Speaking as we were of the urge to mythologise, here’s Ron Radosh on the fantasies and inversions of progressive academia:
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.” For those who can’t identify her, the photo depicts Angela Davis, the notorious former Communist Party USA leader who, beginning in the ‘60s, moulded together black nationalism with Marxism-Leninism... 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… 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.
I think that’s what’s called exquisite irony.
Of course Ms Davis has groupies over here too, at Birkbeck, for instance, where the credulous and dyspeptic scrawled the words “Fuck rich white men.” While the woman they so admire, this self-styled “political prisoner,” charges $20,000 an hour. Details of Ms Davis’s extra-legal activities can be found in the book Radicals by David Horowitz, while his earlier book One-Party Classroom outlines the practised hagiography that surrounds this Distinguished Professor Emerita of the History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies.