Angela Davis Renews Call For Abolition Of Prisons, Pushes Critical Race Theory
American political activist Angela Davis, who defended George Jackson and Black prisoners demanding reforms in the 1970s and became a prominent member of the Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA), has renewed her plea that prisons be dismantled, critical race theory propagated and the systematic oppression of Palestinians by Israeli Zionists stopped in an interview by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez for Democracy Now!
Photo Insert: American political activist Angela Davis
“I’m very disappointed that we don’t have a more capacious public understanding of what it means to stand up against racism, that racism is the very foundation of this country, based on colonialism and slavery. And that means, in the very first place, it is important to recognize the connections between Indigenous people and people of African descent. It is not possible to tell the story of people of African descent in the Americas without also telling the story of Indigenous people,” Davis said.
“And, of course, W. E. B. Du Bois taught us so many decades ago that the reason for identifying connections and relationalities among African people and people of African descent has little to do with the biology or genetics of Blackness, but rather has everything to do with struggles against imperialism, everything to do with global struggles for a better world. But, of course, we continue those conversations.”
“An increasing number of people now recognize how important it is to have a decolonial or anti-imperialist perspective. If we did not expect to have abolition become a central element of public discourse during the early part of the 21st century — and it has become that — then I think we can be a little more optimistic about the possibility of encouraging people to think more critically about the future struggles against racism,” she stressed.
“I think that what we are witnessing at this moment is a profound clash between forces of the past and forces of the future. The campaign against teaching critical race theory in schools — now, first of all, critical race theory is not taught in high schools. And I wish more critical race theory were taught at the university level. But critical race theory has become a watchword for any conversations about racism, any effort to engage in the education of students in our schools about the history of this country and of the Americas and of the planet. Any discussions about slavery as the foundational element of this country are being barred, according to the proponents of removing, quote, ’critical race theory’ from the schools.”
But let’s not be misled by the term they are using. What we are witnessing are efforts on the part of the forces of white supremacy to regain control which they more or less had in the past. So, I think that it is absolutely essential to engage in the kinds of efforts to prevent them from consolidating a victory in the realm of education.
And, of course, those of us who are active in the abolitionist movement see education as central to the process of dismantling the prison, as central to the process of imagining new forms of safety and security that can supplant the violence of the police, Davis concluded.