This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.
Maoist Internationalist Movement

Higher Learning

Directed by John Singleton

Higher Learning is a progressive movie which takes on many 
political issues, including those which relate to gender, 
nation ("race"), class and sexual orientation. This upsets 
many bourgeois film critics, who prefer "art for art's 
sake," and therefore consider artists like Singleton 
"preachy" for addressing the issues of the day.

One of the worst things about Higher Learning is that in 
some places, it lends itself to a liberal individualist 
analysis. One example of this is where we are told that a 
character who becomes a violent white supremacist was 
beaten as a child. The issue of individualism is also 
raised by quick scene changes which seem to indicate a 
symmetry between supporters of white power and supporters 
of Black power. 

Overall, however, Higher Learning does more to promote an 
analysis of groups than a psychoanalysis of individuals. 
For instance, Singleton does a lot to illustrate that the 
white nation or "race" has state power in the U.S. The 
school in which the film is set is Columbus University (Go 
Conquerors!), and U.S. flags and portraits of Columbus and 
George Washington are ubiquitous.

One of the best things about Higher Learning is its 
treatment of gender, particularly in relation to nation. 
Nation or "race" is correctly shown to be the principal 
contradiction, the one which provokes the most violent 
actions and reactions. Gender oppression's existence is 
demonstrated with a white-on-white date rape. When the 
raped woman attends a women's support group, she finds that 
the pseudo-feminist discussion, which centers around the 
need for more campus cops, does not address the experience 
of date rape. Elsewhere in Higher Learning, we see that 
campus cops mainly serve the function of harassing, and 
occasionally beating, Black men. While most rape is date 
rape, pseudo-feminism promotes a strengthened white state.

Class is best dealt with in Higher Learning by comments 
acknowledging that it is a privilege to be in college. The 
Third World unfortunately does not make its presence known 
in this film. 

Singleton's treatment of sexual orientation is good. 
Obviously Singleton is more progressive on this question 
than were some audience members MIM witnessed who loudly 
proclaimed their discomfort with a same-sex love scene. 
Another scene shows a gay couple being bashed by a gang of 
fascist skinheads. As with gender oppression, Singleton 
shows that heterosexist oppression is real and sometimes 
violent, but nonetheless does not mobilize people the way 
that the contradiction between oppressed nations and the 
oppressor nation does.

Campus multiculturalism is correctly shown for the liberal 
gloss it is. A multicultural "Unity Fest" is a good excuse 
for a concert, but does nothing to prevent the reality of 
racist violence from crashing in.

On the question of national oppression, Singleton tells the 
audience through the voice of a wise professor that if the 
oppressed want to seize power, they need to have a plan. 
The professor reminds us what Frederick Douglass said: 
"Without struggle, there is no progress."

- MC49

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