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article imageOp-Ed: Who is Angela Davis?

By Alexander Baron     Aug 24, 2013 in Politics
Santa Cruz - What sort of airhead makes a martyr out of a murdering punk, a man whose only claim to fame is that he read Communist literature in his prison cell?
The short answer to the above question is Angela Davis. The long one is: a highly privileged woman who also makes a living out of telling her braindead supporters and the world how oppressed she is. The Shola Lynch apology for this so-called academic was released on DVD last week.
Angela Davis shot to notoriety then ill-deserved fame after appearing on the FBI's ten most wanted list. She had allegedly supplied the firearms used in the Marin County courthouse shootout that had resulted in the deaths of four people. After her arrest in New York City she was put on trial in California before an all-white jury. And no one cried racist when it acquitted her. It remains to be seen if 12 black jurors would have been so dumb as to believe the guns had been stolen from her by the youth who initiated the shootout.
On August 21, 1971, self-styled political prisoner George Jackson was gunned down in San Quentin Prison like the dog he was. In August the previous year, his 17 year old brother Jonathan had attempted to free Jackson in a bizarre and suicidal storming of the Marin County courthouse where James McClain was standing trial. His intention was to force the authorities to release his brother, who been charged with the murder of a prison guard. The hostage situation resulted in the deaths of four people, including of the 65 year old judge and Jonathan Jackson himself.
Yet according to his apologists in the San Francisco Bay Area: "Jonathan Jackson, the younger brother of Black Panther and prison leader George Jackson, was assassinated after the Marin County Courthouse takeover".
Some of these braindeads go even further; according to blogger Kiilu Nyasha, Jonathan Jackson and the men he attempted to free were "four revolutionaries".
Recently this nonsense has been back in the news with the film Free Angela And All Political Prisoners , an ostensible documentary; it was released in France, April this year. The woman behind the film is Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of A List actor Will Smith, and on this performance she should have stayed in the kitchen.
The career of Angela Davis, indeed her whole life since she started her "radical" edoocashun has been one long whine about racism, slavery, oppression and now what she calls the prison-industrial complex. Like most of her ilk including the much hyped Tim Wise she sees the world as made up of only two types of people: whites and "people of color", the whites being the oppressors of course, although she might just have viewed things differently if she'd been in Rwanda in 1994, in Syria today, or accepted a ride from Maury Travis.
However, an objective review of her career and non-achievements reveals that Angela Yvonne Davis has led a rather privileged life, right from her schooldays in fact.
Davis published her life story in 1974; called simply Angela Davis AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, a second volume is most definitely not called for. Here are a few of the most alluring bits. At page 62, while she is behind bars, a fellow inmate asks her "Angela, what does 'imperialism' mean?"
I called out, "The ruling class of one country conquers the people of another in order to rob them of their land, their resources, and to exploit their labor."
Oh boy, anyone not recognise this as the Communist rhetoric it is?
Throughout the book, Davis manages to combine red politics with black, although it is clear that most of the latter were not happy with the former. Also, throughout she refers to "people of color" - anyone who is not white, and capitalises Black but spells white lower case. Only a tiny point but indicative of where she is coming from.
On page 96 she says her mother wouldn't allow her to use the dreaded N word in the house, not as if a sweet young thing like Angela would. Regular swear words were also taboo. This is hardly surprising as in spite of her masquerading as a member of an oppressed minority, Davis came, as stated, from a rather privileged background. In at least one interview she has related a rather fanciful history of her mother, what is not in dispute though is that both Sallye Davis and husband Frank were graduates and distinctly middle or even upper middle class - segregation or no segregation.
At the time of her rise to notoriety, Davis became instantly recognisable due to her exaggerated Afro hairstyle, yet herein the reader is told: "Sometimes I used to secretly resent my parents for giving me light skin instead of dark, and wavy instead of kinky hair."
Growing up privileged, she took piano lessons, and indeed there was a piano in her house.
Like so many radicals, Davis did very well out of the racist capitalist system. She studied in France - who paid her fare, fees and subsistance? - met Stokely Carmichael and Malcolm X in London at a meeting of "Black Power advocates" and more radicals, but found them profoundly disinterested in socialism, then after relocating to California she tells us at page 152 "Sometimes I would get into my car and, out of sheer frustration, drive into San Diego and head towards Logan Heights, where the largest concentration of Black people lived, and drive around aimlessly, daydreaming, trying to devise some way of escaping this terrible isolation". Who paid for this?
Still in 1967 San Diego: "Emotionally I was a stranger—in a way that I had never been a stranger among white people before".
At the university she set up a Black Student Union - which sounds racist, though she wasn't impressed with the black separatists, and she was distinctly unimpressed with the macho culture of black men who thought women should take a back seat in this "radical" movement.
At page 162 she mentions en passant that in 1962, she attended the Eighth World Youth Festival in Helsinki, though she doesn't say who paid her air fare, and sundry expenses.
Referring to her would-be lover George Jackson and his two co-defendants who were charged with the murder of a prison guard, she says "There was no evidence that they had killed the guard".
Check out the excellent full length documentary Day Of The Gun, and you will probably disagree. Now let's take a look at these so-called political prisoners.
Unlike Angela Davis, George Lester Jackson had working class roots. His parents were decent folk, but it is clear they found him a handful. They sent him to a Catholic school, but he ended up running with street gangs, and picked up several serious convictions as a juvenile, so much so that when at the age of 18 he robbed a gas station at gunpoint he received a sentence of from one year to life. This sentence may sound harsh but it was the norm at the time; the idea was to encourage prisoners to mend their ways. Jackson could have won parole after one year, if not one then two, or five. He ended up spending most of his time in solitary confinement, and would never be released. In short, he was a prize mug by anyone's standards.
Consider the following: in 1944, a black youth received a ten year sentence for armed robbery. On his release - three years later - he turned his life around, picking up a professional qualification and playing music recreationally until he got his big break. Okay, he was lucky as well as talented, many are called but few are chosen. Unlike punk George Jackson, this young black man went on to change the world. His name is Chuck Berry.
Okay, Berry is an exceptional human being, but Jackson had his chances; the racist system allowed him to publish a book of critically acclaimed prison letters, and he achieved a bizarre celebrity status, what is known now as radical chic.
Here is some more idiocy about Jackson by a man who should but clearly doesn't know better.
The consistent misrepresentation of Jackson and his fellow thugs as revolutionaries, victims or even heroes is truly sickening. The title Free Angela And All Political Prisoners is a joke. Jackson was a murderer who sacrificed his younger brother; as for Angela Davis, she was accused on compelling evidence of supplying the guns Jonathan Jackson used. How did that make her a political prisoner in any sense of the word?
Today, Angela Davis remains unrepentant, and life has continued to treat this poor, oppressed "woman of color" exceedingly well. She is Distinguished Professor Emerita of the history of consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
What exactly is the history of consciousness? It is not a bona fide academic discipline like applied mathematics, history or even economics. (Only in America, and only in California).
In addition to this tenure she makes long, boring speeches like this one which lasted for the best part of an hour, and in which she said precisely nothing. Nothing intelligent at any rate. Is capital punishment truly inherently racist? Even in China? Her books are a joke because arguing from false premises she must arrive inevitably at false conclusions.
Here are a few examples of "brainy quotes" from Davis; this one is a doozy:
"Racism is a much more clandestine, much more hidden kind of phenomenon, but at the same time it's perhaps far more terrible than it's ever been."
Got that? Racism is worse, indeed far more terrible now than it has ever been, worse than under segregation, worse even than under slavery. The proof of this pudding is not simply that America has a black President and a black Attorney General (who are obviously Uncle Toms), but that a shop assistant in Switzerland didn't realise Oprah Winfrey could afford a $35,000 handbag.
While Angela Davis has done very well for herself financially and with ill-deserved plaudits, what has she done for blacks, or indeed for anyone? The bottom line is nothing. She was and remains an unrepentant Communist, a supporter of a bankrupt ideology that murdered tens of millions of her fellow human beings before eventually collapsing under the weight of its own incompetence.
Of course, she is not wrong about everything, even a broken clock is right twice a day; there are too many people in gaol, mostly for drug offenses, but emptying the prisons at the drop of a hat as she appears to advocate is hardly the solution.
The really sad fact is that Black America is such a deep rut because it continues to listen not simply to Angela Davis but to people cut from the same cloth; it's not as if there are no black intellectuals out there; haven't they heard of Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, or Ann Wortham? Apparently not.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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