The 2020 presidential election has yet to be officially certified, but that hasn’t stopped civil rights activist Dr. Cornel West from warning people about the upcoming Joe Biden-Kamala Harris White House.
West, a scholar, philosopher and constant critic of President Barack Obama during his two terms, said in a recent speech that a Biden-controlled White House could bring back some of Obama’s policies, especially since Biden served for eight years as Obama’s vice president.
Tweeting recently about Obama’s latest memoir, “A Promise Land.” West wrote, “Obama’s #APromisedLand shows how he got there & left most of his people behind. It shatters any lingering illusions of him being a fighting Joshua & shows his captivity to Wall Street greed, Pentagon militarism & refusal to confront massive Black social misery & U.S. poverty!”
A video clip of West’s Nov. 9 Zoom speech accompanied the tweet. He spoke on the topic, “Where Do We Go From Here?” for Buffalo, New York-based The Western New York Peace Center’s 53rd Annual Fundraiser: An Evening with Dr. Cornel West.
In the clip, West said, “I’m convinced the Biden-Harris presidency could be a third Obama presidency and the very last thing we should be is to commit the major mistake is not being vigilant in the ways in which that Biden-Harris presidency (is) captive to the Wall Street greed and Pentagon militarism and relatively silent on mass incarceration.”
Public complacency was a problem during Obama’s reign, according to West.
“When Obama won twice, too many people went to sleep,” West said. “You had isolated, lonely voices trying to connect them to Wall Street greed and Pentagon militarism, the bombs dropped in Afghanistan. The drones dropped in Somali and Yemen and so forth.”
This time around, people must stay alert and outspoken, West continued.
“We’ve got to be vigilant as young people, not just progressives, but just decent human beings who believe in intellectual integrity and telling the truth and keeping track of the suffering of people.
“We have to be consistent. You’ve got too many progressives who hate Trump, but when it comes to Trump-like figures like Netanyahu, they can’t say a mumbling word. When it comes to Trump-like figures like (India’s Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas) Modi, they can hardly say a mumbling word. So we have to be consistent in that way and vigilant.
“We can’t go to sleep because we almost went off a cliff … We’re still about to go off the cliff, but the neoliberal going off the cliff takes a different form than the neofascist one. And I’m glad we prevented the neofascist in the White House, indeed but we can’t go back to sleep at all. Not at all internationally and domestically.”
Those who responded on Twitter pointed out West’s seeming obsession with Obama.
One person tweeted, “DO YOU EVER HAVE ANYTHING POSITIVE TO SAY ABOUT THE MAN!!! FOR HEAVEN SAKE!!! I REALLY THINK, HE DID THE BEST HE COULD!!! LIVING IN THIS #WHITEMANWORLD”.
Another tweeted, “You on this again bruh??? I haven’t seen one of these on Trump… What the Pres do to you? He was fighting uphill battle whole presidency with the senate blocking EVERYTHING.”
But another applauded West’s persistence. “Thank you @CornelWest for your continued insight. Now I’m just asking you to go after Biden/Harris with the same fire because they’re already up to shenanigans before they set foot in office. Obama years all over again.”
Prior to his speech, West called the 2020 election a choice between “catastrophe or a disaster.”
A supporter of Bernie Sanders, West put his weight behind Biden, fearing Trump would usher in fascism in a second term.
“What fascism does is snuff out the very conditions for the possibility of democratic rights across the board. That’s where Trump was headed,” West told the Buffalo News.
“That’s why I spent so much of my time making videos and giving speeches, trying to convince my fellow human beings and citizens to vote for somebody I think is mediocre, milquetoast, centrist, moderate and a host of other things.”
West is the author of 20 books, including “Race Matters,” a bestseller published in 1993. He has been a professor or fellow at Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Pepperdine universities, Dartmouth College, Union Theological Seminary and the University of Paris.
West has always been critical of the DNC.
“The corporate wing of the Democratic Party does not want to examine its own failures,” West said. “You were looking for the center and Trump got even more Republicans after four years of gangster rule. Think you can blame the socialist left when it was the neo-liberal wing in the driver’s seat?”
Voting for Biden did not come easy for him, West said.
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A day before Biden was called as the president-elect, Penn Justice Democrats and Penn Young Democratic Socialists of America hosted a post-election discussion about the future of leftist politics, featuring West.
West came down on the Democratic Party for its failure to protect and uplift the working class, and cited frustration with having to vote for Biden, whom he labeled a “neoliberal disaster,” The Daily Pennsylvanian reported.
“What we got to vote for (was) the mediocre, milquetoast neoliberal centrist because he’s better than fascism, and a fascist catastrophe is worse than a neoliberal disaster,” West said. “Now, we’ve just got to come to terms with the neoliberal disaster.”