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  August 7, 2016

Cornel West on Third Parties and the Black Freedom Struggle

Dr. Cornel West says he endorsed Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein because he believes she supports justice, jobs, and Black solidarity
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Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. He has taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard and the University of Paris. He has written 19 books and edited 13 books. He is best known for his classic Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and his new memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, Colbert Report, CNN and C-Span as well as on his dear Brother, Tavis Smiley's PBS TV Show. He can be heard weekly with Tavis Smiley on "Smiley & West", the national public radio program distributed by Public Radio International (PRI).


KWAME ROSE, TRNN: Kwame Rose here in Houston, Texas for the Real News at the Green Party National Convention.

I’m here joined with the esteemed world renowned rapper, professor, scholar, preacher, Dr. Cornel West. Dr. West, how are you doing here at the Green Party?

DR. CORNEL WEST: Kwame, it’s a blessing to be in dialogue with you. I can tell you that.

ROSE: Hey, we’re just dialoging about everything I’ve done read about you.

WEST: Today is a wonderful moment there with sister Jill Stein and brother Ajamu Baraka. It was magnificent in what they had to say. They exemplify a level of vision, a level of courage, a level of integrity, telling the truth through the lens of poor and working people; here and around the world we need that so very badly.

ROSE: Speaking about everything that I read about you, in February you pinned an article that said why brother Bernie was better for black people than sister Hillary. It’s now August, brother Bernie has now endorsed Hillary Clinton. Is Jill Stein better for black people than Hillary Clinton is?

WEST: Well I mean, if black people want reparations across the board, Jill Stein is for it. Nobody else is. If black people want a major jobs program, she’s for it. Nobody else is in the way that she is. If black people want to be in solidarity with poor people around the world, be it Israeli occupation, be it in Africa, Jill Stein is for it. No other party is. So there’s no doubt in my mind when it comes to jobs, quality education, quality housing. Now black people ourselves, we have to come to terms with our own self love and self-respect.

ROSE: That was I was going to ask you next.

WEST: You don’t go to anybody else looking for self-love and self-respect. We deal with that. But in terms of our conditions, there’s no doubt that sister Jill Stein is better than anybody else.

ROSE: Now what I was about to ask you next Dr. West is why aren’t more black people involved in the progressive revolution?

WEST: Well one is that a lot of black folk are catching so much hell, they’re in a survive mood. The other thing is we got black leadership that sometimes is driven by a spiritual rut and a moral cowardess. So they on the gravy train rather than the freedom chain. They only gravy for themselves rather than freedom for the people. Now that’s not all of them but it’s too many of them.

So on the one had you got apathy. On the other hand, you have a black neoliberal leadership that is misleading black people. But the beautiful thing is, you look at that platform on the movement for black lives. Oh the black lives movement came out with a platform that was magnificent which means that the sleepwalking in shattered. People are waking up. The younger generation of black people, they on the move. A lot of, we old school brothers and sisters, been sleepwalking. Too much money, status, power. Preoccupation with visibility rather than loving the people, serving the truth, and bearing witness to justice.

ROSE: I know you’ve got to run, so one last question. Since you’re now supporting Jill Stein and the Green Party. Come November, what’s a winning outcome for the Green Party, realistically?

WEST: Well, you never know, history is unpredictable. You just never know. Shoot both of the main candidates could end up in jail or indicted. Hillary and Donald Trump, the way we’re going. You just don’t know. You don’t know. So it is unpredictable. But the important thing is that we have to be true to ourselves. We’ve got to bear witness to the truth. Bear witness to justice, beginning with, and I’m a Christian, the least of the 25th chapter Matthew. The prisoners, the poor indigenous brothers and sisters, brown brothers and sisters dealing with ugly immigration detention. Palestinians under Israeli occupation across the board. Beginning with the least of these. And it’s a moral issue and for me it’s a spiritual issue. It ain’t just about elections. It’s about what kind of human beings we want to be when the warms get us. I got to run now.

ROSE: Dr. West. I wish I had more time with you. Thank you for joining us here on the Real News Network.

WEST: Salute my brother Kwame. Indeed, indeed.




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