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Top 20 US Progressives: Danny Glover

Actor and campaigner.

Riggs and Murtaugh, the mismatched cops who feature in the Lethal Weapon movie series, aren't just an on-screen odd couple; they are played by a pair of actors who arguably represent the far-right and far-left poles of Hollywood politics. While one, Mel Gibson, has made headlines for his conservative views and alcohol-fuelled racist rants, the other, Danny Glover, has been a committed civil rights activist since the 1960s, lending his support to trade unions and third world liberation movements and using his fame to promote progressive cinema in the US and Africa.

In recent years, Glover has been a trenchant critic of both George W Bush and Barack Obama (of the latter: "He may be just a different face, and that face may happen to be black, and if it were Hillary Clinton, it would happen to be a woman . . . but what choices do they have within the structure?"). And last November, he delivered a barnstorming speech to Occupy Oakland the day before a general strike brought the city to a halt.

"Not only are we talking about taking back our government - taking back a democracy and making it a democracy," Glover told the protesters - "but we're here because we're talking about taking back our humanity."

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This article first appeared in the 09 January 2012 issue of the New Statesman, Forget Obama