Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement (Davis)

I will forever count the opportunity to hear Ms. Davis speak in person as one of the formative moments of my life. She speaks and writes with such precision and clarity that it is impossible to remain unmoved. I think this is the second or third book of hers that I’ve read, and again, this is a collection of speeches. This is not a criticism, only a preface to say that any reference to repetition is one consequence of this format.

Davis takes as her starting point a familiar King quotation – that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. She argues, in many different contexts (including Turkey), for “transnational solidarities” and a greater recognition of and vocabulary for talking about intersectionality. I think I grasp the concept of intersectionality, but as much as I read and try to learn, it can seem overwhelming to try to understand how and why the struggles in Ferguson and Palestine are connected. I mean, I can draw the parallels in broad strokes, but that seems superficial.

I admit that, as a Jew, reading the sections about Israel and Palestine were difficult. For the first time, this book prompted me to think about trying to find a way to get to Palestine to see things for myself. Davis’ comments about those corporations who profit from the punishment industry are compelling. And I can see how that yields to a call for the boycott, divest, sanction movement. I am not ready to take that step. . . yet. I have to think more about why.

Based on this book, I clearly have much to learn about feminism. I welcome any suggestions about where to begin.

I continue to admire Davis’ vision – her vision of a country that focuses on the collective, “a transformed society, one in which people’s needs, not profits, constitute the driving force.” I want to live in that place and I’m in for the “constant struggle” to get there.

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