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:
On the Come Up & All Quiet on the Western Front

Feb 20, 2023

Book: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, 2019

This is a book by Angie Thomas. Many know her from her first book, The Hate You Give. On the Come Up is another teen/young adult book that features Bri, a 16 year old girl who is experiencing extreme poverty and enormous emotional pressure that she feels to grow up and solve her family’s dilemmas. She is a creative and intelligent rapper, following in her deceased father’s footsteps. She and her friends experience racism, harassment, a lack of opportunities. She faces choices to do what others expect and want, or to find her own way. But what is the way to your dreams? In spite of incredible obstacles, she finds a way to fight back.

This book was just recently made into a film in 2022, directed by Sanaa Lathan, starring Jamila C. Gray as Bri Jackson, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Pooh, and will soon be available to see.

Film: All Quiet on the Western Front, streaming on Netflix, 2022

This 2023 Oscar nominated film was based on a German book of the same name, which shows the horrors of WWI but also of war in general, and the emotional dilemma facing soldiers as they face re-entering society after the dire overwhelming experience of war. The film is utterly horrifying, and it’s meant to be, and yet, humanity finds a way to sprout through the cracks.

Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, and the ramping of war propaganda against China, it is a film which touches the central issue of the day: fight their wars or fight those who propose war to suit their greed.