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:
Selma Lord Selma; Book:

Aug 7, 2023

Film: Selma Lord Selma, directed by Charles Burnett, 1999; Available on Disney+ and YouTube

Selma, Lord, Selma is a 1999 American film based on true events that happened in March 1965, known as Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. The film tells the story through the eyes of an 11-year-old African-American girl named Sheyann Webb (Jurnee Smollett-Bell). The movie is based on the book of the memories of Sheyann, who was eight years old when she participated in the events, even skipping school to get involved. It shows how the whole community came to be swept up in the fervor of the fight for voting rights, how protestors met and organized in the face of threats and violence. In spite of the danger, they decided to march from Selma to Montgomery. The police attacked in force, injuring at least 60, some very seriously. The film (and book of the same name) shows the quiet heroism and the high courage in the face of danger.

Book: Hiroshima, by John Hersey, 1946

Hiroshima tells the story of the effects of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan with the first atomic bomb on August 5, 1945, and the aftermath. The book consists of the descriptions of the experiences of six survivors of Hiroshima. The details of what they saw are horrifying: melted eyeballs, skin sliding off, individuals who were vaporized leaving only their shadow etched onto walls, “a parade of misery,” and almost the entire city in ruins. The after-effects followed people for decades.

As seen in the movie Oppenheimer, the atomic bomb was developed by bringing together the best scientists in the world and by not sparing any expense. However, this scientific endeavor sought only to benefit the ruling elites and to scare and subjugate the working people of the world. Why should science benefit only them at our expense?

This book was considered so important for the world to know that it was printed in magazines, read on the radio, and was distributed for free. Even today the audible version is available without charge.