Radikal Readings: The Meaning of Freedom And Other Difficult Dialogues

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You know of my love for Angela Y. Davis if you’ve read this blog before. She has had a profound influence on my life and thoughts on social justice, racism, feminism, and criminal justice. Her book Are Prisons Obsolete? had a massive impact on my views of prison abolition and I’ve made it a point to read everything I could get my hands on by her. The latest book I picked up is The Meaning of Freedom And Other Difficult Dialogues – a collection of speeches she’s given around the world.

What is the meaning of freedom? Davis confronts the interconnected issues of power, race, gender, class, incarceration, conservatism, and the ongoing need for social change in the United States, as the book’s description puts it. The collection of speeches range from 1994 to 2009 and although some of these were written over 20 years ago, they are still extremely relevant in 2016.

Throughout the speeches is a constant reminder that those who go to prison are stripped of their rights, including disfranchisement. Which had that not been the law, would have drastically altered the result of the 2000 elections if the 650,000 Florida prisoners had been allowed to vote. She also reminds us of the underlying cause of the prison industrial complex is capitalism and the racism which have become institutionalized.

Like Davis’s other works, it is an empowering read. A call to action for activists to fight to change the way our systems work. A call to continue the struggle for freedom from all forms of oppression that deny people their political, cultural, and sexual freedom.

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