A Public Service – Watch Angela Davis Speak at UVa

Angela Davis 2010

by James C. Sherlock

The University of Virginia did all of us a favor when it hosted and recorded a speech by the Marxist Angela Davis through its Excellence in Diversity Series from September 2017 through March 2018.

The credit on the UVa web page below the video states:

Angela Davis’ work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice. She has authored 9 books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. She draws upon her own experiences in the early seventies as a person who spent eighteen months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.”

The Angela Davis event was supported by the University of Virginia Bicentennial with funding provided by the Alumni Board of Trustees, and by many UVA PARTNERS.

Wikipedia is somewhat less opaque:

Angela Yvonne Davis is an American political activist, philosopher, academic, and author. She is a professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Ideologically a Marxist, Davis was a longtime member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and is a founding member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS).

In 1970, guns belonging to Davis were used in an armed takeover of a courtroom in Marin County, California, in which four people were killed. Prosecuted for three capital felonies, including conspiracy to murder, and held in jail for over a year, she was acquitted of all charges in 1972. She visited Eastern Bloc countries in the 1970s and during the 1980s was twice the Communist Party’s candidate for Vice President;

Davis has received various awards, including the Soviet Union’s Lenin Peace Prize. Accused of supporting political violence, she has sustained criticism from the highest levels of the US government. She has also been criticized for supporting the Soviet Union and its satellites.

After visiting East Berlin during the annual May Day celebration, she felt that the East German government was dealing better with the residual effects of fascism than were the West Germans. Many of her roommates were active in the radical Socialist German Student Union (SDS), and Davis participated in some SDS actions. Events in the United States, including the formation of the Black Panther Party and the transformation of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to an all-Black organization, drew her interest upon her return.

Davis perceived Cuba as a racism-free country, which led her to believe that “only under socialism could the fight against racism be successfully executed.” When she returned to the United States, her socialist leanings increasingly influenced her understanding of race struggles.

Davis supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

So, with those two contrasting views of Angela Davis, the educator and the communist activist, I urge you to view her address to an adoring crowd at the University of Virginia.

Her insistence on the unbreakable link between capitalism and racism is what all should see and remember. There is no serious disagreement between Davis and other anti-racism activists such as Ibram X. Kendi, Robin DiAngelo, Ta-Nehisi Coates and others on this point.

It will leave viewers with the correct impression that this movement is, at its core, Marxist.

That is the reason that the movement leaves no room for “not racist” as a category of human belief system. It recognizes only “anti-racist,” which imbeds anti-capitalism, and “racist.” which is everyone else. “Not racist” could include capitalists. “Anti-racist” cannot.

The critical race theory movement and its action cells like BLM do not headline their anti-capitalism, but do not deny it. Angela Davis’ presentation at UVa refreshingly features anti-capitalism to continuing standing ovations from pony-tailed undergraduates and bald-headed faculty alike.

She starts speaking at the 28-minute mark, but it is worth watching her introduction by a second-year black studies major starting at about 21:35 min. mark.  She gets into the meat of her presentation at the 38 minute mark stating “Diversity is not enough” and moving into the core of her anti-capitalist message.

Those who accept it will need to create alternate plans for the production and distribution of goods and services in order to feed the new utopia.

It goes to the existential question – which comes first, the goose or the golden eggs.

Watch, learn and remember.