Skip to main content

Jacobin - October 26, 2020

Well, now the American empire is undergoing its decay, its decline. You have to be able to keep track of the ways in which predatory capitalism is connected to these imperial units and these nation states and these regional regimes and organizations, and also how it seeps through every nook and cranny of our hearts and minds and souls. - Dr. Cornel West

Cornel West is one of the most eloquent and provocative voices on the American left. A scholar in the Harvard Divinity School, he began his political life in the tumults of the Civil Rights Movement — becoming a Christian radical, then a socialist and ally of the Black Panther Party.But his career stretches far beyond his academic career as a philosopher or political life on the Left, with cultural engagements from musical collaborations with Prince and Talib Kweli to an appearance in The Matrix series. He has also had a career in broadcasting, hosting numerous radio programs and now a podcast, The Tight Rope, with Tricia Rose.In this recent conversation with Grace Blakeley for her podcast A World to Win, Cornel West discusses the US presidential election, the Black Lives Matter movement — and the importance of spirituality to radical politics.

GB - You said in a recent interview, “with the neofascist gangster in the White House, we have to be part of an anti-fascist coalition.” Do you think that an anti-Trump coalition can be successful? And do you think a Biden presidency will deliver anything approaching the change that the United States needs right now?

CW - We’ve got to be consistent in our critique of empire, of capitalism, of patriarchy, of homophobia, transphobia, and male supremacy, and white supremacy. And, how we do that is to hold onto our intellectual integrity, and our political courage: telling the truth about Donald Trump, the neofascist, the gangster, his collaborators and facilitators. He is pushing the country toward genuine fascism: wholesale disregard of the law, the rule of big military, the rule of big money, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley. He is crushing workers, marginalizing women, scapegoating Mexicans, and Muslims, and Jews, and Black, brown, and indigenous people.

Now, I think with Biden what you have is someone who can stop the quick move toward American fascism. That’s very important — but his neoliberal rule is still going to be tied to Wall Street, tied to capital, tied to militarism, tied to Africom, to deeply reactionary policies in the Middle East with Netanyahu and so forth. We don’t want to lie about Biden. We don’t want to follow any illusion, simply because we’re confronted with such an ugly fascist Frankenstein figure like Trump. So we’re really between a rock and a hard place, which is usually where the Left is in the last fifty years. ...
Read full interview at Jacobin