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Angela Davis makes it clear in this book how important it is to go beyond thinking about intersectionality within personal identities and to instead understand intersectional political issues. That means finding links between various situations. She connects Ferguson and Palestine as well as South Africa and the American south and, by extension, all other oppressed people. Davis frames Ferguson and Palestine specifically as examples of the global militarization of police. The problem isn’t just one “bad cop” because after a cop killed Mike Brown, the entire police force came in with military-grade equipment to attack protesters. It’s the same kind of terrorizing (literally the same “security” company G4S) that Palestinians face on a regular basis under Israel’s occupation. The two groups came together organically on Twitter when Palestinians shared information with Ferguson protesters on how to deal with teargas.
This book also emphasizes the importance of group organization and the problem with focusing on individual actors. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated as THE civil rights guy. But even he knew that it wasn’t just about him. There were many other people involved in those demonstrations, including women and children. It was poor, working class women who lead the bus boycott on a daily basis. And it was children who volunteered to go head-to-head with police during protests that involved dog attacks and firehoses, which, when televised, gained worldwide attention. Davis points out that a focus on the civil rights era (or any one era) can similarly hold us back because if slavery had truly been abolished back in the 1800’s, then people wouldn’t have had to protest to gain rights throughout the 1900’s (and 2000’s). In this way, history needs to be assessed through a series of inter-related events too. Actively seeking out common ground is a formal rejection of the divisiveness that keeps people only caring about “their” issues. All this shit is connected.