Activist Angela Davis on the Current Political Moment

Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court would decisively tilt the balance of the court to the right, and would throw into question issues of healthcare, abortion, and voting rights. Angela Davis was there at the establishment of many of those rights, as a longtime activist in the segregated south. She joins the show to discuss.

Read Transcript EXPAND

ANGELA DAVIS, ACTIVIST AND AUTHOR: The very future of reproductive justice is at stake, the future of affirmative action and other strategies designed to restructure the institutions of this country. We know that pivotal political moments and I’m speaking of political in the largest sense of the word having to do with power have been marked by Supreme Court decisions. But of course, the decisions are not themselves the explanation for change, rather, the courts often reflect the changes that have occurred as a result of social movements. And so I think that these current hearings have a great deal to do with, you know, what unfolds both within the judicial realm, but also within the realm of struggles for justice.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So that’s really interesting, of course, because right now there is just so much on the streets that is pointing in the direction of reform, demanding reform. Obviously, Shelby versus Holder was the Supreme Court rolling back so much of the Civil Rights movement and that was in 2013, the Civil Rights Act rather and now we have Black Lives Matter out on the streets and making their demands. What do you think of both the longevity and the impact of this movement on the streets compared to what you all went through in the 60s? And the effect of a very conservative court if she is appointed six to three conservative to liberal on civil rights?

DAVIS: Well, of course, already, as a result of the current administration, we’ve experienced attacks on the court system, the Federal — well, there have been efforts to create a court system that is designed to serve as a bulwark for conservatives. And I think, you know, certainly, if she is confirmed, we will have to bear the consequences and they will be devastating. They will absolutely be devastating. At the same time, I think it’s important to point out that the social movements, whose surges we are witnessing now have very long histories. The movement against racism goes back for many, many centuries, and I don’t think that the current situation regarding the Supreme Court is going to shift that field of struggle for justice, for freedom, for equality.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane speaks with activist and author Angela Davis about the current political moment. She also speaks with Molly Dineen and Blacker Dread about the film “Being Blacker.” Hari Sreenivasan speaks with Elizabeth Neumann, former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, about why, despite being a lifelong Republican, she is not voting for the GOP this time around.