C-SPAN covered Angela Davis’ speech to the massive Jan. 21 march on Washington but in typical style provided no commentary. Millennials and GenXers, and even baby boomers might not be aware that Davis has delivered some of her best speeches before national elections, not afterward.
In fact, in 1980 and 1984 Angela Davis was the vice-presidential candidate of the Communist Party USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Soviet Union. So despite her fiery rhetoric, the African-American feminist had a soft spot for all-white, all-male Communist dictatorships.
In 1980 and 1984, Davis was on the bottom of the Communist Party ticket under white Stalinist Gus Hall, a real barrel of laughs. Davis and Hall twice lost to Ronald Reagan and George Bush, big time.
Before that, in 1979, the Soviet Union awarded Angela Davis the International Lenin Peace Prize. The prize helped her rise in the Communist Party, but she was more than a political candidate.
Black Panther George Jackson had been charged with killing a prison guard at Soledad Prison. Angela Davis supplied the arsenal of weapons to Jackson’s brother Jonathan, who in August 1970 charged into a Marin County courtroom and took several people hostage, including Judge Harold Haley, the prosecuting assistant DA and two jurors.
The assailants taped a sawed-off shotgun (owned by Davis) to Haley’s chin. In the ensuing escape attempt, a shootout took place during which Haley’s head was blown off and Jonathan Jackson killed. The President Formerly Known as Barry Soetoro (PFKBS) might have called it “courthouse violence.”
The pro-gun Davis fled the scene but was arrested in New York. At her 1972 trial more than 20 witnesses implicated her in the plot to free Jackson, but she gained acquittal. That made her a national figure and helped launch her political career. Her failed Communist candidacy did not prevent Davis from becoming professor of the history of consciousness and feminist studies at UC Santa Cruz.
The old-line establishment media called her a political activist and a progressive, a special kind of person. Progressives have somehow escaped the false consciousness that smothers ordinary workers, who cling to their religion and their guns.
Progressives also claim special knowledge of the future, and in their vision it looks like the brand of Soviet Americastan PFKBS was trying to achieve. He was counting on former first lady Hillary Clinton to finish the transformation into a country where you get only what the government wants you to have.
The people rejected Hillary Clinton in favor of Donald Trump, and for progressives this is a big problem. Since all progressive candidates and their policies are held to be infallible, if the candidate loses it must be due to meddling by Russia.
Angela Davis failed to make a presidential run in 2016, but no surprise that she showed up on Jan. 21 claiming, “We represent the powerful forces of change that are determined to prevent the dying cultures of racism, hetero-patriarchy from rising again.”
Davis had a lot to say about the evils of America, but nothing about her own past as a two-time Communist loser, a defender of all-white, all-male Communist dictatorships and a gun moll for violent criminals.
That’s how millennials and everybody else should think of her. As she said, “history cannot be deleted like web pages.”