Freedom Dreaming: Robin DG Kelley & Maximillian Alvarez Seek Light in the Midst of Darkness

@ASoulAFire @JaniceOCG #RobinDGKelley & @maximillian_alv of @TheRealNews inspire “freedom dreaming” in dark times like dystopian realities coming into view.  Join Thurs., 8 pm ET, 1/13 – 4/7/22, “If America Fails?:  The Coming Tyranny.”

What is it that we’re dreaming of?  What is it that we truly want? 

There’s a 20th anniversary edition of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination, by Robin DG Kelley, that reflects on the struggles of the past two decades – and is an occasion for the discussion with Maximillian Alvarez, Robin DG Kelley On Fighting for Freedom in the Darkness of Capitalist Dystopia, linked below.

When I think about the dystopia depicted in The Handmaid’s Tale – and the one unfolding in American culture before our eyes – I am reminded how important it is that we think clearly about what we want, lest a “Serena Joy” comes along with solutions to our problems.

In the video and transcript below, Dr. Robin DG Kelley offers a view we might do well to drink in as we respond and prepare to respond to Right wing attacks on America’s democracy.  A couple of quotes from Robin DG Kelley:

“The worst conditions produce the necessity to imagine something other than what they’re living…”

“…if Freedom Dreams is anything, it’s about actually collectively enacting a vision of society that you think is not just liberatory, but sustainable.”

“So I think that if we always remember that freedom dreams is always collective, always related to social movements and social struggles, it’s discursive, in a sense. It’s always about trying to take back a narrative that says we have to be dependent on all these forces rather than we be the driver of these forces.”

“We need a pessimism that says this is a catastrophe so therefore we have no choice but to fight.”

“And I think it’s really important to recognize that once we know that we’re up against catastrophes that will…if we let the river flow, we know where we’re going to end up. We don’t have the luxury for defeat. What we can do though, is celebrate the wins, recognize that winning sometimes doesn’t mean winning a campaign, but it means finding ways to be together and stay together and engage in forms, in what Fred Moten and Stefano Harney called ‘fugitive planning,’ and then we live another day to keep that fight going. Because there’s something about the process that transforms us. It makes us in some ways, both steel, S-T-E-E-L, but also makes us soft, open hearts. Being able to absorb and love and care about one another. And sometimes in the middle of the barricades, your ability to care for another, or care for the community, or be cared for, and to accept that is the greatest victory you’re going to have.”

“. . . sometimes in the middle of the barricades, your ability to care for another, or care for the community, or be cared for, and to accept that is the greatest victory you’re going to have.”

Robin DG Kelley


Art by David Ikard
Art by David Ikard

“World-renowned scholar and activist Robin DG Kelley discusses why we must continue dreaming of and fighting for a better world in the face of runaway capitalist pillage and climate catastrophe.

“The world was a very different place when Robin DG Kelley’s renowned book Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination was first published in 2002. As the reality of post-9/11 America and the war on terror hardened into a dystopian, jingoistic consensus, and as the global economy careened towards impending catastrophe, the possibility of a future in which peace, justice, and equality reigned had all but disappeared. And yet, as people in the darkest of times throughout human history have done, many still had the audacity to dream of—and fight for—something better. Now, 20 years later, as we face the reality that unchecked capitalist pillage, endless war, and climate catastrophe have put humanity on a path to mutually assured destruction, the future seems bleaker than ever, and the possibility of averting disaster feels more unattainable than ever. How do we confront the enormity of all this devastation and still keep fighting? How can we keep hope alive that we can save ourselves, humanity, and the planet when the world around us gives us so little cause for hope? As we continue the impossible struggle for a better world, how do we deal with constant failure without succumbing to defeat?

“In this special interview, TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez and Kelley grapple with these questions and discuss the continued necessity of freedom dreaming—and fighting like hell—in the face of catastrophe. Robin DG Kelley is currently the Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in US History in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research has explored the history of social movements in the US, the African diaspora, and Africa; Black intellectuals; music and visual culture; surrealism, and Marxism, among other vital topics. His essays have been published in general publications and academic journals across the board, including the Journal of American History, American Historical Review, The Nation, Monthly Review, New York Times, Color Lines, Social Text, The Black Scholar, Journal of Palestine Studies, and Boston Review. He has authored and edited numerous influential books, including Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times; Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original; Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination; Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class; and Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression.”  — Maximillian Alvarez | The Real News Network

WATCH 52:55 | Robin DG Kelley On Fighting for Freedom in the Darkness of Capitalist Dystopia | Maximillian Alvarez | The Real News Network | 10/18/2021 | or See Transcript or YouTube Video. 

Published by Loga Michelle Odom @Odomanian

Founder/Host, Reading Changes Lives; Former Senior Producer, OUR COMMON GROUND Media / TruthWorks Network / If America Fails?: The Coming Tyranny

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