Angela Davis speaks on struggles of feminism

From People’s World:

by: Zac Smith
April 13 2012

LAWRENCE, Kansas – Professor and political activist Angela Davis addressed the University of Kansas here Feb 7 on the problems of feminism in capitalist society.  Davis, a former political prisoner, is active on prisoner rights and was a two-time Communist Party vice presidential candidate.

Davis commemorated the 40th anniversary of an event in which 30 members of the feminist group, February Sisters, occupied the University of Kansas’s East Asian Studies building. They called for the creation of new facilities for women, and did not leave the building until they were guaranteed an audience with university administrators, according to the University of Kansas History Collection.

“Looking at their demands, I am not only impressed by the Sisters’ militancy and courage, but I’m also impressed by the extent to which the demands they formulated then reflect concerns that, 40 years later, still have not been resolved,” Davis said.

“I was especially impressed by the fact that they demanded a free daycare center and the establishment of a women’s health center that, among other services, would provide free birth control, with the emphasis on ‘free.’ … Forty years later, women throughout the country need free daycare more than ever before.”

A point to which Davis returned throughout her speech was the need for feminists to be conscious of class and race as well as of gender. Davis also stressed the interdependence of the various issues that constitute the struggle for women’s rights.

“In 1971, I was in jail,” said Davis, drawing scattered laughter from the crowd.  “While I was in jail, I tried to participate as much as possible in movements that were unfolding in the so-called free world … There was a huge reproductive rights rally scheduled in San Francisco.  I was in Marin County, just across the Golden Gate Bridge.

“I was asked to write a statement that very specifically engaged with the issue of abortion rights.  Of course, I was in favor of women’s abortion rights, but I did not want to take women’s abortion rights out of the context of the broader conglomeration of issues that constitute women’s reproductive rights.

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