Angela Davis was a former associate of the US Black Panther Party.
Davis and earned one of her university degrees in East Germany.
She was a leading member of the then Stalinist, Communist Party USA and was their vice Presidential candidate in 1980 and 1984.
In 1992, she left the CPUSA to help lead the Committees of Correspondence, a slightly more “democratic” Marxist organisation.
Davis is still active in Coc (now known as CC for Democracy and Socialism) and is now a leading campaigner for prison abolition.
Green Party MP. Tandor Tanczos, went along to Angela Davis’ talk in Wellington this week.
Went to see Angela Davis speak this evening. I’ve been looking forward to it since I found out that she was coming to Aotearoa to speak. So was half of Wellington it seemed because the lecture theatre in Rutherford House was full and they has to turn some 200 people away. They had an overflow room where her speech was broadcast live and she took the time before she spoke to go and have a word with those who missed out.
Which I guess was the first indication of a great generosity of spirit that clearly came through her talk. A woman who faced capital charges in the USA three times for her work for justice, a woman that (then Governor) Ronald Reagan vowed would never teach in a university in California again, now a professor at the University of California Santa Cruz. But it wasn’t just her piercing intellect and profound analysis, but also her warm humanity that really shone through.
She focussed first and, in summing up, last, on the strength of ordinary people, when committed and organised, to change the world for the better. She spoke of the enormous international solidarity of progressive people that has been demonstrated at times, including in campaigning against her unfair detention and trial in the 60’s, and asked why anyone would think it is not possible to display that again, and in a consistent way. She spoke of how by building community, we can take back our world. And she highlighted her point by talking about a subject that has been the core of her work for the past four decades – the abolition of prisons.
I wonder if Nandor would be so gushing about a “wrongly imprisoned” former Nazi or “white supremacist”?