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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  January 19, 2022 8:00am-9:00am PST

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01/19/22 01/19/22 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new rk, this i democracy now! i am really excitedo be sharing from our book today "abolition. feminism. now" written with gina dent, eric meiners, beth richie, how essential it is to be talking about abolition.
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amy: "abolition. feminism. now." we will spend the hour with three leading abolitionists and feminists, professors beth richie, gina dent, and angela davis, who have co-written a remarkable new book out this week. >> it is so exciting now to see young people especially talking about building a new world, recognizing it is not about punishing this person and that person, it is about creating a new framework so that we do not have to depend on institutions like the police and prisons for safety and security. amy: we will also speak to angela davis about her newly updated edition of the 1974 autobiography edited by toni morrison. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,
8:02 am, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the biden administration has launched its program to distribute free covid-19 tests to u.s. residents by mail. visitors to the website can order four tests per household, which will be delivered by the u.s. postal service. the government will also start issuing 400 million n95 masks from the national stockpile. they will be available for free at community health centers and pharmacies across the u.s. some health experts say n95 masks should also be sent directly to every u.s. household. the latest efforts from the biden administration come amid the ongoing winter surge, with daily cases averaging over 750,000 and an average daily death toll in the united states close to 2000. the supreme court rejected a bid to block mask mandate on airplanes. the application was filed by a
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passenger who says he and his son are unable to wear masks for long periods of time for medical reasons. in other pandemic news justice , sonia sotomayor has been listening to arguments and participating in debates remotely since some of her colleagues, including neil gorsuch, reportedly refuse to mask up. sotomayor has diabetes, putting her at increased risk if she contracts covid-19. the omicron-fueled surge is leading to tightened measures across some asian nations, with japan re-imposing curbs on restaurants and bars starting friday, as tokyo recorded its highest daily caseload today. and in the philippines, new data released by the government statistics office says the number of overall covid deaths could be around 105,000, double the health department's official death toll. the philippines has reported record-breaking daily case numbers this week.
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in hong kong, authorities started confiscating small animals from pet shops after announcing it would cull some -- that's kill some 2000 hamsters and other small mammals after a dozen of imported hamsters tested positive for covid-19. indian authorities say covid cases reached an eight-month high today, with over 280,000 new infections, though authorities say they are still a few weeks away from seeing the full impact of the current surge on hospitalizations and deaths. meanwhile, as the world's wealthiesteople gather virtually for the world economic forum, the world health organization warned against persistent vaccine inequality. >> if we look at the population of the world, and africa region, only 7% ve received doses. the reality is the world is
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moving toward 70%. the problem is, we are leaving huge swaths of the world behind. amy: the summit, usually hosted in davos, switzerland, is being held virtually the second year due to the pandemic. secretary of state antony blinken is meeting with ukrainian president volodymyr zelensky in kiev today as tensions with russia remain high and officials warn of possible imminent military conflict. this is secretary blinken. >> we have made clear to moscow if it chooses to renew aggression against ukraine, it will be met and it will face very serious consequences. again, that is not just from the united states, but from countries across europe and beyond. amy: blinken will move on to meet with european officials in berlin thursday before holding talks with russian foreign minister sergey lavrov in geneva on friday. the u.s. and other nato members have been sounding the alarm over the russian military buildup at its border with ukraine, as well as the recent arrival of russian troops in
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belarus, which they say could be a launching point for a possible attack. russia, meanwhile, has warned against western interference and nato's eastward expansion. russia once a guarantee that ukraine will not become a part of nato. in occupied east jerusalem, israeli forces have destroyed the home of a palestinian family in the neighborhood of sheikh jarrah just days after the salhiyeh family threatened to bu down their home to resist the eviction. israeli forces raided their home early wednesday morning while the family slept. several members were assaulted and at least six were arrested. at least another 18 palestinians who were at the home in solidarity with the family were also detained. the salhiyeh family had lived on that land since before israel occupied the area in 1967. in related news, in the occupied west bank, a palestinian activist has died two weeks after israeli police ran him over with a tow truck during an anti-occupation protest.
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suleiman al-hathaleen was 65 years old. the united nations condemned tuesday airstrikes by the saudi-emirati coalition against a houthi target in sanaa, yemen, that killed some 20 people overnight monday, including civilians. the airstrikes came hours after houthi fighters claimed responsibility for an attack on the united arab emirates, which killed three people. the u.s.-backed saudi-led coalition said it launched additional air raids on sanaa tuesday. analysts warn the recent attacks could represent a dangerous escalation in the ongoing war in yemen, which has triggered what the u.n. has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis. in somalia, at least four people have been killed and 10 others injured in a suicide bombing in the capital mogadishu. the armed group al-shabab claimed responsibility for the attack tuesday. the assailant walked into a tea shop located near a turkish military installation where somali soldiers are detained and
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detonated an explosive vest. this comes just two days after a somali government spokesperson was jured in another suspected suicide bombing. i new mexico, the photojournalist margarito martinez was killed monday in the northern mexican border city of tijuana. he was 49 years old. martinez's teen daughter discovered her father near their home with a fatal gunshot wound to his head. he had previously received threats from organized crime groups. martinez covered police and crime for local outlets and worked as a fixer for international media, including the bbc. this is a mexican media rights advocate. >> because of his status as a journalist, we request attorney general's office pay special attention, especially because we live in mexico were journalists are really at risk. he had requested protection less than a month ago. amy: martinez's murder came just a week after another journalist, josé luis gamboa, was fatally stabbed in the mexican state of veracruz.
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back in the united states, the senate continues debate today on two major voting rights bills, despite the measures being likely doomed to failure after conservative democrats joe manchin and kyrsten sinema said they would not back a filibuster exception to circumvent republican opposition to voting rights. this is majority leader chuck schumer speaking tuesday on the senate floor as lawmakers opened debate. >> members of this chamber were elected to debate and to vote, especially on an issue as vital to the beating heart of our democracy as voting rights. and the public is entitled to know where each senator stands on an issue sacrosanct as defending our mocracy. amy: the house committee investigating the january 6 insurrection issued subpoenas to members of former president four trump's legal team tuesday, including rudy giuliani and sidney powell. the lawmakers said the trump lawyers "supported theories
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about election fraud pushed efforts to overturn the election results." meanwhile, the office of new york attorney general letitia james is seeking to question the former president, as well as ivanka and donald trump jr., saying it has significant evidence the trump organization repeatedly misrepresented the value of its assets for tax reasons and in order to obtain loans. here in new york city, a vigil was held tuesday evening for michelle alyssa go, a 40-year-old asian american woman who was fatally struck by an oncoming train after a man pushed her onto the subway tracks on saturday. this is ben wei, founder of asians fighting injustice and an organizer of last night's vigil. >> this tragedy of another member of our community aaip community here in new york, being taken from us, is one we have heard way too often over the past two years.
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sadly in new york city, in 2020, while everybody was quarantining and hate crimes across the city dropped, hate crimes against the aaip community rose by 800 percent. in 2021, it rose by 350% at least. amy: a man, simon martial, was charged with her murder. officials say martial, who was unhoused, struggled with mental health issues and had harassed another woman in the subway shortly before he attacked go. michelle go, who worked at deloitte consulting, was a long-time volunteer with underserved communities, including unhoused people. new jersey public k-12 schools are now required to teach asian american and pacific islander history. democratic governor phil murphy signed the law tuesday, making new jersey the second u.s. state
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to have this requirement after illinois. in more education news, florida republican governor ron desantis is pushing legislation that would prohibit public schools and private businesses from making white people feel "discomfort" or "guilt" by teaching students or training workers on racial discrimination in the u.s. this is the governor's latest attacks against the teaching of critical race theory. the u.s. justice department's civil rights division has requested portland's police chief and city attorney hand over all portland police rapid response team training materials following news last week the training slide-show contained a meme-like image mocking demonstrators and advocating violence against them. the image, which is believed to date from 2018 and shows a police officer in riot gear hitting a protester, came to light as part of a lawsuit around 2020's racial justice protests. the slide also refers to the civilian being attacked as a "dirty hippy."
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verizon and at&t have delayed their planned expansion of 5g cellular service near airports after a number of airlines canceled flights and warned of likely travel chaos and flight safety concerns. airlines say the 5g technology can interference with radar systems on planes. and a federal judge on tuesday approved yet another adjustment to restructuring puerto rico's massive debt. the plan was presented by puerto rico's unelected bipartisan financial oversight board, known as la junta, and it reduces the biggest portion of the islands debt, about $33 billion, by some 80%. last year, union leaders pressured the board to remove cuts to pension plans from the current debt restructuring deal. opponents of the deal say this will only worsen puerto rico's economic struggles. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman in new york,
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joined by my co-host juan gonzález in new brunswick, new jersey. hi, juan. juan: hi, amy. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. amy: before we begin today's show, i wanted to ask you about this judges decision around puerto rico's bankruptcy. juan: i have not had a chance to parse in the details of the agreement, but just some general comments on it. first of all, this really deals with primarily the main government debt, which was about $33 billion. does not include the other public agencies' debt. it appears the bondholders will get about $7 billion of that in cash. that is future debt. so it is a big payday for some of the bondholders. there will be opportunity for some of them also to get additional money in terms of the
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complex instrument they cl cv i, contingent value instrument, which basically says if the sales taxes of puerto rico are above a certain level, the bondholders will also cash in billions more in the future. the main part of the agreement appears to be the pensions of puerto rican workers have been saved from any major cuts. there will be no cuts to the pensions. however, future workers like teachers and others in the government will now no longer have a pension. they will have to have -- i'm sorry, define contribution plan in the future. in tms of saving the workers from losing their pensions, this has been a major step rward. in terms of whether it really resolvethe financial crisis of puerto rico going forward, that remains to be seen because this agreement is an adjustment of
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our previous agrment that happened before covid. anthen covid made economic conditions of water rico, as much of the rest of the country, worse. there were seven vtories as a result of constant public pressure on the control board, but this control board is going to be in power -- it already has been in power for more than five years. it will have to be in power for at least four years of balanced budgets before it actually leaves the island, if it ever leaves the island. but right now, there are some positives in this but there is a lot of uncertainty still to go. amy: we will continue to cover this. when we come back from break, "abolition. feminism. now." we will spend the hour with three leading abolitionists and activists. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. a surge of covid-19 cases in
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prisons and jails nationwide is drawing attention to dire conditions behind bars. more than men at a federal 600 prison in mississippi -- a third of the prison's population -- tested positive for covid-19. infections among people jailed by immigration and customs enforcement shot up by more than 500% in the last two weeks. many prisons are now locked down with visits cut off. at the massive rikers island jail in new york city, a group of prisoners went on hunger strike to protest their treatment during the pandemic. most are held there because they can't afford bail and have been held for months amid court backlogs. hunger striker ervin bowins described some of the conditions that led to the protest in a voicemail recorded by his attorney. >> we are currently on a 24 hour seven day a week lockdown. this particular mod, given
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isolated about 15 days and counting. supposedly due to covid protocols. as we know, the cdc guidelines state we have to be in isolation for five days once we receive a positive test. we are on 15 days of isolation. this is hindering our due process. court dates are constantly being adjourned. bail hearings and motion hearings as well. we are not receiving communication in a timely fashion as well, so we are basically stuck in limbo. amy: protests echoing the demands of the hunger strikers say the only solution is to close rikers. instead of moving people held there to other facilities, they are calling for the abolition of jails and prisons. this is the focus of a new book published this week by four feminist scholars and activists titled "abolition. feminism. now." one of the authors is angela davis, who wrote the 2003 landmark book "are prisons
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obsolete" and has worked on this issue for decades, stretching back to when she herself was incarcerated as an activist in the 1970's, which she also explores in a new edition of her autobiography also published this week. we'll talk more about that later. but first, angela davis joins us now, along with two of her three co-authors. angela davis is the world-renowned abolitionist, author, activist, and distinguished professor emerita at the university of california, santa cruz. also with us in oakland is gina dent. an advocate for human rights and prison abolition. and in chicago, beth richie is head of the department of criminology, law and justice and professor of black studies at the university of illinois at chicago. her scholarly and activist work focus on women's experience of violence and incarceration,
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and they wrote it with a fourth colleague, erica meiners, was written about confronting sexual harm and ending state violence. congratulations to you all on the publication of this new book "abolition. feminism. now." professor richie, we are going to begin with you. can you talk about what an abolitionist feminist is and link that to the whole idea of what it means to be an anti--- and anti-carceral feminist? >> good morning. thank you for having us. we're super excited about the publication of this book because in fact, what we're trying to do is and as gre forward, simple, using the life experiences of activists all over the country, bring together the essential connection between feminist activism and abolitionist practice.
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that is to say we believe from our work, from our studies, from speaking to people both inside prisons and jails, detention facilities, and our work outside in communities, that it is essential to take up the question of policing, prisons, of surveillance strategies, essential to take up that work from the perspective of feminism. the best example that i can think of for my own work is what happens when we don't do that to criminalize survivors. that is, people who end up incarcerated or otherwise under control of a carceral state. people who experience gender violence, who turned sometimes to the state for protection and in fact the state turns on them because they know -- we know one of the institutions that uses violen most is in fact the carceral state. carceral feminism is the turning
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to that violence institution, the carceral state, to solve the problem of gender-based violence. we realize as a result of that, where people who experience gender-based violence. juan: professor ritchie, mention your own work. he had experience teaching at a state prison in chicago can he talk about how that has informed your views on this issue? >> yes. part of an amazing group teach at staple prison, maximum-security prison, illinois department of corrections. we go to statesville in part because we believe all ople inside deserve opportunities for education. we go there week after weekhen we can, when there is not a lockdown. we go to try and bring both the
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resources of our academic institutions to the students who are inside, but also we go there to learn from the students inside about what struggle means, about what freedom would look like, abo what anti-carceral feminism or possibility of abolition would mean for them and their families, what it would have meant for their lives. the book "abolition. feminism. now." speaks to the ways we hav to learn from people inside, the way people on the outside lead an obligation to bng the resources we have, whatever they might be, in service of their freedom. being part of the teaching collective that goes inside statesville prison -- just like allver the country where people are going to try to bring opportunities r education, teaching, and learning, mutual, reciprocal opportunity. it is an amazing opportunity. i think "abolition. feminism.
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now." speaks to the importance of that. ju: i want to bring in angela davis. angela, have been writing about abolition for decades. could you talk about the importance of this book and how the climate in the country has been changing in terms of discussing this carceral state? >> first of all, thank you for inviting as to appear on the program this morning. yes, juan, you are right, i have been writing about this issue, along with many others. i have been an activist around these issues, along with many, many others. sometimes we feel as if we sound like a broken record. we have been talking about it for so long. this is a different era when issues of abolition have actually entered into mainstream discourse.
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when we began to write this book , it was before the pandemic. we had a very different book in mind. but precisely as a consequence of the development over the last two years, we think it is even more important to insist that abolitionist strategies also be feminist strategies, that we assume as broad perspective as possible. we are not simply talking about myopically examining what is happening in jails and prisons. that is a huge issue. i probably should not have even used that word myopically. we are thinking about the interconnectedness, the interrelationality between the predicament in jails and prisons
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and detention facilities, the violence of the police, the intimate violence that happens to so many women and gender nonconforming people all over the world. that is, as a matter of fact, the most pervasive form of violence and it a whirl. we want to be able to imagine a different world. we want to be able to imagine a world in which that violence has been reduced and eventually eradicated. and we think abolition feminism is the perspective that allows us to move in that direction. amy: professor gina dent, if you can talk about the history of abolition and feminism. and then talk about the inverse, if you will, what it means to be a carceral feminist. >> sure. good morning.
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thank you for having us and paying attention to this issue. well, the history of abolition we argue in this book has actually been very much concerned with feminism. one of the things we try to demonstrate in the book genealogically is that we have left out and a lot of the records of contemporary abolition the feminist component. so if we are thinking about this modern abolitionist moment, which we date as others do from the period of attica and the uprising, we can think about the many different ways in which the participants who were engaged came from obviously communities of color, but also came from communities where women were prominent in the organizations. and that prominence disappears as we render that history into the present. and so we're are really trying
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both to uncover that, not only to credit those who were participating, but to redress the problem of omitting those presences and those analyses and those understandings that were generated through feminism. in other words, and ittttttttttr itself only through thinking about one part of the problem is not sufficient. what we are saying is the strongest abolitionist work has been abolition feminist work, yet we often disagree the feminist nature of that practice. we have also much concerned with whether or not things are labeled as abolitionist or feminist, but more important with documenting their practices
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and helping people to understand the ways which they can participate and really focusing on addressing harm and violence in our society. a a a a aceral feminism or an approach to feminism which sometimes is linked to glass to the nature of feminism, which must engage with the other forms of violence. and we know that feminist have often called on the state to do the work of punishment. and yet so many people have
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suffered at the hands of the state, both as victims and survivors, and as those who are then incarcerated in the wake of that violence. and so we wanto pay attention to both of those things. and we feel we cannot do abolitionist work without but of those things simultaneously. juan: i want to turn back to professor beth richie. concretely, for those people who cannot envision the idea of abolishing prisons, you have said abolition is about the building of community capacit not just about the closing of prisons. could you elaborate on that? close yes. thank you. we spent a lot of time in the book talking about both. what we mean is it is critically important that we keep our eye on and engage in campaigns to reduce mass criminalization in this country in all of its
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forms. that is reduce the number of people going into jailand prisons, release people from detention facilities, eliminate the mass spreading of things like electronic monitoring and house arrest actresses, etc. we need to decrease the number of people who are under the control of the criminal legal system in this country. that is an important goal. at the same time, we have to make sure we do that in a way that keeps people safe and safe not only from incidents-based violence, but safe to live their lives in their communities in ways that they choose to, where they have opportunity, where they can create relationships, where they are free to move without worry in the public space that they occupy. and we have to make sure that we are addressing the root causes
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of the incarcerations and violences so we're building a world where people are free. the kind of opportunity that i just talked about where people can move in their space, can raise their children, and get an education, pinafore their housing. so use the both and metaphor in the book to talk about, yes, campaigns to close rikers, campaigns to eliminate cash veil , and work that is looking at the root causes of suffering and pain and harm and violence is so e e e e e i never -- we arely on tse indeed talking about d carceral
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a and, but we're also talking about building opportunity for freedom. that is what a feminist analysis brings to the project of abolition and indeed feminists who are looking at creating freedom and opportunity not just safety from harm come has to be engaged in some of these abolitionist struggles. and because the pandemic has been a kind of x-ray on inequality in the world. we certainly see that when it comes to the prisons. we began the segment by talking about the surge in covid cases prisons and jails around the country and played a clip of a hunger striker right now inside rikers where many are protesting the conditions that have been worsened under the pandemic. you have at the massive rikers jail facility the call now by the city and the state to build other jails and other in the
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boroughs to shut down rikers. but the abolitionists are sing we don't want other jails built. if you can respond to that, professor ritchie? >> i want to also say when you are playing that clip and the discussion about what i lockdown means, when -- what abolitionist feminist analysis allows us to do is also understand the widespread policy of lockdowns, both inside facilities and in the community, leaves people at risk. so in the world of gender-based violence, for example, i lockdown, having to stay at home, having to cut off contact with community who might offer support -- there's a parallel danger that is created when we lockdown inside.
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a stay at home policto create safety doesn't work for people who experience genr-based violence in their homes. i just want to make that point. and that is why and abolitionist feminist analysis allows us to do, make those connections. in terms of what i call the movement of a presenation ideology from one jail to another jail, from the maximum facility to house arrest, to use electronic monitoring, to build community based jails, to do gender-specific or sensitive program inside -- all of the efforts that are under the guise of reform that allow some help people to believe a kinder, gentler space of incarceration is a better place distract us
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from the real goal of abolition. that is to say, moving people out of one space of confinent into another space of confinement is what we call reformist reform. that is it doesn't do anything to set people free. and that needs to be our goal. that always needs to be our goal come to figure out where we can open up the opportunity for liberation, not replace one system of domination and control with another. juan: your book also addresses the issue of abolition, not just within the context of the uned states, but an international framework. gina dent, i'm wondering if you could talk about some of the abolition strategies that you look at in other countries as well? >> yes. fortunately, this work has always been international.
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when you think about even the campaign to free angela, an internationalist component was key to her freedom today. we want to make sure we build on the work we have been able to be exposed to all of these decades with people and other parts of the world who have come to the same conclusions that the spread of the global capitalist relationship to the prison industrial complex is not thing that anyone can and should support. the development of supposedly nicer, more modern jails and prisons, is not a mark of the increasing fairness of society. we draw on campaigns in south africa, in brazil, in australia, in the u.k. where people have been coming to similar
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conclusions, but we try to lift up especially the work that has been feminist and has been responsive both to domestic violence and other forms of gender harm, but has also been engaged with feminist practice in thinking about those issues. and we are sensitive to the fact in many places around the world, we are often asked to speak about abolition as if it comes only from inside of the u.s. but we have been inspired throughout our work together but organizations like sisters inside in brisbane, australia, sisters uncut in the u.k., and these organizations -- in the case of sisters inside in australia, service work for people who are currently incarcerated and recently released, but they also do legal work, do work to support people as they are freed because to
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build on what that has already established, we do what people out of prison but they also need to get services that allow them to stay in the free world. because many of the reasons why people are in prison in the first place is because of what they did not have access to. we had been inspired, especially by work in australia, by the fact there is a possibility to work across the prison walls, such -- it has been able to have people on its governing board your serving time along with people who are in the free world. that kind of work is inspiring because it is something that has been almost impossible to achieve, for example, in the united states. we are also document inc. the work of sisters uncut in the u.k. they have been incredibly active
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doing work to talk about the problem of society removing funding and defunding 70 of the things that people need. and instead, they want us to defund, and criminalization, defined incarceration, defined in the systems that are not attending to and not enabling us to improve our society. amy: i am wondering as we look at the two of you at home, the pandemic gives a kind of lens on the lens that is very different right now. if you could comment -- i mean, the two of you are longtime partners, gina dent and angela davis, what was it like -- is this your first book together? what was it like to write it under pandemic conditions? >> do you want to take that? >> let me point out the idea for the book came from -- talking
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about the possibility of such a book for a while. they presented us with the opportunity to join this collective. however, it was before the pandemic started. so we imagine ourselves meeting in chicago, inviting the two of them to northern california and spending time working together in that way. then of course, the pandemic hits. our communication has been entirely over zoom. we have not seen them in person since we actually began seriously to work on this book. the pandemic also meant that the book would have to address different dynamics. we witnessed the entrance of --
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and away had never imagined to actually experience ourselves. let me say this, now that the mass mobilizations have died down, people are thinking perhaps about what might be the last big impact of this moment come this particular historical conjuncture, we feel the ideas we offer in this book will be helpful to the process of bringing about radical change. let me make the point that we all see the feminism that -- the feminist practice, the feminist theory as an antiracist and anticapitalist of feminism, and
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we hope it will help people to think a bit more deeply and a bit more expensively about the possibilities -- expansively about the possibilities of a future without prisons and jails and without the kind of endemic violence that we are currently experiencing. juan: i just want to ask professor richie about all four of you were active in critical resistance, the organization that began to bring abolition into the public light in the 1990's. for those younger viewers and listeners or others who may not know about critical resistance, could you talk about it and its significance? >> critical resistance was amazingly significant, still is, as the national organization really comprised of activists both inside and outside who
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demand that abolition is possible. it is not only possible, it is our way to freedom. it has a long history, much of it we chronicle in the book, making sure we keep our focus on root causes of mass criminalization, that we see a hope and joy in the possibility of abolition. it helps name things like the prison industrial complex. it brought together people from all over the country, multigenerational, people from different ethnicities, different countries, led by women, many women of color, it disability of queer people, to say we are going to unite as a national movement to end the tyranny of mass caramelization in this country. importantly in the book, we link the history of critical
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resistance with a historof another major organization this country in terms of shaping our analysis of freedom, which is inside. i think there is -- this is one of the first places where inc ite, which is an organization that camtogether to name state violence as a form of gender violence. the critical resistance and incite his radical feminist organization and abolitionist, gather that we talked about how that happens and how that shape the work of abolition feminism now. amy: we want to thank you all for being with us. "abolition. feminism. now." by angela davis, gina dent, and beth richie. erica meiners is the fourth author of this book. angela davis, world-renowned abolitionist, author, activist and distinguished professor
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emerita at the university of california, santa cruz. gina dent is associate professor of feminist studies, history of consciousness, and legal studies at uc santa cruz. and beth richie is head of the department of criminology, law and justice and professor of black studies at the university of illinois. we come back, we will talk to angela davis about a second book , the newly updated edition of her 1974 autobiography, edited by toni morrison. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. as we continue our conversation with the legendary activist and academic angela davis. she has two new books out this week, "abolition. feminism. now." which she co-authored, and a new edition of her autobiography, which was first published and edited by toni morrison in 1974.
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the book details angela davis' early life from growing up in a section of birmingham, alabama, known as dynamite hill due to the frequency of bombings by the ku klux klan, to her work with the black panther party and the u.s. communist party. in 1970, the fbi listed angela davis as one of the 10 most wanted fugitives. once caught, she faced the death penalty in california. after being acquitted on all charges, she spent her life fighting to change the criminal justice system. angela davis, before we ask you about this new edition of your autobiography, we want to go back over half a century to an interview you did from jail after you were arrested in 1970. >> became a point, the revolutionary forces in the black community began to express themselves in jails and prisons. hover, unlike the campuses,
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unlike any other area in society , even the armed forces, the room for any kind of meaningful political activity is so narrow that obviously, as soon their prison officials became aware of what was happening, they would confront these new developments with the most devastating kind of oppression imaginable. and this is why when i was involved in all of the problems that -- my membership in the commonest party and when i was fighting for my job, i had just come aware of what was happening in the prisons.
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i always insisted that people who were supporting me in my fight to retain my job regardless of what my political beliefs and political activities were had to look at the prisons. amy: so that was angela davis speaking from jail in 1970. angela, in your new introduction to the updated edition of the book you write -- "when i decided to write the book after all, it was because i had come to envision it as a political autobiography that emphasized the people, the events, and the forces in my life that propelled me to my present commitment." it was the late great writer toni morrison who pushed you to do this. can you talk about division you had together? -- the vision you had together? you are in your 20's writing an autobiography. >> i think when toni morrison
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first raised the possibility of my writing and out of our graffiti, i laughed because -- writing an autobiography, i laughed because it seemed it was almost ridiculous to consider writing an autobiography in my 20's. however, we both came to the conclusion that it might be possibleo write the kind of book that would be meaningful, without focus on me individually, but would rather be more of a political autobiography. i am so thankful to toni now, that she managed to convince me to write this book. not only because it helps to provide a historical record for the struggles that unfolded 50 years ago, but also because it
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allowed me to link the writing of this autobiography to other collective undertakings such as the slave manager. juan: angela, i want to talk to you about, you are in essence a product of what many called the old left communist party a, but then moved more into the black panther party and what would be called i guess the new left or the radical revolutionaries within the african-american community. could you talk about that change in your life and the impact that the panther party had at that time in the african-american community? i recall back then, i report
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coming out the fbi had done a poll and found over a quarter of all african america were supportive of the black panther party at the time and j edgar hoover was almost catatonic about that? >> well, i don't know i would characterize my development as a move away from what is referred to as the old left and toward formations such as the black panther party. i sort of grew up with the communist party as a part of my coming-of-age experience. my mother and father had very close friends who were black leaders in the communist party. i am thankful for that experience of recognizing how important it was and continues to be to situate struggles for
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black liberation within a larger international framework. we talked about the internationalism of the book just published together, "abolition. feminism. now." i am thankful for the internationalism that helped me to recognize how important it was to link black struggles to struggles of the working class in this country and struggles for poor african abrasion, struggles unfolding in latin america. i don't know whether i move from one point to another but rather attempted to find points of connection and interconnections among the various perspectives. amy: angela, as you updated your
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autobiography and wrote a new introduction, what struck you most as you reflect on your life now, what, almost half a century later, writing that autobiography in your 20's? >> first of all, i realize i could not update it. in revisiting it, i always expressed a sense of relief that i had actually written the book in my 20's because i don't know whether i would be able to write such a book today. what struck me was how much has changed. both how much has changed and how little has changed. of course, my first impulse was to revise those expressions and
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those ways of thinking and knowing that made me almost cringe in rereading the book. by the way, i narrated the autobiography for an audiobook. soy literally had to read every single word aloud. there were things at first i would have wanted to chang. i indicate this in the prefa. but then it became apparent to me that i was also providing a record of how our struggles over time have shaped the ways we think about issues. i point out, for example, initially come the language i used to describe what was happening in women's prisons was
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very homophobic. i was a product of my time. it is very -- i should say inspiring to recognize how far we have come, not only in the way we talk about sexuality, but the way we talk about gender and the way they're constantly challenging binary notions of gender and all of these transformations have happened as a consequence of the past people have dedicated themselves to struggle. to struggle to end racism, to imperialism, to war. an end to misogyny. let me say this, in rereading -- joint amy: we have 20 seconds. >> i became aware of the absolute importance of
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antiracist, a capitalist abolitionist feminism. amy: i want to thank you so much for being with us. angela davis, world-renowned abolitionist, author, activist and distinguished professor emerita at the university of california, santa cruz. two new books out this week, and updated edition of her autobiography called "angela davis: an autobiography" and "abolition. feminism. now."
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■ú (sophie fouron) we're in the land of gods here. it sure looks likes it, anyways. it's the birthplace of greek mythology. apparently, zeus was born here, in crete. and the gods have been very generous to their land. you can find pretty much everything and anything on this island. they are wild herbs, flowers, fruits, vegetables everywhere. there are more sheep here than human beings.
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they can live off their land. they still have a very strong culture, very strong traditions. and here, they say they're cretans before they say they're greeks. and people


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