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Friday, June 29, 2007

Green MP Praises Visiting Marxist Icon

Angela Davis was a former associate of the US Black Panther Party.

At one point she was the subject of a huge FBI manhunt for the murder of US judge Harold Haley during an attempted Black Panther prison break, but was tried and aquitted.

Davis and earned one of her university degrees in East Germany.

She was a leading member of the then Stalinist, Communist Party USA and was their vice Presidential candidate in 1980 and 1984.

In 1992, she left the CPUSA to help lead the Committees of Correspondence, a slightly more "democratic" Marxist organisation.

Davis is still active in Coc (now known as CC for Democracy and Socialism) and is now a leading campaigner for prison abolition.

Green Party MP. Tandor Tanczos, went along to Angela Davis' talk in Wellington this week.

From Frogblog

Went to see Angela Davis speak this evening. I’ve been looking forward to it since I found out that she was coming to Aotearoa to speak. So was half of Wellington it seemed because the lecture theatre in Rutherford House was full and they has to turn some 200 people away. They had an overflow room where her speech was broadcast live and she took the time before she spoke to go and have a word with those who missed out.

Which I guess was the first indication of a great generosity of spirit that clearly came through her talk. A woman who faced capital charges in the USA three times for her work for justice, a woman that (then Governor) Ronald Reagan vowed would never teach in a university in California again, now a professor at the University of California Santa Cruz. But it wasn’t just her piercing intellect and profound analysis, but also her warm humanity that really shone through.

She focussed first and, in summing up, last, on the strength of ordinary people, when committed and organised, to change the world for the better. She spoke of the enormous international solidarity of progressive people that has been demonstrated at times, including in campaigning against her unfair detention and trial in the 60’s, and asked why anyone would think it is not possible to display that again, and in a consistent way. She spoke of how by building community, we can take back our world. And she highlighted her point by talking about a subject that has been the core of her work for the past four decades – the abolition of prisons.

I wonder if Nandor would be so gushing about a "wrongly imprisoned" former Nazi or "white supremacist"?


Blogger mah29001 said...

No Trev, I doubt Nandor would be so gushy for a "wrongly imprisoned" former Nazi or a white supremacist, and let's not forget abortion bombers and abortion doctor killers either.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Just my opinion said...

Trev, the double standards are breathtaking from the left here.

Did you read about her "sympathy" she showed to Czech dissidents when they asked her to stand up for their people put in prisons and persecuted by the Soviet state?
Bloody hell, she makes Keith Lockes days as a radical look like a pussycat.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I attended the lecture by Professor Davis in Auckland. It was awesome. The theatre was absolutely packed and everyone was very excited.

It was one of the best talks I have ever attended. Of course I don't support her views from the 1970s on the Eastern Bloc but the ideas she expressed in her lecture really struck a chord with me. Especially her ideas on the need for prison abolition. She made the point how in our World there are numerous corporations who make their money from more and more people being imprisoned. Often these people are no threat to society (think minor drug offenders, Christian asylum seekers from Iran in Mt Eden prison etc) but those in power need an ever expanded prison population for greater profits and also to keep the population in a constant state of fear.

She expressed how we needed to create a just society that rendered prisons obsolete. I felt inspired.

I doubt ACT could ever bring a speaker pushing "free market" views that would elicit as such a excited response from either the public at large or me. If you could I'd be impressed.

PS have to thankyou Trev because your blog is where I first found out about Angela Davis' visit to Aotearoa.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Thanks for that Cameron.

As a matter of interest what did Angela davis think we should do with the likes of serial rapists Malcolm Rewa or Joseph Thompson?

Or triple murderer Dean Bell?

What would she do with hard core repeat violent offenders?

3:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

was an awesome speech - she said give them the ten dollar rope or electric chair - whatever is cheapest. she also said that a large prison population would be great for cheap labour - maybe act could follow this one up..

11:18 AM  
Blogger mah29001 said...

"was an awesome speech - she said give them the ten dollar rope or electric chair - whatever is cheapest. she also said that a large prison population would be great for cheap labour - maybe act could follow this one up.. "

Please anonymous, would you support Davis if she happen to be on the lines of anti-abortionist radical-Neal Horsley or even a terrorist like Eric Robert Rudolph? Doubt you would do so. Guess some forms of terrorism and radicalism are just more acceptable than others.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Trev, sorry I've been a bit late getting back to you on this one. My family has been quite busy this week because one of my brothers was got married.

Davis said that we should abolish imprisonment as the dominant form of punishment. (there's an article about it here )

From that I take it that some of those horrible people you mentioned above would still be imprisoned. However, those real monsters are in the minority of people actually imprisoned, so it means if Davis' ideas were put in practice a lot of prisons could be abolished (leaving a few for those who'are actually a threat to society).

Probably would need to ask her if that's what she thinks but that's what I gathered from her talk.

11:01 AM  
Blogger mah29001 said...

"Davis said that we should abolish imprisonment as the dominant form of punishment."

Hmm, I wonder if Davis also felt that way when she received the Lenin Peace Prize in Soviet controlled East Germany? How about the likes of being a "honored guest" in Communist Cuba under the dictatorship of Fidel Castro? Does Davis think that the Communist regimes she defended during the Cold War deserve the same treatment?

11:13 AM  
Blogger Just my opinion said...

Cameron, not too long ago we had Milton Freedman speak at our conference, yes it was via a satelite uplink, but he is by all stretches of the imagination far more prominent in the field of economics than Angela is in her chosen field.

1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

angela was not a terrorist - she was a black panther - she did what she believed - got fucked up by the CIA - did the time - cam out and is now a professor. a true success story.

3:31 PM  

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