Sunday, October 29, 2017

Anti-racists defy new tide of racism

AROUND 1,300 anti-racists packed Friends Meeting House in Euston, London, last Saturday to debate the rising rise of racism and Islamophobia in Britain and the world, at a conference called by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR).
Amongst those attending were leading anti-fascists from Germany, Austria and Greece and author David Neiwert analysing the new far-right mobilisations in the US emboldened by US President Donald Trump’s Islamophobia and racism, Kevin Courtney, Roger McKenzie, Harun Rashid Khan, Shahrar Ali, Salma Yaqoob, Weyman Bennett, the joint general secretary of Unite Against Fascism.
Other participants included Catherine West MP, Claude Moraes MEP, David Rosenberg (Jewish Socialist Group), Talha Ahmad (Muslim Council of Britain), Kate Hudson (CND), and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.
The conference heard first-hand accounts of the horrific, avoidable disaster at Grenfell and its aftermath, people those whose family members died in police custody, those who have born the brunt of the rise in Islamophobic hate crime, and European Union nationals whose rights are being threatened by the British government.
There were reports on the struggle against fascism in Germany, Austria and Greece – but not Ukraine. Plenty of discussion on the dangers of fascism threatening countries but nothing about the country that now has an aggressive, openly pro-Nazi government, and which is now being supported financially and militarily by Britain and the USA.
This weakened SUTR’s claim to be trying to “bring all these struggles together and fight as one” to become “more effective than we could possibly imagine.”
Diane Abbott told the closing plenary that a future Labour government would fight racism: “We cannot allow the politics of hate to prevail. You can't take progress for granted and there are some who want to push the progress back.
“Fighting racism will be at the heart of my work as Home Secretary when Jeremy Corbyn is Prime Minister. The left in Britain has grown in confidence but the threat of the right and racism has not gone away.”
As Weyman Bennett told the conference: “We need a movement that can give us strength. We need to build local Stand Up To Racism groups.
“When the right is on the march across the world, we need to stand up and we do that by organising.”

Saturday, October 28, 2017

China's Peking Opera troupe returns to London

The Phoenix Returns Home - a tale of love, manipulation and mistaken identity
by Zhou Xin

The China National Peking Opera Company (CNPOC) returned to Britain for the fourth time, with the d├ębut of the classic opera River All Red on Saturday night attracting over 1,000 Chinese nationals and Londoners alike, and the classic play The Phoenix Returns Home, at London's Sadler's Wells this week.
This is the fourth time the CNPOC has brought productions to Britain, following its tours in 2005, 2015 and 2016.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of ambassadorial diplomatic relations between Britain and People’s China. With the troupe's first three tours well received by British audiences and critics, Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming called the troupe "a golden brand" for British–Chinese cultural exchange.
The performance of A River All Red in London is a reproduction of the classic opera about Yue Fei, one of China's most celebrated generals of the feudal era. It tells the tragic story of his resolute loyalty to the people and the throne even in the face of betrayal.
The opera presents all four fundamental elements of this performing art: singing, speaking, acting and fighting. The company has also made improvements on the original production by fine-tuning the tempo, adding more stage imagery effects with modern multimedia technology.
One member of the audience, Dylan Dryden, said the performance was extraordinary: "It is very very good, very classic – the costumes and the fashion expressions and the make up and the singing and story – it's very good, I don't understand the Mandarin but I read the story and it's very touching."
The opera's leading actor Yu Kuizhi said that after three British tours, the passionate engagement of the audience and the wide attention of the mainstream media have shown the cultural literacy and appreciation of the British audience and their strong interests in Chinese traditional culture.
As China's premier Peking Opera organisation, the CNPOC comprises celebrated performers, playwrights, directors, composers and stage designers. It has accumulated some of the finest repertoire of productions ranging over the wide diversity of Peking Opera performance styles as well as innovative pioneering works.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fidel the musical!

by New Worker correspondent

Coming soon to the West End is musical like no other. It promises to completely change your ideas about Fidel Castro, Cuba and politics!
 The writer, Dr Denise Baden, has not just drawn on the Cuban story but also the process of musical development has been designed to reflect Cuban values of inclusion, education and solidarity.
Denise wrote the script based on her research into Fidel’s leadership style and the songs were sourced via a free song-writing competition. The public and professional judges chose the best via an X-factor style event and the Mayflower Musical Youth Theatre put on a mini show. Now the first ever production is being staged in London’s Covent Garden next month.
 The musical Fidel is an epic tale that begins with Fidel’s early days as an activist against the brutal dictator Batista and ends with the victory march into Havana in 1959. It will be performed for the first time at the Iris Theatre on 16th November with two performances at 14:00 and 19:30. The show lasts 90 minutes with a brief 15 minute talk about Cuba beforehand, and a question and answer session afterwards with the cast and crew.
The Iris Theatre is a registered charity with a mission to support the development of the next generation of professional theatre practitioners across all theatre forms. It was established in 2007 to produce work at the world famous St Paul's Church (The Actors’ Church), Bedford Street, London WC2E 9ED. Tickets for Fidel cost £15 full price and £10 for under 18s.