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December 2012, Week 3

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Sat, 15 Dec 2012 15:00:46 -0500
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Angela Davis and Harry Belafonte: Where do We go
from Here?

By W.A.T.E.R. 17 
Special to the AmNews

December 13, 2012
New York Amsterdam News

http://www.amsterdamnews.com/news/local/angela-davis-and-harry-belafonte-where-do-we-go-from/article_fe0e6356-4560-11e2-8fb1-0019bb2963f4.html

This past Monday evening, at Midtown Manhattan's
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Center, two
prominent, progressive activists touched on topics
addressing tomorrow's America. Noted civil rights
activist and singer Harry Belafonte and original
Black Panther organizer Angela Davis each laid out
their assessments regarding the current national
political climate, as well as suggesting solutions for
a better future.

"Imagine what might have been possible had we
taken to the streets a day after inauguration, to
celebrate Obama's victory and to pressure his
administration to move on the issues we are most
concerned about?" Davis rhetorically asked, opening
her presentation. "We should have called for the
immediate closing of Guantanamo, and of course,
we can never expect to elect a president that will
lead us to the promised land - we have to do that for
ourselves!"

The former political prisoner of war thanked "all the
people who made it possible for me to hear
Romney's concession speech," and acknowledged
that Obama's successful re-election was due in part
to "the organizing efforts of the labor movement of
unions all over the country, the perseverance of
Black and Latino communities that resisted voter
repression."

Belafonte mentioned the value of education, unity
and the indomitable will of the people, which he
viewed as essential to achieving the progress made
in the last few decades.

During the 1960s and '70s, he said, "We gave of
ourselves fully to organizations we knew were not
only of us, but from us and because of us. Nobody
wanted to hear the stories that had to do with
slavery, with transient white folks who went
berserk, destroying the indigenous people."

He also spoke about the influence and
responsibilities the current generation has future
ones:

"Those who are around my age won't be around
much longer," suggested the 80-year-old entertainer.
"This mission is specifically for the youth, who are
the inheritors of the future, and what role will they
play in it. I admire young people. Service to
humanity is to use art as a tool to inspire and
document the world that we saw and be able to
resist those who had commanded a space that
artists were required to deal with, when it came to
having our voices heard."

The Columbia professor shared similar sentiments:
"When I was younger, I remember that we thought
the revolution was going to happen tomorrow. The
world was supposed to be completely transformed.
We never would've been able to imagine this future-
present that we are living today, which was
unimaginable as a future 30-40 years ago. There are
ways we can bring people together in mass
movements that were not conceivable at that time. I
love the idea of talking about socialism and
communism in the 21st century. Capitalism is
devastating the planet."

Davis directly addressed some who expected a rapid
change after Obama's election to the Oval Office,
change which has yet to - and may never - occur.

"Many people who were brought out by that first
campaign - especially those who had never before
been moved to get involved in electoral politics -
almost forgot the limits of electoral politics," she
said. "Perhaps they forgot that this was about
electing a president of the same imperialist,
militarist, racist United States of America. But what
was achieved four years ago was still earth-shaking,
and we should never forget that, even if the last four
years have not been what many people had hoped it
would be."

___________________________________________

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