant Man and Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands... Because it asks the question: what is human and what is not...? 

Why GUILLERMO DEL TORO is not interested in the scares of horror films

Published on 5 Oct 2017
Acclaimed director, Guillermo del Toro, discusses his lifelong fascination with monsters, and why he doesn't think horror was a stepping-stone for him.


Raoul Peck: "Baldwin and Marx – Same Struggle?"

Raoul Peck's words in Talkhouse about his last two great films:

Baldwin and Marx – Same Struggle?

Or a few impolite thoughts on The Young Karl Marx, by the director of that film and I Am Not Your Negro.

Any education is fundamentally compromised, if it doesn’t lead to the capacity to think for oneself.

James Baldwin and Karl Marx – the subjects of my two most recent films – were my two primary teachers; each in his own way taught me how to think, how to be, how to engage. They empowered me – then and now, here and elsewhere – to always find the necessary critical distance to analyze the seemingly perplexing issues one confronts daily. Whether it’s political, social, philosophical or even personal. They enabled me to understand the society we live in; what power means; what greed induces; what politics implies and/or why the insatiable pursuit of money cannot be the ultimate goal in life.

On a more “universal” level, they allowed me to understand and confront the reality of our present society and challenge some of its central afflictions, the more obvious ones being:
– the supposedly unstoppable race towards the cliff of economic disaster
– ecological cataclysm
– an increasing calcification and trivialization of gross inequalities
– eternal wars against terrorists and immigrants (viciously presented as interchangeable)

The entire Western world, the United States included, seems to be adapting credulously to this situation.
Coming back to Marx and his concepts is to look at the national and current hysteria from an analytical distance. And returning to the fundamental ideas of any philosophy is always enlightening.
So, how do we begin a conversation about class, profit, race and capitalism in a country where former President Obama is considered an aggressive socialist?

In 2000, I made a documentary film about capitalism entitled, Profit & Nothing But! Or Impolite Thoughts on the Class Struggle. At the time, it was almost considered a taboo, a heresy to talk about “profit” and “class struggle” in a public forum, even in liberal Europe. After the 2008 crisis, the film became less antagonistic. Even the free-market enthusiast magazine The Economist put Karl Marx in many of its headlines.

For my latest film, The Young Karl Marx, my challenge was: How can one expose, through the medium of a commercial film destined to a wider audience, the insights of the most important thinker of the past 200 years, a man who (together with Friedrich Engels) was pivotal to his century and all others after that?

How do I explain, in a very simple and concise way:
– the course of history (a bloody one, written by the momentary victors)
– the core elements of society (strained by profound inequalities)
– the characteristics of its design (exploitation)
– what drives it (profit)?

Or, put another way, how do I explain:
– why a multinational corporation decides, without any defendable argument, to shut down a plant supporting 5,000 people, while its profits are in the billions of dollars?
– the repetitive babble of economists (described by the late Bernard Maris, killed at the Charlie Hebdo massacre, as “all charlatans!”) about a “market,” which supposedly regulates the economy, when in fact the state saves the day, crisis after crisis (the bank bailout, they called it last time)?
– why many workers put their faith in Donald Trump as their savior when he is in fact the finest caricature of a speculative deadbeat capitalist?
– why it is so arduous for any democratically elected government to resist the billion dollar-charged pressure of special interests and lobbyists standing in the way of even the slightest changes toward more efficient regulation?

In all, how do I escape massive deficiency and ignorance?
You will find answers to all these questions in Marx’s theories. He was a genius about whom the noted thinker Raymond Aron (not a Marxist!) wrote: “A quality of Marx’s work is that it can be explained in five minutes, five hours, five years or half a century. It lends itself, in effect, to the sort of half-hour summary that might ultimately permit someone who knows nothing of the history of Marxism to lend an ironic ear to someone who has dedicated his life to its study.”

Marx is the person who explained how the dominant ideas in a given society are the ideas of the privileged exploiting class and that the ideas of this privileged class determine the thinking of the whole society. So obvious when you watch any television debate today.

Marx’s ideas have been the subject of the biggest ideological kidnapping of modern history! From the Soviet Union to China, to Cambodia, to the Berlin wall. “Protect me from the Marxist,” warned Marx himself. This is why my co-writer Pascal Bonitzer and I chose to avoid the eminent Marxian “theologists” and interpreters and went straight to the source. Our screenplay is based primarily and almost exclusively on the correspondence between Karl, his wife Jenny and Friedrich Engels. The real human beings behind the myth in their own words, wit, liveliness, humor, humanity and revolt.
The Young Karl Marx, like most of my films, is about recapturing a more solid narrative. A progressive one, if possible. It’s not about fiction. It is about reality. And as such, its intent is to impact the present reality (and possibly society as a whole).

I’m surprised that I Am Not Your Negro didn’t spark more anger and backlash after the success of its wide U.S. theatrical release. For, in this film, Baldwin does not mince his words:
“I have always been struck, in America, by an emotional poverty so bottomless, and a terror of human life, of human touch, so deep, that virtually no American appears able to achieve any viable, organic connection between his public stance and his private life. This failure of the private life has always had the most devastating effect on American public conduct, and on black-white relations. If Americans were not so terrified of their private selves, they would never have become so dependent on what they call ‘the Negro problem.’”

The problem of “alienation” in a nutshell, a subject Marx extensively worked on too.

Baldwin wrote elsewhere that “there is scarcely any hope for the American dream, because people who are denied participation in it, by their very presence, will wreck it.”

Another way to explain “class struggle” and its consequences: “The industry is compelled, given the way it is built, to present to the American people a self-perpetuating fantasy of American life. Their concept of entertainment is difficult to distinguish from the use of narcotics, and to watch the TV screen for any length of time is to learn some really frightening things about the American sense of reality.”

Baldwin puts in very vivid words the ideas Marx first developed (see also Gramsci, McLuhan and Chomsky, for starters!) about the role of the ideological metastructure in capitalism and what it does to the dominant thinking and to allow the permanent reproduction of capitalism itself in ever changing new clothes: “To look around the United States today is enough to make prophets and angels weep. This is not the land of the free; it is only very unwillingly and sporadically the home of the brave.”

Marx worked on how our perception of reality is linked to our role in the capitalist production structure and how this perception can produce exactly the contrary of its reality. “I attest to this: the world is not white; it never was white, cannot be white,” Baldwin wrote. “White is a metaphor for power, and that is simply a way of describing Chase Manhattan Bank.”

This is the most efficient and simple description of capitalism I ever read. Marxian analysis at its best. Baldwin, Marx – same struggle.

John Erskine wrote in 1915 that people had “the moral obligation to be intelligent.” This is my modest attempt at intelligence. I am not interested nor do I believe in any prosaic indoctrination. Just an incitement to read a few books, to challenge our bias and, above all, to know your history.

America, the American working class in particular, has had an extremely dynamic, rich, progressive revolutionary tradition starting with the War of Independence, through the Civil War, the rise of organized trade unions, the anti-Vietnam movement in the sixties, the civil rights movement, all the way up to today’s Black Lives Matter and the new women’s movements. Great and respected progressive thinkers in this country, including parts of the Christian church, have moved the nation forward in its quest for equality, justice and a better life for all.

The good news, finally, is that young people are once again interested in learning their history, recapturing their narrative and confronting ignorance.
The Young Karl Marx is my contribution to this discussion.


“The emancipation of each is the condition of the emancipation of all.” 
(Karl Marx)


Raoul Peck’s complex body of work includes feature narrative films like The Man by the ShoreLumumbaSometimes in AprilMoloch Tropical and Murder in Pacot, and documentaries such as Lumumba, Death of a ProphetDesounen, Fatal Assistance and I Am Not Your Negro. 

He is presently chairman of the board of the National French film school La Fémis, and has been the subject of numerous retrospectives worldwide. 

His latest feature film, The Young Karl Marx, is released in select theaters by The Orchard on February 23.


link to Talkhouse's website: http://www.talkhouse.com/baldwin-marx-struggle/

SYRIE : Pour un cessez-le-feu immédiat pour sauver les civils de la Ghouta orientale

Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’homme (FIDH)Centre syrien des médias et de la liberté de l’expression (SCM)

Syrie: le Conseil de sécurité doit décréter un cessez-le-feu immédiat pour sauver les civils de la Ghouta orientale

Paris, le 22 février 2018 - Le régime de Bachar El Assad et son allié russe écrasent depuis quelques jours les 400 000 civils – dont 100 000 enfants - de la Ghouta, enclavée et coupée du reste du monde sous les bombardements. Alors que la communauté internationale a été jusqu’à présent incapable de faire cesser les crimes de guerre et crimes contre l’humanité commis à la Ghouta et ailleurs en Syrie, nos organisations appellent le Conseil de sécurité, qui se réunit aujourd’hui, à adopter une résolution sous le chapitre VII de la charte des Nations unies, afin d’instaurer un cessez-le-feu immédiat, obtenir la levée du siège de la Ghouta et garantir un accès humanitaire inconditionnel et immédiat aux populations civiles prisonnières de la Ghouta orientale.

Depuis le 18 février, le régime de Bachar El Assad et son allié russe intensifient leurs bombardements sur les populations civiles de la Ghouta orientale, afin de reprendre coûte que coûte cette banlieue de Damas tombée aux mains des rebelles en 2012, et bombardée quasi quotidiennement depuis.Selon les organisations syriennes membres et partenaires de la FIDH, les bombardements intensifs des armées syrienne et russe auraient tué plus de 300 civils ces derniers jours. Des sources locales ont recensé 24 attaques contre des établissements de santé depuis lundi. 6 hôpitaux sont désormais hors service, d’autres n’opèrent plus que partiellement, privant les victimes de soins adéquats."Après 7 années de violence et de crimes sans interruption, le régime syrien, les forces russes et leurs alliés sont en train de commettre un nouveau crime de masse en toute impunité. La communauté internationale semble résignée à l’impuissance »déclare Mazen Darwish, président du SCM. «Il faut être clair, la région de la Ghouta et celle d’Idlib sont des enclaves où des centaines de milliers de personnes sont enfermées et piégées, condamnées à se voir bombarder de façon indiscriminée. Les responsables de ces crimes de guerre et crimes contre l’humanité devront un jour répondre de leurs actes».Coupée du monde et de toute aide humanitaire, pilonnée sans relâche, cette banlieue de Damas est privée des moyens de survie les plus basiques."Le blocage de la communauté internationale joue un rôle clé dans ces massacres. Il n’est plus l’heure de simples condamnations. Le Conseil de Sécurité de l'ONU doit agir pour l’arrêt des bombardements, la levée du siège de la Ghouta et le rétablissement de l’accès humanitaire à la population civile." a déclaré Dimitris Christopoulos, Président de la FIDH. « Dans les situations de crimes les plus grave et d’urgence humanitaire, le Conseil de sécurité doit agir ou être réformé pour ne plus se trouver paralysé par le veto des auteurs et complices des crimes en cours ».Car si la situation dans la Ghouta orientale est d’ores et déjà dramatique, elle n’est pas la seule région à faire l’objet de bombardements intensifs par des armements conventionnels et non conventionnels, prohibés par les conventions internationales. Ainsi, un déluge de feu s'abat également sur la province d’Idlib depuis le début du mois, et aurait déjà fait de nombreuses victimes, principalement des civils. Les organisations syriennes rapportent également que le régime aurait mené des attaques chimiques depuis le début de l'année, utilisant notamment du chlore.Il est impératif et urgent que les organisations humanitaires dont notamment les convois des Nations Unies puissent avoir un accès sans entrave aux populations civiles de la Ghouta Orientale, à Idlib, et dans le reste du pays.A la lumière des récentes informations recueillies par ses organisations partenaires, la FIDH et SCM appellent toutes les parties au conflit, et particulièrement les autorités politiques et militaires syriennes, russes et iraniennes, à respecter les obligations qui leur incombent en vertu du droit international humanitaire et des résolutions de l'ONU, et en particulier à :
- Mettre fin aux bombardements et aux attaques indiscriminées contre les civils ;- Garantir sans restriction l’accès du Comité International de la Croix rouge à toute zone assiégée et bombardée, et notamment à la Ghouta ;- Garantir une assistance humanitaire à la population civile ;- Lever les sièges de toutes les villes syriennes concernées.Alors que l'Envoyé Spécial pour la Syrie Staffan De Mistura demande qu’une nouvelle série de pourparlers se tiennent à Genève, il est urgent que la communauté internationale le soutienne afin de trouver une solution politique au conflit syrien.La FIDH et SCM réitèrent que toute violation du droit international est un obstacle essentiel à tout processus de paix et rappellent que la société civile syrienne doit être intégrée à toute recherche de paix durable en Syrie.


"Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land" at the British Library from June

Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land

Fri 1 Jun – Sun 21 Oct 2018

Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land
A free exhibition
Welcomed by some as ‘Sons of Empire.’ Vilified by those spreading fears of a ‘black invasion.’ 70 years since the Empire Windrush carried hundreds of migrants to London, hear the Caribbean voices behind the 1940s headlines. Why did people come? What did they leave behind? And how did they shape Britain?
Learn about the Jamaican feminist poet Una Marson, who became the first black woman employed by the BBC. Read Trinidadian J J Thomas’s scathing rebuttal of English colonialism. See the manuscripts of Andrea Levy’s novel Small Island and Benjamin Zephaniah's poem What Stephen Lawrence Has Taught Us. And listen to the sounds of the Caribbean, from jazz and calypso to the speeches of Marcus Garvey and personal reflections from some of the first Caribbean nurses to join the NHS.

Enslavement. Colonialism. Rebellion.

Revisit 1948 and explore how the Windrush story is much more than the dawn of British multiculturalism it has come to represent.

Image: Some of the first migrants from Jamaica arrive at Tilbury on board the Empire Windrush 22 June 1948


Name:Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land
Where:Entrance Hall
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show map      How to get to the Library
When: - 
Opening times and visitor information
Enquiries:+44 (0)1937 546546


Link to website: https://www.bl.uk/events/windrush-songs-in-a-strange-land

Feb. 21 - 'Ain't Got No, I Got Life'

Good morning, Nina. 

Born on a 21st of February, you Piscean wonder, same day as the "Communist Manifesto"... 

'Ain't Got No, I Got Life' - Nina Simone

Hello, my life.


Just because it's too good... Another one:

Nina Simone: 'Take Me To The Water'