Angela Yvonne Davis is an American political activist, scholar, and author. She emerged as a nationally prominent activist and radical in the 1960s, as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement despite never being an official member of the party. Prisoner rights have been among her continuing interests; she is the founder of Critical Resistance, an organization working to abolish the prison-industrial complex. She is a retired professor with the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is the former director of the university's Feminist Studies department.
Her research interests are in feminism, African American studies, critical theory, Marxism, popular music, social consciousness, and the philosophy and history of punishment and prisons. Her membership in the Communist Party led to Ronald Reagan's request in 1969 to have her barred from teaching at any university in the State of California. She was tried and acquitted of suspected involvement in the Soledad brothers' August 1970 abduction and murder of Judge Harold Haley in Marin County, California. She was twice a candidate for Vice President on the Communist Party USA ticket during the 1980s.
This set of essays is mostly derived from speeches Dr Davis gave in the late 1980s, during Reagan's second administration, though a few are from earlier. I'm not sure it's really intended that a reader should sit down with an apple and just plow through this collection end-to-end as if it were a literary snack: there is some overlap of issues in many of the chapters, which is to be expected because they originated as talks to a variety of audiences, from women's groups to graduating high school classes, over a number of years.
Throughout the volume she centers on women's issues, racial issues, and economic issues; particularly as those all affect the working class and prospects for social progress. A few of the essays could be profitably used as required reading in modern US history classes, and her comments about social problems are often equally valid today.
One interesting essay is about her experiences in Egypt; another covers South African politics, and Winnie Mandela in particular; another is all about Clara Zetkin (a name I didn't previously know). The last few essays concern the arts, photography, and so forth; and in one she touches upon some issues in her own life, such as her imprisonment. (So I urge you to go forth and read her bio on Wikipedia.)
The thing that struck me most glaringly about every single essay in the book is not the fact that they're all articulate, pointed, and sometimes uplifting... But that, sadly, there has been remarkably little improvement in civil rights, racial equality, and women's status since the 1980s.
Truly, as I've read on signs for several protest marches over the years, we live in a world of "same shit, different century", and we obviously need to keep protesting this crap because in 2017, we seem to be in a horrifying downward tailspin back into the Dark Ages. (Haha, so now you know my political leaning, if that wasn't obvious before.)
Personally, I think that Angela Davis might have given this book its name due to the previous success of "Women, Race, & Class" which - while comparable - are vastly different books. Where her first book was a narrative of American history which incorporated gender, race, and class, this book was a collection of her speeches relating to gender, culture, and politics (as well as race).
Frankly, I did not find this book as exciting. Any kind of reader who is familiar with Davis’ work will already know most of the things she's spoken about. Moreover, it also feels quite “outdated” with her references to the presidency of Ronald Reagan.
Despite that though, I still found some parts of the book which were new to me. I particularly liked her discussion on the wearing of a veil by Egyptian women, in which she incorporated the narratives and reasoning of these women or her explanation of what’s so problematic about white feminist’s “crusade” against FGM in the Global South. Furthermore, although some of the ideas and thoughts expressed in the book felt rather repetitive, they were certainly worth reiterating - such as her explanation of how black women continue to carry the greatest burden in our society.
Perhaps this isn’t a book that you should “read as a book” per se. Rather than reading the book chapter by chapter and then putting it away, this book is meant to embody something to pick up every so often to remind yourself of the importance of the fight against discrimination; as well as to serve as a check to yourself to stay grounded and humble as a white woman - that is, to not do more harm than good.
The content here is obviously great and very interesting, if a little dated--though also upsetting to realize how much is actually still relevant today. But I didn't find the formatting of a bunch of essays and speeches all collected together to feel particularly strong or inspiring. There was something a little lacking here in the execution of the collection for me.
Definitely outdated... but as a child of the early 90's I have no conceptualization of the Reagan years. I obviously know the infamous nature of his presidency and in particular the economic and social implications his public policy had in shifting the the dominate political discourse of the US to the right; ensuring the power of global corporations, right wing pundits, and further veiling white supremacy in the individualistic rhetoric of neoliberal multiculturalism... That being said, I felt that Angela Davis's collection of speeches and essays (in which this book embodies) provides a powerful analysis and radically articulate critique of the political, societal, and economic climate that defined the 80's. The importance of this text emerges (for me) in the connections evoked between the forgotten and ignored subjectivities (i.e. queer, of color, women, immigrant, and poor communities) that were the real victims of Reagan's administration. Now more than ever, I understand the importance of historical memory and its roll in defining the collective consciousness of those who are oppressed by American hegemony. I recommend this book to all the members of my generation, as tool in helping conceptualize the evolution of white supremacy, racism, economic inequality, and women's oppression at the end of the 20th century.
I’ve been wanting to read Angela Davis’ work for awhile now and after this single book, I’m in awe of her! In this collection of essays/speeches analyzing the intersections between race, class, gender, imperialism, capitalism and more, her intellect and insight frequently caused me to sit back and take a moment to process her statements. While reading, the inextricability of all social justice causes was emphasized to me in ways that I had never previously considered through connections that I lacked the awareness to discern before. The principles that Davis espouses in this book remain extremely relevant today, as the fights she was involved in are still very much ongoing. I was really inspired by and learned a lot from this book.
MDS POR QUE DEMOREI TANTO PRA LER ALGO DA ANGELA DAVIS?
E agora eu só estou com esse sentimento de recuperar o tempo perdido e estudar absolutamente tudo que essa mulher incrível já publicou. Também de assistir à alguma palestra, assim que houver a oportunidade.
Como o livro do Ailton Krenak que eu li há alguns dias, esse aqui também é um compilado de textos e discursos organizados pela própria autora, com a diferença de que o volume de artigos nessa obra é bem maior do que no "Ideias para adiar o fim do mundo". Sei que a comparação não é a coisa mais saudável a se fazer, mas não posso deixar de dizer que todas as coisas que senti falta no livro do Ailton, eu encontrei com a Angela Davis: há uma contextualização muito interessante que ajuda o leitor a se situar sobre os problemas abordados. A própria ordem dos artigos ajuda na construção desse arcabouço e conforme eu avançava na obra, me sentia mais iterado sobre os acontecimentos históricos e cenário político da época.
Falando nisso, inclusive, esse é o Ponto Tapa na Cara: a autora está relatando coisas que ocorreram até e durante a década de 80, sendo muitas dessas questões ainda persistentes hoje, em 2021, 40 anos depois. Obviamente também há avanços, mas é difícil ver que a luta, apesar de árdua, gera resultados a prazos tão longos.
O ponto que mais me marcou, no entanto, foi logo nos primeiros capítulos quando Angela traz o lema de "Erguendo-nos, enquanto subimos" ("Lifting as we climb", no orginal), para relatar que a luta pela igualdade de gênero e contra o racismo não é algo exclusivo de um determinado recorte. Precisamos nos erguer juntos, enquanto escalamos. Precisamos enxergar perfis e cenários com problemas distintos dos nossos e ajudar aqueles em situações mais críticas, pois a vitória desses grupos também é uma vitória do todo. Ter esse conhecimento me ajudou a enxergar a luta LGBTQIA+ (da qual faço parte) por um outro tipo de prima, e até agora estou me questionando de como um grupo tão diverso pode se unir para ganhar mais força de mudança. É uma pergunta difícil, mas não é impossível de ser resolvida.
Leia esse aqui porque ele é extremamente necessário dentro do mundo que vivemos hoje.
"Mulheres, cultura e política" é um livro de Angela Davis, filósofa e ativista muito conhecida pela luta pelos direitos civis. Este livro é um compilado de textos, artigos e discursos de Davis realizados na década de 1980. O livro é dividido em 3 grandes temáticas: "sobre as mulheres e a busca por igualdade e paz", "sobre questões internacionais", "sobre educação e cultura". Nesse livro é visível o quanto Angela estudou muito sobre os assuntos que apresenta, trazendo diversas estatísticas e fatos históricos. Ainda que as estatísticas (por serem da década de 80) não estejam atualizadas, o livro traz muitos ensinamentos e reflexões acerca do feminismo e da luta contra o racismo. Davis traz as lutas contra o machismo, o racismo, a favor da classe trabalhadora e pelo fim das guerras como importantes e co-determinantes umas as outras, ao expor de maneira brilhante que essas lutas beneficiam a todos e todas, e que nenhum preconceito será de fato exterminado se não analisarmos e mudarmos a conjuntura sócio-historica inerente a eles. Recomendo a todos e todas, por ser um livro curto, de linguagem acessível e leitura e que apresenta conceitos fundamentais.
Th series of articles and speeches presented in this book certainly make one think. It gas certainly has made me rethink the Reagan Era. The author's downfall is in thinking that Che Guevarra was a revolutionary, instead of the murdering asshole that he really was. A must read for those wishing to learn and who don't mind having their political buttons pushed.
Yo sólo diré que fue mejor Mujeres, raza y clase. Este libro tiene un problema: ser inconexo. Son un montón de discursos y trabajos que Angela Davis dio a lo largo de su trayectoria política y, aunque todos tienen contenidos similares en cuanto a línea política, no tienen una unión tan firme como para meterlos a todos en un libro. De verdad. Aun así, hay varias cosas destacables del libro que me gustaría hacer notar.
1) El ensayo y trabajo que hizo sobre Egipto me pareció bastante interesante. Creo que fue ahí onde más pude ver a la Angela Davis de mujeres, raza y clase. Su análisis hace mucho énfasis en como la clase separa a las mujeres y cómo los intereses de la burguesía no son los intereses del proletariado. Tiene un análisis muy bueno sobre el velo y sus implicaciones, que comparte con Nawal el-Sadaawi, de La cara desnuda de la mujer árabe. Acá les dejo una serie de tuits con los fragmentos del libro que hablan de este asunto:
2) Habla de la necesidad de no enfocarse sólo en las reformas parciales. Aunque el de este libro no me pareció un análisis tan agudo y bueno como el que hace en Mujeres, raza y clase, si me parece bastante bueno cómo hace mucho énfasis en que las luchas parciales no van a ninguna parte. Habla del apoyo que necesitan las mujeres trabajadoras de distintos países y sus distintas circunstancias. Deja muy claro que la lucha por el aborto no debe ser sólo por el aborto, sino por la educación, el acceso a la salud y el fin de las esterilizaciones forzadas.
3) Tiene un ensayo sobre la violencia sexual que vale bastante la pena. La gran mayoría de los ensayos en el libro son reguleros en cuanto a cohesión con el resto del libro, pero este me gustó mucho porque habla de ir a la raíz de la violencia. Al principio destaca cosas muy obvias, pero todavía muy necesaria y se hace una pregunta muy interesante: ¿por qué los hombres son violentos sexualmente? ¿Biología? ¿Socialización? ¿Les enseñan a ser así? Irnos por la cuestión biológica sería una condena, puesto que es algo que no podemos cambiar, pero cuando hablamos de socialización, estamos ante algo que podemos cambiar, que podemos luchar para que deje de existir porque queremos un mundo mejor donde las mujeres no sean víctimas de violencia sexual.
Bueno, pues concluyendo esto, yo diría que me hubiera gustado ver más unidad en el libro, entre los ensayos. A pesar de que no lo considero un mal libro, me supo a poco. De todos modos, fue una lectura muy interesante, por lo que se las recomendaría si les interesa el trabajo de Angela Davis.
Angela Davis is just incredible, but sometimes you don't have time to sit down and really "take in" an entire book. "Women, Culture, & Politics" is great because it is a collection of speeches and other short, contained pieces. Her essay on her experiences in Egypt should be read by anyone working in the social sciences.
While I do think this book illuminated for me the havoc Reagan wreaked on marginalized people I do think the book is very dated. It helped me to contextualize our present at some turns and others I felt like some of it wasn't terribly relevant to me.
I am so thankful for Angela Davis and everything that she has written. At this point I have read quite a few of her books, and I am still constantly in awe of how much there is to learn. She just doesn't miss. I was particularly wowed by some of the last chapters of this book, as they addressed the value of art. Ms Davis uses the work of Lenin and Engels to explore the power of art as a kind of scaffolding or framework for understanding the infinite potential of raw human emotion and as a decidedly partisan tool for both the embodiment and transformation of a society's consciousness.
Earlier in the book, I was very moved and humbled by the chapter on Egyptian women. Angela Davis was asked to visit Egypt, interview Egyptian women, and write a short article on their sexual politics. This article condemns the traditionally colonialist Western lens of practices such as female genital mutilation and head covering, and instead explores the nuanced and complicated ways that Egyptian women themselves speak of their own traditions, customs, politics, and sexuality, and condemns the writing assignment itself as inherently paternalistic.
I also really enjoyed the chapter on Clara Zetkin and was happy to recognize her name in a Socialist Feminist Day School 3 days after reading the chapter on her.
"If one examines the historical development of human societies, it becomes clear that private property emerged at the moment when women became the sexual property of their husbands. Just as the advent of sexual oppression of women coincided with the advent of oppression of social classes, in order for women's bodies to be fully liberated, the social system responsible for that oppression must be eliminated." Page 146
"Clara Zetkin's arguments in support of women workers contain a logic that can be effectively employed today in defense of stronger affirmative action programs not only for women, but for the racially and nationally oppressed as well." Page 158
"In other words, the participation of women workers would be as indispensable an element in the battle for socialism as the victory of socialism would be in the struggle for women's emancipation." 158
“The granting of suffrage to the female sex does note eliminate the class differences between the exploiters and the exploited from which the most serious obstacles to the free ad harmonious development of the female proletarian are derived.” Page 162
“Bourgeois aesthetics has always sought to situate art in a transcendent realm, beyond ideology, beyond socioeconomic realities, and certainly beyond the class struggle. In an infinite variety of ways, art has been represented as the pure subjective product of individual creativity. Lenin’s 1905 article “Party Organization and Party Literature” challenged this vision of art and developed the principle of partisanship in art and literature - a principle with which many progressive artists of the 1930’s were, at least implicitly, in agreement.” Page 206
“If cultural workers utilize their talents on an ever-increasing scale to accomplish the task of awakening and sensitizing people to the need for a mass challenge to the ultralight, the prospects for strengthening and further uniting the antimonopoly movement, bringing together labor, Afro-Americans, women, and peace activists will greatly increase. As that movement wins victories, existing artists will draw inspiration from the creative energy of this process, and new artists will emerge as a result. If we are able to set this dynamic in motion, we will begin to move securely in the direction of economic, racial, and sexual emancipation - indeed, toward the ultimate goal of socialism - and we will be able to anticipate a peaceful future, free of the threat of nuclear war.” Page 2167
The title of the chapter on Winnie Mandela, in fact, is taken from a poem Nikky wrote on women in South Africa that was in turn inspired by the women's chant that arose out of the 1956 campaign against the pass laws: Now that you have touched the women, you have struck a rock, you have dislodged a boulder, and you will be crushed. What has truly surprised me is that young people on the campuses as well as in the community- women and men, students and workers, people of all racial backgrounds, who are no longer seduced by a media image long since laid to rest, are attracted by the progressive politics associated with the campaigns which I work. A number of years ago, activists in progressive political circles began to detect an approaching resurgence of campus activism, along with a renewed vigor of labor activism. My own experiences abundantly confirmed this prediction and indeed today, in the latter 1980s, students and workers are organizing and demonstrating against domestic expressions of racism, against U.S. collusion with apartheid and against intervention in Central America. My own work over the last two decades will have been wonderfully worthwhile if it has indeed assisted in some small measure to awaken and encourage this new activism.
the concept of empowerment is hardly new to Afro-American women. For almost a century, we have been organized in bodies that have sought collectively to develop strategies illuminating the way to economic and political power for ourselves and our communities. During the last decade of the nineteenth century, after having been repeatedly shunned by the racially homogenous women's rights movement, Black women organized their own Club Movement. In 1895- first years after founding of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, which consolidated a club movement reflecting concerns of middle-class White women- one hundred Black women from ten states met in the city of Boston, under the leadership of Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, to discuss the creation of a national organization of Black women's clubs.
Another Queen just doing Queen things! Great way to conclude this year's Women's History Month! Angela Davis has consistently stood up for the oppressed, disenfranchised, underserved, misunderstood, misrepresented, and all of that! Excellence exemplified consistently! I loved reading this because it gave insight not only into her stances for various causes of the 60's, 70's, and 80's, but also showed how those same issues still exist today.
"We must strive to 'lift as we climb.' In other words, we must climb in such a way as to guarantee that all of our sisters, regardless of social class, and indeed all of our brothers, climb with us. This must be the essential dynamic of our quest for power-- a principle that must not only determine our struggles as Afro-American women, but also given all authentic struggles of dispossessed people."
There were a number of quotes/points that stood out from her speeches in this book:
"Perhaps the biggest crime that colonialism left our country, has indeed left all former colonies, is the education system. This is so because that system was used to teach our people an attitude of self hate, to get them to abandon our history, our culture, our values."
"We must not presume that authentic solidarity will automatically flow from the recognition of the simple fact that women of color are the most oppressed human beings in our society." Again, we don't need allies, we need accomplices.
"Today, the world does not really belong to its inhabitants. There are those-- a minute segment of the population-- who have usurped most of the wealth in the capitalist world and there are others--the vast majority--who have comparatively little. Many in the majority don't even have enough to survive."
Angela Davis é uma das mulheres mais inspiradoras do nosso tempo, não apenas por seu trabalho intelectual sobre as questões de gênero, raça e classe, mas também por sua coragem de continuar lutando em meio às diversas tentativas de silenciamento de seu ativismo. No livro Mulheres, Cultura e Política, a filósofa apresenta uma coletânea de falas ministradas em diferentes eventos e países durante os anos 1980. A obra é dividida em três grandes capítulos. Entre os principais assuntos, destacam-se a apresentação de dados acerca dos males da gestão Reagan nos Estados Unidos para as populações etnicamente minoritárias, bem como a importância da luta pela igualdade e paz. Além disso, Davis reúne uma série de relatos sobre suas viagens para África, introduzindo o leitor para questões específicas do continente africano que não se aproximam ou são negligenciados pela nossa realidade. Por fim, a autora oferece esperança, ressaltando a relevância de uma educação emancipadora e da arte enquanto narradora de uma história não contada. Indico muitíssimo para quem têm interesse em conhecer mais sobre o feminismo negro de classe nos Estados Unidos e no mundo, afinal, Davis sempre é uma leitura que vale a pena!
Angela Davis is a living legend. Her speeches and essays from the 80s cover an impressive range of activist topics —from the problems of bourgeois feminism to black women’s health to the threat of nuclear war—and her work is explicitly rooted in class analysis and socialism.
Despite being a bit dated, the essays touch on manifestations of problems that still afflict this country, maybe now more prominently than any time since Reagan. And truly one never tires of digs at Reagan, of which you can expect many if you read this.
Nothing earth shattering for me personally, but a great starting point for anyone interested in Davis’s work. Her chapters on visiting Egypt and Nairobi for an international women’s conference were salient in a time where our national politics is especially tumultuous. Despite the influence of American imperialism taking up so much space in the political sphere, it’s so important to engage with and understand the struggles of working class people abroad.
Uma leitura extremamente enriquecedora. Angela Davis deixa claro que se nós quisermos uma mudança no mundo é necessário que unamos forças para lutar contra o machismo, sexismo, racismo, lgbtfobia, contra as guerras e tudo aquilo que oprime (capitalismo!!!) negros, mulheres e pessoas racializadas e pobres.
Apesar de ser um livro datado e escrito nos EUA a essência dele ainda se faz muito atual e conversa não só com a realidade brasileira, mas também com todos os negros espalhados pelo mundo. Os textos de Davis mostram que avançamos em algumas coisas, mas que em outras, indiscutivelmente, estamos retrocedendo em comparação com a década de 80.
São textos claros que mostram que a nossa luta contra a opressão precisa continuar urgentemente e sem medo. Um texto que curti bastante foi sobre a visita da Davis ao Egito para conversar com as mulheres egípcias.
Reading this series of lectures & essays on racial, gender & economic inequality during the Reagan administration is almost eerie. So little has changed. The names and statistics are dated but the need to elevate the voices of queer women of color and acknowledge the deep stratification in America is so, so pertinent.
From the introduction: "The work of the political activist inevitably involves a certain tension between the requirement that positions be taken on current issues as they arise and the desire that one’s contributions will somehow survive the ravages of time. In this sense, the most difficult challenge facing the activist is to respond fully to the needs of the moment and to do so in such a way that the light one attempts to shine on the present Will simultaneously illuminate the future."
This collection of speeches and essays is a mixed bag: some pieces are broad overviews of a wide variety of social issues (these are usually the speeches), and others go more into depth on specific issues. The longest essay, about the state of the women’s movement in Egypt when Davis traveled there, was most interesting to me. The essays on the revolutionary potential of Black art were good but very basic. Throughout the collection, Davis remains committed to a worldwide peace movement and nuclear disarmament while abstaining from attacking existing socialist states; leftists in America today could take a leaf from her book. It’s a good read, and I’d recommend it if you want insights into the tenor of the progressive movement in the 80s.
Uma necessária perspectiva sobre feminismo, ativismo e o papel da cultura para uma melhor consciência social rumo a uma era melhor. Apesar da escrita envolver discursos proferidos nos idos dos anos 80 em que as maiores preocupações eram o risco de uma Guerra Nuclear, a bipolaridade do mundo entre capitalismo vs. socialismo, o regime de apartheid na Africa, o apartheid de direitos sociais e civis de negros e latinos na América de Reagan, ressenti-me de a autora postergar na oportunidade a chance de mesclar tais textos com textos contemporâneos. Em essência a contemporaneidade ainda reclama a substancial leitura dos discursos proferidos por Angela Davis em Mulheres, Cultura e Política.
Honestly, this is excellent. It is well written, well thought, well argued. The book is a series of talks and articles from the late 80's. The author does an incredible job of relating every fact to the general argument. I want to also comment on how there is an exceptional amount of information here. There is a chapter for everyone. If you are interested in any aspect of women's liberation, from voting to art to medical practice, it is in this book. This was an eye-opening, jaw-dropping read. Terrifying is how this book is still 100% relevant today.
Esse livro é ótimo, possui as denúncias das condições precárias do povo afro americano na década de 80 e apresenta propostas de intervenção, que podem ser aplicadas a outros contextos e é um fator fundamental de todo livro político. Também possui inúmeras referências ao contexto daquela época, como o apartheid, a revolução cubana, Nicarágua e afins. Enfim, esse livro é rico de todas as formas possíveis com linguagem acessível, apesar de precisar ser lido sem pausas nós capítulos, se não se perde o fim da meada. Com certeza não devo ter captado tudo e com certeza irei ler novamente no futuro
This is really great for those who need to know why Reagan was especially awful, beyond creating the welfare queen stereotype.
Also, did you know that decades before Tamir Rice was murdered when playing with a toy gun, the same thing happened to a 5yo bo (and countless others, I'm sure)? Also worth mentioning is how headscarves and female genital mutilation were already white-feminist issues back in the 1970 (with brown women already rolling their eyes at the presumptions and cluelessness of US white women), although I'm pretty sure these became hot topics again in the 2000s. What are we doing, if we can't be bothered to learning from the past and build on existing knowledge?