Cornel West is running for President
- New York 06/06/2023 by Chris Hedges (WBAI)

Dr. Cornel West, the moral philosopher and civil rights activist, will formally announce today he is running for president on the People’s Party ticket. Cornel will be a singular voice for serious social and political change in an electoral system saturated with corporate money and rigged to crush third parties. His decades-long commitment to the oppressed, his fierce opposition to American militarism and empire, his condemnation of the grotesque avarice of the billionaire class, and his determination to halt the ongoing ecocide, will see him contemptuously dismissed by the establishment. For all of these reasons we must support him.

“We’re at such a low point in the American empire,” Cornel said when we spoke about his decision. “Its spiritual decay and its immoral decadence are so profound that we have to begin on the foundational level of a spiritual awakening and a moral reckoning. Organized greed. Institutionalized hatred. Routinized indifference to the lives of poor and working people of all colors. We’ve got to get beyond an analysis of the predatory capitalist processes that have saturated every nook and cranny of the culture. We’ve got to get beyond the ways in which the political system has been colonized by corporate wealth and by monied elite. We’ve got to get beyond that sense of impotence of the citizenry. These are all the signs of an empire in decline. The only thing that we have to add is military overreach, and we see that as well.”

If this campaign becomes a movement, and it will need a lot of organizing to get Cornel on the ballot and build grassroots support, the array of forces that will seek to discredit and sabotage his candidacy will be formidable. The Israel lobby, the war industry, the courtiers in the media, the corporatists, the billionaire class and the Democratic Party leadership, will be as vicious to Cornel as these forces in Britain were to Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. Entrenched power will fight us with every tool in its arsenal. And, as with Corbyn, these assaults — rooted in a mendacious campaign of character assassination — will be relentless. 

Cornel said he seeks “a paradigm shift,” a realignment of “the ideological landscape.” He calls on us to redirect the focus of governing institutions from the demands of markets and corporations, the military machine, empire and the ruling oligarchs, to poor and working people.

“What we need is a recognition that the corporate duopoly, both parties, constitute major obstacles and impediments for the kind of spiritual awakening and moral reckoning that focuses on poor and working people,” Cornel said.

He is calling, in short, for a political revolution and the overthrow of the ruling corporate class.

“Trump is mendacious,” he said. “Everybody knows that he’s a criminal. Everybody knows that he’s a gangster. Yet at the same time, the best that the Democratic Party can put forward is mendacity and hypocrisy. The Democratic Party has an arrogance against working and poor people of all colors. We’re a laughing stock. Is Trump versus Biden the best the country can do?”

He sees the two ruling parties as “parasitical,” playing off each other in a tawdry burlesque act designed to perpetuate corporate dominance. It’s impossible, he points out, in the two party system to vote against the interests of the big banks, the fossil fuel industry, the Israel lobby, the drug and insurance companies, the animal agriculture industry and the arms merchants. The weapons manufacturers, who consume nearly half of the Pentagon budget, look at permanent war, whether in the Middle East, Ukraine or with China, as a business opportunity. These structural evils are sacrosanct. And these are the evils which, if left unchecked,will ultimately kill us.

“It’s not a narrow choice, it’s a preposterous choice,” he said.

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