The method taken by Angela Davis to political disobedience in the United States gives a conceptual foundation for approaching political protest in general.
How should we respond to unfair laws and governments if we are compelled to live under them? This is the primary issue in Angela Davis’s article Political Prisoners, Prisons, and Black Emancipation: “Despite a long history of elevated appeals to man’s intrinsic right of resistance, there has been no consensus on how to really relate to unjust, immoral laws and the repressive social order from which they arise.” This article examines Davis’ contribution to this field and the difficulties it raises. First, it describes the type of protest that Angela Davis opposes, which we may loosely refer to as the ‘liberal’ approach.
The section next addresses two types of political protest – those that defy the current legal framework and those that seek to stir it into action – and whether Davis defends both types of political disobedience. Finally, Davis’ thoughts on fascism in American culture are presented.
Angela Davis is one of the most renowned contemporary philosophers, authors, and campaigners. Her fame depends on her writing and more conventional types of activism, but her infamy rests on her willingness to engage in more extreme forms of action, both among her opponents and those she has inspired. Specifically, she was suspected of providing firearms to a gang that invaded a courthouse, for which she was imprisoned and then freed.
The collection of writings for which the subject piece was written was compiled in response to this occurrence, and this essay might be interpreted as reflecting discreetly on Davis’ own bold protest against racism in the United States. Specifically, it is a defence of her techniques against the more gradualist, liberal ways to altering the behaviour of governments, whose motto is “Law and order, with an emphasis on order.” The liberal expresses his sensitivity to certain unacceptable aspects of society, but will virtually never advise measures of protest that surpass legal boundaries.