“Oscars, shmoscars, here are the 2013 Progie film awards”

Film historian and critic Ed Rampell developed the Progie Awards in order to draw attention to films of social significance with progressive content.

A collective of international film writers, The James Agee Cinema Circle (JACC), nominates films and actors for these awards. Read the article here ( for the interesting list of categories of awards and for the winners, and an earlier post with the full list of nominees in each category (

The Origins of the Fault Lines in Ukraine

Excerpts from an educative article by Kenny Coyle in the Morning Star:

“Ukraine has always been a territory of mixed and changing population, home to diverse religious, ethnic and linguistic communities. Ukrainian identity is fluid not fixed. The word Ukraine itself means ‘borderland’… It is a bitter irony for the ultra-nationalists that it was the Soviet era that saw the most powerful consolidation of Ukrainian identity, language and territory. Without this it is impossible to envisage the current statehood of Ukraine.

“Even the anti-communist historian Paul Kubiceck in his History Of The Ukraine, conceded that the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic ‘was showered with resources’ so that by the end of the 1930s ‘Ukraine was one of Europe’s leading industrial centres, producing more metal and machines than Italy and France and nearly as much as Great Britain.’”

Full article at

In another article, Coyle examines “how the fascist Svoboda party emerged from the fringes of Ukrainian politics”:

“Venezuela Beyond the Protests: The Revolution is Here to Stay” continues its valuable work — and its coverage and analysis of the riots supported by the Venezuelan 1%.

“ The revolution that is here to stay is the Bolivarian Revolution, which began in 1998 when Hugo Chavez was first elected president and has subsequently transformed the mega oil producing nation into a socially-focused, progressive country with a grassroots government…Those protesting do not represent Venezuela’s vast working class majority, which struggled to overcome the oppressive exclusion they were subjected to during administrations before Chavez. The youth taking to the streets today in Caracas and other cities throughout the country, hiding their faces behind masks and balaclavas, destroying public buildings, vehicles, burning garbage, violently blocking transit and throwing rocks and molotov cocktails at security forces are being driven by extremist right-wing interests from Venezuela’s wealthiest sector. [They are] led by hardline neoconservatives, Leopoldo Lopez, Henrique Capriles and Maria Corina Machado – who come from three of the wealthiest families in Venezuela, the 1% of the 1%…”


“Venezuelan Government Reiterates Calls For Dialogue With Opposition”:

President Maduro urged more talks with student groups, and that he wanted “constructive dialogue to define key issues.”

Maduro also called for strength in the face of ongoing violent demonstrations across the country: “Decent people of this country,…we have to keep fighting to defeat these fascist gangs, who were trained for two or three years.”


“What’s going on in Venezuela?”:

“Chavez came from nowhere, he’s a grave danger for Venezuela and the world, and … oh wow, how did he get elected again?!… [This is] the crux of the situation in Venezuela. It is not about a sudden emergence of economic problems, corruption or crime. It is about the ultra-rich and their supporters,…who for 15 years have spent their time, energy and resources trying every measure possible to overthrow the will of the people.”



Trinamul Party Workers and Local Leaders among the Accused in the CBI Charge-Sheets on Nandigram

Two charge-sheets have been filed by the CBI in the Haldia Court on the events of March 18, 2007 in Nandigram.

Ganashakti reports: “Six and a half years into the investigation of the Nandigram police firing in 2007, the CBI has found the involvement of Trinamul workers and leaders. No evidence has been found on the slanderous allegation by mainstream media and intellectuals that CPI (M) ‘harmads’ or goons had infiltrated the police posse and fired at innocents. Nor have they found any evidence of the ‘trawler’ filled [with] dead bodies, which, according to the current Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, [was] ‘smuggled’ out of Nandigram. The CBI has also failed to find any remains of slaughtered children.”

Full report at


Open Letter to the Chief Minister of Delhi on the Role of Delhi Law Minister

The All-India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and other women’s organisations write jointly to the Chief Minister of Delhi on the “horrific” acts of intimidation and racial profiling of Ugandan and Nigerian women “by a group led by Delhi Law Minister Shri Somnath Bharti.”

“We agree that it is essential to put in place measures to discipline and hold Delhi police accountable for their lapses and short comings – the latest instances including the Danish woman’s rape and the dowry murder of Neha Yadav…We also know how hard it is to ensure that Police act in accordance with law and Constitutional values rather than public or political sentiment, especially in matters involving women and vulnerable social groups. In this incident, the Malviya Nagar SHO became a rare exception who acted to protect the African women, whose safety was criminally compromised.”

Full statement in the file attachment

pdf icon womens-organisations-on-law-minister.pdf


SACP and COSATU on the death of Nelson Mandela

From the South African Communist Party’s “Statement on the Passing Away of Madiba”:

“…At his arrest in August 1962, Nelson Mandela was not only a member of the then underground South African Communist Party, but was also a member of our Party’s Central Committee. To us as South African communists, Comrade Mandela shall forever symbolise the monumental contribution of the SACP in our liberation struggle. The contribution of communists in the struggle to achieve the South African freedom has very few parallels in the history of our country. After his release from prison in 1990, Comrade Madiba became a great and close friend of the communists till his last days.”

Full statement at

From the statement of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions titled “COSATU Honours the Memory of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela”:

“…We salute one of the finest political figures of all time, a fearless revolutionary who led his people during the darkest days of our country, who never wavered and was the very essence of compassion, dedication, integrity and selflessness…

“Our chief challenge now is to match the political transformation which Comrade Madiba led […] with an equally militant revolutionary struggle to solve the problems which we still face, particularly economic apartheid, exposed by our outrageous levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality.”

Full statement at


Stanley Fish on Noam Chomsky

The New York Times columnist Stanley Fish writes that he was “enchanted, even ravished,” by Noam Chomsky’s 2013 John Dewey lectures, organised by the Philosophy Department at Columbia University.

The general subject of the lectures: “What Kind of Creatures are We?” The titles of the three lectures: “What is Language?,” “What Can We Understand?,” and “What is the Common Good?”

At the conclusion of each lecture, Chomsky received a thundering round of applause; by the third day the applause was deafening and sustained; it refused to stop…The term “master class” is a bit overused, but I feel no hesitation in using it here. It was a master class taught by a master, and if someone were to ask me what exactly is it that academics do, I would point to these lectures and say, simply, here it is, the thing itself.

Read the article at

N. Ram in The Hindu: “The not-quite ‘semi-final’ and what it portends”

Although the current electoral record indicates that the Bharatiya Janata Party will be single largest party in the next Lok Sabha, the BJP, N. Ram writes,

“will not go into the mid-2014 ‘finals’ as the favourite, in any event not the overwhelming favourite. Interesting political moves are on, for example, the Congress’s reported attempt to strike a deal with the Bahujan Samaj Party, the alliance manoeuvres in Bihar, not to mention the Telangana drama that lies ahead, that could make a difference on the ground. It is quite conceivable, even likely, that a post-poll combination of triumphant regional parties will, with external support from the Congress and the Left, be able to form the next government.”

Read the article at

For a pdf version:

pdf iconnot-quite-semifinal.pdf

Myths about Golden Rice

A geneticist’s perspective on transgenic plant varieties that “could substantially reduce the devastating impact of vitamin A deficiency.”


The Stalkers: Amit Shah’s Illegal Surveillance Exposed —

An expert writes:

“The video titled ‘The Stalkers,’ available at this link [see below], is material evidence that lays the ground for a CBI investigation into this totally illegal surveillance of a young woman and her associates — and the roles of Amit Shah, Narendra Modi, G. L. Singhal, and some others.

“Allowing for some possible transcription errors, the audio recordings do reveal a great deal that is of public interest.

“It is significant that Amit Shah (as Prashant Bhushan pointed out in a CNN-IBN panel discussion on Monday, November 19, 2013) has so far not denied it is his voice in the recordings, and also that Modi has so far chosen not to make a statement about this affair.

“Authentication of the audio recordings should be a simple and straightforward task. Since the recordings are in the custody of the CBI and were handed over to the agency by Singhal, the preponderance of probability is that the recordings are authentic.

“They reveal Amit Shah’s, and the State’s, extraordinary obsession with the movements of the young woman and a close nexus with ‘Saheb’, who has his independent sources of information and comes up with leads that put a good deal of pressure on Shah.

“It is also clear from Shah’s hands-on involvement, his oral instructions to Singhal, and Singhal’s conversations at the instance of Shah with some other police officers, that the intensive surveillance by those supposed to be involved in anti-terrorism activities is illegal — there can be no doubt about this.

“Circumstantial and external evidence (from the father of the young woman) indicate that ‘Saheb’ is Narendra Modi. Amit Shah feeds the leads he periodically receives from ‘Saheb’ into the illegal surveillance operations conducted by Singhal. Through their public statements, the young woman’s father, and indeed the BJP, have come close to confirming that ‘Saheb’ is Modi.

“There is solid material here for a criminal investigation and prosecution.”

[Scroll down for full transcript.]

From “Chomsky’s right: The New York Times’ latest big lie”

“More misleading half-truths from a paper too cowed by power and myth to tell the truth about U. S. foreign policy,” by Patrick L. Smith.


(via NR)

Nadezhda Popov, famed World War II woman bomber pilot, dies at 91

From the obituary in The Economist:

When she was 19 or 20, she “could turn her aircraft over and dive full-throttle through raking German searchlights, swerving and dancing, acting as a decoy for a second plane that would glide in silently behind her to drop its payload of bombs. That done, the second plane would act as decoy while she glided in to drop bombs herself. She made 852 such sorties in the second world war as a pilot in the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, later named the 46th Guards in honour of its courage.”

Obituary in the New York Times at

Narendra Modi’s repugnant analogy

Brinda Karat writes: “In defence of the insulting and repugnant ‘kutte ka bachcha’ analogy he used when asked in an interview about the 2002 pogroms in Gujarat, Narendra Modi tweeted ‘In our culture every form of life is valued and worshipped.’ Except, he could have added, if you are a Muslim or a Christian.”

(Note: Brinda Karat quoted the term kutte ka bachcha, the exact words used by Modi, throughout in her manuscript; the term was changed to “puppy” when published.)

Borowitz again

U. S. seemingly unaware of irony in accusing Snowden of spying:

From the barricades in Istanbul

The Istanbul protests represent a defence of a secular Turkey and of the historical achievements of the women’s and general democratic movements in Turkey over the twentieth century, which are now under threat from a neo-liberal, pro-Islamist regime.

On women’s participation in the Istanbul protests: “One of the truly remarkable aspects of the recent protests in Istanbul and around the country has been the level of participation and visibility of women… Easily half the crowd at any given protest that I’ve seen has been female.”

There “are very real and very serious threats to female autonomy in Turkey, where women…have long been a prominent and liberated part of society.”

For the report, and photographs and posters, follow the link below. In addition to the photographs of the Woman in Red and the Woman in Blue, note the photograph of the injured Reuters photographer Osman Orsal, who took the photographs of Ceyda Sungur.

A gallery of 188 photographs of the protests on Huffington Post (scroll down):