Look whose photo graces the campus of UCLA, meant to be an inspiration to incoming students. The woman in the photo is standing above the slogan: “We Question.” On the right-hand side, in small letters, students are informed that they are “the optimists.”
This banner adds to the shadow that today is cast over so many of our major universities.
For those who can’t identify her, the photo depicts Angela Davis, the notorious former Communist Party USA leader who, beginning in the ’60s, molded together black nationalism with Marxism-Leninism. She created a heady brew for recruiting new cadre into the CP and the original Black Panther Party of Huey Newton.
Some optimist! Davis believed in the triumph of Communism.
For her loyalty to the Soviet Union and its foreign policies, in 1972 she was awarded a Lenin Centenary Medal in the Soviet Union, after which she spoke to thousands at an outdoor rally in Moscow. Next, speaking at a factory in Kirov, Davis praised the workers for not using “products of labor [to fuel] the irrational drive for capitalist profits as it is used in our country.”
As she left Moscow and went up the stairs to enter her plane, she yelled out with a clenched fist: “Long live the science of Marxism-Leninism.” There is not an iota of evidence that she questioned anything about the dreary reality in the Soviet Union and their Eastern European client states.
Davis also received the International Lenin Peace Prize — formerly called the Stalin Peace Prize — from the STASI state of East Germany in 1979. She was awarded it for supposedly strengthening “peace among peoples,” but it was actually for her continued fidelity to the Soviet bloc, which to her represented the future of humanity.
Not only did she not “question” authority, Davis openly defended the repressive measures of the Communist states by endorsing their imprisonment of dissident intellectuals. When the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the movement for “socialism with a human face” that the citizens of the country believed they could pull off without Soviet intervention, Davis strenuously supported the invasion that was forthcoming.
In 1970, she was implicated in a plot to free her imprisoned lover, black revolutionary George Jackson, whose brother took over a Marin County courtroom and took the judge hostage, as well as an assistant DA and two jurors.
After a gun battle, the judge was murdered by a shotgun owned by Davis.
Davis then fled, assumed different aliases, and disguised how she looked. She was brought to trial, and to great amazement of those who believed no black could get a fair trial in the U.S., the jury found her innocent. As it turned out, the jurors were all defenders of Davis. One juror even faced TV news cameras and gave the clenched-fist salute, indicating their lack of objectivity or intent to evaluate the evidence.
After the jury’s acquittal of Davis, Pelikan wrote: “Try to help [the imprisoned Czech dissidents] so they can defend themselves against their accusers as you have been able to do in your country.” His plea fell on deaf ears. She had a close friend, another black female American Communist Party leader, tell the press that Davis believed that the critics of the Czech regime were counter-revolutionaries who were undermining socialism, and therefore were undeserving of support.
Davis’ entire life reveals a woman who, rather than question authority, uses her skills to attack the very democracy she lives in — which allowed her to teach at a university, obtain highly paid speaking engagements, and publish scores of books attacking the American government.
After 9/11, Davis said: “The United States significantly contributed to conditions that led to the violence on September 11.” As for demands that she not be allowed to speak, she said in a campus speech at Keene State College in New Hampshire that she finds it “bizarre, if freedom is being defended, that it is necessary to curtail freedom in order to defend freedom.”
As we have seen, she had a very different view when it came to defending freedom in the so-called “people’s democracies.”
From the ’60s to the present, Angela Davis has been a thoughtless propagandist for every far Left cause one can imagine. How did she ever become a Communist and believe in the Leninist theory of “dialectical materialism” and all of its mumbo-jumbo? The answer comes from the high school which she attended — Elisabeth Irwin H.S., the upper level division of the famed private school the Little Red School House, referred to by its critics with an additional three words: “for little Reds.”
I attended the same high school to which Davis got a scholarship and then moved from her middle-class black home in Birmingham, Alabama, to attend in New York City. There she was taught history by its longstanding history teacher, a man named Harold Kirshner — the very same man who taught me that “dialectical materialism is a science” and that Marxism explained the world. The author of a recent book about the high school writes that it was the same Kirshner who “effected a life-altering transformation in Davis” by assigning her the works of Marx and Engels. The effect it had, Davis said, hit her “like a bolt of lightning.” After that she graduated from Kirshner to taking a class from the official CP “historian” Herbert Aptheker at a Communist school he had set up in the city.
One might ask: Why is Davis so important? The answer is that today’s cultural elites, like whoever at UCLA decided to adorn the campus with her photo, treat any rebel — even a dogmatic ideologue like Angela Davis — as a leader from which students can learn valuable lessons. It is these academics who treat her as both a saint and a leader, and who constantly invite her to give major speeches on our campuses which they urge their students to attend.
To herald Angela Davis as a person who questions anything reveals the mindset of our university administrators, and is itself more evidence of the decline of standards at our major colleges and universities. Expect Ms. Davis to be a graduation speaker sometime in UCLA’s future. That is the logical next step in helping Angela Davis lead her march to a communist future via “the long march through the existing institutions.”