FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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. 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
November 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Meet Ukraine: America’s Newest “Strategic Ally”
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Frankenstein Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ukraine in the Membrane
Jonathan Steele
The OPCW and Douma: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors
Kathleen Wallace
A Gangster for Capitalism: Next Up, Bolivia
Andrew Levine
Get Trump First, But Then…
Thomas Knapp
Trump’s Democratic Critics Want it Both Ways on Biden, Clinton
Ipek S. Burnett
The United States Needs Citizens Like You, Dreamer
Michael Welton
Fundamentalism as Speechlessness
David Rosen
A Century of Prohibition
Nino Pagliccia
Morales: Bolivia Suffers an Assault on the Power of the People
Dave Lindorff
When an Elected Government Falls in South America, as in Bolivia, Look For a US Role
John Grant
Drones, Guns and Abject Heroes in America
Clark T. Scott
Bolivia and the Loud Silence
Manuel García, Jr.
The Truthiest Reality of Global Warming
Ramzy Baroud
A Lesson for the Palestinian Leadership: Real Reasons behind Israel’s Arrest and Release of Labadi, Mi’ri
Charles McKelvey
The USA “Defends” Its Blockade, and Cuba Responds
Louis Proyect
Noel Ignatiev: Remembering a Comrade and a Friend
John W. Whitehead
Casualties of War: Military Veterans Have Become America’s Walking Wounded
Patrick Bond
As Brazil’s ex-President Lula is Set Free and BRICS Leaders Summit, What Lessons From the Workers Party for Fighting Global Neoliberalism?
Alexandra Early
Labor Opponents of Single Payer Don’t  Speak For Low Wage Union Members
Pete Dolack
Resisting Misleading Narratives About Pacifica Radio
Edward Hunt
It’s Still Not Too Late for Rojava
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Why Aren’t Americans Rising up Like the People of Chile and Lebanon?
Nicolas Lalaguna
Voting on the Future of Life on Earth
Jill Richardson
The EPA’s War on Science Continues
Lawrence Davidson
The Problem of Localized Ethics
Richard Hardigan
Europe’s Shameful Treatment of Refugees: Fire in Greek Camp Highlights Appalling Conditions
Judith Deutsch
Permanent War: the Drive to Emasculate
David Swanson
Why War Deaths Increase After Wars
Raouf Halaby
94 Well-Lived Years and the $27 Traffic Fine
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Coups-for-Green-Energy Added to Wars-For-Oil
Andrea Flynn
What Breast Cancer Taught Me About Health Care
Negin Owliaei
Time for a Billionaire Ban
Binoy Kampmark
Business as Usual: Evo Morales and the Coup Condition
Bernard Marszalek
Toward a Counterculture of Rebellion
Brian Horejsi
The Benefits of Environmental Citizenship
Brian Cloughley
All That Gunsmoke
Graham Peebles
Why is there so Much Wrong in Our Society?
Jonah Raskin
Black, Blue, Jazzy and Beat Down to His Bones: Being Bob Kaufman
John Kendall Hawkins
Treason as a Lifestyle: I’ll Drink to That
Manuel García, Jr.
Heartrending Antiwar Songs
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Poetry and Political Struggle: The Dialectics of Rhyme
Ben Terrall
The Rise of Silicon Valley
David Yearsley
Performance Anxiety
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail