Saturday, May 22, 2021

Nonfiction Review: Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis

Title: Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement

AuthorAngela Y. Davis

Year Published: 2016

Category: Adult nonfiction
Pages: 176
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map) USA (MN, NC, IL, MO, FL), UK, Belgium, Turkey, and Palestine

Summary (from Amazon): In these newly collected essays, interviews, and speeches, world-renowned activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world.

Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today's struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles, from the Black Freedom Movement to the South African anti-Apartheid movement. She highlights connections and analyzes today's struggles against state terror, from Ferguson to Palestine.

Facing a world of outrageous injustice, Davis challenges us to imagine and build the movement for human liberation. And in doing so, she reminds us that "Freedom is a constant struggle."

Angela Y. Davis is a political activist, scholar, author, and speaker. She is an outspoken advocate for the oppressed and exploited, writing on Black liberation, prison abolition, the intersections of race, gender, and class, and international solidarity with Palestine. She is the author of several books, including Women, Race, and Class and Are Prisons Obsolete? She is the subject of the acclaimed documentary Free Angela and All Political Prisoners and is Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

One of America's most provocative public intellectuals, Dr. Cornel West has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz. The New York Times has praised his "ferocious moral vision." His many books include Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and his autobiography, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud.

Frank Barat is a human rights activist and author. He was the coordinator of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine and is now the president of the Palestine Legal Action Network. His books include Gaza in Crisis and Corporate Complicity in Israel's Occupation.

Review: I was given this book by my work and it seemed timely given what is happening in Palestine right now. When I started the book fighting was raging in Gaza and by the time I finished it, the two sides are in a cease-fire. I certainly hope it holds.

This slim volume of speeches and an interview by Frank Barat (French activist and author) packs a punch and a lot of wisdom from one of the women at the start and heart of the social justice movement. What I like is that her speeches are accessible to people in the movement and those who are new to the ideas.

While the topics cover a lot of ground--everything from the killings of Treyvon Martin and Michael Brown to apartheid in South Africa to the civil rights movement to feminism to Palestine--she shows the threads that connect them all. She discusses her own work as well as that of other individuals and groups, why these topics matter, and what's been missing or is still left unaccomplished.

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Diversity--Arabs, Black/African Americans
  • Literary Escapes--Belgium and Palestine

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