The crowd at Angela Davis’ talk last night was pretty spectacular, v. Dyke March NYC meets Critical Resistance, Oakland plus a large helping of Eugene Lang Students and free Mumia activists. The vibe was very serious though, not to many accidental lover pick-ups or new friendships made, the main focus was on the star of the show: Angela Davis. (Definitely on the Good List)
She spoke about another iconic figure who is regarded in a sometimes similar light, our next president, Barak Obama. As a socialist, Davis was not so much advocating for Obama on the merits of his democratic policy proposals or his moderate-left record in office. Instead, she spoke of his power as a real milestone of progress and a symbol of it. The election of the first Black President has a collective significance on our society, which actually overpowers his personal significance as an individual, she asserted.
My favorite moment in this discourse was when she offered her analysis of McCain’s run in with the woman from Minnesota who said, “I can’t trust Obama, he’s an Arab.” Mccain responded, “No mam he is not an Arab. He is a decent family man and a U.S. citizen. This is the very exceptionism which so perfectly defines modern racism. It is as if to say, ‘Well Obama may be black, but he went to Harvard, he’s one of us.’ Or, ‘I am fine with gay people, as long as they don’t try anything on me, I have plenty of gay friends.’ McCain did not address that there was a problem with her anti-Arab racism. The way he attempted to clear Obama’s name was by justifying that he is “decent” and ‘one of us’ because he is a “family man.” Thereby not being Arab, being heterosexual, and being committed to “family values” acquits Obama, and anoints him as a good, normal American.
That was the highlight for me, but she touched on so many good points, essentially, 1. racism is not over, we must know our history, celebrate the milestones, but focus on how much further there is to go. 2. prisons must be abolished and they are systemically racist- dating all the way back to slavery, she also talked a lot about the role that surveillance plays in coloring the prison population. 3 Davis, kind of mocked the internet a bit, hey I resemble that! Other than the quips that implied that google and youtube were sort of un-cool, I have to say Angela Davis has earned the attention of her supporters. I bought her book afterwards, so look forward to a review!
Now for a couple of overdue AnySpaceWhatever pictures.
And finally, happy Halloween. I am hiding out at home with a bag of candy, prepared for trick or treaters, so if you know where I live, ring my bell!