[REVIEW] Freedom Is A Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine and the Foundations of a Movement, Angela Y Davis

(Find it HERE.)

Back in March, my favorite radical independent publisher Haymarket Books made several titles available for free as a contribution to keeping the world mentally occupied and socially engaged during the initial COVID-19 lockdowns. I downloaded them all and immediately started reading this collection of speeches and interviews from Angela Y. Davis, famously known for her affiliation with the Black Panther Party, her work in feminist studies, and her activism regarding prison abolition, anti-racism, and Palestinian liberation.⠀

I started reading this in March. I finished it last Tuesday. To say that the content is dense is an understatement. Davis’ work is often challenging, but always targeted. She exposes some alarming connections between industrial arms dealers and local police, and revisits points she’s made in previous books about the US carceral system, the need to avoid celebrity in group activism, and the need for unified optimism, feminist relational connections, and nuanced racial thought in any justice movement. ⠀

I’m not going to get into a deep discussion of Davis’ politics here–there simply isn’t enough room, and the internet is already too full of lousy amateur political takes from people who do very little work in reality. If I have one major criticism, it’s that this is really a collection of transcribed speeches and interviews, not essays, and thus has a tendency to be a bit repetitive and meandering. Davis is 76, so she’s earned a few birdwalks, but I did notice that a lot of these speeches are just the same points repeated with a few local references based on the audience. ⠀

The statue in the background of this photo is called “Not Afraid Of the Big Bad Wolf” and features an angry pig, standing firm, blowing back at a threat. It reminds me a bit of a quote from French activist Frank Barat, who edited these speeches for print and says, in the introduction: ⠀

“But there’s a message there for everyone and it is that people can unite, that democracy from below can challenge oligarchy, that imprisoned migrants can be freed, that fascism can be overcome, and that equality is emancipatory.”⠀

4 stars and an afro pick with the power fist to Freedom is A Constant Struggle.

(Viva la revolution, fellow readers. Just a quick notice–this blog has affiliate relationships with entities like Bookshop and any clicks and purchases made from this site will result in a commission being paid. Peace! )


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