Monday, October 22, 2012

Cornel West abandons purity for strategy

Cornel West has made no secret of his criticisms of President Obama. As a matter of fact, he went far beyond a critique of his policies and made it personal.

However, as the election nears, it seems that Mr. West has made the calculation to abandon purity for strategy.
We have to prevent a Romney takeover of the White House. No doubt about that. It would be very dangerous in terms of actual lives and actual deaths of the elderly and the poor. Those people who are dependent on various programs would have to deal with the ugly damage of the further redistribution of wealth from the poor and working people to the well off.

I’m strategic...American politics are not a matter of voting your moral conscience—if I voted my moral conscience it would probably be for Jill Stein. But it's strategic in terms of the actual possibilities and real options available for poor and working people.
I welcome Mr. West into the fold of those who will cast their ballot to re-elect President Obama. Every vote counts.

But I want to ask him why it is that he can claim the mantle of being strategic for himself when he so emphatically denies it to President Obama.

For example, Mr. West often talks about the failings of President Obama to take on the oligarchs and plutocrats of Wall Street. Perhaps he could have understood the strategy needed to get Dodd/Frank passed. He wouldn't need to be satisfied with the outcome, but at least he could have understood what it takes to get that kind of legislation passed by a Congress funded by Wall Street.

When it comes to politics, there is one outcome for those who embrace purity over strategy...loosing. Mr. West now understands that when it comes to his vote in this election. Perhaps he'll learn something from that going forward.

9 comments:

  1. I highly doubt it.

    ebogan63

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  2. I've said before that I both deeply regret how West seemed to have personalized his political critique of the president and that I have real admiration for his work. I think part of the problem is that he's an Ivy League academic. I've brushed up against academia, and though I love some of the people I met, there is a sense there that the world revolves around them. That's why most academics stay in the academic bubble, I think. It hurts to find out that most people don't know or particularly care who you are.

    West's academic work to me is hugely important. One of the great problems in left politics in this country is the dismissiveness with which white leftists, couching their objection often but not always in a misunderstanding of Marx, dismiss any spiritual/religious component to building movements for social change. This, when both the movement against slavery and the movement for civil rights were fundamentally, in an organizational sense, church movements. That, and as one Black woman with whom I was close said about a white, militantly secular progressive who fancied himself an expert on Black culture, "how can you purport to understand us as a people when you dismiss religion entirely?"

    Anyway, every time I saw West in a long form interview, he would talk about Jesus, and he would talk about Marx. I have a soft spot for him.

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    1. Cornel West is a narcissistic kiss-ass media whore who calls friend and foe alike his brother or sister and laughs too hard at everyone's jokes like Sammy Davis, Jr. used to do. He needed a new shtick when Brother Barack got the nomination in '08 to seem relevant and now realizes his constant hammering of the President could bite him & the country in the ass.

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    2. Thanks for saying exactly what I wanted to say only a million times better!
      Smilingl8dy

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    3. Anonymous @ 12:00

      I personally don't think its necessary to demonize Mr. West in order to point out how he's been wrong.

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  3. West needs to stfu. He burned bridges with last year's shenanigans. Now he wants to gotv. He's done enough damage already and his presence is is nuisance. He can support whoever the hell he wants to but I'll take him about as seriously as Stacey Dash.

    Vic78

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    1. I don't take back my main idea, but I do respect Dr West a helluva lot more than I do Stacey Dash. He knew better than to be doing what he was doing last year.

      Vic78

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  4. i do not agree with West on his criticism of PBO but i will take his vote....yeahhh

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  5. I think West in his position can criticize anyone when he feels its appropriate; its his right as an American and he has an obligation as an academic to be a critic, that's his job. I can't say that I've felt that many disagree with his sentiments. But his timing was off. We need more critics and we need them all the time, not just during the election fervor.

    He also is exactly right, voting for Obama is a strategic choice best at this time and no, the Democrats do not offer the answer to the increasing crisis of this country. I also do not find that tip-toeing to the plutocrats is a good long-term strategy. I have no more desire to see them continue to run the White House like their personal puppet house than I do to poke myself with a rusty knife.

    But at this point in time voting Republican would be similar to asking for the rustiest knife a plutocrat could find and asking them to stick it in one's eye.

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