Angela Davis 3-Pack
In times of crisis one can simultaneously see danger and opportunity. Today there is nostalgia for an imagined past and a desire to recreate it. It’s a seductive tale. Things were better then. The country was unchallenged in the world. Jobs were plentiful. Minorities, women, gays, immigrants knew their place. There was order in the land. But over many decades, as a result of struggle and movements, society evolved and changed. We are at a perilous moment. Do we want to go back or continue to move forward building on hard fought gains? During another perilous time, Martin Luther King Jr., declared, “We’ve got to massively confront the power structure.” We are at a crossroads: the beginning of a brighter or darker future. The choice is ours.
This event was presented by the Lannan Foundation.
Solidarity was long a term invoked by unions and working men and women. Now, alas, unions, under sustained political attack, are in acute decline. Who can forget Ronald Reagan championing the rights of workers in Poland while smashing the air traffic controllers union in the U.S.? Today from Tahrir Square in Cairo to Ferguson, Missouri to Gezi Park in Istanbul people are in the streets raising again the cry of solidarity. Solidarity, linking up with kindred spirits is a crucial element in overcoming isolation and atomization. Mutual support and feelings, yes, of love, empower people over the rulers of the Earth. The masters want to keep us apart and to have us focus on shopping. There are glimpses of cross border alliances. They need to grow. Given the global scale of the climate change crisis transnational solidarities are needed now.
The idea of freedom is inspiring. But what does it mean? If you are free in a political sense but have no food, what's that? The freedom to starve? Or if the candidates on the ballot are yoked to unjust power structures, what's that? The freedom to vote? The colonies in Asia and Africa gained their independence from their European lords but did they gain freedom? Frantz Fanon, who worked with the liberation movement in Algeria wrote prophetically in his classic work, The Wretched of the Earth, that the newly independent states of the post-colonial era will not achieve real freedom if they replicate the patterns of oppression and domination perfected by their former masters. He warned about changing one policeman for another. Replacing white sahibs with brown and black ones.
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