by Abaki Beck
This is part one of a two-part series reviewing Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement. Part One (posted last week) provided a general overview of the book, while Part Two focuses specifically on the relationship between militarization against Palestinians and the militarization of U.S. police against people of color.
Our reading of the week is Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Palestine, Ferguson, and the Building of a Movement, the most recent book by Angela Y. Davis. This book is a combination of essays, interviews, and speeches she made between 2012 and 2015. Though ranging in specifics, all the pieces center around the central questions of how to build successful, powerful grassroots movements for justice and how to create true solidarity across intersectional identities. A main theme in may of her pieces is on state violence: from the relationship to how black struggles in the United States relate to Palestinian struggles to political prisoners and the development of the word “terrorist.” (Check out last week’s blog post for a more general review of the book.)
This book struck me not only for Davis’ candid and practical discussions of movement building - historically and now - but for her vigilance in including Palestinian justice in her discussions of state violence. Though she is supportive of the work of Michelle Alexander (author of The New Jim Crow) she critiques it’s lack of an international lens. Throughout her texts, she connects how police violence in the U.S. and state violence against Palestinians are interconnected - from the security company building our border walls and prisons, to the tear gas company whose product is used against protestors in the U.S. and Palestine. She also argues that the fight for a free Palestine has not been taken up by many progressive activists and movements. She thinks this is in part because of the incredibly strong Zionist and pro-Israel lobbies in the U.S., but also because even those who support Palestinian justice are hesitant to speak up as they’re afraid they don’t know enough about the issue.
POC Online Classroom strives to make readings and resources that celebrate the intellectual tradition and knowledge production of marginalized communities more accessible. Rad Reading is our series that highlight texts to read and writers to support! We will post every Tuesday.