Angela Davis, a political activist, author, professor and “radical African-American educator” who was once regarded as a terrorist and danger to the nation by former President Richard Nixon, in part for her early communist beliefs, said during an interview about her new book that she favors Sen. Bernie Sanders in the presidential race because of his more radical views.
“My approach has always been to emphasize independent, more radical politics, but I do think that it is important than Bernie Sanders has been raising issues that otherwise never would have been taken up within the context of the campaign between two major parties,” she said, to Ebony.com while discussing her new release, “Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine and the Foundations of a Movement” from Haymarket Books.
Davis served as the leader of the Communist Party USA in the 1960s at a time when she also held close ties with the Black Panther Party.
She went on: “It’s absolutely essential to raise the issues of decommodification of education and free education. And of course, he’s calling for tuition-free education at our public universities … Former slaves called for free public education in the South, thus creating the context for poor, white students to get an education. Of course, there is the healthcare question. I absolutely agree that we need free, single-payer healthcare. Then there are the larger questions about the prison industrial complex that have not been sufficiently raised.”
She called for an end “to mass incarceration,” and a concerted political look at the “racism that is embedded in the whole history of punishment in this country,” she said, Ebony.com reported.
Davis, who was called a “dangerous terrorist” by Nixon, as the San Francisco Foghorn chronicled – and a “radical African-American educator and activist for civil rights and other social issues” by Biography.com – also spoke of the progress many of today’s activist circles and movements have made in terms of gender equality.
“One has seen the rise of many women in leadership. Of course, there are the three women who created Black Lives Matter – Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza – who have raised many interesting questions about what it means to build leadership,” she said. “In Black Youth Project 100 there is Charlene Carruthers … In the Dream Defenders, they are challenging hetero-patriarchal forms. They are questioning the impact of sexism and homophobia and all of these ideologies on their generation.”
Davis also spoke of Ferguson, Missouri, violence, the Black Lives Matter movement that developed from there, and the matter of militarized police – all topics she explored in her just-released book, as well.
“If one looks at the history of policing, especially over the last 15 years in the aftermath of [September 11], one can see the emphasis on the shifting of resources from the military to the police,” she said, Ebony.com reported.
Biography.com reported in her early years in Alabama, Davis, who was born in Birmingham in 1944, formed interracial study groups “which were broken up by police.” She was also acquainted with some of the black girls killed in the 1963 Birmingham church bombings.
The site also reported: “Hired to teach at the University of California, Los Angeles, Davis ran into trouble with the school’s administration because of her association with communism. They fired her, but she fought them in court and got her job back. Davis still ended up leaving when her contract expired in 1970.”