Excerpts of Speeches
from Jean-Luc Godard’s La Chinoise & Ephraim Asili’s The Inheritance
La Chinoise, Jean-Luc Godard (1967)
“Les perspectives de la gauche Européenne” —Omar Diop, Université Paris Nanterre
Comrades and friends, those who make Stalin responsible, in addition to his crimes and faults, for all our deceptions, our mistakes and despair, in any sphere, might be very upset to realize that the end of intellectual totalitarianism…
…if you like, the end of intellectual dogmatism, has not returned Marxist philosophy to us in its complete form. After all, we can only liberate what already exists, even from dogmatism. Yes, Stalin’s death has meant a real freedom for research, but also a fever causing certain people to rush into philosophizing about their feelings on liberation and their taste for freedom. What Stalin’s death gave us is the right to count exactly what we own, to call both wealth and nakedness by their real names, to think and talk aloud about our problems, and to undertake serious research. Stalin’s death allowed us to get partially away from our provincial theories to recognize and know the existence of others outside of ourselves, and seeing this exterior begin to see ourselves better, to know the place we occupy in the knowledge and ignorance of Marxism, and so, to begin to know ourselves. Today’s task is simply to ask and to face these problems in the light of day if we want to give some existence and consistency to Marxist philosophy. Any questions?
Can a non-socialist revolution peacefully be changed into a socialist one?
Yes, under specific conditions. But never can an absence of revolution be changed to revolution, nor into a socialist revolution, and even less into socialism. No matter how you look at it, the road to socialism always leads to a revolution. But your question reveals a false underlying notion. Where do just ideas arise? Where do just ideas come from?
They fall from the sky.
No, they come from social interaction, and…?
The fight to produce?
Yes, and then…?
From scientific research.
Yes, and what else? From the class struggle. Some classes are victorious, others defeated. That’s history. The history of all civilizations.
Will class struggle end under proletarian dictatorship?
No. In his speech to the transport workers on March 29, 1921, Lenin showed class struggle doesn’t disappear under proletarian dictatorship, but rather takes on other forms.
As is happening in Soviet Russia today?
Yes, in spite of the lies of the duo Brezhnev-Kosygin. Give up illusions and prepare to fight. This world is as much yours as ours. Hope lies within you. To work is to fight. And you must seek truth in the facts.
But what exactly is a fact?
Facts are things and phenomena as they exist objectively. Truth is the link between things and phenomena, which is to say the laws that govern them. To research is to study. We must begin with the real situation internally and externally in every part of the country. Sort out the laws that apply to serve as guides and not the ones from our imaginations. Which is to say, find the internal ties in events occurring around us.
The Inheritance, Ephraim Asili (2020)
“Long live John Africa!” —Michael Africa Jr, MOVE Organization
My name is Michael Africa Jr. I’m a member of the MOVE Organization. I’ve been a MOVE member for a long time. I was actually born in the organization. My mother and father are two members of the organization, as you just saw. My mother had me shortly after the August 8, 1978 confrontation when the police stormed our home. They shot water cannons and tear gas, all of these tactics that they use to attack people. They did all of those things to our house, and they arrested them. I was born about a month later in a prison cell. When I was born my grandmother came to get me from the prison, from the hospital, and we went to Virginia, where John Africa had what was called the Seed of Wisdom chapter. That chapter was set up so that MOVE children could get away from the confrontational atmosphere in the city of Philadelphia. While we were there we were trying to live peacefully. While we were there the same kind of situation happened, where the police came and raided our house. They arrested the adults that were there. They put the children in an orphanage. Myself, along with fourteen other children were in that orphanage for eleven days. We were abused, our hair was combed and ripped out of our scalps. We were grieving because of the loss of our family, and we would not eat. We were force fed, and so forth and so on. Eventually the adults that were arrested came to the orphanage and got us out of there. They took us back to Philadelphia. When I was a young child my grandmother, who I was living with, she decided to leave the organization. When she left the organization she took me with her. While I was gone, my cousins and I and my sister, we made a pact that when we got old enough we were going to come back to MOVE. At the time I think I was about five or six years old, but I was determined, because I always loved MOVE. I always loved the teachings of John Africa. I always loved my family. The separation was more than I was willing to accept. So we made that decision that we were going to come back to MOVE when we got old enough.
We talked about natural law. We talked about diet, eating healthy. The essence of John Africa’s teaching is the self. Take care of yourself. When you take care of yourself all of the things that we do as revolutionaries is really all in that. If you think about self and you take care of yourself, you don’t have to think about trying to be an activist for the environment. You don’t have to try to think about being an activist for political prisoners. You don’t have to think about activism for animals. If you just think about yourself that covers everything, because you’re connected to the environment.
View next: The Inheritance: A Photo Essay by Greg de Cuir Jr from Integrated Whirls: A Dossier on Ephraim Asili