Angela Davis — the famed 1960s communist agitator who is a hero to the Black Lives Matter movement — wants radicals to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Davis suggests that November’s presidential election is “one river that we have to cross” and that she thinks by electing Hillary Clinton radical activists “will be able to begin the process of building a movement that will transform – in a revolutionary manner.”
Davis’ pronouncement got notice from black websites such as The Root, and Atlanta Black Star, where the headline was Angela Davis Claims There Will Be a Political Revolution, Just Vote Clinton in Meantime.
Here are Angela Davis’s comments.
DAVIS: Numbers of people in this country, largely white people, who do not recognize their pain, and their suffering is linked to the pain and to the suffering of black people, latinos, native Americans. They do not realize that they are suffering the consequences of global capitalism. And so you have the capitalists like Donald Trump who represent themselves as the savior.
Person in crowd: Fuck Donald Trump!
DAVIS: Yeah, we can do that. But we also have to figure out how to prevent Donald Trump from being elected next month. Now, as a person who has been involved in radical politics all of my life, I have never seen the electoral arena as a place where I can express my radical, revolutionary politics. And it’s kind of hard to imagine being revolutionary within the context of the existing electoral system. Am I right?
DAVIS: So I think we need a new party.
I think we have to start imagining and building a political party that is not linked to the capitalist corporations. A party that is feminist, a party that is anti-racist, a party that is opposed to the occupation of Palestine by the state of Israel, a party that will represent the true needs of the people, not only of this country but the people of the world.
And I could also talk about a party that stands for food sovereignty, a party that recognizes that when capitalist corporations are involved in the production of food, that human beings need to nourish themselves, they’re involved for the purpose of generating as much profit as possible. And therefore they destroy the earth, they create untold pain for the animals that they raise in order to provide food for human beings. And so I want a radically different kind of political party. But unfortunately, it’s not gonna be possible to build that party between now and election day. So, as much as I would argue that the electoral arena is not a space where we can exercise our radical politics, I will not tell you not to vote. We all have to exercise the the right to vote. We have struggled too long and too hard to give up that right today.
Person in crowd: Vote Gary Johnson! (Crowd cheers)
DAVIS: I don’t know about that.
So I want to ask you to think about the best reason for going to the polls next month. The best reason in my opinion is to create the space that will allow us to begin to build our movement, to create flourishing movements and to build that political party that I was talking about a moment ago. And you know what will happen if Donald Trump is elected. You know about the consequences for generations to come. The fact alone that it would be possible to stack the Supreme Court in a way that will reverse so many of the gains for which we struggled over decades, and over generations. So, what does that mean?
Person in crowd: Vote Stein!
DAVIS: What does that mean? You know if you go to the polls and you- if you have– I have problems with the other candidates. I have problems with Hillary Clinton, I’m sorry. Because I have problems with the Democratic Party that is just as linked to the corporate capitalist structure as the Republican party. But I know that if I vote for Donald Trump, or if I don’t vote for anyone, that I will perhaps be contributing to the possibility of increasing oppression over the next decade.
And let me tell you I know what oppression is all about. Early in my career as a political activist I was charged with murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy, and faced the death penalty 3 times. And it was only because of the development of a mass movement all over the world, that my life was saved, and that I can be with you this afternoon, reflecting on the possibilities of building a movement that is building a movement to safe-guard our future.
And so, let me say that we can not take where we are for granted, it is wonderful that young people are rising up, not only all over this country, but lets remember our movements are connected with what is going on in Brazil, with what is going on in Columbia, with what is happening in Palestine, with what is going on at this very moment in South Africa, because they are struggling again to be able to imagine a future that is a future of freedom. And so let me conclude by saying that there is one river that we have to cross next month. And let’s cross that river so that we will be able to begin the process of building a movement that will transform – in a revolutionary manner – the entire society of a United States of America. Thank you very much.
Davis’ background is much more complex than she lets on in her talk.
Davis was a college professor and radical communist. In the 1960s, Angela Davis led events to support the “Free The Soledad Brothers” movement. The Soledad brothers are a group of prisoners that included a convicted thug named George Jackson.
Another one of George Jackson’s biggest supporters was his 17-year-old brother Jonathan Jackson, who was frequently seen at Angela Davis’s side during protests to support George Jackson.
On August 7, 1970 that devotion turned deadly when Jonathan Jackson entered a Marin County, California courthouse armed with a pistol, an M1 rifle, and a sawed off shotgun — all weapons that were owned by and registered to Angela Davis.
After sitting in a court room for a few minutes, Johnathan Jackson threw a pistol to the Black Panther member who was on trial that day. The two were soon joined by two other prisoners and began taking hostages. A district attorney and three female jurors were tied up with piano wire, while the presiding judge in the courtroom that day — Judge Haley — had the sawed-off shotgun taped to his neck.
Johnathan Jackson and the three other Black Panther marauders demanded that George Jackson be released by noon that day, even though George Jackson was on trial for killing a prison guard.
But Jonathan Jackson’s plan went horribly wrong when a police shootout occurred, killing four people and wounding two, including the prosecutor who was paralyzed for life. Jonathan Jackson was killed, and Judge Haley had his head blown off by Angela Davis’s shotgun.
Jonathan Jackson became a martyr and a hero, and hundreds of people attended his funeral singing his praises.
Angela Davis went on the run, and the call went out to free Angela Davis and all political prisoners. The only Black Panther to survive, Ruchell Magee, well, the left wanted to freed him, too.
After a nationwide manhunt, Angela Davis was captured by law enforcement.
While Angela Davis was awaiting trial in 1971, George Jackson would be killed in a hail of gunfire as he attempted to escape prison.
Still awaiting trial, Angela Davis wrote a eulogy for George Jackson and vowed to continue fighting for him. She spoke about her love for the man she had declared her comrade and lifelong husband. Davis said in her eulogy: “I will try my best to express that love in the way he would have wanted — by reaffirming my determination to fight for the cause George died defending.”
Angela Davis went to trial and was found not guilty of all charges against her, despite testimony that she had bought guns with Jonathan Jackson just days before the Marin County Courthouse massacre.
The legend of George Jackson and Angela Davis lives on today in the Black Lives Matter movement. Angela Davis has carried on the cause by promoting an end to “mass incarceration,” which is one of the Black Lives Matter movement’s key demands.