Episode # 57: Freedom Dreams with Robin D G Kelley
Love and imagination, potentially the most powerful weapons in the arsenal of the oppressed, the marginalized, and the exploited, are frequently unappreciated, too often underutilized—and yet still within reach and entirely available. Robin D.G. Kelley foregrounds love, imagination, and generosity in all of his work, including the groundbreaking Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination, an original history of Black radicalism and a powerful vision of a revolutionary future. Kelley describes himself as a “Marxist surrealist feminist who is not just anti something, but pro-emancipation, pro-liberation.” We met up with Robin Kelley recently at the Socialism 2022conference in Chicago where we released our radical imaginations in a generative and wide-ranging conversation.
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What history do you stand on? What future do you stand for? Robert Shetterly’s dazzling series of portraits—“Americans Who Tell the Truth”—cuts through the cotton wool that entangles us, shakes us awake from the deep American sleep of denial, and invites us to move beyond the United States of Amnesia. Here are the peace-makers and the freedom fighters, the dissidents and dissenters, the loving rebels and the justice-seeking radicals—a gathering of citizens from a country that does not yet exist. These are our people, this is a powerful legacy we can all hope to build on. Robert Shetterly joins us to discuss the brilliant work and steady activism of Americans Who Tell the Truth.
Workers marching in New York City in 1882 at the first Labor Day carried banners saying: “Labor Built This Republic and Labor Shall Rule it,” “Labor Creates All Wealth,” “No Land Monopoly,” “No Money Monopoly,” “Labor Pays All Taxes,” “The Laborer Must Receive and Enjoy the Full Fruit of His Labor,” ‘Eight Hours for a Legal Day’s Work,” and “The True Remedy is Organization and the Ballot.”