Political activist Angela Davis is not impressed with America’s presidential candidates. She tells Democracy Now! “I don’t endorse. I believe in independent politics.” Davis, who’s work surrounds issues of gender, race, class and prison, believes America needs a new party, “a party that is grounded in labor, a party that can speak to all of the issues around racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia—what is happening in the world. We don’t yet have that party,” Davis affirms. She them spills her tea on America’s presidential front-runners.
Davis on Donald Trump:
“We’ve seen the development of a kind of a fascist appeal over the time that Donald Trump has been attempting to achieve the Republican nomination… I think this is an indication of the extent to which conservatives and the Republican Party have been creating this base that can, indeed, serve as support for someone like Donald Trump.”
She condemns Donald Trump and his failure to denounce the endorsement of David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and notes that, “the Ku Klux Klan, of course, evokes the racist, terrorist, violent history associated with the era following slavery up to the present. It doesn’t seem to me to be a question whether one would disavow the Ku Klux Klan.”
Davis on Hillary Clinton:
Referencing Ashley Williams’s confrontation of Clinton in February at a private fundraiser, Davis believes “Clinton should have said, ‘Well, I was wrong to use the term superpredators. What I know now, I didn’t necessarily know then.’”
“We know, of course, that the Clinton administration was responsible, at least in part, in large part, for the buildup of what is now called mass incarceration with the passage of the 1994 crime bill. It seems to me that if she’s interested in the votes of not only African Americans and people of color, but of all people who are progressive and attempting to speak out against the racism of overincarceration, she would simply say, ‘I was wrong then,’ that ‘superpredator’ is a racially coded term. It’s so interesting that she is—she tends to rely on a kind of universalism that prevents her from acknowledging the extent to which racism is so much a force and an influence in this country.”
Davis on Bernie Sanders:
While she praises Sanders for “raising a whole number of absolutely important issues and putting pressure on [Clinton],” she says that, “on the other hand, Bernie Sanders, [engages] in a kind of economic reductionism that prevents him from developing a vocabulary that allows him to speak in ways that enlighten us about the persistence of racism, racist violence, state violence.”
And what does this Black liberation movement icon have to say about #BlackLivesMatter?
“I think it’s really wonderful that Black Lives Matter activists are participating in this electoral period in this way, forcing candidates to speak on issues about which they might not speak,” says Davis.
Davis also states why she is not endorsing any presidential candidate, claiming, “I’m actually more interested in helping to develop mass movements that can create the kind of pressure that will force whoever is elected, or whoever becomes the candidate, to move in more progressive directions.”
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