The Meaning of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues

City Lights Publishers
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Want to Better Understand Socialism? New York Magazine recommends The Meaning of Freedom

What is the meaning of freedom? Angela Y. Davis' life and work have been dedicated to examining this fundamental question and to ending all forms of oppression that deny people their political, cultural, and sexual freedom. In this collection of twelve searing, previously unpublished speeches, Davis confronts the interconnected issues of power, race, gender, class, incarceration, conservatism, and the ongoing need for social change in the United States. With her characteristic brilliance, historical insight, and penetrating analysis, Davis addresses examples of institutional injustice and explores the radical notion of freedom as a collective striving for real democracy - not something granted or guaranteed through laws, proclamations, or policies, but something that grows from a participatory social process that demands new ways of thinking and being. "The speeches gathered together here are timely and timeless," writes Robin D.G. Kelley in the foreword, "they embody Angela Davis' uniquely radical vision of the society we need to build, and the path to get there."

The Meaning of Freedom articulates a bold vision of the society we need to build and the path to get there. This is her only book of speeches.

"Davis' arguments for justice are formidable. . . . The power of her historical insights and the sweetness of her dream cannot be denied."—The New York Times

"One of America's last truly fearless public intellectuals." —Cynthia McKinney, former US Congresswoman

"Angela Davis deserves credit, not just for the dignity and courage with which she has lived her life, but also for raising important critiques of a for-profit penitentiary system decades before those arguments gained purchase in the mainstream." —Thomas Chatterton Williams, SFGate

"Angela Davis's revolutionary spirit is still strong. Still with us, thank goodness!"
Virginian-Pilot

"Long before 'race/gender' became the obligatory injunction it is now, Angela Davis was developing an analytical framework that brought all of these factors into play. For readers who only see Angela Davis as a public icon . . . meet the real Angela Davis: perhaps the leading public intellectual of our era." —Robin D. G. Kelley author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original

"There was a time in America when to call a person an 'abolitionist' was the ultimate epithet. It evoked scorn in the North and outrage in the South. Yet they were the harbingers of things to come. They were on the right side of history. Prof. Angela Y. Davis stands in that proud, radical tradition." —Mumia Abu-Jamal, author of Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A.

"Behold the heart and mind of Angela Davis, open, relentless, and on time!" —June Jordan

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About the author

Angela Y. Davis is Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness at the University of California and author of many books including Women, Race and Class and Are Prisons Obsolete? She is a much sought after public speaker and internationally known feminist scholar, prison abolitionist, and advocate for social justice.

Robin D.G. Kelley is a professor of History, American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. From 2003-2006, he was the William B. Ransford Professor of Cultural and Historical Studies at Columbia University. From 1994–2003, he was a professor of history and Africana Studies at NYU. He is the author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original and Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination.
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Additional Information

Publisher
City Lights Publishers
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Published on
Aug 14, 2012
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Pages
202
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ISBN
9780872865860
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Civil Rights
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
Social Science / LGBT Studies / Gay Studies
Social Science / Social Classes & Economic Disparity
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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When did we lose our right to be lazy, unhealthy, and politically incorrect?

Move over Big Brother! An insidious new group has inserted itself into American politics. They are the nannies—not the stroller-pushing set but an invasive band of do-gooders who are subtly and steadily stripping us of our liberties, robbing us of the inalienable right to make our own decisions, and turning America into a nation of children.
 
As you read this, countless busybodies across the nation are rolling up their sleeves to do the work of straightening out your life. Certain Massachusetts towns have banned school-yard tag. San Francisco has passed laws regulating the amount of water you should use in dog bowls. The mayor of New York City has french fries and doughnuts in his sights. In some parts of California, smoking is prohibited . . . outside.

The government, under pressure from the nanny minority, is twisting the public’s arm into obedience. Playground police, food fascists, anti-porn crusaders —whether they're legislating morality or wellbeing—nannies are popping up all over America. In the name of health, safety, decency, and—shudder—good intentions, these ever-vigilant politicians and social activists are dictating what we eat, where we smoke, what we watch and read, and whom we marry.

Why do bureaucrats think they know what's better for us than we do? And are they selectively legislating in the name of political expediency? For instance, why do we ban mini-motorbikes, responsible for five deaths each year, and not skiing, which accounts for fifty deaths each year? Why is medical marijuana, a substance yet to claim a single life, banned and not aspirin, which accounts for about 7,600 deaths?

Exhaustively researched, sharply observed, and refreshingly lucid, Nanny Sate looks at the myriad ways we are turning the United States into a soulless and staid nation—eroding not only our personal freedoms but our national character.
A leading Washington journalist argues that gay marriage is the best way to preserve and protect society's most essential institution

Two people meet and fall in love. They get married, they become upstanding members of their community, they care for each other when one falls ill, they grow old together. What's wrong with this picture? Nothing, says Jonathan Rauch, and that's the point. If the two people are of the same sex, why should this chain of events be any less desirable? Marriage is more than a bond between individuals; it also links them to the community at large. Excluding some people from the prospect of marriage not only is harmful to them, but is also corrosive of the institution itself.
The controversy over gay marriage has reached a critical point in American political life as liberals and conservatives have begun to mobilize around this issue, pro and con. But no one has come forward with a compelling, comprehensive, and readable case for gay marriage-until now.
Jonathan Rauch, one of our most original and incisive social commentators, has written a clear and honest manifesto explaining why gay marriage is important-even crucial-to the health of marriage in America today. Rauch grounds his argument in commonsense, mainstream values and confronting the social conservatives on their own turf. Gay marriage, he shows, is a "win-win-win" for strengthening the bonds that tie us together and for remaining true to our national heritage of fairness and humaneness toward all.

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

A Washington Post Best Book of the Year (Nonfiction)

A Kirkus Best Book of the Year

“[A] riveting legal drama, a snapshot in time, when the gay rights movement altered course and public opinion shifted with the speed of a bullet train...Becker's most remarkable accomplishment is to weave a spellbinder of a tale that, despite a finale reported around the world, manages to keep readers gripped until the very end.”-The Washington Post

A tour de force of groundbreaking reportage by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Jo Becker, Forcing the Spring is the definitive account of five remarkable years in American civil rights history: when the United States experienced a tectonic shift on the issue of marriage equality. Beginning with the historical legal challenge of California's ban on same-sex marriage, Becker expands the scope to encompass all aspects of this momentous struggle, offering a gripping behind-the-scenes narrative told with the lightning pace of the greatest legal thrillers.

For nearly five years, Becker was given free rein in the legal and political war rooms where the strategy of marriage equality was plotted. She takes us inside the remarkable campaign that rebranded a movement; into the Oval Office where the president and his advisors debated how to respond to a fast-changing political landscape; into the chambers of the federal judges who decided that today's bans on same-sex marriage were no more constitutional than previous century's bans on interracial marriage; and into the mindsets of the Supreme Court judges who decided the California case and will likely soon decide the issue for the country at large. From the state-by state efforts to win marriage equality at the ballot box to the landmark Supreme Court case that struck down a law that banned legally married gay and lesbian couples from receiving federal benefits, Becker weaves together the political and legal forces that reshaped a nation.

Forcing the Spring begins with California's controversial ballot initiative Proposition 8, which banned gay men and lesbians from marrying the person they loved. This electoral defeat galvanized an improbable alliance of opponents to the ban, with political operatives and Hollywood royalty enlisting attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies—the opposing counsels in the Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore case—to join together in a unique bipartisan challenge to the political status quo. Despite initial opposition from the gay rights establishment, the case against Proposition 8 would ultimately force the issue of marriage equality all the way to the Supreme Court, transforming same-sex marriage from a partisan issue into a modern crisis of civil rights.
 
Shuttling between the twin American power centers of Hollywood and Washington—and based on access to all the key players in the Justice Department and the White House—Becker offers insider coverage on the true story of how President Obama “evolved” to embrace marriage equality. What starts out as a tale of an epic legal battle grows into the story of the evolution of a country. Becker shows how the country reexamined its opinions on same-sex marriage, an issue that raced along with a snowballing velocity which astounded veteran political operatives. Here is the ringside account of this unprecedented change, the fastest shift in public opinion ever seen in modern American politics.

Clear-eyed and even-handed, Forcing the Spring is political and legal journalism at its finest, offering an unvarnished perspective on the extraordinary transformation of America and an inside look into the fight to win the rights of marriage and full citizenship for all.
The Straight State is the most expansive study of the federal regulation of homosexuality yet written. Unearthing startling new evidence from the National Archives, Margot Canaday shows how the state systematically came to penalize homosexuality, giving rise to a regime of second-class citizenship that sexual minorities still live under today.

Canaday looks at three key arenas of government control--immigration, the military, and welfare--and demonstrates how federal enforcement of sexual norms emerged with the rise of the modern bureaucratic state. She begins at the turn of the twentieth century when the state first stumbled upon evidence of sex and gender nonconformity, revealing how homosexuality was policed indirectly through the exclusion of sexually "degenerate" immigrants and other regulatory measures aimed at combating poverty, violence, and vice. Canaday argues that the state's gradual awareness of homosexuality intensified during the later New Deal and through the postwar period as policies were enacted that explicitly used homosexuality to define who could enter the country, serve in the military, and collect state benefits. Midcentury repression was not a sudden response to newly visible gay subcultures, Canaday demonstrates, but the culmination of a much longer and slower process of state-building during which the state came to know and to care about homosexuality across many decades.


Social, political, and legal history at their most compelling, The Straight State explores how regulation transformed the regulated: in drawing boundaries around national citizenship, the state helped to define the very meaning of homosexuality in America.

The New York Times bestseller
A New York Times Notable and Critics’ Top Book of 2016
Longlisted for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction
One of NPR's 10 Best Books Of 2016 Faced Tough Topics Head On
NPR's Book Concierge Guide To 2016’s Great Reads
San Francisco Chronicle's Best of 2016: 100 recommended books
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2016
Globe & Mail 100 Best of 2016

“Formidable and truth-dealing . . . necessary.” —The New York Times

“This eye-opening investigation into our country’s entrenched social hierarchy is acutely relevant.” —O Magazine

In her groundbreaking  bestselling history of the class system in America, Nancy Isenberg upends history as we know it by taking on our comforting myths about equality and uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing—if occasionally entertaining—poor white trash.
 
“When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there’s always a chance that the dancing bear will win,” says Isenberg of the political climate surrounding Sarah Palin. And we recognize how right she is today. Yet the voters who boosted Trump all the way to the White House have been a permanent part of our American fabric, argues Isenberg.

The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement to today's hillbillies. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds.
 
Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ’s Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.
 
We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation’s history. With Isenberg’s landmark book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well.
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