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 Jewish Question & The Color Purple

Jan 1, 2024

Book: The Jewish Question, A Marxist Interpretation by Abram Leon, 1950.

This incredible book was written by a Jewish young man, a Marxist, while he was in the underground resistance in Nazi-occupied Belgium. Though he was caught and killed by the Nazis in 1944, he left us this groundbreaking book.

He analyzes the history of Judaism from the Roman Empire to World War II and shows how it survived because of the economic role that events forced it to play. He relates not just how Judaism changed over time, but also how the Christian religion was forced to adapt to the demands of changing economies, how religion came to serve the feudal class and then the rising capitalist class. And he explains how racism’s divide-and-conquer policy allows capitalism to rule.

He concludes that a Zionist state in Israel will not serve the interests of Jewish workers, and that only the working class can lead, escaping the traps of a corrupt and decaying capitalism, and sweeping this rotten system from the globe.

Film: The Color Purple, a Musical 2023.

Inspired by the 1982 book of the same name by Alice Walker, this vibrant film opened in theaters Dec. 25th of 2023. While the story line is heartbreaking, that of a young woman, Celie, abused and violated by first her step-father and then her husband, the theme that emerges is how she is able to fight back against her isolation and oppression, and how she is able to find allies who help her fight, two women who are also fighting in their own way.

The movie is about their love and support of each other, and how, through coming together, the human spirit survives. Yes, the racist and patriarchal system is still out there, and needs to be overthrown, but a first step for abused women is to come together and to fight it. The film celebrates this with powerful beauty.