Summary: Controversial, but idealistic talks and essays.
I am way too young to have known of Angela Davis in her early days. And I was too ignorant of who she was to go to hear her when she spoke at my grad school in the late 1990s. I picked this on sale, and I wanted to get some context for her work since she was one of the people used as a framing device in Stamped From the Beginning. While the audiobook was frequently frustrating, there is an idealism that I appreciate.
I am tired of ‘cultural Marxist’ and ‘socialist’ epitaphs thrown at relatively moderate ideas or movements. It is refreshing to listen to someone that embraces her Marxist background and ran for Vice President on the communist ticket. But even Angela Davis is not 100 percent behind all aspects of marxism and communism. So the complaints about conservative Christians being Marxist for calling for social justice is just an affirmation that the speakers have not heard Angela Davis.
These are mostly talks, read later, with a few essays and interviews. None of the subjects are simple or easily solved problems. Mass incarceration is not going to be shut down by calling for an end to prisons and police. And she knows that. Her thought is not pure idealism, but it is attempting to call for a reimagining of what society could be if we actively worked to end oppression.
Racism is not going to be easily solved through protests. Palestine and the problems of political prisoners around the world are not going to be soon released. But as much as I am not going to agree with her on many issues, I am glad that there are passionate voices that are not just talking but are still talking and organizing after nearly 50 years.
I do not think I can honestly recommend this to many. But if you want to be challenged, you want to hear about real protest movements, and what Davis is attempting to do in calling for an end of oppression, there are things to grapple with here.