Life can only be lived leaning forward, of course, even as its shifting and dynamic meanings can only be sorted out looking backward. Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, in effect, that you may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you—and so it is with history. With no impulse toward nostalgia, we struggle to understand this moment more clearly by glancing back: First, Malik Alim brings us up-to-date on a victory for justice that we mentioned earlier, the unprecedented and many-sided struggle against money bail; we’re then joined by Flint Taylor, a human rights lawyer whose dogged pursuit of justice takes us from the 1969 state murders of Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton and Panther Mark Clark, through the widespread use of torture by the Chicago Police Department against young Black men over decades, on to the ultimately successful campaign to end the death penalty in Illinois and to obtain reparations for torture survivors. His book The Torture Machine Racism and Police Violence in Chicago was recently published by Haymarket Books in Chicago.
What history do you stand on? and What future do you stand for?