A NEW generation of activists is discovering the power of socialist ideas. Here trade unionists and socialists from across Britain recommend books that changed how they see the world. All of the books that feature would make great presents. They are all available from Bookmarks bookshop.
A BOMB blast rips through a market square full of people. The horrific aftermath is blamed on terrorists. More standard Hollywood fare post 11 September? In fact it is part of an excellent film, The Quiet American. This is directed by Philip Noyce (who also directed Rabbit-Proof Fence), and it stars Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser.
AFTER THE huge success of the anti-racist carnival in Manchester in August, the Anti Nazi League (ANL) is launching Love Music Hate Racism as a national campaign. We want to use it to target the areas where groups like the Nazi BNP and NF are trying to grow. Music is a very good way of getting people involved in the fight against the Nazis. Lots of people are getting in touch and saying, "Manchester was great - we want to do something in our area." There have been gigs in Barrow-in-Furness and Oldham. There are others coming up in Huddersfield, Burnley and Blackburn. The leader of Sunderland council has approached us to set something up there. Trade unions are getting involved.
Bowling for Columbinedirected by Michael Moore
The film Donnie Darko is set in a middle class school in small town America. It is a far cry from most teen movies on offer today. It is a satire about the end of US president Ronald Reagan's era in the late 1980s. Donnie Darko shows how you have to deal with more than your sexuality and your parents when you're a teenager. This film recognises that you also have to confront the world you live in.
ANYONE WITH a computer can now access talks on almost every imaginable aspect of socialist history, theory and argument, and much more besides. The fantastic website www.geocities.com/resistancemp3 consists of hundreds of original talks "on topics from anti-capitalism to Zionism by Socialist Workers Party members, Noam Chomsky, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and others". Most of the talks are recordings of speeches at the annual Marxism event organised by the SWP in London each summer. Others are recordings from the media and meetings elsewhere.
I could not put down the fantastic book by Arundhati Roy The Algebra of Infinite Justice. It is a collection of the main political essays she has written so far. The book includes new essays on Bush and Blair's "war on terror", the Hindu chauvinist BJP government in India, and the effects of privatisation on ordinary people.
The new film Rabbit-Proof Fence is based on a true story. It tells the story of three Aboriginal girls in western Australia who run away from a state institution for "half-caste" children. This is what Australia was like in the 1930s.
A WEEK in Palestine is a new documentary about the daily degradation and misery inflicted on the Palestinian people. Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza describe their lives under Israeli occupation to a solidarity delegation of trade unionists and students from Britain.
POWER IN Numbers is the new album by Jurassic 5, one of the most interesting hip-hop acts in the US at the moment. The group's style is funkier than many of their contemporaries, with more than a nod to the origins of hip-hop in the late 1970s. But Jurassic 5 stand out for another reason.
EVER WISH you could hear Malcolm X speak out? Well, now you can. If you have access to a computer connected to the internet, just log on to <a href="http://www.brothermalcolm.net"target="_blank">www.brothermalcolm.net</a>
ONCE AGAIN the 1960s are back in vogue - the music, the films and the imagery. Over the past few years a number of films from the period have been re-released - The Italian Job, Blow Up and Alfie. But there was a time in the 1960s before the swinging started. This period is brilliantly captured in a series of films made in the early 1960s labelled by critics as the "British new wave".
MANIC STREET Preachers have been one of the most controversial and political bands of the past decade. October sees the release of their "greatest hits" album, Forever Delayed. There is much that disappoints about the Manics these days. Their upcoming national tour is sponsored by Carling and the tickets are expensive. The band also seems to be keeping quiet over war on Iraq when other bands like Massive Attack and Blur support the anti-war movement.
CHRIS HARMAN'S A People's History of the World has now been reprinted after it sold out. Leading US historian Howard Zinn said about A People's History of the World, "I have had many people ask me if there is a book which does for world history what my book A People's History of the United States does for this country.
Naomi Klein worked on her first book, No Logo, in the four years before the great anti-capitalist protests in Seattle. It was published just after and – according to the Guardian – sold 180,000 copies in Britain last year alone. Now she has a new book out. It is a collection of the various pieces of journalism she has written since No Logo propelled her to the forefront of the movement against capitalist globalisation.
Ten years on, the characters from Trainspotting have returned, this time to make a porn movie. Irvine Welsh sets up a series of neatly timed coincidences to bring them back to Edinburgh along with a new character, the beautiful but bulimic student Nikki Fuller-Smith.
DON'T EXPECT much sunlight to filter into the cinema if you go and see Mike Leigh's new film, All or Nothing. The film is an almost relentlessly bleak portrayal of life on a run down estate. Phil, played by Timothy Spall, is a taxi driver who has sunk into deep depression. His common-law wife makes more money than him.
TONY BENN'S political journey has been one of the most remarkable in the history of the British labour movement. Many figures have started out on the left, only to become dedicated defenders of capitalism by the time they have reached middle age.
JOAN LITTLEWOOD, who died at the age of 87 last month, was arguably the major figure of radical political theatre in Britain. She dedicated her life to the theatre, and entertaining and educating working class people.
THE NEW edition of International Socialism offers a reply to all those who argue that the working class is dead. Chris Harman argues that the working class is bigger than it ever has been before on a global scale and that it continues to play the vital role in the struggle for a decent society.