“This country’s history cannot be deleted“, stated Women’s March keynote speaker Angela Davis.
Neither can this photograph of Angela Davis shaking hands with Stalinist dictator, Erich Honecker.
Cathy Young observes:
“But whatever one thinks of Davis’s domestic militancy, her true claim to infamy is her career as an apologist for repressive communist regimes. During her 18 months in jail, Davis became a heroine across the Soviet bloc; for communist states frequently criticized for imprisoning dissidents, a perceived “political prisoner” in the United States was a godsend. After her release, Davis was feted in East Germany (a 1972 photo shows her shaking hands with then-General Secretary Erich Honecker, whoseorders to shoot people trying to escape the socialist paradise by crossing the border into West Germany resulted in over 1,000 deaths), in Cuba, and in the Soviet Union, where she was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1979, just months before theSoviet invasion of Afghanistan.
It takes some cheek to mount a protest against Trump with a speaker who was twice honored by Leonid Brezhnev’s Soviet Union.
In July 1972, Czech journalist and activist Jiri Pelikan, a prominent figure in the reformist “Prague Spring” who was forced to emigrate after the 1968 Soviet invasion, wrote the recently freed Davis an open letter expressing sympathy with her experience and urging her to speak out against human rights violations in Communist countries. Most of his appeal focused on the brutal treatment of Czech dissidents—many of them, like Pelikan himself, idealistic Communists who thought Communism could be humanized into democratic socialism. Davis did not respond; however, her friend Charlene Mitchell told The Guardian that Davis “did not think people should leave socialist countries to return to the capitalist system” and that “even if such people said they were communists they were still acting in opposition to the ‘socialist system,’ objectively speaking.” Mitchell also said, professing to speak on Davis’s behalf, that people in Eastern Europe were only jailed “if they were undermining the government.””
Trump and Bannon’s greatest hope is that they will be opposed by coalitions which contain somebody like Angela Davis: who only left the Communist Party after the collapse of the USSR.
It makes it easy for them to say:
“You think we’re bad? You think we’re a danger to liberty? Well, would you really prefer an opposition made up of fans of a totalitarian Stalinist dictatorship?”