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—The Wobbies & Libertie:
A Novel

Apr 25, 2022

Film: The Wobblies, a 1979 documentary, restored

Directed by Stewart Bird and Deborah Shaffer. Released for May Day showings in some cities, and online.

This documentary presents vintage footage interspersed with interviews of older workers who, in their youth, were militants of the IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, nicknamed the Wobblies. In a time period where unions were exclusive craft unions, the IWW was instead a union open to all workers; no one excluded by trade, skill, race, sex, age, workplace or nationality. Their motto was “an injury to one is an injury to all”. They were organizers and fighters in many notable militant strikes in the desperate times of the early twentieth century. They stood fast against the brutal attacks of the bosses and lit a light that shone over all the world. The story of their bravery and leadership shines on for us today.

Book: Libertie: A Novel by Kaitlyn Greenidge, 2021

The award-winning book Libertie: A Novel is a coming of age story and also historical fiction. The story starts in 1860 and is told from the point of view of Libertie, the daughter of the first black female doctor in Brooklyn, New York. The book is full of historical details: the choice to participate in the Underground Railroad in New York; the place of community; the role of science, research, and herbs in medicine; her travels to Haiti and much more. It tackles the dynamics of mother-daughter relationships, the social causes of mental illness, the crippling legacy of racism and sexism, and the search for freedom. It beautifully conveys age-old dilemmas that we still face today.