Person

Cornel West

Cornel West speaking at an event in Tempe, Arizona. (link) by Gage Skidmore is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0 (link)

Cornel West is a left-wing academic, philosopher, and public intellectual noted for working as one of the honorary chairs of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). [1] Over the past two decades, West has become an increasingly public figure, working on behalf of self-proclaimed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in both his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. [2] [3] Aside from supporting Sanders, West is an avowed supporter of socialist ideals, calling socialism a  “fundamental commitment…to the dignity of ordinary people and to make sure they can live lives of decency” and claiming that socialism has only failed across the globe because the United States has supposedly interfered to prevent its success. [4]

West is well known for his controversial political stances which stray far outside of mainstream left-of-center thinking. In addition to being a proud socialist, West has expressed support for the violent extremist organization Antifa, claiming that Antifa saved his life during a protest in August 2017. [5] West further called a recent proposal to put Antifa on the terror watch list “ridiculous” and a “Trump-led neofascist backlash and clampdown on what is going on.” [6]

Aside from supporting Antifa, West is a noted critic of the mainstream left, taking frequent shots at its most prominent figures, including former President Barack Obama. Despite appearing on behalf of the Obama campaign over 65 times, West was reportedly offended when Obama did not invite West his family to the presidential inauguration. [7] After the purported slight, West launched a decade-long series of attacks on President Obama, calling him a “black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs” and a “Rockefeller Republican in blackface.” [8] Later in Obama’s presidency, West called him a “brown-faced Clinton” with a “certain fear of free black men.” [9] [10]

Over the course of his academic career, West has published over 20 books, most prominently Race Matters in 1993 and Democracy Matters in 2004. Race Matters blamed social issues facing African American communities as the product of “the existential angst derived from the lived experience of ontological wounds and emotional scars inflicted by white supremacist beliefs and images permeating U.S. society and culture.” [11] Democracy Matters, published over a decade later, controversially claimed that the September 11 terrorist attacks allowed white Americans to have the everyday experience of black Americans which West amounted to feeling “unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence, and hatred” based on identity. [12]

In recent years, West’s academic works have been subject to criticism on the grounds that they are not serious works of scholarship. In 2001, Harvard University president and Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers called a meeting with West to suggest that he undertake a new work of scholarship after years of popular engagements, including West’s creation of a critically-panned rap album. [13] Summers also criticized West for taking too much time off from teaching to work on political campaigns. [14]

West’s recent work has even been critiqued by former allies, including West’s one-time protégé Michael Eric Dyson, who published a ten-thousand word piece in The New Republic entitled “The Ghost of Cornel West,” alleging that West is “still a Man of Ideas, but those ideas today are a vain and unimaginative repackaging of his earlier hits.” [15] West has not published a book outside of Democracy Matters without the aid of a co-writer since 1993, and even Dyson criticized his recent works as written with “haunting hubris.” [16]

Early Life

West was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 2, 1953 to Cliff Lincoln West Jr, a procurement officer with the Department of Defense, and Irene West, a teacher and school administrator. [17] West’s family moved to Sacramento in 1958 after a brief stint in Topeka, Kansas. [18] West counts growing up in Sacramento among his most formative experiences, citing the Shiloh Baptist Church as the organization which allowed West and his companions to “develop our personalities in such a way that we always could presuppose this strong wind at our back.” [19]

Even West’s early childhood was filled with left-of-center political organizing. [20] At age 9, West refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, was slapped by a teacher, and was subsequently expelled when he slapped her back. [21] In 1968, when West was just 15, he met then-Governor Ronald Reagan and confronted him on his right-of-center policy beliefs. [22] During West’s senior year of high school, following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., West organized a series of protests that shut down all schools in his school district until the administration agreed to introduce a black studies program. [23]

West’s childhood was also shaped by the Black Panthers, a radical Black Nationalist extremist group which West said “resonated” with him. [24] Through college, West worked with the Black Panthers on weekends in the organization’s breakfast and prison programs. [25]

West began his education at Harvard in 1970, where he earned a degree in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization. [26] Upon finishing his undergraduate coursework, West went to Princeton, where he became the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1980. [27]

Academic Career

West began his career in academia, and he has remained there since, despite interludes of left-wing political activism. After completing his graduate work, West briefly returned to Harvard as a W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow before becoming an assistant professor at Union Theological Seminary, where he taught for just one year before returning to Princeton as a professor of religion and director of the program in African-American studies. [28] In 1994, West returned to Harvard and became a University Professor, a distinction given to just 17 of Harvard’s 17,000 faculty members, in the African-American Studies department. [29] [30]

Books

West has written 22 books, with Race Matters (1993) and Democracy Matters (2004) becoming the most notable. [31] West published Race Matters as a collection of essays in 1993, and it immediately became a New York bestseller that established West in the public arena. [32] Race Matters describes the United States as a “racist patriarchal” nation in which “White America” has been “weak-willed in ensuring racial justice and has continued to resist fully accepting the humanity of blacks.” [33] The book also pushes the idea that most of the problems in the African-American community arise from “the existential angst derived from the lived experience of ontological wounds and emotional scars inflicted by white supremacist beliefs and images permeating U.S. society.” [34]

In 2004, West published Democracy Matters as a sequel to Race Matters, addressing themes like Jewish, Christian, and Islamic identity in a democratic society. [35] Perhaps most controversially, West compared the September 11 terrorist attacks to the everyday experience of African Americans, writing that white Americans after 9/11 understood the African American experience in the days after the terrorist attacks because they felt “unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence, and hatred.” [36] Democracy Matters further attacks the United States, claiming that representatives in President George W. Bush’s administration were “evangelical nihilists – drunk with power and driven by grand delusions of American domination of the world.” [37]

Over the last several decades, West’s scholarly work has been criticized even by close associates, including his former protégé and close friend Michael Eric Dyson. [38] In 2015, Dyson published a ten-thousand word piece in The New Republic entitled “The Ghost of Cornel West,” alleging that West is “still a Man of Ideas, but those ideas today are a vain and unimaginative repackaging of his earlier hits.” [39] West has not published a book without the aid of a co-writer since 1993, and even Dyson criticized his recent works as written with “haunting hubris” and called his autobiography co-written by David Ritz “akin to [early 20th century African-American radical intellectual W.E.B.] Du Bois hiring Truman Capote to fashion his autobiography.” [40]

Dispute with Lawrence Summers

In April 2002, West announced that he would be leaving Harvard to teach at Princeton University. [41] When asked about his decision to leave in an interview with the New York Times, West cited a “series of slights” from then-Harvard president Lawrence H. Summers that caused him to switch universities. [42]

In October of 2001, Summers called a meeting with West to suggest that he undertake a new work of academic scholarship which would better befit his elite title after years of mostly popular-press-level engagements. [43] Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, West had allegedly taken weeks off to work on the presidential campaign of former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ), led a political committee to explore a possible presidential campaign for left-progressive activist Al Sharpton, and published a rap album. [44] [45] Summers further encouraged West to end the practice of grade inflation in his classes, given that approximately half of grades awarded in West’s classes were in the “A” range. [46]

In order to ensure that West was fulfilling the responsibilities of his academic appointment, Summers also requested to have a meeting with West every two to three months. [47] Despite the fact that West’s role as University Professor required that he report to Summers, West responded to the requests by arguing, “Professors do not have supervisors, brother. Professors are free agents to do their work, because there is a trust in their judgment about how they go about doing that work.” [48]

Charles J. Ogletree, a Harvard Law School professor who represented West in his dispute with the university, claimed that West left the meeting insulted and demanded that Summers “make an unequivocal statement in support of affirmative action” in order to hold onto West as a professor. [49] Upon leaving Harvard, West called Summers the “Ariel Sharon of American higher education,” likening him to Israel’s then-Prime Minister, and said Summers struck him as a “bull in a china shop, and as a bully.” [50] Following West’s remarks on Summers, five Princeton faculty members published a letter in the New York Times, calling West’s remarks “highly inappropriate, indeed repugnant and intolerable.” [51]

Political Campaigning

Early Electoral Activism

Throughout the 2000s, while retaining his academic posts, West worked on several presidential campaigns and served as an advisor to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). In 2000, West worked on former Democratic Senator Bill Bradley’s presidential campaign. [52] [53] Though West later turned on controversial left-progressive activist Al Sharpton, calling him the “bonafide house negro of the Obama plantation,” he nonetheless advised Sharpton’s exploratory presidential campaign in 2004. [54] [55]

Aside from working directly in organized political movements, West is an outspoken advocate for civil disobedience in service of left-of-center causes. West even refers to his distinctive attire of a suit, white shirt, scarf, and black loafers as his “coffin ready” outfit because he is prepared to die in service of left-wing ideals. [56]

Sanders Presidential Campaigns

Both in 2016 and 2020, West supported left-wing U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in his failed bids for the Democratic presidential nomination. [57] West served as an advisor to the Sanders campaign in 2016 and often appeared to speak at events on Sanders’s behalf, including rallies at which West introduced left-wing U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). [58] Even after Sanders exited the race in 2016, West refused to support Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, instead opting to support far-left Green Party candidate Jill Stein. [59]

In 2020, West was co-chair on Sanders’s presidential campaign, becoming one of Sanders’s most outspoken defenders during his primary bid and participating in several large speaking engagements on his behalf. [60]  Most of West’s involvement on the campaign centered around mobilizing African-American voters to support Sanders, who would lose the demographic to former Vice President Joe Biden. [61] In February of 2020, West traveled to South Carolina to call on African Americans to support Sanders as “the most progressive candidate running for president” because “black people…are the most progressive community in this nation.” [62] During the campaign, West took many shots at frontrunner Biden, telling him to “get off his symbolic crack pipe” in order to retain black voters. [63]

In March of 2020, West appeared on a panel in Flint, Michigan in support of Sanders. [64] At the event, Sanders asked West whether a “status quo” politician, hinting at Biden’s lead, would be beneficial to the African-American community. [65] West took the opportunity to criticize Biden for being a “neoliberal centrist,” while further attacking the black community for assisting Biden in “coming back to life,” saying he was “so disappointed. Oh, I’m so upset.” [66]

West’s behavior on the Sanders campaign drew criticism from even the political left. [67] The Root contributor Terrell Starr, who called West his “ideological hero,” went after West’s performance on the Flint panel, saying West “chastised black people” instead of bringing them into the conversation. [68] Starr claimed that West served as “the black friend” to try to communicate Sanders’s ideas to African Americans when Sanders could not get enough African-American supporters on his own merit. [69] Starr went on to criticize West for having “shamed middle-class black people who mitigate harm by dealing with the neoliberal they know instead of the Democratic Socialist who has to defer his questions about race to his black friend.” [70]

Activism

Organizing and Demonstrations

Aside from direct political campaigning, West supports civil disobedience and has been arrested several times for protesting in favor of left-of-center causes. West’s career as a left-wing activist skyrocketed in 1995 when he spoke at and helped to organize the Million Man March on Washington, D.C., sponsored by extremist Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. [71]

In 2011, West joined in Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, calling on the country to have a “revolution: a transfer of power from oligarchs to everyday people of all colors.” [72] West addressed the crowd publicly, calling the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011 a “U.S. fall responding to the Arab Spring.” [73] West was arrested with Occupy Wall Street that October after blocking the entrance to a Harlem police department in protest of stop-and-frisk policies. [74]

In 2014, during the riots in Ferguson, Missouri following the police-shooting death of Michael Brown, West was arrested, calling riots a “beautiful thing to see people on fire for justice” and saying that he “came here to go to jail.” [75] On the one year anniversary of the riots, West was again arrested outside the federal courthouse in St. Louis. [76]

In recent years, especially following West’s prominent role on the Sanders presidential campaign, West has become a political pundit, frequently publishing opinion pieces and appearing in the media to excoriate Republicans and moderate Democrats. [77] West has called the Republican party “neofascist” and symptomatic of a “decadent leadership class.” [78] In November 2016, following the election of President Donald Trump, West published an article in The Guardian, calling the President-elect a man “with narcissistic sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivity” elected by “a xenophobic cry of human hearts for a way out from under the devastation of a disintegrating neoliberal order.” [79]

Support for Socialist Policies

In 2018, the Democratic Socialists of America, a pressure group promoting socialist candidates and policies under the Democratic Party banner, recognized Cornel West as the “honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America Party.” [80] [81] West is a long-time proponent of socialist ideals, defending them on Fox News with Tucker Carlson in 2018 as a “fundamental commitment…to the dignity of ordinary people and to make sure they can live lives of decency.” [82]

When pressed to explain where socialism had been successfully adopted before, West could not give an example. [83] Instead of admitting the existence of flaws in democratic socialism, West blamed United States foreign policy on the failure of socialism around the world, alleging that when countries tried to adopt it by “self-determination,” the United States always contributed to the system’s failure. [84]

West’s involvement with the DSA has served as inspiration for other left-wing organizations, most notably the Black Socialists of America (BSA). [85] “Z,” co-founder of BSA, cites West as the inspiration for the entire organization, claiming that after reading West’s far-left critique of left-progressive writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, he decided to create a “platform for black leftists in the United States.” [86] BSA has become an active left-wing group since its founding in 2017, organizing a “Dual Power Map” of worker co-ops, community land trusts, and other community living projects to encourage their adoption across the country. [87]

West has even used his Christianity to push for left-wing positions in the past, citing the biblical story of Christ banishing predatory bankers from the temple of Jerusalem. [88] According to West, Christ drove “the economic elites, the political elites, the cultural elites” from the temple, comparing them to “the White House, Wall Street, Hollywood, the universities” of today. [89]

Despite denying support for communism, West appeared in a 2014 film entitled Revolution and Religion, documenting a near four-hour dialogue with Bob Avakian, chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party. [90]

Support for Antifa

West frequently takes stances on the extreme left, going so far as to defend the violent, left-wing extremist movement Antifa. [91] West has claimed that Antifa saved his life during the counter-protests to the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville attended by white supremacist extremists in August 2017, claiming that he and others “would have been crushed like cockroaches” if not for Antifa. [92] West called proposals to put Antifa on the terror watch list “ridiculous” and a “Trump-led neofascist backlash and clampdown on what is going on,” claiming that “Antifa saved my life in Charlottesville” and “provided the security.” [93] [94]

In June 2020, during the widespread civil unrest that followed the death of George Floyd, West dismissed the rioting, claiming that “focus on the protestors’ assaults on persons or property takes our attention away from the police killings of hundreds of black, poor and working-class people.” [95] West went on to say that Floyd’s death was a result of “the rule of big money, class and gender hierarchies and global militarism” that “laid bare the organized hatred, greed and corruption in the country.” [96] West continued his statement on the riots by openly stating his loathing for the United States, calling the United States military a “killing machine” and decrying “the profit-driven capitalist economy” while calling for a “revolutionary project of democratic sharing and redistribution of power, wealth and respect.” [97]

Criticism of Barack Obama

Through his engagement with the far-left, West has taken several shots at some of the most prominent members of the Democratic Party, including former President Barack Obama. West campaigned for Obama in 2008, appearing on behalf of the campaign 65 times, but was reportedly offended when Obama did not invite West and his family to his inauguration. [98] Following the offense, West reportedly left Obama recorded voice messages and prayers from blocked numbers with no return number listed. [99]

West later launched a decade-long barrage of attacks on the former president, calling him a “war criminal” whose support of Israel and drone warfare made him complicit in civilian casualties. [100] Over the course of Obama’s tenure as president, West’s attacks became more vicious, calling Obama a “black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs” and a “Rockefeller Republican in blackface.” [101]

In 2016, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) appointed Cornel West as one of his advisers to the Democratic Party’s platform committee, provoking outrage from the mainstream left given West’s contention that President Obama had made life worse for African Americans. [102] In a 2014 opinion piece for Salon, West claimed that “Black people have suffered more in this age than in the recent past,” calling the Obama presidency one that “conceals the escalating measures of social misery in poor and Black America.” [103] In a later 2014 interview with Salon, West increased his attacks on Obama, calling him a “brown-faced Clinton. Another opportunist. Another neoliberal opportunist.” [104] As Obama prepared to exit office, West claimed that “a post-Obama America is an America in post-traumatic depression.” [105]

West’s critique quickly turned personal against Obama, with West claiming that his “dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men.” [106] [107] West’s critique went on to claim that Obama is a “young brother who grows up in a white context” and that, “All he has known culturally is white […] When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening.” [108] Despite the African-American community’s widespread embrace of Obama, West portrayed him as alienated from black Americans, claiming that Obama “feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy, and very effective in getting what they want.” [109]

Even after Obama left office, West continued to excoriate his presidential record for not being far-left enough, writing a 2017 piece in the Guardian entitled “Pity the Sad Legacy of Barack Obama.” [110] West laments Obama’s lost opportunity to “break from our neoliberal soulcraft,” calling America “rooted in market-driven brands that shun integrity and profit-driven policies that trump public goods.” [111] The article goes on to criticize Obama for not prosecuting Wall Street executives during the 2008 financial crisis, for supporting Israel, for decrying riots in Baltimore, for promoting educational choice and charter schools, and for instituting the Affordable Care Act instead of a fully government-run health care plan. [112]

Free Speech Advocacy

In 2017, West and conservative Princeton professor Robert P. George issued an open letter supporting “Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression.” [113] The radical-left West and conservative George have appeared together at events through the following years in support of open political argument. [114]

References

  1. “Cornel West, DSA Honorary Chair.” Democratic Socialists of America. Accessed July 9, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20180419052144/http://www.dsausa.org/cornel_west. ^
  2. Tzul, Richard. “’Socialist Can Beat Trump,’ Say Bernie Sanders Supporters.” University Times. California State University LA, December 30, 2019. https://csulauniversitytimes.com/socialist-can-beat-trump-say-bernie-sanders-supporters/. ^
  3. Halper, Evan. “The Sanders Campaign? It’s like a Rembrandt Painting, Cornel West Says.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, February 11, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-02-11/bernie-sanders-new-hampshire-cornel-west. ^
  4. Link, Taylor. “Cornel West Tries to Explain Democratic Socialism to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.” Salon. Salon.com, July 8, 2018. https://www.salon.com/2018/07/07/cornel-west-tries-to-explain-democratic-socialism-to-fox-news-tucker-carlson/. ^
  5. “Antifa, Explained.” The Week, June 14, 2020. https://theweek.com/articles/919492/antifa-explained. ^
  6. “‘America’s Moment of Reckoning’: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor & Cornel West on Uprising Against Racism.” Democracy Now!, July 3, 2020. https://www.democracynow.org/2020/7/3/americas_moment_of_reckoning_keeanga_yamahtta. ^
  7. Dyson, Michael Eric. “The Ghost of Cornel West.” The New Republic, April 19, 2015. https://newrepublic.com/article/121550/cornel-wests-rise-fall-our-most-exciting-black-scholar-ghost. ^
  8. Seelye, Katharine Q. “Cornel West Will Return to Teach at Harvard.” The New York Times, November 19, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/us/cornel-west-harvard.html. ^
  9. Chain, Jonathan. “Why Did Bernie Sanders Put an Obama-Hater on the Democratic Platform Committee?” Intelligencer. New York Magazine, May 24, 2016. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2016/05/bernie-sanders-cornel-west-and-obama-hating.html. ^
  10. Frank, Thomas. “Cornel West: ‘He Posed as a Progressive and Turned out to Be Counterfeit. We Ended up with a Wall Street Presidency, a Drone Presidency.’” Salon. Salon.com, August 25, 2014. https://www.salon.com/control/2014/08/24/cornel_west_he_posed_as_a_progressive_and_turned_out_to_be_counterfeit_we_ended_up_with_a_wall_street_presidency_a_drone_presidency/. ^
  11. West, Cornel. Race Matters. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993. ^
  12. West, Cornel. Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight against Imperialism. New York: Penguin Books, 2004. ^
  13. Steinberg, Jacques. “At Odds With Harvard President, Black-Studies Stars Eye Princeton.” The New York Times, December 29, 2001. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/29/us/at-odds-with-harvard-president-black-studies-stars-eye-princeton.html. ^
  14. Belluck, Pam, and Jacques Steinberg. “Defector Indignant at President of Harvard.” The New York Times, April 16, 2002. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/16/us/defector-indignant-at-president-of-harvard.html. ^
  15. Dyson, Michael Eric. “The Ghost of Cornel West.” The New Republic, April 19, 2015. https://newrepublic.com/article/121550/cornel-west-rise-fall. ^
  16. Dyson, Michael Eric. “The Ghost of Cornel West.” The New Republic, April 19, 2015. https://newrepublic.com/article/121550/cornel-west-rise-fall. ^
  17. Johnson, Hillary Louise. “True West.” Sactown Magazine. Accessed July 9, 2020. http://www.sactownmag.com/October-November-2019/True-West/. ^
  18. Johnson, Hillary Louise. “True West.” Sactown Magazine. Accessed July 9, 2020. http://www.sactownmag.com/October-November-2019/True-West/. ^
  19. Johnson, Hillary Louise. “True West.” Sactown Magazine. Accessed July 9, 2020. http://www.sactownmag.com/October-November-2019/True-West/. ^
  20. Johnson, Hillary Louise. “True West.” Sactown Magazine. Accessed July 9, 2020. http://www.sactownmag.com/October-November-2019/True-West/. ^
  21. Johnson, Hillary Louise. “True West.” Sactown Magazine. Accessed July 9, 2020. http://www.sactownmag.com/October-November-2019/True-West/. ^
  22. Johnson, Hillary Louise. “True West.” Sactown Magazine. Accessed July 9, 2020. http://www.sactownmag.com/October-November-2019/True-West/. ^
  23. Johnson, Hillary Louise. “True West.” Sactown Magazine. Accessed July 9, 2020. http://www.sactownmag.com/October-November-2019/True-West/. ^
  24. Johnson, Hillary Louise. “True West.” Sactown Magazine. Accessed July 9, 2020. http://www.sactownmag.com/October-November-2019/True-West/. ^
  25. Johnson, Hillary Louise. “True West.” Sactown Magazine. Accessed July 9, 2020. http://www.sactownmag.com/October-November-2019/True-West/. ^
  26. Hutson, Darralynn. “Cornel West: The Building of a Black Intellectual Empire.” Black Enterprise, February 7, 2013. https://www.blackenterprise.com/cornel-west-wiki-obama-smiley-princeto/. ^
  27. Hutson, Darralynn. “Cornel West: The Building of a Black Intellectual Empire.” Black Enterprise, February 7, 2013. https://www.blackenterprise.com/cornel-west-wiki-obama-smiley-princeto/. ^
  28. Hutson, Darralynn. “Cornel West: The Building of a Black Intellectual Empire.” Black Enterprise, February 7, 2013. https://www.blackenterprise.com/cornel-west-wiki-obama-smiley-princeto/. ^
  29. Hutson, Darralynn. “Cornel West: The Building of a Black Intellectual Empire.” Black Enterprise, February 7, 2013. https://www.blackenterprise.com/cornel-west-wiki-obama-smiley-princeto/. ^
  30. “Cornel West.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, July 8, 2020. https://www.biography.com/scholar/cornel-west. ^
  31. Johnson, Hillary Louise. “True West.” Sactown Magazine. Accessed July 9, 2020. http://www.sactownmag.com/October-November-2019/True-West/. ^
  32. Johnson, Hillary Louise. “True West.” Sactown Magazine. Accessed July 9, 2020. http://www.sactownmag.com/October-November-2019/True-West/. ^
  33. West, Cornel. Race Matters. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993. ^
  34. West, Cornel. Race Matters. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993. ^
  35. Johnson, Hillary Louise. “True West.” Sactown Magazine. Accessed July 9, 2020. http://www.sactownmag.com/October-November-2019/True-West/. ^
  36. West, Cornel. Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight against Imperialism. New York: Penguin Books, 2004. ^
  37. West, Cornel. Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight against Imperialism. New York: Penguin Books, 2004. ^
  38. Dyson, Michael Eric. “The Ghost of Cornel West.” The New Republic, April 19, 2015. https://newrepublic.com/article/121550/cornel-west-rise-fall. ^
  39. Dyson, Michael Eric. “The Ghost of Cornel West.” The New Republic, April 19, 2015. https://newrepublic.com/article/121550/cornel-west-rise-fall. ^
  40. Dyson, Michael Eric. “The Ghost of Cornel West.” The New Republic, April 19, 2015. https://newrepublic.com/article/121550/cornel-west-rise-fall. ^
  41. Belluck, Pam, and Jacques Steinberg. “Defector Indignant at President of Harvard.” The New York Times, April 16, 2002. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/16/us/defector-indignant-at-president-of-harvard.html. ^
  42. Belluck, Pam, and Jacques Steinberg. “Defector Indignant at President of Harvard.” The New York Times, April 16, 2002. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/16/us/defector-indignant-at-president-of-harvard.html. ^
  43. Steinberg, Jacques. “At Odds With Harvard President, Black-Studies Stars Eye Princeton.” The New York Times, December 29, 2001. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/29/us/at-odds-with-harvard-president-black-studies-stars-eye-princeton.html. ^
  44. “Seeing Crimson.” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, January 3, 2002. https://www.economist.com/united-states/2002/01/03/seeing-crimson. ^
  45. Belluck, Pam, and Jacques Steinberg. “Defector Indignant at President of Harvard.” The New York Times, April 16, 2002. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/16/us/defector-indignant-at-president-of-harvard.html. ^
  46. Steinberg, Jacques. “At Odds With Harvard President, Black-Studies Stars Eye Princeton.” The New York Times, December 29, 2001. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/29/us/at-odds-with-harvard-president-black-studies-stars-eye-princeton.html. ^
  47. Belluck, Pam, and Jacques Steinberg. “Defector Indignant at President of Harvard.” The New York Times, April 16, 2002. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/16/us/defector-indignant-at-president-of-harvard.html. ^
  48. Belluck, Pam, and Jacques Steinberg. “Defector Indignant at President of Harvard.” The New York Times, April 16, 2002. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/16/us/defector-indignant-at-president-of-harvard.html. ^
  49. Steinberg, Jacques. “At Odds With Harvard President, Black-Studies Stars Eye Princeton.” The New York Times, December 29, 2001. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/29/us/at-odds-with-harvard-president-black-studies-stars-eye-princeton.html. ^
  50. Belluck, Pam, and Jacques Steinberg. “Defector Indignant at President of Harvard.” The New York Times, April 16, 2002. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/16/us/defector-indignant-at-president-of-harvard.html. ^
  51. Fresco, Jacques R. “Cornel West’s Analogy.” The New York Times, April 24, 2002. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/24/opinion/l-cornel-west-s-analogy-697680.html?pagewanted=1. ^
  52. Sack, Kevin. “THE 2000 CAMPAIGN: DECISIVE ROLE SEEN FOR BLACK VOTERS IN LATER CONTESTS.” The New York Times, January 16, 2000. https://www.nytimes.com/2000/01/16/us/the-2000-campaign-decisive-role-seen-for-black-voters-in-later-contests.html. ^
  53. Briones, Matthew M. “Why I Would Take a Bullet for Cornel West.” The Root, January 12, 2017. https://www.theroot.com/why-i-would-take-a-bullet-for-cornel-west-1790866935. ^
  54. “Scholar Cornel West to Speak on Race Issues.” Capital University News. California State University, Sacramento, November 11, 2005. https://www.csus.edu/news/111105cornelwest.stm. ^
  55. Schwartz, Ian. “Cornel West: Al Sharpton ‘The Bonafide House Negro Of The Obama Plantation.’” RealClearPolitics, August 31, 2013. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/08/31/cornel_west_al_sharpton_the_bonafide_house_negro_of_the_obama_plantation.html. ^
  56. Hutson, Darralynn. “Cornel West: The Building of a Black Intellectual Empire.” Black Enterprise, February 7, 2013. https://www.blackenterprise.com/cornel-west-wiki-obama-smiley-princeto/. ^
  57. Tzul, Richard. “’Socialist Can Beat Trump,’ Say Bernie Sanders Supporters.” University Times. California State University LA, December 30, 2019. https://csulauniversitytimes.com/socialist-can-beat-trump-say-bernie-sanders-supporters/. ^
  58. Tzul, Richard. “’Socialist Can Beat Trump,’ Say Bernie Sanders Supporters.” University Times. California State University LA, December 30, 2019. https://csulauniversitytimes.com/socialist-can-beat-trump-say-bernie-sanders-supporters/. ^
  59. “Cornel West.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, July 8, 2020. https://www.biography.com/scholar/cornel-west. ^
  60. Halper, Evan. “The Sanders Campaign? It’s like a Rembrandt Painting, Cornel West Says.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, February 11, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-02-11/bernie-sanders-new-hampshire-cornel-west. ^
  61. Gray, Madison J. “Cornel West Makes The Case For Bernie Sanders In South Carolina.” BET.com, February 24, 2020. https://www.bet.com/news/national/2020/02/24/cornel-west-makes-the-case-for-bernie-sanders-in-south-carolina.html. ^
  62. Gray, Madison J. “Cornel West Makes The Case For Bernie Sanders In South Carolina.” BET.com, February 24, 2020. https://www.bet.com/news/national/2020/02/24/cornel-west-makes-the-case-for-bernie-sanders-in-south-carolina.html. ^
  63. Stimson, Brie. “Cornel West Says Biden Needs to Get off ‘Symbolic Crack Pipe’ or Black Voters Will Head to Trump.” Fox News. FOX News Network, May 29, 2019. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/cornel-west-says-biden-needs-to-get-off-symbolic-crack-pipe-or-hell-lose-black-voters-to-trump. ^
  64. Cramer, Ruby. “Bernie Sanders Scrapped A Planned Speech On Race.” BuzzFeed News, March 9, 2020. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/rubycramer/bernie-sanders-flint-michigan-speech-black-voters. ^
  65. Cramer, Ruby. “Bernie Sanders Scrapped A Planned Speech On Race.” BuzzFeed News, March 9, 2020. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/rubycramer/bernie-sanders-flint-michigan-speech-black-voters. ^
  66. Cramer, Ruby. “Bernie Sanders Scrapped A Planned Speech On Race.” BuzzFeed News, March 9, 2020. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/rubycramer/bernie-sanders-flint-michigan-speech-black-voters. ^
  67. Starr, Terrell Jermaine. “Cornel West, What You Doin’?” The Root, March 10, 2020. https://www.theroot.com/cornel-west-what-you-doin-1842243493. ^
  68. Starr, Terrell Jermaine. “Cornel West, What You Doin’?” The Root, March 10, 2020. https://www.theroot.com/cornel-west-what-you-doin-1842243493. ^
  69. Starr, Terrell Jermaine. “Cornel West, What You Doin’?” The Root, March 10, 2020. https://www.theroot.com/cornel-west-what-you-doin-1842243493. ^
  70. Starr, Terrell Jermaine. “Cornel West, What You Doin’?” The Root, March 10, 2020. https://www.theroot.com/cornel-west-what-you-doin-1842243493. ^
  71. “Million Man March.” Encyclopædia Britannica, October 9, 2019. https://www.britannica.com/event/Million-Man-March. ^
  72. “Cornel West on Occupy Wall Street: It’s the Makings of a U.S. Autumn Responding to the Arab Spring.” Democracy Now!, September 29, 2011. https://www.democracynow.org/2011/9/29/cornel_west_on_occupy_wall_street_its_the_makings_of_a_us_autumn_responding_to_the_arab_spring. ^
  73. “Cornel West on Occupy Wall Street: It’s the Makings of a U.S. Autumn Responding to the Arab Spring.” Democracy Now!, September 29, 2011. https://www.democracynow.org/2011/9/29/cornel_west_on_occupy_wall_street_its_the_makings_of_a_us_autumn_responding_to_the_arab_spring. ^
  74. Carbone, Nick. “Cornel West Arrested Again At Occupy Protest.” Time, October 22, 2011. https://newsfeed.time.com/2011/10/22/cornel-west-arrested-again-at-occupy-protest/. ^
  75. Scheer, Peter Z. “Cornel West in Ferguson: ‘I Came Here to Go to Jail’.” Truthdig, July 3, 2017. https://www.truthdig.com/articles/cornel-west-in-ferguson-i-came-here-to-go-to-jail/. ^
  76. Joseph, Cameron, and Corky Siemaszko. “Cornel West among Dozens of Protesters Arrested at St. Louis Courthouse as State of Emergency Declared in Missouri.” nydailynews.com. New York Daily News, August 10, 2015. https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/cornel-west-dozens-arrested-missouri-protests-article-1.2320829. ^
  77. West, Cornel. “A Boot Is Crushing the Neck of American Democracy.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, June 1, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/01/george-floyd-protests-cornel-west-american-democracy. ^
  78. West, Cornel. “A Boot Is Crushing the Neck of American Democracy” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, June 1, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/01/george-floyd-protests-cornel-west-american-democracy. ^
  79. West, Cornel. “Goodbye, American Neoliberalism. A New Era Is Here.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, November 17, 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/17/american-neoliberalism-cornel-west-2016-election. ^
  80. Link, Taylor. “Cornel West Tries to Explain Democratic Socialism to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.” Salon. Salon.com, July 8, 2018. https://www.salon.com/2018/07/07/cornel-west-tries-to-explain-democratic-socialism-to-fox-news-tucker-carlson/. ^
  81. “Cornel West, DSA Honorary Chair.” Democratic Socialists of America. Accessed July 9, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20180419052144/http://www.dsausa.org/cornel_west. ^
  82. Link, Taylor. “Cornel West Tries to Explain Democratic Socialism to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.” Salon. Salon.com, July 8, 2018. https://www.salon.com/2018/07/07/cornel-west-tries-to-explain-democratic-socialism-to-fox-news-tucker-carlson/. ^
  83. Link, Taylor. “Cornel West Tries to Explain Democratic Socialism to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.” Salon. Salon.com, July 8, 2018. https://www.salon.com/2018/07/07/cornel-west-tries-to-explain-democratic-socialism-to-fox-news-tucker-carlson/. ^
  84. Link, Taylor. “Cornel West Tries to Explain Democratic Socialism to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.” Salon. Salon.com, July 8, 2018. https://www.salon.com/2018/07/07/cornel-west-tries-to-explain-democratic-socialism-to-fox-news-tucker-carlson/. ^
  85. Ostrow, Teddy. “Black Socialists of America Is Putting Anti-Capitalism on the Map.” The Nation, September 4, 2019. https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/black-socialists-of-america-interview-z/. ^
  86. Ostrow, Teddy. “Black Socialists of America Is Putting Anti-Capitalism on the Map.” The Nation, September 4, 2019. https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/black-socialists-of-america-interview-z/. ^
  87. Ostrow, Teddy. “Black Socialists of America Is Putting Anti-Capitalism on the Map.” The Nation, September 4, 2019. https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/black-socialists-of-america-interview-z/. ^
  88. Johnson, Hillary Louise. “True West.” Sactown Magazine. Accessed July 9, 2020. http://www.sactownmag.com/October-November-2019/True-West/. ^
  89. Johnson, Hillary Louise. “True West.” Sactown Magazine. Accessed July 9, 2020. http://www.sactownmag.com/October-November-2019/True-West/. ^
  90. “Revolution and Religion.” Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. Accessed July 9, 2020. https://revcom.us/film/. ^
  91. “Antifa, Explained.” The Week, June 14, 2020. https://theweek.com/articles/919492/antifa-explained. ^
  92. “Antifa, Explained.” The Week, June 14, 2020. https://theweek.com/articles/919492/antifa-explained. ^
  93. “Antifa, Explained.” The Week, June 14, 2020. https://theweek.com/articles/919492/antifa-explained. ^
  94. “‘America’s Moment of Reckoning’: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor & Cornel West on Uprising Against Racism.” Democracy Now!, July 3, 2020. https://www.democracynow.org/2020/7/3/americas_moment_of_reckoning_keeanga_yamahtta. ^
  95. West, Cornel. “A Boot Is Crushing the Neck of American Democracy.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, June 1, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/01/george-floyd-protests-cornel-west-american-democracy. ^
  96. West, Cornel. “A Boot Is Crushing the Neck of American Democracy.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, June 1, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/01/george-floyd-protests-cornel-west-american-democracy. ^
  97. West, Cornel. “A Boot Is Crushing the Neck of American Democracy.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, June 1, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/01/george-floyd-protests-cornel-west-american-democracy. ^
  98. Dyson, Michael Eric. “The Ghost of Cornel West.” The New Republic, April 19, 2015. https://newrepublic.com/article/121550/cornel-wests-rise-fall-our-most-exciting-black-scholar-ghost. ^
  99. Dyson, Michael Eric. “The Ghost of Cornel West.” The New Republic, April 19, 2015. https://newrepublic.com/article/121550/cornel-west-rise-fall. ^
  100. Seelye, Katharine Q. “Cornel West Will Return to Teach at Harvard.” The New York Times, November 19, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/us/cornel-west-harvard.html. ^
  101. Seelye, Katharine Q. “Cornel West Will Return to Teach at Harvard.” The New York Times, November 19, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/us/cornel-west-harvard.html. ^
  102. Chain, Jonathan. “Why Did Bernie Sanders Put an Obama-Hater on the Democratic Platform Committee?” Intelligencer. New York Magazine, May 24, 2016. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2016/05/bernie-sanders-cornel-west-and-obama-hating.html. ^
  103. West, Cornel. “Cornel West: ‘The State of Black America in the Age of Obama Has Been One of Desperation, Confusion and Capitulation.’” Salon. Salon.com, October 4, 2014. https://www.salon.com/control/2014/10/05/cornel_west_the_state_of_black_america_in_the_age_of_obama_has_been_one_of_desperation_confusion_and_capitulation/. ^
  104. Frank, Thomas. “Cornel West: ‘He Posed as a Progressive and Turned out to Be Counterfeit. We Ended up with a Wall Street Presidency, a Drone Presidency.’” Salon. Salon.com, August 25, 2014. https://www.salon.com/control/2014/08/24/cornel_west_he_posed_as_a_progressive_and_turned_out_to_be_counterfeit_we_ended_up_with_a_wall_street_presidency_a_drone_presidency/. ^
  105. Frank, Thomas. “Cornel West: ‘He Posed as a Progressive and Turned out to Be Counterfeit. We Ended up with a Wall Street Presidency, a Drone Presidency.’” Salon. Salon.com, August 25, 2014. https://www.salon.com/control/2014/08/24/cornel_west_he_posed_as_a_progressive_and_turned_out_to_be_counterfeit_we_ended_up_with_a_wall_street_presidency_a_drone_presidency/. ^
  106. Chain, Jonathan. “Why Did Bernie Sanders Put an Obama-Hater on the Democratic Platform Committee?” Intelligencer. New York Magazine, May 24, 2016. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2016/05/bernie-sanders-cornel-west-and-obama-hating.html. ^
  107. West, Cornel. “Cornel West: ‘The State of Black America in the Age of Obama Has Been One of Desperation, Confusion and Capitulation.’” Salon. Salon.com, October 4, 2014. https://www.salon.com/control/2014/10/05/cornel_west_the_state_of_black_america_in_the_age_of_obama_has_been_one_of_desperation_confusion_and_capitulation/. ^
  108. West, Cornel. “Cornel West: ‘The State of Black America in the Age of Obama Has Been One of Desperation, Confusion and Capitulation.’” Salon. Salon.com, October 4, 2014. https://www.salon.com/control/2014/10/05/cornel_west_the_state_of_black_america_in_the_age_of_obama_has_been_one_of_desperation_confusion_and_capitulation/. ^
  109. West, Cornel. “Cornel West: ‘The State of Black America in the Age of Obama Has Been One of Desperation, Confusion and Capitulation.’” Salon. Salon.com, October 4, 2014. https://www.salon.com/control/2014/10/05/cornel_west_the_state_of_black_america_in_the_age_of_obama_has_been_one_of_desperation_confusion_and_capitulation/. ^
  110. West, Cornel. “Pity the Sad Legacy of Barack Obama.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, January 9, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/09/barack-obama-legacy-presidency. ^
  111. West, Cornel. “Pity the Sad Legacy of Barack Obama.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, January 9, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/09/barack-obama-legacy-presidency. ^
  112. West, Cornel. “Pity the Sad Legacy of Barack Obama.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, January 9, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/09/barack-obama-legacy-presidency. ^
  113. George, Robert P., and Cornel West. “Sign the Statement: Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression – A Statement by Robert P. George and Cornel West | James Madison Program.” Princeton University. The Trustees of Princeton University, March 14, 2017. https://jmp.princeton.edu/statement. ^
  114. McKinless, Ashley. “Cornel West and Robert P. George on Christian Love in the Public Square.” America Magazine, March 8, 2019. https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2019/03/08/cornel-west-and-robert-p-george-christian-love-public-square. ^
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