FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Ignoring Angela Davis

Photo by thierry hermann | CC BY 2.0

Photo by thierry hermann | CC BY 2.0

There is nothing more revealing than passive voice and tortured syntax. One-time left wing icon Angela Davis demonstrated as much when she said she may vote for Hillary Clinton. Her actual words, “I’m not so narcissistic to say that I wouldn’t vote for her,” indicate some embarrassment with a bit of defensiveness thrown in for good measure. If Ms. Davis finds it difficult to be straightforward and say she is voting for Hillary then perhaps she ought to rethink her decision.

Everyone who rejects Hillary Clinton risks being smeared as a narcissist, a nihilist or a Trump loving Putinite. The Democratic party, their friends in the corporate media, and the black misleaders have banded together so well that only those with the strongest convictions will defy the Clinton campaign slogan and announce they are decidedly not “with her.”

It would have been easy for Davis to say that she hadn’t decided yet or that she is ambivalent or to give a reason why she finds Clinton lacking or take the easy way out and use Trump as an excuse. Instead she used a tired argument that ought to be rejected out of hand by a person of her stature. She joined in castigating those who don’t follow the Democrats into an endless loop of betrayal and disappointment. She didn’t use the discredited words lesser evil, but she may as well have.

It is difficult to convey to younger generations what Angela Davis meant to black people and to everyone who fought for liberation. When she was wanted by the FBI and tried for murder in 1972 she was the ultimate hero, one of the last of that era and one of the few to emerge unscathed. The cry, “Free Angela” and her image were ubiquitous as was the demand for her freedom. After her acquittal she did not give an inch. She denounced the United States prison system, then a shell of what it is now, never shrank from calling herself a Marxist and spoke against injustice practiced here and around the world. She twice ran for vice president on the Communist Party USA ticket and could be counted on to fiercely criticize of this nation’s policies.

But Barack Obama seems to have cast the same spell on Davis that he has on the rest of black America. She denounced her own history when she endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and in 2012 she not only supported him again but claimed that he was part of the “black radical tradition.” The lie is so grotesque that it is difficult to know if she was really thinking when she said those words. Nor was that her first foolish remark uttered on behalf of Obama.  Her 2010 statement that “Obama won despite the power of money” was equally bizarre. Barack Obama set fund raising records in his presidential campaign. Ms. Davis aided and abetted his marketing ploy which gave the appearance of a people-based movement when in fact he perfected the art of creating a record breaking campaign war chest.

It is sad that Davis continues to devolve politically before our eyes, it is even worse that she attacks those who are still ready to fight back against neo-liberalism and imperialism. If she is willing to vote for Hillary Clinton she should just say so. But she felt compelled to get in her own dig at independent thinkers with the “narcissist” label. She is no better than Democratic party scoundrels who point at Trump’s low hanging racist fruit while simultaneously cutting deals with ruling elites.

Angela Davis has gone down this slippery slope in part because of the weaknesses of the black left. Many who once proudly proclaimed that identity succumbed to the siren song of the black face in the high place or took the path of least resistance out of expediency and rank cynicism.

Fortunately Davis’s words were roundly criticized. Only those who feel a now undeserved loyalty defended the foolishness. Davis was not given a pass by most commentators and that is a good thing. The millions of people who thought seriously and decided not to vote for Hillary Clinton deserve more than to be dismissed with name calling. Their day has arrived. The illogical words coming from a once venerable figure are proof of desperation.

The so-called narcissists have thrown down the gauntlet to the democratic party. Famous former leftists can’t put the genie back in the bottle. The democratic party can no longer depend on silence and fear to keep their former voters in line. They have seen too much and won’t even be intimidated by the thought of a Trump presidency. Angela Davis’s day has passed. The narcissists aren’t listening any more.

More articles by:

Margaret Kimberley writes the Freedom Rider column for Black Agenda Report, where this essay originally appeared. 

September 25, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Fact-Finding Labour’s “Anti-Semitism” Crisis
Charles Pierson
Destroying Yemen as Humanely as Possible
James Rothenberg
Why Not Socialism?
Patrick Cockburn
How Putin Came Out on Top in Syria
John Grant
“Awesome Uncontrollable Male Passion” Meets Its Match
Guy Horton
Burma: Complicity With Evil?
Steve Stallone
Jujitsu Comms
William Blum
Bombing Libya: the Origins of Europe’s Immigration Crisis
John Feffer
There’s a New Crash Coming
Martha Pskowski
“The Emergency Isn’t Over”: the Homeless Commemorate a Year Since the Mexico City Earthquake
Fred Baumgarten
Ten Ways of Looking at Civility
Dean Baker
The Great Financial Crisis: Bernanke and the Bubble
Binoy Kampmark
Parasitic and Irrelevant: The University Vice Chancellor
September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will There Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail