THE BAND Blue Murder brings together seven of the most influential voices in English folk music. Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson are joined by their daughter Eliza, Norma's brother Mike, and the trio Coope, Boyes and Simpson. The end result is a celebration of the human spirit. None of the songs on this CD are overtly political. There's a fair slab of religion, gospel-style, thrown in.
TWO MEN, a nurse and a travel journalist, and their relationships with two women, a dancer and a bullfighter, who are both in a coma. Talk To Her, a new film by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, uses that unlikely storyline to reveal a lot about sexuality in Spain today. The characters are sensitively drawn, especially male nurse Benigno and his obsessive and one-sided relationship with the dancer.
THE SUM of All Fears, which is now being shown in cinemas, was done and dusted before 11 September 2001. But the film deals with a major terrorist attack on the US and has been seen as Hollywood's first attempt to deal with the attacks. It has been a big hit in the US.
IF YOU want to know more about modern Italy then read See Naples and Die, the new book by socialist Tom Behan. It is about the Camorra, the powerful organised crime group that dominates the southern Italian city of Naples. The Camorra has grown because of the huge unemployment rate in the Campania region - 23.3 percent overall and 28 percent in Naples.
EVEN AMID the horror of full scale war there exists an obscene taboo. It is the fate of those soldiers who are severely wounded and mutilated. So when Margaret Thatcher ordered a Falklands War victory parade, such casualties were told not to attend.
A CLASSIC Marxist account of religion, The Meek and the Militant by Paul N Siegel, has been reprinted in a special deal for London's socialist bookshop, Bookmarks. It takes as its starting point Marx's famous description of religion as "the sigh of the oppressed, the heart in the heartless world, the opium of the people".
LANGSTON HUGHES was one of the greatest and most popular black US writers of the 20th century. He was one of the leading lights of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. This was a movement that celebrated black culture and was associated with very left wing politics.
JUST HOW far will Tony Blair go in his pursuit of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch? Blair is set to rip up the findings of a parliamentary committee that discussed his government's draft Communications Bill. The committee advised New Labour to scrap its plans to loosen controls on British TV that would allow Rupert Murdoch's Fox TV to gobble up Channel 5.
THE NEWS of famine across much of southern Africa has underlined the suffering of that continent-a suffering which is the result of slavery, colonialism and capitalism. But there is another side of African experience-the fightback against capitalism and imperialism.
A NEW radio play this week marks the thirtieth anniversary of the trial of the Angry Brigade. The Angry Brigade were a group of young British men and women who launched a campaign of bombing against the government in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They were inspired by the huge waves of international protests against war in Vietnam, repression in Ireland and attacks on workers' rights in Britain.
Sunshine State is the new film from the radical film director John Sayles. The "sunshine state" of the title is Florida, and the film tells us much about the realities underlying the American Dream. The "Buccaneer Days" are a marketing ploy dreamt up by the local Chamber of Commerce to exploit the pirate history of Florida.
IN 1948 a young black man from Trinidad, Alwyn Roberts, was sitting on the deck of an old troop carrier which had been converted to civilian use. The ship was four days from England. Alwyn started to compose a tune. Although unknown in Britain, he was well known in the calypso tents of Trinidad as Lord Kitchener.
OVER 1,000 protesters converged on the Woomera detention centre for refugees in the south Australian desert last Easter. This video is an inspiring account of what happened. Woomera is one of six privately run camps used by the Australian government to detain all "illegal entrants".
AMEN, the new film from radical director Costas-Gavras, provoked a furious reaction in France even before it was screened.
ACTIVIST film-makers including Indymedia Argentina and the makers of This is What Democracy Looks Like and Genova Libera! have teamed up to make a new video, Argentina in Revolt. It uses footage of protests, and interviews of working and unemployed activists to show the turmoil that exploded in Argentina in December last year. Over a million people took to the streets when the economy collapsed under $150 billion of debt to the International Monetary Fund.
MS DYNAMITE released her debut album A Little Deeper six weeks ago. This came after the single "It Takes More", which featured some of the best lyrics I'd heard from a chart hit in a long time. The artist behind this is 20 year old Naomi Daley from north London. She recently said her music is "a way for my message to be heard for and by everybody". And what a message.
APOLOGISTS for Western capitalism have long sought to discredit the idea of socialism by pointing to the terror of Stalin's regime in Russia. It is now just over ten years since that system collapsed, but the message is the same-any attempt to build an alternative to capitalism is doomed to follow the path of the Soviet Union.
THE NEW film Minority Report is a provocative thriller about the authorities overstepping their boundaries to prosecute people simply for thinking about a crime. It is based on a short story by science fiction writer Philip K Dick and directed by Steven Spielberg.
THE POET Shelley has inspired hundreds of books throughout the 180 or so years since he died. But Paul O'Brien's new book, Shelley and Revolutionary Ireland, finds a lot of new and very interesting things to say about Shelley and his fight against oppression. The book is about Shelley's two visits to Ireland in 1812.
THE HUGE protests against the G8 in Genoa last July were a major step forward for the anti-capitalist movement. Jonathan Neale's new book, You Are G8, We Are 6 Billion, captures the joy and the fear that the 300,000 people involved in the protests in Genoa felt.