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 CornerStolen & Say Hey, Willie Mays

Feb 6, 2023

Book: Stolen, a novel by Ann-Helén Laestadius 2022

The book begins the story from the point of view of Elsa, a nine-year-old Sámi girl. The Sámi are a people who live in the northern Scandinavian Arctic Circle, herding reindeer. The book is a family saga, an examination of the Sámi way of life, of the effects of climate change, and a quest for justice for indigenous people. Elsa sees her way of life under attack. Schools were set up to take away their culture. Swedish hunters torture and brutally kill the Sámi reindeer. Corporations want to mine minerals on the reindeer grazing lands. Elsa sees it all and watches the different responses, the frustration, and the anger of her family members. The story continues when she’s a young woman and she decides she needs to fight back, even if only on her own. A powerful and heart-wrenching story.

Film: Say Hey, Willie Mays, an HBO documentary, 2022

The film tells the true life story of Willie Mays, some say the most spectacular baseball player that ever played. It shows his childhood in Alabama and shows the racism and segregation. He was poached from the Negro Leagues, and the film exposes how when the MLB took players, they often did not compensate the Negro League teams. It shows his influence on the sport and on his teammates, and his incredible career as a slugger and a center fielder. In the MLB, he played baseball for the New York Giants at night, and played stickball with the neighborhood kids in the day. He is 91 now, so viewers get to hear him as he narrates different events of his life. He was an exceptional athlete and yet just a man who loved competing and playing the game.