The second, and perhaps most important thing that struck me about Angela Davis was her commitment to intersectionality, the idea that 'traditional' forms of oppression do not happen in isolation from each other, but that oppression in areas of gender, race/ethnicity, class, etc intercede with one another. In her book 'Women, Culture and Politics' she writes;
"Rape bears a direct relationship to all of the existing power structures in a given society. This relationship is not a simple, mechanical one, but rather involves complex structures reflecting the interconnectedness of the race, gender, and class oppression that characterize the society"
After becoming familiar with communist and socialist political theory, and especially after a trip to Cuba where she worked amongst Cubans cutting sugar cane, Angela Davis became convinced that the only way to eradicate racism, sexism, classism and other forms of oppression, was to radically revolutionise society into one where every individual is valued. A society where the state looks after it's people, where all people are seen as valuable just by virtue of them....being. Her experiences in Cuba, in spending time in women's prisons, and being just in being a black woman, caused her to come to the conclusion that a capitalist, free-market system is one where marginalised minority (women, black people, the working class, etc) groups are going to continually be oppressed. It is the nature of the system, and the system needs this in order to function. Therefore the overhaul of this system to create a more egalitarian one of socialist democracy is the only way to truly liberate women, homosexuals, the working class, people of colour, the poor...I could go on.
She is an incredible woman, who is still constantly working and advocating for the rights of women, the eradication of racism, the abolishment of prisons and a more socially just world. I couldn't recommend her autobiography highly enough. Her story of coming of age in the civil rights movement, to living underground while being stalked by the FBI, to Ronald Reagan attempting to get her banned from teaching is an incredible one. I'd also recommend checking out her lectures on the University of California youtube channel.
What women have influenced you? Who do you admire? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!