Babylon at the Movies- For Comrades

Our new video column continues to provoke and prod people to think critically about current political struggles and challenges...


We are going to start a new weekend column here that will make movie suggestions for your viewing pleasure over the weekend. The selection is going to be based around the content being engaging and original as opposed to ideological or political purity. Here is a recent short film by Andrew Stewart. If you have your own suggested films, feel free to contact us to consider for our showcase.

I came up with this a few months ago for several reasons.

First is my persistent and unrepentant annoyance/disgust with the sophistry of the Democratic Party and the self-described Resistance™, or as I refer to them, Monty Python’s Partisans. Under the valiant leadership of Comrade-Commandants Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, they fart in the general direction of Donald Trump and corral progressive activists into the distraction of electoral politics around candidates who consistently offer a cycle of diminishing returns, demonstrated this week by the pitiful performance around Venezuela.

Second is my deep love and great esteem for the writings of the late Cedric J. Robinson, a critical Black scholar who formulated an entirely unique and important way of thinking about African politics and history. Called “the Black Radical Tradition” and first formulated in his astonishing book Black Marxism, it is a statement of praxis that critically engages with the shortcomings of the Western Leftist heritage and articulates a critique of Communist politics in a way that is intellectually robust but grounded in a serious and meaningful emphasis on action. Unlike so many Marxian thinkers today, who fill the ranks of the academy but very rarely write books that would be useful to activists, Robinson was developing over his entire corpus of writing a plan of liberation for his people and, in that sense, the entire world. He viscerally understood the meaning of what the Combahee River Collective said, “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression,” and wanted to help that happen.

Third is my subscription to what Black radical thinkers have been saying for the past few years about the Trump presidency and its wider context. Unlike liberals, who have a very rose-colored glasses view of Democratic Party presidents and policies, there is a small but vocal set of thinkers in the Black press and radical intelligentsia that see Trump not as an aberration but rather a symptom of a wider problem, the genocidal American settler-colonial project. Though it is unpopular and seen by some as minimizing the state violence the nasty narcissistic white nationalist game show host has unleashed as president upon frontline communities, in reality a holistic analysis is the only framework that I see as a viable foundation for a true resistance to this political catastrophe.

And finally this is a love letter to activists and organizations I struggle alongside with on the picket lines in the Greater Providence area. I won’t name names, to use an old phrase, in order to avoid potential dangerous repercussions that come of guilt-by-association tactics utilized by the COINTEL-PRO system still. But they know who they are and why my life is totally made better by having them in it.

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