The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Culture Corner—How Beautiful We Were & Women of the Movement

Jan 17, 2022

Book: How Beautiful We Were, by Imbolo Mbue, 2021

A book chosen by the New York Times as one of ten “Best Books of 2021”.

The events told in this book takes place roughly 20 years ago in an unnamed African country, unnamed because it could have happened (it does happen and continues to happen) in many countries, all over the globe. An oil company with a made up name, “Pexton”, has been drilling for oil in the valley next to their village. The American company cuts back on any safety precautions in their race for the quick buck, so, their river turns green, acid rain falls from the sky, rusty pipelines burst and spill on their farms, their well water and air becomes toxic, and many people, mainly children, die from the poisons. But this is only the beginning of the story. The entire book is the story of the villagers and how they try first one strategy after another to fight back and restore their village and their lives to the beauty that was. The writing in the book carries incredible respect for all the villager’s different voices, and every sentence conveys the beauty of the human spirit and even in their darkest times, their hope for the future.

Film Miniseries: Women of the Movement

Women of the Movement is a 6-part miniseries that premiered on January 6, 2022. Episodes 1—4 can be viewed at or on Hulu. Episodes 5—6 will be shown Thurs. Jan 20 on ABC. Created by Marissa Jo Cerar, and based on the book “Emmett Till” by Devery S. Anderson, the series centers on Mamie Till-Mobley, played by Adrienne Warren, who devoted her life to seeking justice for her 14-year-old murdered son Emmett, played by Cedric Joe. Emmett was murdered in 1955 in Mississippi while visiting from Chicago for whistling at a white woman, in the midst of tense civil rights struggles in Mississippi. His mother spent her life fighting for justice for her son, laying bare the violent racist system for all the world to see.