Freedom is a Constant Struggle

Angela Y. Davis

This slim collection of interviews and speeches covers some similar ideas in different contexts, and while I had a little wish that these had been reworked into one super essay, it’s also no big deal to revisit comparable concepts a few times when they are so significant. Plus it’s fascinating to get a sense of how Angela Davis structures a talk. A preeminent scholar, activist, and general bad-ass person, the connections she makes between the protests in Ferguson in 2014 (and on) with the ongoing fight of the Palestinian people are crucial. It’s not just that the systems of oppression are alike, but that the militarism of the police forces in the US overall is directly tied to the Israeli army through training programs. Making connections in social justice struggles is not just about finding parallel circumstances because they can inform each other, but also determining which are rooted in the same systems of oppression.

Our histories never unfold in isolation. We cannot truly tell what we consider to be our own histories without knowing the other stories. And often we discover that those other stores are actually our own stories. This is the admonition “Learn your sisters’ stories” by Black feminist sociologist Jacqui Alexander. This is a dialectical process that requires us to constantly retell our stories, to revise them and retell them and relaunch them. We can thus not pretend that we do not know about the conjunctures of race and class and ethnicity and nationality and sexuality and ability.