Radical Lessons: Then & Now
The 1960s have been largely romanticized and commodified. The Beatles, Woodstock, sit-ins, protests, and marches. Those years saw huge social change. Bottom-up grassroots movements rocked the establishment. A major symbol of those years was Angela Davis. She has this to say today: “The lesson is that even though we don’t have the same structures that we had at that time, the challenge is to create a kind of vibrant internationalism. Today, of course, we have the technologies of communication that would enable connections in ways that did not exist at all back then. How to actually begin to create the kind of movements that will bring people in Palestine, and people in Brazil, and people who are struggling against police violence in France, and people who are struggling against police violence in South Africa together. I think that that is the major challenge of this moment.”
Angela Davis is one of the iconic figures of this era. Acquitted on conspiracy charges in 1970, after one of the most famous trials in U.S. history, she went on to become an internationally renowned writer, scholar, and lecturer. She is professor emerita at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She has been at the forefront of the movement focusing on the prison industrial complex and its intersection with race, class and gender. She is the author of many books including Women, Race and Class, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism, Abolition Democracy, and Freedom is a Constant Struggle.
Ruth Wilson Gilmore is director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics and a professor of geography at the City University of New York. She is the author of Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California. The American Sociological Association honored her with its Angela Davis Award. She is the recipient of the Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize.