If he wants to go beyond preaching to the converted, he needs to take his socialist politics into the Democratic primaries.

by D.D. Guttenplan and Bhaskar Sunkara, The Nation

Cornel West is a very serious man.

An intellectual superstar from the moment he graduated from Harvard (where he majored in Near Eastern languages and civilization), West was the first African American to be awarded a PhD in philosophy at Princeton. Though he wrote his doctoral dissertation on “Ethics, Historicism and the Marxist Tradition,” West also came under the influence of Richard Rorty and the American pragmatist revival during his time at Princeton. He has since taught at Yale (where he held a joint appointment with the college and the Divinity School), Harvard (where he taught in both the Department of African and African American Studies and the Divinity School, and was named a University Professor), Princeton (where he helped found the Center for African-American Studies), and the Union Theological Seminary, where since 2021 he has held the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair.

several hundred activists from Stop Mass Incarceration Network rallied at Union Square Park before marching to Lower Manhattan. Dr Cornel West.

The author of numerous books—including the best-selling Race Matters—West has also recorded his own albums, performed on others with artists ranging from Terence Blanchard to Bootsy Collins, and even appeared in two of the Matrix films. He has also been arrested numerous times—including in Ferguson, Mo., where he was knocked down by the police—as part of a long and distinguished career as a leader in the fight for social justice and human rights. An adviser to Bill Bradley’s presidential campaign in 2000, a supporter of Barack Obama in 2008, and a key surrogate for Bernie Sanders in 2016 and 2020, West has also served as honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. Aside from Noam Chomsky, it’s hard to think of another public intellectual with West’s breadth of engagement or political experience. Unlikely though he is to win the White House, we believe West could make a terrific—even a historic—president.

Which makes it all the more unfortunate that instead of waging a campaign designed to push Joe Biden—and the country—in the direction of justice and compassion, West seems not just resigned but determined to remain on the margins.

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