Angela Davis on Black Lives Matter, election

This 3 July 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Angela Davis on Abolition, Calls to Defund Police, Toppled Racist Statues & Voting in 2020 Election

Amid a worldwide uprising against police brutality and racism, we discuss the historic moment with legendary scholar and activist Angela Davis. She also responds to the destruction and removal of racist monuments in cities across the United States, and the 2020 election.

Angela Davis speech for striking US dockworkers

This video from California in the USA says about itself:

On Juneteenth 2020 at the Port of Oakland, Angela Davis made a statement on Juneteenth and the role of the ILWU in the struggle against discrimination, racism and war.

This took place on 2020 Juneteenth June 19, 2020.

No capitalism without racism, Angela Davis says

This 14 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Angela Davis: We can’t eradicate racism without eradicating racial capitalism

World-renowned activist and professor Angela Davis says that racism is intrinsic to capitalist social relations, and that one will not be abolished without the other.

“I am convinced that the ultimate eradication of racism is going to require us to move toward a more socialist organization of our economies,” says Davis. “I think we have a long way to go before we can begin to talk about an economic system that is not based on exploitation and on the super-exploitation of Black people, Latinx people and other racialized populations. But I do think that we now have the conceptual means to engage in discussions.”

Watch the full interview with Angela Davis here.

Malcolm X on capitalism

The protests against police murder: The way forward. 15 June 2020. The fight against police violence must be connected to the struggles of the working class, in the United States and internationally, against inequality, war and the capitalist system: here.

Angela Davis against Donald Trump

This 12 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Angela Davis Slams Trump Rally in Tulsa, Massacre Site, on Juneteenth Celebration of End of Slavery

President Trump will resume holding indoor campaign events starting with a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19, a day known as Juneteenth, that celebrates African Americans’ liberation from slavery. The rally also falls on the 99th anniversary of the Tulsa race riots, one of the worst acts of racial violence in U.S. history, in which white residents killed hundreds of their African American neighbors.

Legendary scholar Angela Davis says it’s important to recognize that Trump “represents a sector of a population in this country that wants to return to the past … with all of its white supremacy, with all of its misogyny.” Given the historic uprising against racism and state violence, “We cannot be held back by such forces as those represented by the current occupant of the White House,” she says.

United States author Toni Morrison, RIP

This 7 August 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Toni Morrison: Angela Davis, Nikki Giovanni & Sonia Sanchez Pay Tribute

Toni Morrison, one of the nation’s most influential writers, died this week at the age of 88 from complications of pneumonia. In 1993, Morrison became the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. She also won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for her classic work “Beloved”.

Much of Morrison’s writing focused on the Black female experience in America, and her writing style honored the rhythms of Black oral tradition. Her work was deeply concerned with race and history, especially the sin of transatlantic slavery and the potentially restorative power of community. In 2012, President Obama awarded Morrison the Presidential Medal of Freedom. We speak with three legendary writers and close friends of Toni Morrison: Angela Davis, author and activist; Nikki Giovanni, poet, activist and educator; and Sonia Sanchez, award-winning poet.

This 7 August 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Angela Davis, Nikki Giovanni & Sonia Sanchez on the Crisis in America & the Death of Toni Morrison

Legendary writers and activists Angela Davis, Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez discuss the gun violence epidemic in the United States in the wake of the latest mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Giovanni, who teaches at Virginia Tech, talks about the massacre at her institution in 2007 that left 32 people dead and wounded another 17, and her efforts to warn administrators about the student who would carry out one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history. The three women also continue their discussion from Part 1, reflecting on the life and legacy of their late friend Toni Morrison, who died Monday at age 88.

Obituary: African-American novelist Toni Morrison dead at 88: here.

Activist Angela Davis interviewed

This 24 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Angela Davis on Running from the FBI, Lessons from Prison and How Aretha Franklin Got Her Free

For more than four decades, Angela Davis has been one of most influential activists and intellectuals in the United States. An icon of the black liberation movement, Davis’s work around issues of gender, race, class and prisons has influenced critical thought and social movements across several generations.

She is a leading advocate for prison abolition, a position informed by her own experience as a prisoner and fugitive on the FBI‘s top 10 most wanted list more than 40 years ago. Once caught, she faced the death penalty in California. After being acquitted, she has spent her life fighting to change the criminal justice system. Just before the midterm elections, Angela Davis sat down with Amy Goodman in Washington, D.C., at Busboys and Poets to tell her life story.

This 24 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

From 1968 to 2018: Angela Davis on Freedom Struggles Then and Now, and the Movements of the Future

Legendary scholar and activist Angela Davis‘s work around issues of gender, race, class and prisons has influenced critical thought and social movements across several generations. Amy Goodman sat down with her in Washington, D.C., in October to discuss freedom struggles over the past 50 years, and where people’s movements are going next.

This 24 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Angela Davis is a leading advocate for prison abolition, a position informed by her own experience as a prisoner and a fugitive on the FBI‘s top 10 wanted list more than 40 years ago. Once caught, she faced the death penalty in California. After being acquitted on all charges, she spent her life fighting to change the criminal justice system. Amy Goodman sat down with Angela Davis at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., in October to talk about the prison abolition movement.

Angela Davis on Aretha Franklin

This 23 August 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Angela Davis: Aretha Franklin Offered to Post Bail for Me, Saying “Black People Will Be Free”

In 1970, Aretha Franklin offered to post bail for Angela Davis, who was jailed on trumped-up charges. Aretha Franklin told Jet magazine in 1970, “Angela Davis must go free. Black people will be free. I’ve been locked up (for disturbing the peace in Detroit) and I know you got to disturb the peace when you can’t get no peace. Jail is hell to be in. I’m going to see her free if there is any justice in our courts, not because I believe in communism, but because she’s a Black woman and she wants freedom for Black people. I have the money; I got it from Black people—they’ve made me financially able to have it—and I want to use it in ways that will help our people.” We speak with activist and scholar Angela Davis about what Aretha Franklin meant to her.

This 23 August 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Aretha Franklin became the voice of the civil rights movement in 1967, when her cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect” became an international sensation. Franklin was a steadfast supporter of the civil rights movement throughout her long and remarkable career. She sang at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral after his assassination in 1968. The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Franklin anonymously helped fund the movement for decades. He said, “When Dr. King was alive, several times she helped us make payroll. … Aretha has always been a very socially conscious artist, an inspiration, not just an entertainer.” For more, we speak with Angela Davis, author, professor and activist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. We also speak with Farah Jasmine Griffin, professor of English and comparative literature and African-American studies at Columbia University, and Mark Anthony Neal, James B. Duke professor of African & African American studies at Duke University.

Angela Davis, Tariq Ali, 1968 till now

This video, recorded in France, says about itself:

The World Today With Tariq Ali – Global 68: Angela Davis

15 May 2018

For a special event marking the 50th anniversary of the 1968 movement in Paris, Tariq and the former Black Panther and civil rights activist Angela Davis spoke about their experiences of that period.

The event took place at an occupied Nanterre University in Paris, which was also the first university that students occupied during the revolt of 1968.

The British 1968: Hornsey College of Art Occupation: here.

Angela Davis on how Clinton made Trump president

This January 2018 video says about itself:

Angela Davis Criticizes “Mainstream Feminism” / Bourgeois Feminism

Full lecture: here.

Translated from a report in Dutch daily Trouw, 8 May 2018, about African American activist Angela Davis in Paris, France:

In her own country the political wind is blowing more rightward than ever. As far as she is concerned, this is also the fault of the [establishment self-styled ‘centrist’] left: “If Hillary Clinton would not have had such a limited idea of feminism, then Trump would not have been elected. Her feminism is about the glass ceiling. The glass ceiling, the women for whom that is a problem have everything already. All they have to do is go through that ceiling. If Clinton would have also stood up for the black women, the trans women, the poor women, maybe then Trump would not have been elected.”

Angela Davis about feminism and anti-racism

This music video says about itself:

“Angela” Davis, by John [Lennon] & Yoko [Ono]/ Plastic Ono Band

16 Febuary 2009

Everyone should read Angela Davis‘ story. Hope you enjoy this small homemade token to her. She is a true “people” teacher. Love.


Album: Sometime In New York City [1972]

Angela, they put you in prison,
Angela, they shot down your man.
Angela, you’re one of the millions
Of political prisoners in the world.

Sister, there’s a wind that never dies,
Sister, we’re breathing together.
Sister, our love and hopes forever,
Keep on moving, oh, so slowly round the world.

They gave you sunshine,
They gave you sea,
They gave you evrything but the jailhouse key.
They gave you coffee,
They gave you tea,
They gave you ev’rything but equality.

Angela, can you hear the world is turning,
Angela, the world watches you.
Angela, you soon will be returning
To your sisters and your brothers of the world.

Sister, you’re still a people teacher,
Sister, your word reaches far.
Sister, there’s a million diffrent races,
But we all share the same future in the world.
They gave you sunshine,
They gave you sea,
They gave you evrything but the jailhouse key.
Yeh, they gave you coffee,
They gave you tea,
They gave you evrything but equality.

Hey, Angela, they put you in prison,
Angela, they shot down your man.
Angela, you’re one of the millions
Of political prisoners in the world.

By Felicity Collier in Britain:

Women have been right at the heart of every mass movement

Tuesday 21st March 2017

The activist, author and intersectional feminist Angela Davis led an inspirational discussion at the Southbank Centre [in London, England] recently. FELICITY COLLIER was there

FORMER leader of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), civil rights activist and academic, Angela Davis has dedicated her life to freedom fighting. She has been described as “the most recognisable face of the left in the US.” Over the last five decades, she has been involved in revolutionary movements such as the Black Panther Party in the 1960s. She also co-founded Critical Resistance — an organisation which exists to counter the US’s prison system, and she has set up an alliance of black feminists.

In 1979, Davis was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union. In her autobiography, she described Communism as “a natural, logical way to defend our embattled humanity.”

Ronald Reagan sacked her from her teaching job at the University of California when he was governor of the state because of her involvement in the CPUSA. She was later reinstated. She once wryly described herself as “the big, bad, black Communist enemy.”

Famously, Davis also withstood arrest by the FBI and imprisonment when a gun owned by her turned up as part of a murder case involving prison guards.

The campaign to free her was massive and international, with support from over 60 countries, as well as from cultural figures John Lennon and Yoko Ono. She was acquitted and went on a worldwide speaking tour which took in Cuba. Her visit had such an impact on her that it led her to pronounce: “Only under socialism could the fight against racism be successfully executed.”

Now aged 73, she continues her social activism and work in education, is a prolific political author and gives speeches around the world. Her scholarship focuses on women, workers and people of colour. She currently teaches in History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

She describes herself as an intersectional feminist. She is in favour of the abolition of prisons and the death penalty, favouring education over a system of punishment, and does much campaigning on the issue.

The sense of resounding respect for Angela Davis was palpable in the Royal Festival Hall during the Women of The World Festival earlier this month. There were several standing ovations, rapturous applause, and one activist from the audience — who campaigns on the issue of deaths in prison custody — rushed up onstage to embrace her heroine. The two stood together, each motioning a black power fist in the air.

One of the immediate topics it seems apposite to ask Angela Davis about is the Donald Trump administration, and she tells a packed hall: “It’s created a disaster. But with Hillary Clinton elected, it would not have been a substantially different situation.

“The difference would have been more room to do more of the organising we need to do during this period.

“People often ask me if I feel disturbed or depressed that the same issues come up again and again. It is true. And structurally, racism is more powerful than ever before.”

But, Davis insists, in relation to activism: “If we don’t acknowledge things have changed, it makes no difference at all.

“The difference is that young activists have more profound ideas — and the conceptual tools they have are based on decades and decades of struggle. So we have made progress.”

The difficulty of conversations about racism is broached.

“It is one of the most effective conversations to take place in activism, within the context of trying to change the world,” she states. But, there are contradictions, she says. “Racism has seen the integrating of people of colour with white supremacism.”

It gives her optimism that there are currently powerful movements of resistance, such as the protection of Muslims and undocumented migrants.

“We’re now reaping the fruits of activists’ work. We’re creating terrain for something that may happen 50 years from now.

“Capitalism compels us to measure the world in a small way. We cannot measure the work we do by our lifetimes.

“We are living the world of imaginaries who are long gone,” she says.

“We are inhabiting a new world that’s made possible by the activism of today.”

The complexities of feminism are discussed. Davis considers it a problem that it is assumed that women would want to replace men.

She urges the importance of intersectionality, a term coined by her peer Kimberly Crenshaw. Davis’s concern is that new ways of tackling the “messiness, interconnectedness, crosshatched nature” are not being explored.

“I was often the target of the question: are you black or are you a woman?” she says.

The category of “woman” is internally racilialised, she states. “We have to say: who are we talking to when we talk about women?

“We will finally have made progress when those who have had to struggle become the sign of that category.” She goes on to give the example of a black, trans woman who has experienced struggles against the US prison system.

Privileged people have become the standard, she warns, before urging: “Why can’t those who have struggled become the sign of what we should strive for?”

Angela Davis authored the book Women, Race and Class in 1983. She recalls how, around that time, she realised that she was being called a feminist.

“I’m not a feminist”, she asserts, “I’m a revolutionary black woman.”

Surrounded by cheers from the hall predominantly made up of black women, she adds: “Over the years, women of colour have redefined the project of feminism. So feminism today is intersectional.”

Davis relates her time in prison, which she now considers “a gift,” as she learned so much about her identity through the experience.

She recalls how she explored the assertion of women of colour in the women’s movements of the 1960s that were emerging.

The feminism that Angela Davis identifies with is “abolitionist feminism,” being anti-racist, anti-capitalist and intersectional.

Feminism is not just about gender and women, she urges, emphasising the fact that “marginal issues are most important in giving us a sense of the way the system functions as a whole.”

Our host, the theatre director, producer and the artistic director of the Southbank Centre Jude Kelly, refers to a quote from Angela Davis that urges women to invite men to their struggle, which, with some amusement, she gently refutes having said.

“Men need to take the initiative themselves,” she says, “they don’t need to be invited.”

She states that issues such as domestic violence and sexual violence are “by and large men’s problems.”

Looking back to the anti-violence movements of the 1970s, she recalls that she kept thinking that a wave of men of colour would join the cause.

“But it never caught on,” she reflects, adding: “Movements like Black Lives Matter recognise that feminist ideology is going to allow us to begin to push past questions that have never been pushed past.”

She considers how levels of violence against women “remain the same. So there’s something we’re not doing.”

Prison is not the answer, she urges. “We shouldn’t be relying on punitive measures, throw people in prison and the work is done. These methods are designed to not solve the problems but make us forget that we need to engage this problem.

“Sexual violence is so hard to confront, to even think about. But the more we put men in prison, the more violent they become.”

Feminism is not about taking over the leadership of men, Davis urges, stating that it is in fact necessary to change structures.

“It’s important that we don’t see masculine, individualist, charismatic leaders,” she says, urging for collectivity, stating the need for identities such as black, queer women to be seen.

History ought to remember that at the heart of the work of every mass movement is women; “they have done most of the work!”

She urges that the poor black women, domestic workers, maids, cooks and washerwomen that made the US civil rights movement possible are remembered, as much as Martin Luther King.

When asked about how we can best support women in prison, Davis alerts us to the fact that it’s widely assumed that men constitute most of the prison population, and that it’s a male issue.

“We have to think about what we can learn from women prisoners.

“We can’t assume that all the important knowledge gets produced by universities,” she says, outlining the experiences of women in prison who told her that the system replicated the feelings of gender-based violence.

“The institute as a whole is a gendering institution,” she says, urging the need to recognise that prison “consolidates a gender binarism.”

The rights of transgender prisoners are not addressed, she believes, and in abolishing prisons, gender policing would be abolished also.

Davis met with young activists from Black Lives Matter earlier in the day, and she emphasises the need for older activists to look to younger activists to learn, just as they too can look to the experience and knowledge of those who have been involved in campaigns over the decades.

She reveals that she is proud of her age, proud to have made it this far. “I’m a survivor,” she says.

She recalls her time at Brandeis University, where she said she learned from her Jewish friends the importance of doing Palestine solidarity work.

“It’s the best way to challenge anti-semitism and Islamophobia,” she asserts.

Expressing her belief that black people in the US need to look outwards beyond struggles there, she cites the abolitionist politician and ex-slave Frederick Douglass who in the 1840s travelled to northern Ireland which was experiencing the Great Famine.

On his return journey, funded partly by Irish campaigners, Irish people escaping the famine travelled along with him. Moving away from an individualistic approach, she says, is the way to fight, because “we can continue for aeons and the racist structures of state violence will remain.”

Palestine is an important part of intersectionality, she argues, “Palestine taught us to be anti-violence.”

“We have to stand up to Islamophobia,” she continues.

“It is the most violent expression of racism today, and women are the first targets.

“We must recognise the global connections and the impact of global capitalism.”

Countless women from the audience express their heroine-like admiration for Angela Davis in the hall, but she tells them: “I’m just another person, making whatever contributions I can to the struggle for freedom. That’s all I am.

“But millions of people joined the movement to save my life.

“They demonstrated that if we come together, unite, we can achieve the impossible. That’s the lesson I symbolise.”