01: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: Gun Violence, Black Lives Matter and Striking Teachers

March 26, 2018

In this episode, we talk to Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, about the new movement against gun violence, the potential linkages with the Movement for Black Lives, and the importance of the West Virginia teachers’ strike.

We start this episode with a clip from Edna Chavez at the March for Our Lives, but the whole video is a must watch.

Danny talks about “Taking on gun fundamentalism” (https://socialistworker.org/2018/02/27/how-do-socialists-take-on-gun-fu…) in Socialist Worker, while Chicago activists Alex Vega-Byrnes and Todd St Hill talk about how Chicago high school students are making the connections to stop gun violence.

We quoted Los Angeles teacher, Gillian Russom, about the criminalizing and alienating impact of more cops in our schools. You can read her full article here. (http://socialistworker.org/2018/05/14/why-blue-state-teachers-need-thei…)

We talked about how important it is to bring the demands of #BlackLivesMatter into the debate on gun violence, particularly in the wake of the police murder of Stephon Clark. You can read Jesse Hagopian, one of the initiators of the Black Lives Matter in Schools week of action, discuss this and highlight the demands raised by students in Chicago, on his blog. (https://iamaneducator.com)

We ended our intro segment with a tribute to Draylen Mason, a Black 17-year-old high school student murdered by a package bomb in Austin. Draylen was a gifted musician who would have learned this week that he had been accepted into the highly selective conservatory at Oberlin. We ended with a clip of him playing bass in a performance of Vanhal’s Concerto and provide the link to the full video here.

In our segment with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, we talk about the West Virginia teachers strike, and you won’t want to miss this inspiring solidarity meeting in New York City about the West Virginia teachers strike. You can read more coverage of the strike at Socialist Worker, including Khury Petersen-Smith on “How West Virginia put class struggle back on the map.” (http://socialistworker.org/2018/03/15/west-virginia-put-class-struggle-…)

In this interview we talk about race, class and Trump in West Virginia — a theme Pranav Jani discusses in more detail in an article about talking socialism in Trump country. (http://socialistworker.org/2018/03/16/talking-socialism-in-trump-country)

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor also weighed in on the new movement against gun violence — and especially the many potential linkages with the Movement for Black Lives. This is a theme she took up in a piece on anti-racism and the uprising against guns.

If you enjoyed listening to Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, you can hear her speak at this year’s Socialism 2018 conference, a gathering of nearly 2,000 radicals and activists, featuring more than 100 meetings on topics like those we take up. You can also order both of her books at Haymarket Books. (https://socialismconference.org)

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