Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Don’t Be Fooled by Angela Davis Acquittal!

First Published: People’s Tribune, Vol. 4, No. 6, July 1972.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Angela Davis was aquitted of all three counts against her, (murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy) on Sunday, June 4th. People all over the world watched the Angela Davis case, anxious to know the outcome, Angela Davis by virtue of her worldwide connections through the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) became an international figure. As a university professor, an intellectual, she aroused interest in many, but to most people she represented the oppression of the Negro national minority. The oppression that thousands of Negro national minority workers feel daily, only her case ended a little differently than most, she was acquitted.

Just what was the effect of the Angela Davis case? Did it prove that a Negro national minority, and a Communist to boot, could get a fair and impartial hearing from an all Anglo-American “middle class” jury as so many claimed? The L.A. Times June 6, 1972, p. 23, quoted the London Daily Mail saying it “sensationally disproves that in the U.S. today a controversial black cannot get a fair trial from all-white jurors in a bourgeois middle-class area where anti-Negro emotions have so long been potent.” Or was it a “People’s Victory” as the CPUSA claimed? These are just two sides of the same coin, we have to take a deeper look at what we are presented with if we want to understand what the Angela Davis case really means.

One thing is for certain, everyone seems to be quite happy with the outcome of the Angela Davis trial, from the director of the FBI to the members of the jury. Governor Reagan of California even grinned and spoke about the “impartiality” of our “American system of justice.” Could it be that these people see the justice of a “people’s victory?” Let’s look at some facts. The L.A. Times laid out 5 factors that determined the Angela Davis case. Basically they were; “1) Jury selection. ...Psychologists came to the courtroom to study mannerisms and expressions by prospective jurors as they were questioned by attorneys. A handwriting expert studied their signatures, looking for personality characteristics... 2) The burden of ’reasonable doubt’. ...The prosecution offered an admittedly circumstantial case: The defense hammered at the lack of direct evidence, reminding the jury that under law the defendant need not testify and that the state had the burden of proving her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt a formidable obstacle to conviction in a case where a conviction would have to be based on inferences drawn from a set of facts... 3) Her release on bail. ....Thus, to the jurors, she was not presented as a ‘dangerous’ person, already jailed, but rather as a ’free’ woman whom they would have to send to prison for life had they convicted her... 4) Her lawyers skill. ...5) Miss Davis herself.” (L.A. Times, June 6, 1972) The article went on to say that, “...members of the jury indicated they had never seriously considered bringing in a guilty verdict.” After waving a clenched fist to Miss Davis’ supporters one juror explained, “It was a spontaneous thing.... to show a unity of opinion for all oppressed people, to show I felt sympathy for the people in the crowd.” (op. cit.) Can this trial really be compared with the trials of other workers of any nationality? When the CPUSA speaks of a “People’s Victory” it makes us wonder who the “people” are that they’re talking about.

It becomes quite clear when we are presented with the above facts that the Angela Davis trial was nothing but a SHAM and a FARCE! The government knew they had only circumstantial evidence, so why did they carry through on this trial? To “prove” that they are so impartial, that’s why! To try to justify their brutal murders and jailings of the Negro masses! To show how “just” they are in Vietnam, to prove they’re not “racist”, imperialist butchers!! Don’t be fooled! Don’t forget for one second that the prisons in Vietnam and the Negro Nation are run by the same “impartial” imperialist butchers!

On Poulo Condor, the Americans use various means to destroy us physically and morally, in particular to break the fighting spirit of male prisoners. Female prisoners were at first incarcerated apart. They have been later on confined with male prisoners in overcrowded rooms.
We, female prisoners were one day put to the torture. The beatings were so brutal that our clothes were torn to pieces and our bodies covered with blood. Some of us were raped by jailers in front of their male room-mates.
The jailers even forced male prisoners to rape their female mates in front of them. Of course, we resisted such bestial orders. Disappointed, they set police dogs on us. We defended ourselves with determination. They then thrusted cudgels into some women prisoners vaginas, causing sudden death.....How can we list and describe all those horrors!” (South Vietnam in Struggle, excerpt from a letter from Nguyen Phi Loc, a Poulor Condor woman prisoner, March 27, 1972.)

The “impartial” jailers of Angela Davis are the same who order the vicious, inhuman torture and murder of the Vietnamese people. Yes, the prisons in the USNA and Vietnam are run by the same dogs. The Angela Davis case is used to maintain the rule of the imperialist ruling class the same way that Vietnam is, they are just different tactics!

The past several months have seen several political prisoners found not guilty. The imperialist butchers are trying to appease the unrest and rising tide of struggle found among the working class. They think that by releasing a few militants the working class will forget about their brothers and sisters that have been and are still being jailed and murdered at the mercy of imperialism. They have no more willing a partner in this deception than the traitorous CPUSA. In fact, they think that they can channel the revolutionary spirit of the working class by publicizing and pushing the CPUSA. They push the line that the CPUSA is a “revolutionary communist” organization, while in fact they have nothing to fear from them, quite the contrary. Patrick Gray, director of the FBI, said that the CPUSA doesn’t represent a threat any longer. The CPUSA has become a liberal adjunct of the imperialist state apparatus. It should be warning enough that revisionism isn’t simply a form of wrong communism, but is the most effective wing of imperialism inside the revolutionary movement.

The CPUSA raised the slogan, “Free Our Beautiful Sister Angela”. The Communist League raised the slogan, “Free Angela Davis, Free the Negro Nation.” “History shows that to do away with the cruelty of slavery it was not enough to beg the master for kindness. The slave system had to be overthrown. So it is today. To free this one Angela Davis has as much significance as the liberation of one slave. There is no other conclusion but that Angela Davis represents a specific of a national oppression–one of thousands–no, tens of millions of acts of oppression whose sum total the world over is the face of national oppression.” (People’s Tribune, Vol. 2, #6) The CPUSA reduces the question to that of “racism” or “mind over matter”. But we can never forget that the oppression of the Negro national minority is linked to the oppression of the Negro Nation. The oppression of the Negro Nation as the chief colony of U.S. imperialism can never be separated from the struggle for national liberation that is taking place all over the world. These are the facts of the matter!

It is clear who the CPUSA sees as their main base or the main force to achieve their goals. “In short, Angela Davis represents not only a challenge to the racist, jingoist monopoly interests, but also a challenge to our Party and our class. Angela’s freedom is directly linked to our ability to restore basic fundamental democratic rights. Moreover, her freedom opens the door to the extension of those rights to all who live in the United States. Though the white working class has been indoctrinated with the ideology of racism, it is far from correct to conclude that white workers cannot be won to the struggle to free Angela and other political prisoners. Indeed, the aforementioned union support through the leadership of Black trade unionists represents thousands of white trade unionists. The struggle to win white workers to fight racism not only must but can be won. This is a foremost task of white communists.” (The Fight To Free Angela Davis, its importance for the working class, by Charlene Mitchell, p. ll) Never once do they speak of a class question or link up the struggles of the colonial peoples but talk in terms of black against white. It was apparent that the jurors won their battle over “racism” there in the court room, but we are not satisfied with this. We will never be satisfied until the Negro Nation is free, until U.S. imperialism is smashed!

The sniveling opportunism of the CPUSA can only be matched by the filth of international revisionism, and in particular the lead dog, Soviet social-imperialism. It is apparent that the junior and senior partners are preparing together a new offensive against the colonial peoples of the world. Nixon’s visit to the USSR and the agreements that were made there are evidence enough of the collusion going on between the two robbers of the world. The only difference between them is that one robs you face to face while the other attempts to get you from behind before you can turn around. The two robbers have been courting for a long time and now the knot is tied. The two imperialist powers are trying to re-divide the world “peacefully”. The collusion has to be seen dialectically, we can’t accept either the right or the left line that is pushed in regards to the position of U.S. imperialism today. One line says that U.S. imperialism is too strong to be fought, the other says that imperialism is crumbling and all we have to do is wait for it to fall (that is she line of the CPUSA).

Is there a financial crisis that is compelling the U.S. imperialists to realign their financial policies? Certainly there is, but does this mean the imperialists are up against the wall? That is what the capitalists and their servants the revisionists would like for us to think. Such thinking will lead to either wrong policies or simple passivity. The truth is that despite the crisis– the U.S. is still the hoarder of most of the world’s gold. In no way does this mean that imperialism isn’t in serious trouble–it certainly is. The present financial crisis is following the agricultural crisis in a classical way and it will inevitably be followed by an industrial crisis and a depression the likes that has never been seen before. It is a well known fact that U.S. imperialism was and is powerful enough to shift the crisis of the dollar onto the backs of the colonial workers and the rival, yet dependent imperialists. Is it not a fact that the Japanese were forced into a depression because, among other factors, the Japanese were forced to revalue the yen upward.

The obvious role that the syndicalist dogs the CPUSA play is further exposed in their pamphlet, The House of Imperialism is Crumbling on page 4 where Gus Hall says: “The prime source for capital that has sustained the reconstruction of post-war world imperialism has been the accumulated loot, the riches, of U.S. monopoly capitalism. This has been the reservoir that has been the source of what stability there has been in the capitalist world. It was the main source for the working capital for most of the capitalist countries. It has also been the instrument of U.S. imperialist domination.” Does Gus Hall come out with the obvious conclusion that the gigantic accumulation of wealth of the U.S. monopolies is the result of the unprecedented exploitation of the colonial world? Not at all. The reader is left with the impression that the riches of the U.S. imperialists are simply the result of the exploitation of the working class of this country. Gus Hall knows and we all know that the main source of the working capital of the capitalists’ world is the superprofits that are beaten out of the backs of the colonial world. It is with this gigantic amount of superprofits that whole countries are bought up–entire governmental structures are bribed, that the upper strata of the working class of the capitalist countries are paid off with the highest standard of living and consequently fall in behind the imperialists and even assist in the exploitation of the colonial world.

What does this offensive of the imperialists and the revisionists mean? It means that if we are going to attack imperialism we are going to have to first attack revisionism. Lenin has taught us and history has fully confirmed the fact that revisionism is a servant of imperialism. If we want a real “people’s victory” then we must base it on the most exploited and oppressed sections of the proletariat, no matter if they are Negro, Mexican or Anglo-American. We must call for the international unity of the working class and show how the oppression of the colonial workers in Brazil, Puerto Rico, South African, Vietnam and the Negro Nation just to name a few, hurts all working and oppressed peoples. No, the Angela Davis case is not simply the story of a brave black woman fighting “the racist system”. It is an indication of the treachery of imperialism, in the form of those sneaking lap-dogs the CPUSA. They are like a poisonous snake spreading their venom in the working class movement. We have been saying, “Build a revolutionary communist party!” for almost 4 years now. But it is clear that the only way we can build a strong, independent working class communist party is on the ruins of the CPUSA!

The struggle of the Anglo-American working class and the struggles of the colonial peoples in the Negro Nation, Vietnam, Brazil, South Africa, etc. must be united into a series of planned, furious, hammer-struck blows against imperialism. Imperialism isn’t going to crumble, it’s going to be smashed, and we must be able to take advantage of its weak points in order to strike the right blows! Our first job is to theoretically, politically, and ideologically destroy the CPUSA!!