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:
Solito and The Teacher’s Lounge

Mar 25, 2024

Books: Solito: A Memoir by Javier Zamora, 2023

The author was born in El Salvador in 1990. This book is his story, the tale of his 9-year-old self, making a 3,000 mile journey from his grandparents’ home to join his parents in Arizona. He was unaccompanied by family members but watched over by fellow travelers. He writes of dealing with coyotes, of a boat ride in the Pacific Ocean, a trek through barbed wire and desert, of being caught and deported, and more. The book is beautifully written, describing the dangerous world of migration from the viewpoint of a child—harrowing and horrifying, yet also brave, adventurous and full of hope and love.

Film: The Teacher’s Lounge, directed by Ilker Çatak, 2023

This German movie, with subtitles, depicts a young idealistic teacher full of ideas and hope. Her sixth-grade students respond and she is encouraged. But then things fall apart. She herself gets trapped in the effects of class society. You see class determining who does well and who does not. Then thefts occur in the school and blame again follows class lines. She battles entrenched stereotypes and racism among her co-workers, who blame “minorities”. But then she herself unwittingly causes blame to fall on a minority family. Her students unite and rebel. The students are the real stars of the movie. They carry the promise of a classless society, of a future where all can do well.