Documents from the Women's Liberation Movement
An On-line Archival Collection
Special Collections Library, Duke University
n.d., newsclipping [from off our backs?]
THE WORLD WATCHES ANGELA
The following interview, conducted by Ernesto Gonzalez Bermejo of Prensa Latina, the Cuban press service, is indicative of the international attention that is focussed on the trial of Angela Davis. Angela, who recently marked the end of her first year in jail without bond, is expected to come to trail in the immediate future.
Helsinki-- I am in a cafe in the center of the City, chatting with Fania Jordan, Angela Davis' sister. They are very similar-both are tall, black, and both wear "naturals"; Fania's is tied with a green scarf. Her gestures are graceful and she is carelessly elegant. She speaks calmly, even when she is excited.
Finland is the eighth country she has visited in her world tour (she has been in Europe five weeks) to save her sister's life. She has still to visit other European countries.
"My welcome everywhere could hardly have been warmer; I have been given tremendous support. In Paris for example, 60,000 young people demonstrated; in Rome we met members of parliament and representatives of all parties; protest telegrams are flooding the White House; and a lot of money has been raised for the expenses of Angela's trial, which are very high; take my word for it, millions of people all over the world are part of the SAVE ANGELA DAVIS Movement."
GONZALEZ: How is Angela?
JORDAN: Very thin. She has not been beaten up like other political prisoners, nor murdered like George Jackson, because world opinion is so strongly in her favor; but her diet is inadequate, she is constantly under psychological pressure, and the most serious of all is that her eyesight is severly affected; she may possibly become permanently blind, and she is not allowed any medical treatment.
GONZALEZ: Is Angela going to speak in her own defense?
JORDAN: Yes, with the advice of her three lawyers. And even that-which is every American citizen's right-was achieved only after three hours of discussion in court.
GONZALEZ: What will the main line of her defense be?
JORDAN: First of all, Angela's not going to defend herself, but to attack. She is going to emphasize before the court the oppressive power and the exploitation which exist in the United States.
GONZALEZ: What will her line be Prom the legal standpoint?
JORDAN: She will demand that the prosecution prove its accusations that she contributed to murder, that she provided arms for Jonathan Jackson. The prosecution cannot prove this at all. Her trial is really a political one: the trial of an Afro-American Communist.
GONZALEZ: She is also accused of carrying arms. . .
JORDAN: That is not a crime in the United States, there must be as many arms in the average American
home as in all the arsenals of Europe's armies. In effect yes, Angela did carry arms.
JORDAN: Because she received twenty to thirty death-threats a day.
GONZALEZ: The prosecution also says that she was seen with Jonathan Jackson.
JORDAN: Yes, that is true; they were friends; they took part together in many demonstrations for the freedom of the Soledad Brothers. So what? Is it illegal to have a friend in the United States?
GONZALEZ: You believe that the prosecution has proof of Angela's innocence, and that it is ad a pretext to . . .
JORDAN: Look: recently an ex-FBI agent [Louis Tackwood] told a San Francisco newspaper that the organization has proof of Angela's innocence. This agent was entrusted with the job of infiltrating left-wing organizations and the Angela Davis Committee, to carry out terrorist acts against the police, for which the movement's militants would then be blamed. Their game is pretty obvious.
GONZALEZ: Can you expect impartiality from a California jury?
JORDAN: Of course not! First, because President Nixon already prejudiced my sister's case when on nationwide television he congratulated the FBI on having captured her, and thus condemned her before she came to trial. Secondly, because my sister has a long history of persecution; she has already lost her job many times. Moreover, the bourgeois press has run a bitter inflammatory campaign against her, presenting her as a terrorist. Also, American justice has surely already given strong proof that it is merely a means to persecute Afro-Americans.
GONZALEZ: What effect did George Jackson's case have in the States?
JORDAN: George's case showed clearly that the American government lies. Four or five different official versions were given of ho death. And nobody has any doubt that he was murdered. The massacre of Attica Prison was similar, where over 40 were murdered. The official story was that the hostages had their throats cut by the prisoners, but the autopsies proved that they were killed by police bullets. People are trusting less and less in official versions. The people's lack of confidence in the government is increasing all the time.
GONZALEZ: Will there be an increase in Nixon’s internal policy of "peace and order "7?
JORDAN: Undoubtedly. The government has just appointed two reactionary and typically racist judges to be members of the Supreme Court; more special troops are being trained to deal with demonstrations meanwhile, there is the housing problem; and while the increased cost of living is having its effect on workers the government is drawing up repressive legislation to keep down the trade union movement.
GONZALEZ: What is the position at the moment of the Afro-Americans' struggle for equality?
JORDAN: Both black and white are coming more and more to see that there is no possibility of equality within the system as it is; that the struggle must therefore be directed against the destruction of the capitalist system within the United States.
GONZALEZ: Do you think there is any connection between George Jackson's murder and your sister's trial?
JORDAN: I hadn't thought of that; I have not talked with her lawyers. Obviously George would have been an important witness at her trial. But it's also a fact that they had been intending to murder him for a long time. And I think they seized the first opportunity to do so.
GONZALEZ: How can Angela be saved?
JORDAN: Angela Davis is not just one person callled Angela Davis: she is a symbol. She is not just a problem of the United States; her murder would be a threat to the whole of humanity; thus it is the responsibility of us all, of the entire world, to save her.
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