Angela Davis on Donald Trump and the Movement to Abolish Prisons

The following is an eye-opening presentation for Martin Luther King Unity Day. In it, long time political activist Angela Davis explores the roots of the electoral college and the death penalty in slavery. Unlike more mainstream liberals, she doesn’t catastrophize about Trump’s recent electoral victory. Instead she faults both Trump and Clinton for failing to mention even once during the campaign the working class, inequality or climate change.

She goes on to emphasize that it isn’t Martin Luther King as an individual we celebrate, but the thousands of people in the civil rights movement who did the real work. She then highlights the myriad of movements Americans have formed to resist the oppression experienced by the working class Americans. She devotes special focus to the movement to abolish prisons in a country that incarcerates more people (in absolute numbers) than any other country in the world. In her view, the majority of inmates in US prisons have been deeply traumatized in childhood. All incarcerating them accomplishes is to irreparably re-traumatize them.

The goal of the prison abolition movement is to replace prisons with a system of restorative justice,* starting with youth prisons.

Davis starts speaking at 1:09.

*Restorative justice is a system of criminal justice which focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large. New Zealand, which has no youth prisons, relies on a restorative justice process to deal with juvenile offenders.

The Prison Show

prison show wilvin carter

prison show deedee mullins david collingsworth

According to their Facebook page, “The Prison Show” is a live radio program airing Fridays at 9pm Central Time on KPFT FM 90.1 Houston, streaming at

Ex-con and gay activist Ray Hill founded The Prison Show on Houston’s KPFT 90.1 FM in 1980. Although the target audience is inmates in Texas state and federal prisons, including death row, prisoners worldwide listen to it on-line.

The current Prison Show gang is a motley crew of ex-offenders, teachers, professors, lawyers, chaplains, activists, ex-politicos, male and female who see the error in the current prison system and the “worth in the American people lost but not forgotten still inside.”

In addition to the regular staff, counts on a number of expert guests who discuss subjects like prison health care, legal issues and the death penalty.

The Prison Show uses the first hour to discuss issues of interest to convicts. The second session is a call-in session where friends and family and addressed their loved ones behind bars.

With the largest prison population in the world (over two million), I guess it makes sense for US prisoners to have their own radio show.

Voice of America (the CIA radio station) has a great video of the KPFT studio during a Prison show broadcast at the following link (it can’t be embedded on WordPress).