Cornel West: This Is Not The Time For Centrism

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Written by Ann Brown
Cornel West
Photo by Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/people/22007612@N05

Centrism — the center — is a political outlook or specific position that involves acceptance or support of a balance of a degree of social equality and a degree of social hierarchy. It is an attempt to stay in the middle and not sway to either the left or the right.

And Professor Cornel West, Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in a recent interview that the country does not need centrism right now.

West discussed Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and what it means to be a democratic socialist. 

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“We are a moment now in the country where the center can not hold, things are falling apart, as Yates would put it. And we have to have vision, courage, and consistently…what Brother Bernie has is a longevity of sincerity, longevity of integrity, and longevity of consistency,” said West, who has held professorships at Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, Pepperdine University, Union Theological Seminary, and the University of Paris during his career. 

Sanders is a Democratic Socials and West feels America is ready. “Democatrics socialism is as American as jazz, as apple pie,” who went on the list a number of Democratic Socialists in history from Martin Luther King Jr. to poet Walt Whitman.

West added: “The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a Democratic Socialist, Francis Bellamy.”

Given that there was been Democratic Socialists throughout history and in the government, West is confident that Sanders can win the 2020 elections. 

“Democratic socialism is critical of predatory capitalism, unfettered capitalism…capitalism without any kind of socialist leveling is economic tyranny for the poor and for working people…greed is running amuck, hatred is running amuck.

When asked about the other Democrats running for president, West noted: “On the one hand we have Brother Biden, and we know Brother Biden is a decent brother is a lot of ways but he is a backward looking, dyed-in-the-wool neoliberal with limited vision and even less courage and he has to check what the polls say and he flip flops.”

Copper went on the ask West if Biden could excite voters. No, answered West, “because it’s not inside of him, he’s a neoliberal centrist, and this is not the time for centrism.”