Dr. Cornel West – Intellectual Vocation and Political Struggle in the Trump Moment
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Dr. Cornel West – Intellectual Vocation and Political Struggle in the Trump Moment

October 19, 2019

– Welcome, everyone, welcome. My name is Barbara Will. I am a professor of English at Dartmouth and the Associate Dean of
the Arts and Humanities. I’m so pleased to welcome you here to the second lecture in our series, entitled Why the Humanities
Matter in the 21st Century. This is a two year lecture
series of distinguished speakers, looking at the most
pressing issues of our day through the perspective and insight unique to the humanities. Supported and funded by
the President’s Office, this series is meant to
showcase great thinkers in the humanities who are
actively helping us envision a better, more engaged,
more responsible future. Last fall we heard from Bill Deresiewicz, author of Excellent Sheep, on the future of elite
liberal arts education in an era of increasing
pre-professionalism. Next year we are inviting Drew Faust, President of Harvard,
to speak in this series and today we have the
great pleasure of hearing from one of America’s most important public intellectuals, Dr Cornel West. (audience applauds and cheers) To introduce Dr West,
I’m gonna hand the podium over to Randall Balmer,
the John Phillips Professor and Chair of the Religion
Department at Darthmouth College. Randall? – Our speaker this afternoon has peerless academic credentials, both
as a student and teacher. Princeton, Yale, Harvard,
Union Theological Seminary, and he is about to top off
that very impressive CV by teaching at Dartmouth this summer. (audience cheers and applauds) Cornel West is a public intellectual, which is to say that he is
willing to take his scholarship beyond the boundaries
of the insular academy and enter the arena of public discourse. A public intellectual is
an exceedingly rare breed. Most of us prefer the safety
of recondite conversations with an increasingly narrow
circle of specialists and if you doubt that public
intellectuals are a rare breed, I invite you to name others
beyond this afternoon’s speaker. I suspect you won’t
need more than one hand. In addition to being
a public intellectual, however, Cornel West is a prophet, a truth-teller to the core. A prophet calls us to account
and even to repentance. Professor West is a prophet firmly rooted in the Christian tradition. Someone who embraced the
faith at Shiloh Baptist Church on what he calls the chocolate side of Sacramento, California. (audience chuckles) But he’s not a provincial prophet. He is a catholic, lowercase C, prophet. Someone who draws from diverse sources, from the New Testament
and Ralph Waldo Emerson. From W.E.B. Du Bois and Fannie Lou Hamer and Gwendolyn Brooks and Curtis Mayfield and even the one candidate
in the presidential scrum just passed whose moral
compass pointed true north, an ethnically Jewish,
functionally atheist, democratic socialist from Vermont. (audience cheers and applauds) Professor West’s topic this afternoon is Intellectual Vocation
and Political Struggle in the Trump Moment. We’re living in dark days, what Professor West calls The
Age of Spiritual Blackout. Indeed, the storm clouds on the horizon look even more ominous
than in the days of Nixon, but as Leonard Cohen reminds us, even in the darkness there
is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. I’m confident this
afternoon that Brother West will point us toward the light. Please welcome Cornel West. (audience applauds and cheers) (voices chattering) – What a blessing and what an honor for me to return to Dartmouth, and those generous words, Brother Randy, oh my god, my god, my god.
(audience laughs) Well, you’re very kind,
though you stretch the truth, but I’ll accept a slice of it. (audience laughs) I’ll accept a slice of it though, but let me first say that
I’ve had such a great time with the students just a few minutes ago. We had a candid and a very honest conversation about education
and truth and struggle. I wanna salute those students who were part of that conversation, and I hope you will raise your voices because we will have a dialogue
right after my presentation and I am in no rush whatsoever. (audience laughs) (audience applauds)
Not at all. Not at all, I don’t have to be back. We got a wonderful dialogue
conference at Brandeis tomorrow with our precious, so-called untouchables, the unseeables and unapproachables, brothers and sisters in India and I don’t have to be
there until 2:30, so. (audience laughs)
(laughs) We got a lot of time together. I wanna salute my dear sister, Barbara Will, for being so very kind. Where is she, where is Dean Will? There she is, I wanna
salute my dear sister for being so kind.
(audience applauds) Definitely. And Sister Sarah Coulter. Oh, there she is, give it
up for Sister Sarah Coulter. (audience cheers and applauds) She’s standing next to Maria Cole, who is a distinguished
graduate of Dartmouth and I’ve been blessed to work with her for the last four or five
years as part of my office. We call her executive assistant, but she’s a visionary figure behind it. Give it up for Sister Maria Cole. (audience applauds) She is here with Nikkita
Mcpherson, who was the President of The Black Student Association in 2013 and she facilitated
shutting some things down, as I recall
(audience laughs) and I stand in solidarity with her. Where is she, where is she, where is? There she is, there she is. (audience cheers and applauds) Anytime I come to Dartmouth, I always salute my dear
brother, Donald Pease. (audience laughs) Oh, there he is. Oh, love you, brother. Respect you, brother. Give it up for this leather man here. (audience applauds)
(laughs) I didn’t know you were here. Oh, we go back 35 years of boundary too and towering figures, like William Spanos. William Spanos is the
greatest literary critic wrestling with the greatest American novelist, Herman Melville, and Paul Bovey and Jonathan Arac. Those were magnificent days. We shall never, ever forget
those precious memories and I heard you give a paper on the great Rabbi Abraham
Joshua Heschel in Los Angeles and he was standing by me ’cause I had a number of
folk protesting against me. I said, “Ooh, I’ve got
to listen to my critics, “but I think I’m doing the right thing “when you have critics
trying to shut you down.” But there was a beautiful
moment because the magnificent Susannah Heschel, who is a professor here. Give it up for Sister Susannah Heschel. (audience applauds) I don’t know if she’s here or not, but you tell her I send
my love and respect, but she was there and
she stood next to me. She stood by me and it made a difference and Donald Pease was there
standing by me as well, just committing themselves
to a robust conversation. Of course, I have no monopoly on truth. You can see I have no monopoly on beauty. (audience laughs) But I am involved in a
quest for truth and goodness and justice and as a Christian, based on that rich, prophetic
legacy of Jerusalem. Love of the holy. So, I wanna begin on a very personal note, very existential note. Before we get into talking about vocation and talking about struggle
and my dear brother, Donald Trump, in the White House. (audience laughs) And he is my brother. He’s made in the image of
God, just like all of us. He’s just chosen to act
like a gangster sometimes (audience laughs) and that’s all right. I was a gangster before I met Jesus and I’m a redeemed sinner with
gangster proclivities, so. (audience laughs) I understand gangsters, but I wanna get on this
note of acknowledging, after that wonderful introduction, that I am who I am
because somebody loved me. Somebody cared for me. Somebody targeted me. I take very seriously a
revolutionary notion of piety and piety is not uncritical
deference to dogma. It’s not blind obedience to doctrine. It is the acknowledgement
of the sources of good in our lives, given our brief trek from our mama’s womb to tomb, so the highest honor I have
ever received has nothing to do with Harvard or Yale or
Princeton or University of Paris or the grand Union Theological Seminary, but it is being the second son of Irene B. Wells and Clifton Wells and Dad is now gone 24 years ago. Mom’s stronger than ever. (audience laughs) First grade teacher and principal in an elementary school named after her, Irene B. West, outside
of Sacramento, California and I say that because when
we talk about the Trump Era, we have to follow Amílcar
Cabral and Amy Suelzer in returning to the source. What kind of human beings are we really? What has gone into the shaping
and molding of who we are? What Antonio Gramsci called a historical, critical self-inventory. What kind of intellectual,
spiritual, moral political resources do we have available, both as persons as well as
communities and traditions? And I follow the grand lead of my teacher, Hans-Georg Gadamer. Blessed to study with four
years, Boston College. Author of Truth and Method. The inescapability of traditions and I say traditions with an S ’cause Fredric Jameson is right. You historicize, you
contextualize, and you pluralize and that’s true with ourselves as well. No one of us have one identity, but a variety of identities, as we attempt to choose certain visions
and virtues and values, so yes, it’s the West family
and the Shiloh Baptist Church on that chocolate side of Sacramento at 9th Avenue in Oak Park. We had a legendary
pastor, Willie P. Cooke, and he was a pastor, he was not a CEO. (audience chuckles) That’s very important. (audience chuckles) Churches have been commodified,
commercialized, marketized. The pastors have become CEOs and the choirs have become praise teams. (audience chuckles) That blood at the cross becomes
Kool-Aid just to dip in, in order to get your next
commodity-driven blessing. (audience chuckles) I wanna be candid where I come from. We had the Black Panther
Party right next door. Meant the world to me, in terms
of those precious children coming to the breakfast program. I could never join because I’m a Jesus-loving free black man, but I was in deep solidarity and remain so with the focus on those poor,
precious, priceless children and even today, one out of
two black and brown children under six live in poverty. Richest nation in the world. Still morally obscene. Still spiritually profane. It was not just Shiloh and
the Black Panther Party, but at Harvard College, the
teachers made a difference. The John Rawls and Robert
Nozicks and Hilary Putnams and Israel Schefflers and Samuel Beards and Martin Kilsons and Preston
Williams and Judith Slars. They took me seriously and
we were talking about this with the dialogue with the young folk, that by the time I arrived at Harvard, I already had in place a certain
kind of spiritual fortitude and by fortitude I
don’t mean just courage, but the fusion of courage and magnanimity, of courage and a quest for
greatness of character, greatness in manifest, not
like Alexander the Great, not like Julius Caesar,
not like Charlemagne, not like Napoleon, but
like Jesus, like Amos, like Martin Kean, like Fannie Lou Hamer, like Grace Boggs, like Dorothy Day, like Rabbi Abraham Joshua
Heschel, like Edward Said. I could go on and on. I’m talking about people
on the love train. (audience laughs) Love warriors different
than polished professionals. (audience chuckles) Oh, young brothers and
sisters of all colors here at Dartmouth, always
remember the difference between what it means
to really fall in love with the quest for truth
and goodness and beauty as opposed to falling in love with commodities and
possessions and status and we all fall short. Samuel Beckett says, “We try again, fall. “Fail again, fail better. “Try again, fail again. “Fail better.” But in the moment in
which we find ourselves, we need a focus on those
particular traditions, secular and religious, that
highlight a quest for integrity, honesty, decency, and fortitude,
courage and magnanimity. That’s why I wanna begin with my epigraph. I haven’t got to my epigraph yet here. (audience chuckles) But my epigraph comes
from probably the greatest democratic and public intellectual in the history of the American empire. In the 20th century,
he’s got some candidates. John Dewey was in a league
of his own in many ways. Edmund Wilson and Susan
Sontag, Muriel Rukeyser, and Lionel Trilling, Ryan Hole. Oh boy. There are some candidates, but I still go with W.E.B. Du Bois and W.E.B. Du Bois in 1951. Handcuffs and standing in court, working with the World Peace Center, charged to be working as a foreign agent on behalf of the Soviet Union. He’s just trying to rid the
world of nuclear weapons. Supported by Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell and others. He finally found the house, the greatest bureau in
the world, Brooklyn. (audience chuckles) 31 Grace Court, which was the house of the great Arthur
Miller, my dear brother who I was blessed to know well. A towering figure, not just of the stage, but of American arts. Facilitated Du Bois moving into his house. Passport taken away. One visitor, Paul Robeson. His passport taken away. He living under house
arrest in Philadelphia at his sister’s house. 4645 Walnut Street and
Du Bois turns to Shirley, his magnificent intellectual
firebrand that she was. He said, “I gotta write a
letter to the younger generation “because there may come
a time in the history “of this fragile experiment
in democracy, this empire.” And we have to be able to think
two ideas at the same time. Fragile experiment in democracy
and empire simultaneously. Gotta be true to the experiences
of indigenous peoples and black peoples and red
peoples with moving borders when Texas and California,
New Mexico used to be Mexico and we’ve got to be true
to the experiences of, yes, those Europeans, some of whom were escaping vicious persecution, be it religious persecution with the wave of the first wafts, or be it ugly, ethnic, racial, class persecution and exclusion, be it our precious Irish
brothers and sisters being with British imperial policies that help facilitate famine, be it those Southern Italians
in Sicily and other places, or be it the Jewish brothers and sisters escaping Jew-hating
Europe, Jew-hating Russia. W.E.B. Du Bois says, “I’m
gonna write a love letter “because America may have to come to terms “with another wave of
the rule of big money, “big business, big corporations. “America may have to come
to terms with the rule “of politicians who are
able to very cleverly deploy “xenophobic appeal and
end up trying to convince “our fellow citizens to
scapegoat the most vulnerable “rather than confront the most powerful.” America may have to
come to terms with that spiritual blackout Brother
Andrew was talking about, the relative eclipse
of integrity, honesty, decency, and courage slash fortitude across political and ideological lines. It’s not a question of just
having a correct analysis. It’s a question of being
a caring, compassionate, and a self-critical human being who is in the struggle for the long term. Du Bois embarks on the
writing of three novels and that’s something that at 83 years old, the love letter that he
writes is three novels. (audience laughs) The Black Flame. You turn to that first novel,
The Ordeal of Man’s Heart. Page 275 he said, “These are the questions “that I’ve been wrestling with “and I hope those of
the younger generation “will continue to wrestle
with these questions “in subsequent years as they come to terms “with various forms of neoliberal.” But looks as if what’s emerging
are the neo-Fascist regime. We shall see. We’ve got evidence of it already. Disregard of rule of law, disregard of constitutional practices
and procedures and so on. First question Du Bois says, “How shall integrity face oppression?” How shall integrity face oppression? Now, Du Bois already
acknowledges that he himself comes from a tradition of black people who have been terrorized for 400 years, traumatized for 400
years, hated for 400 years and yet taught the world
so much about how to love. I just celebrated the 100th
anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald. Joy and love in every note. John Coltrane’s Love Supreme, I could just turn it on and sit down. (audience laughs) It’s true. It’s beyond language. Has there even been a
character on the American stage who was more loved than
Mama in A Raisin in the Sun, written by a genius from Chicago
named Lorraine Hansberry? Transgenerational love flowing through her with unbelievable dignity
and we should note those who are graduating
here at Dartmouth very soon and I salute you, congratulations. But Mama didn’t go to college, but a college went through her. So, what you mean, Brother West? She said, “Nobody has a right
to graduate from college “if they haven’t learned how to die “in order to learn how to live.” And that’s what Mama did. She learned how to die
by critically examining her assumptions and presuppositions and when you let some of those assumptions and presuppositions go, when
you let certain prejudices and pre-judgements go,
that’s a form of death. There’s no growth, there’s no maturation. There’s no development. Now as a Christian, of course for me, no rebirth without death. That wonderful eulogy
that Dorothy Day wrote for Martin Luther King
Jr. April 5th, 1968. Martin Luther King Jr.
learned how to die daily. What a gift. Kenosis, emptying himself by
critically examining who he was so that he could grow and ascend. Now of course Stanley
Cavell and others called it Emersonian perfectionism. (audience laughs) The ascension of a self and
you’re reliant on that self in order to be what? In the world, but not of the world. A nonconformist over against the world as you never attain the ultimate
self that you would like, but you’re forever in process. That’s called the
Emersonian New England-like version of Protestant Christianity. (audience laughs) That’s really what it is and then some. And we could argue. Christians certainly
have no monopoly on it. It’s a certain way of being in the world. Integrity facing oppression and the first challenge
is spiritual integrity. What is spiritual integrity? It is a thoroughgoing
self-investment and self-involvement and a willingness to understand
a particular situation in light of his genealogy,
in light of his diagnosis, and the projection of a prognosis. In a fallible mode, you could be wrong, but then choosing as a form of life that the conclusion will
be like a practical, Aristotelia syllogism, not a
proposition, but a life lived. Deeds, actions, taking risk. Going to the edge of one’s own abyss and through a connection with
the best of one’s tradition, stepping out on nothing and
yet still landing on something. Du Bois comes from a people
who taught the world so much about the connection
between voice and vocation and love and as Martin used to say, “Justice being what love
looks like in public.” Justice and love, not
identical, but indivisible or as the great Niebuhr used to say, “Any justice that’s only justice “soon degenerates into
something less than justice.” If it’s not grounded in
love, it runs out of gas. Du Bois was very aware and juxtaposed integrity,
cupidity, love of money, venality, everybody for
sale, everything for sale. Ubiquitous commodification
across the board from family church, mosque,
synagogue, university, college. The market model has become so hegemonic that it is normalized and naturalized and Du Bois says, “Be Socratic. “Contest it, interrogate it, examine it, “historicize it, contextualize it. “It doesn’t have to be that way.” And one of the reasons why we
ended up with the xenophobic, mendacious, and mediocrity as a kind of quasi-compliment to Brother Trump. (audience laughs) ‘Cause America does have a long tradition of white male mediocrity in high places. (audience applauds and cheers) No doubt about that. There’s no doubt about that. Family, connections,
cronyism, and nepotism, but Trump makes that look bad. (audience laughs) He does. And that’s just at the level
of knowledge and competence. It’s not at the level
of what I call gangster. Grabbing a woman’s private
parts, that’s gangster. Taking somebody’s oil that’s
not your oil, that’s gangster. That’s not my subjective expression. That’s an objective condition. The use of arbitrary power,
thinking that Rimasuchus is right in republic rather than Socrates. Thinking somehow that
even quasi-Nietzschean wills to power don’t work. A certain kind of interrogation because of a lack of moral
and spiritual dimension. That’s gangster and that has become a model for too many in the American empire
and around the world and Du Bois says, “What about integrity? “What about moral consistency? “Has stupidity and venality “so thoroughly devoured our culture “that those who talk about integrity “are outdated and antiquated?” It’s certainly counter cultural. The corporate media. How much integrity do we
see in corporate media? Hardly any at all. Too much money. It’s how you sit in the church. Black church. Where’s the black church been
in the last 25, 30 years? Dominant form. Well adjusted to injustice. Well adapted to indifference. Create the most adorable
of all public philosophers, William James, used to say,
“Indifference is the one trait “that makes the very angels weep.” Heschel says, “Indifference to evil’s “more insidious than evil itself. “Becomes a whole way of life.” That’s what we’re dealing
with, young people. That’s what has been
bequeathed to you at its worst, but Du Bois is trying to keep track of your access to the best, that Socratic legacy of Athens that said the unexamined
life is not worth living in that 38a of Plato’s Apology. That said you might be unpopular, but it oughta be a result
like Socrates of parrhesia, that line 24a of Plato’s Apology. That frank speech, plain speech, fearless speech, unintimidated speech in a fallible mode, but still a speech that would get you in trouble. He was on his way to the hemlock. That prophetic legacy of Jerusalem that says the spreading of
acid, of loving kindness to the orphan and widow and
the fatherless and motherless, to the vulnerable, the weak, the poor, those rebuked and scorned and spit on and dishonored and devalued and demeaned. Yes, Du Bois said, “We
somehow have to keep “traditions alive that
connect to those legacies.” Of course the West has no monopoly on it, given its vicious histories of genocide. We just had a celebration last week, or I shouldn’t say a celebration. Acknowledgement, commemoration. The worst of the human spirit
in terms of genocidal attacks. Our precious Jewish brothers and sisters. Armenians as well. How do we build on sensitivities
of those catastrophes and come to terms with
catastrophes in our own day? And I submit, we shouldn’t
begin with Donald Trump. We don’t wanna fetishize Donald Trump. You don’t wanna ascribe
magical powers to Donald Trump. Donald Trump is as American as cherry pie. He comes out of a long
tradition of white supremacy and male supremacy and homophobia. He comes out of long tradition of spiritual emptiness
and moral virtruity. He comes out of long tradition
and he’s a human being. He’s on a continuum with us. You don’t like to say that. (audience laughs) But I’m here to remind you. (audience laughs) Oh yes, this here’s a black
man in America for 63 years. Trump is not news. 244 years of white supremacist slavery. The average slave died at
26 and a half years old, working sun up to sun down. It’s a form of torture. Couldn’t worship God
without white supervision in the land of religious liberty. Oh, that’s catastrophic. How did they fight back? They stole away at night,
held hands in a ring, and lifted their voices and saying, “Swing low, sweet chariot.” Refusing to respond to
the cowardly gangsters who were enslaving them
in a gangster-like way just like Emmett Till’s mama that said right where his body standing
and laying in front of her, tears flowing, “Only child, I
don’t have a minute to hate. “I will pursue justice
for the rest of my life.” You don’t do that by yourself. That’s not an isolated individual act. Something has been shaped
of the soul craft there. That’s what spiritual integrity is. It’s a soul craft there. That’s what I liked about
Brother Bernie Sanders. He’s my dear secular Jewish
Brooklyn Vermont-living brother. (audience laughs) (audience applauds) Didn’t have to agree with everything. No, no, Brother Bernie, Sister Jane, we pushing each other over
and over again on empire and a whole host of other issues, but the one thing you cannot deny, especially lined up against
the other candidates, he had more integrity. He refused to sell his
soul for a mess of pottage. He knew that Trump’s populist
language was pseudo populism. He knew that Wall Street would still be in the driver’s seat. He knew that Goldman Sachs
would still have access in the way it did and even
more so now under Barack Obama. He could see through the neoliberalism of the Democratic Party
and he could see through the escalating neo-Fascist sensibilities of Donald Trump and company,
so when you talk about integrity at the highest
levels of elected officials, oh, it’s pretty cold up there. (audience laughs) That’s a sad thing ’cause
when I was coming around, when I was coming up, me and
Brother Donald coming up, there were a lot of
figures in national life of the country that had integrity, that wouldn’t sell out and wasn’t just a political and ideological matter. They were true to themselves. Even William Buckley,
with his right wing self. (audience chuckles) He had integrity. He just wrong most of the time. (audience laughs) It’s true. It’s true. Then of course I’m deeply committed to the brother of Rush
Limbaughs and legacies, the right wing, fighting
for their right to be wrong. (audience chuckles) I have libertarian sensibilities, in terms of a commitment to
a robust public conversation with people in a space without
humiliation, with respect. I’m not talking about
just the hate speech folk, like this Brother Milo that
got attacked in Berkeley. It was wrong to attack him, but he doesn’t need to be
there at Dartmouth of Berkeley. He doesn’t have the stuff to be part of a high quality conversation. You don’t invite
defenders of Earth is flat in the serious discussion of physics. I mean, you got to have some criteria. (audience laughs) But you don’t attack the brother. Not at all, you just let him stay home. (audience laughs) It’s true, just let him stay home. (audience applauds) But integrity has consequences
and most importantly, it means that you’re choosing
to be a long distance runner. One of the things that I loved about the conversation with the young folk, we were talking about the
Dartmouth Action Collective I think it was, with Sister
McCaine and the others were so wonderful and they were really going at me in some magnificent ways. I like that kind of Socratic
energy coming at me. Nietzsche used to say,
“It’s not just a question “of having the courage
of your convictions, “but the courage to
attack your convictions.” That’s part of learning how to die. That’s what education’s about too, being unsettled and unearthed
and unhoused in that way, but the question is with integrity, it’s like Jane Austen’s constancy. Will you be a long distance
runner in your calling, in your vocation at this
particular bleak moment where it looks as if all
hope is being cast aside? Du Bois is saying, “I’ve
been there before.” Like John Milton, Paradise Lost. What are the conditions
under which ordinary people consent to their own servitude? That’s a profound question. We do not yet have a definitive response. It’s like Plato telling
us democrats, small D, you will never ever be able to sustain a democratic experiment because
the demo is shot through with unruly passion and
ubiquitous ignorance and it will generate a strong
man in the patriarchal form, given that vicious legacy of patriarchy, and it will generate tyranny. Every democracy has within it
the seeds of a tyrant because the demos don’t have the
capacity to rule themselves. We have yet to provide a
definitive response to Plato, as profound and as wrong as I think he is. (audience laughs) Because in our democratic
forms, what do we still have? The oligarchs and plutocrats. In our democratic forms,
what do we still have? Too much xenophobia. A hatred of trans and gays and lesbians. Not staying in contact with
working people’s humanity. Bosses ruling over workers
as if they’re masters vis-a-vis slave-like persons. We still got empires, even as
democracies were expanding. Plato said, “I told you so.” (audience laughs) Believed all that Ralph
Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Muriel Rukeyser, James Baldwin. Democratic mess. You’re gonna end up
with even tighter forms of oligarchic rule, given your belief in the capacity of ordinary people. That’s Plato always whispering in the ears of we, radical democrats, small D. Refuse his conclusions, but have to come to terms
with his challenges. Can there be a livable
answer to Du Bois’s question of integrity facing oppression? What is the difference between
vocation and profession? What is the difference
between calling and career? It has everything to do with that kenosis, that self-emptying. That’s what’s so
magnificent about, for me, the greatest tradition
of spiritual fortitude in the modern world, which is
the black musical tradition. There’s never been a tradition on such intimate terms with catastrophe and still be able to generate
such unbelievable forms of creativity, compassion, and fortitude. Du Bois understood that
in the last chapter, the souls of the black
folk in the sorrow songs. One of the saddest moments
in the last 30 years is the erosion of spiritual integrity of the younger generation,
the erosion of the quality of black music in the last 25 years, the nonexistence almost
of the lifting of tender and sweet and gentle voices
that sing together in tune. I come from The Dramatics
and The Delfonics and The Whispers, Main Ingredient, The Isley Brothers, and The Jones Girls, and The Emotions or
the Hutchinson sisters, and David Ruffin, and The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. Those aren’t just entertainers. (audience chuckles) They are love warriors in song and they listen to each other’s
voices with a gentleness and they raise their voices,
not in order to give attention to themselves for a
bigger market presence, but to empower others. James Brown would go for four hours and he would always end every concert. I was there every night. I’m an extension of you,
you’re an extension of me. I don’t exist without you. Did anybody come here to
hear a song we didn’t play? I know we’ve been going
for four and a half hours, but did anybody come to hear a song? You didn’t play Soul Power. Hit it, Bootsy. (audience laughs) That’s kenosis. That’s serving others,
giving of one’s self, using what gifts you
have in order to provide some light in a bleakness, in a darkness. That’s what integrity is. Those who are committed to integrity are always up against the grain and in my own language, you’re
choosing the way of the cross and that cross signifies unarmed truth and the condition of truth is always to allow suffering to speak. It’s unconditional, unapologetic love and that love is manifest in a willingness to pay a major price
in saying what you say. I know a lot of people who’ve
been very very harsh with me, trying to hold onto integrity
in the age of Obama. Tied to Wall Street. Drone strikes I called George Bush a war
criminal after 45 drone strikes. Obama had 506, so they got surprised. Why’d you call him a war criminal? Moral consistency. (audience laughs) How many innocent did he kill? How many children were killed? Let’s keep track. We didn’t keep track of
how many Iraqis died. We didn’t keep track of
how many Afghanistans died. We didn’t keep track of
hundreds of thousands of Muslims who have been killed since the U.S. invasion and occupation, given the gangster
attack on us in New York. Those Muslim lives have the same value as any other human life and we wonder why does
the gangster respond? (audience applauds) It’s true. Oh no, we can’t talk about that with a Nobel Peace Prize winner. 26,172 bombs dropped in 2016. Over 12,000 bombs dropped
in Syria last year under the Obama Administration
and Trump dropped some bombs. Wrong, moving toward war criminal status. We get all upset, where’s our consistency? Those lives in Syria, where
was the focus on Libya when those lives were
undergoing such ugly treatment? And oh my god, when we
get to the Middle East and it’s always difficult,
how do we hold on to our spiritual integrity
and tell the world, “We will ensure that there’s
never another vicious, “wholesale attack on precious
Jewish brothers and sisters.” As has been the case so
often for 2,000 years. But at the same time, when
they choose to occupy a people, when they choose to align
themselves with a U.S. Empire that loses sight with the
Palestinian brothers and sisters, that Palestinian baby in Gaza
has exactly the same value as that precious Jewish baby in Tel Aviv and no matter how unpopular it is. (audience applauds) And this is a delicate issue. It’s hard to stay on that tightrope ’cause there’s so many
anti-Jewish pitfalls in it, given how pervasive anti-Jewish
prejudice and hatred is, but antisemitism must never be an excuse that loses sight of occupied peoples, of Palestinian peoples who are undergoing levels of social misery
because like Kashmir, like in the Western Sub-Sahara
with Morocco occupied, like Tibet under Chinese occupation, occupation lacks moral
and spiritual integrity. It’s wrong, it’s unjust, it’s illegal and if we don’t come to terms with it, you’re gonna reap what you sow, like any other historical moment and thank God we’re seeing a moral and a spiritual awakening
tied to integrity. I was just with my brothers
and sisters, if not now, among the young Jewish population. Some of them had mothers
and fathers inside of APAC, but they were standing
for spiritual integrity. They’re not just trying to be sensitive because it’s a nice issue
to be popular about. No. No, no. Wipe away all deodorized
bureaucratic discourses of diversity and inclusivity. (audience laughs) Talk about integrity. (audience applauds) Talk about integrity and
I was blessed to be there. What you doing here, Brother West? I’m trying to be a person of integrity. If there was a Palestinian occupation of Jewish brothers and sisters, I’d be at the same march
with the same sense of righteous indignation
because it’s wrong. When you have 550 Palestinian
babies killed in 51 days and hardly anybody can raise their voices, not a moaning word from any major elite, that’s a sign of a lack
of moral integrity. Somebody’s scared. Somebody doesn’t wanna tell the truth. Somebody doesn’t wanna be unpopular. “Oh,” Du Bois says, echoing
Martin Luther King Jr. “I’d rather be dead than afraid.” When you get so fearful, you’re already spiritually dead anyway. Already. Now, these other three questions will be much shorter though. (audience laughs) ‘Cause you all are so kind. To that second question that Du Bois says, “What does honesty do in
the face of deception?” What does it mean to be
an honest human being? Again cuts across politics, religion. Wonderful essay of Kierkegaard says, “All of my work in many ways comes down “to an attempt to be honest.” He says, “I’m sorry that’s
not a Christian virtue.” I’d go with the pagans on that. (audience laughs) But that’s all I wanted to be. Talking about faith, hope, and love. Indeed, those Christian virtues. Talking about the cardinal virtues of prudence and temperance
and justice and courage, but just to be honest. We live in an age of massive
mendacity and criminality. It’s very difficult for honesty to surface and in the Trump Era,
it’s not just fake news because fake news is very misleading. That gives you the impression that CNN has been telling the truth. (audience laughs) It gives you an impression
that New York Times has been telling the truth (audience chuckles) ’cause the fake news are the alt, the alt-right and the alt-left and all you need to do is
go to the non-alt center. (audience laughs) That’s not true. Truth is buried. You need intellectual excavation
beneath the discourses. What’s hidden and concealed? What is latent? What are people trying to cover up? The alt-left, alt-right or non-alt center. So, yes, there’s a lot of lying going on in a whole host of different
blogs and so forth and so on, but it’s not as if you just
turn to the establishment institutions that are under
assault and find the truth. There’s a reason why the establishment and the Republican Party went under. There’s a reason why Brother
Bernie putting the pressure on the establishment in
the Democratic Party, it almost went under and
he was not treated fairly, but that’s another lecture. (audience laughs and claps) There’s a reason why the establishment and the corporate media
is under contestation and that’s just not scandal-driven
Fox News at the moment. They all are tied together and people are feeling
helpless, impotent, hopeless and the choice is between,
as we saw in 2016, neoliberal disaster,
neo-Fascist catastrophe and the neoliberal disaster was our dear sister, Hillary Clinton. (audience chuckles) The sexism was real coming at her. We got to acknowledge that. There’s no doubt about that,
but it wasn’t only that. It was also an element of
detachment from ordinary people, living in the elitist bubble that too often the Harvards
and Yales and Princetons and Dartmouths and Berkeleys
and Chicagos generate, so all you got to do is connect
to just folk in your bubble. They are the sophisticated ones and one mark of their
sophistication is always the excessive use of obviously. (audience laughs) Obviously, obviously,
obviously, obviously, obviously, obviously, obviously. (audience laughs and claps) It’s not obvious to me. (audience laughs) (audience applauds) No. That’s a sign of the in crowd. That’s a sign of the chattering classes who have been formally
educated in certain ways so they reinforce each
other’s sense of being smart and what Du Bois is talking
about has nothing to do with the land of dollars and smartness. It has to do with compassion and wisdom. Let the phones be smart. We’ve got to be wise and
compassionate and self-critical. (audience applauds) The whole cult of smartness, the whole cult of smartness and obviously is part of the market soul craft and it generates broader gaps and hiatuses between elites and educated
sites and everyday people and it’s a very, very sad moment when that gap becomes so overwhelming that the rug is completely
pulled from under the establishment and the only thing left is an option of neo-Fascist catastrophe. That was what’s most sad about 2016. That’s why I’m still deeply upset, in terms of how my brother,
Bernie, was treated because I was thoroughly
convinced that he had the gusto, that wonderful word of William Hazlitt. He had the insight and the
power to generate enthusiasm against the enthusiastic
folk behind Trump. The neoliberal project’s running out of gas and New York Times hadn’t got the memo. I know Thomas Friedman and others. They hadn’t got the memo. (audience laughs) They were convinced, but those of us who are out in the field,
we could see it so clearly. See it so clearly, which meant what? More need for integrity
in the face of oppression. More need for honesty in
the face of deception. Du Bois’s third question,
how shall decency respond to assault and attack? We were talking about this
again with the young folk and the sense of, oh my god. All of these white supremacist attacks that are so microsocial
and sometimes macrosocial, dealing with police brutality, dealing with these ugly
stereotypes not just on TV, but sometimes generated by
the very young folk themselves in the worst of hip hop culture as opposed to the best of hip hop culture. There’s got to be ways in which you can preserve your sense of decency as a spiritual and moral issue and we’ve got to learn how to inhabit the spiritual and moral space
that holds at arm’s length those market sensibilities
and market orientations. They’re always intertwined. They’re always overlapping, but there’s got to be some space. You don’t do it by yourself. You need groups. Need institutions. And as an example, Brother Jeff Stout is now giving the Gifford Lectures and that’s like the Nobel
Prize in philosophy. He’s just arrived yesterday. We’ve taught the graduate course together. It had much to do with exemplarity as opposed to celebrity. You see, spiritual and moral exemplarity, examples as opposed to
market driven celebrities. I tell my young folk all the time, you can just look at the juxtaposition of those who are highly visible. Back to music again, I love
my dear sister, Beyonce. She’s one of the greatest
entertainers in many ways. She got a lot of energy,
lot of discipline. She’s got a certain kind of genius. Unbelievable commitment, but
she’s not Aretha Franklin. (audience laughs) Now, what’s the difference between Beyonce and Aretha Franklin in terms of spiritual exemplarity,
market driven celebrity? That Aretha Franklin, when she shows up, all she needs is a microphone. She’s not part of this culture
of superficial spectacle. She doesn’t have to ask her
girls to be in formation. (audience laughs) She’s not talking about black Bill Gates. She’s not talking about
using her paper for revenge. We come from a people
of justice, not revenge. We don’t need to read
Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice to know the difference
between justice and revenge because if all we were driven by revenge, there wouldn’t have been
a Martin Luther King Jr. There wouldn’t have been
an Ida B. Wells-Barnett. There wouldn’t have been
an A. Philip Randolph. There would have been
a civil war in America every generation because if
you’re gonna terrorize us, we’re gonna terrorize you
and if we terrorize you, it’s gonna be civil war every generation. You oughta be lucky that we produced a Martin King and Aretha. I tell my white brothers
and sisters all the time, when you see negros, give
them a standing ovation. Thank you for Martin, thank you for Ida. You could’ve been different. (audience applauds) It’s true. It’s true. Could’ve been black versions
of the Ku Klux Klan, black versions of ISIS,
black versions of Al-Qaeda, black versions of the Jewish Irgun. All our rich Jewish tradition, all of its overwhelming
prophetic practices still produced some Jewish terrorists too. Begin was part of it. Oh, yes. Meaning what? Well, it’s a complicated situation. Sometimes you’ve gotta revert to violence. We understand that. Nelson Mandela founded
the spirited nation. He was also a terrorist, in
terms of attacking the property. They didn’t kill any folk intentionally, but they did use violence. That’s a complex conversation
about pacifism and just war. We love our Quakers, Mennonites,
Desmond Tutu, Martin King. All Pacifists, but even the Malcolm X’s, full of love, but no pacifism. He still didn’t call for just terrorizing white folk randomly. Not at all. Not at all, meaning what? Meaning that when we talk about honesty, these are subversive things these days. Last question. What does virtue do in
the face of brute force? Back to Du Bois. House arrest. FBI surveillance. 1919. Archibald Stevenson set before the Senate and said, “The most destructive and dangerous person “in America is Jane Adams.” She was a darling of the
liberal establishment. She was courageous. She was visionary. She was a Pacifist. She opposed World War I. Many professors, the
Charles Bemis’s and others, Charles Beard also resigned to Columbia over the dismissal of professors because of their
opposition to World War I, so it’s always fascinating to me to see these citadels of higher
learning always talk about objectivity and value-free
inquiry and detached reflection and as soon as a war kicks
in, they shift gears. Massive mobilization in order to defend the country and the flag. You say, “How come?” Because there’s a catastrophe. Well, you know what? Indigenous people’s been dealing with catastrophe since 1492. (audience applauds) You know what? Working people have been
dealing with catastrophe, given the corporate greed that’s escalated with 1% of the population
on 22% of the wealth when I was the age of the undergrads and now that 1% own 42%. That’s catastrophe too. Only when the catastrophe
comes to your house (audience chuckles)
in your neighborhood did all of a sudden,
objectivity is pushed aside. All you black folk, all you black students and brown students, you are always so full of anger. That’s not anger, that’s commitment. (audience laughs) That’s righteous indignation. It’s catastrophe we’re dealing with. Yes, we believe in self-criticism. We ought to indeed, but
when it comes to virtue in the face of brute force, and he’s talking about the
enabling virtue of courage ’cause all the other virtues
are vacuous and empty without courage, what
I’m calling fortitude, but those moral and spiritual
dimensions to courage. Where will we find that today? I thank God for the
International Woman’s March. That’s a wonderful way
to start the Trump Era. Wonderful way and I believe
in a united multiracial, multi-gender, multi-sexual orientational, multi-class coalition against the Trump Administration and its various forms of cold-heartedness and mean-spiritedness, that fusion of billionaires
and military elite and xenophobes who
constitute his personnel and there’s always a
sense in which personnel does partially disproportionately
dictate policy, so that coalition’s crucial. It was a beautiful thing to see the Women’s Strike on March, the 8th. It’s a different slice of women. You got different forms
of feminism, right? You got corporate feminism. (audience laughs) Central feminism. Some of them leaning in,
Sister Sheryl Sandberg. (audience laughs) She told us, “I’m not leaning in. She says, “I’m a love warrior.” So, if you’re in love,
you’re not leaning in. You have dived in. You tell your wife, “Oh, honey, “I’m just leaning in with you.” She said, “What?” (audience laughs) “You’d better get on in here, brother.” (audience laughs) I want all of you, yeah, all of me. Ah-ha, back to John Coltrane,
kenosis, giving it your all. Giving all that you have
based on your mobilization of the resources of the past, when tradition becomes unavoidable, but you have to be selective
in your hermeneutical humility, so that what you choose is something that gives you longevity with integrity and honesty and decency and with courage and that’s all we do as human beings. That’s all we’re gonna
do during the Trump Era. Try to come together,
overlap, tell the truth. Have our various kinds of correspondences, in terms of unity, but never unanimity. And we’re gonna tell the
truth about where we are and my dear Brother White, I wanna acknowledge my dear
brother, Derrick White, and his wonderful work that he’s done. I don’t know if he’s here.
(audience applauds and cheers) I wanna acknowledge my dear sister, Amy. Sister Amy Bond as well and
her work that she’s done. (audience applauds) We’ve got to lift up to
something in one’s own context and say, “Oh, we are with you critically, “in the sense that we recognize “that the best of what you are doing “has something to do with this integrity “and honesty and decency and courage.” Doesn’t take full agreement and none of us ever
want wholesale embrace. We take each other seriously
by giving each other the right of being wrong,
that we can be empowered. That’s what that learning how to die in order to learn how
to live is all about. Does America have what it takes? It’s an open question. Maybe the American cabinet is
beginning to put pen to paper, to write the decline and
fall of the American empire. Melville had already put it forward. Moby Dick. Bartleby. Confidence man. Maybe Melville is more
prescient than Emerson and if he is, we’re gonna
need some Emersonian energy to overthrow that Melvillean challenge, which is another way of saying
that the blues tradition ’cause Melville is a vanilla blues man and Ralph Ellison says the
blues ain’t nothing but a personal narrative of a
catastrophe lyrically expressed. Nobody loves me but my mama
and she might be jiving too. (audience laughs) That’s the king of the
blues, that’s BB King. That’s the B side of The Thrill Is Gone. That’s another kind of catastrophe we won’t get into right now. (audience laughs) But America’s dealing with
multiple catastrophes. Ecological catastrophe’s
around the corner. Nuclear catastrophe with Russia
as the Cold War escalates. The moral and spiritual catastrophe we’ve been talking about. The economic catastrophe of escalating wealth inequality and income inequality. Do we have what it takes? We never know. It all depends on the kind of
human beings we choose to be, the kind of vocations we adopt,
the kind of voices we raise, the kind of courage we exhibit. T.S. Eliot says, “Ours is in the trying “and the rest is not our business.” No one of us in control. No group is in control. The empire may simply have run out of gas. We don’t know, but some of us
are gonna go down swinging, like Ella Fitzgerald and Muhammad Ali, full of that commitment to
what Du Bois was writing about. Thank you all so very much. (audience cheers and applauds)

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  1. May not agree with everything he says, but every time i listen to Dr Cornel West I learn something. He challenges your mind and definitely takes you to another level in your thinking.

  2. This guy's an incredible fraud, he said, "I'm an revolutionary Christian". peep game now. Would a Christian endorse gay and lesbian lifestyles, or back women having abortions? Hell no! Dr. Cornel West is a left wing fraud!

  3. If I were a Christian I would know him to be a Christian prophet. He is truth. That is all you have to know about him.

  4. Liberals have a pro homosexual agenda, they put the rights of the lesbian, bisexual, gay and trans-sexual community before the values of black, red, yellow, and brown people within the Democratic Party. That's one of the main reasons why the Democrats loss the General Election last year. They party put the values of homosexuals ahead of the needs of their major constituents within the Democratic Party. I'm an Independent. I'm happy that the liberals loss.

  5. 17:25 Albert Einstein definitely DID NOT support Nuclear Weapons. He wrote a letter to president Roosevelt in 1939 suggesting they devote research into nuclear energy since there were strong hints that the Germans were developing nuclear weapons (they weren't). The US started the Manhattan project which Einstein did not take part in, then after Germany surrendered. He urged, even begged Roosevelt not to use them against Japan fearing the consequences. He even did an interview after the war ended that his original letter to Roosevelt was one of the biggest regrets of his life. So yeah he was about as anti nuclear proliferation as you can get.

  6. Trouble is you guys have elected a meglomaniac. He is only their to enrich himself. By the way I am no liberal. My allegience is to the working class, not the corporate class who are doing you over. Yankees build your wall and isolate your country. It would do the rest of the planet a favour. Many world leaders are suggesting sanctions hope it happens.

  7. Dr. West remains a bold voice in the land where society listens less and less.  Not many speakers out there uses the eloquence of the spoken word as he does.  I am hopeful Dr. West takes more action towards those in power in the 'Academy' Ivy League that has and continues producing those very people who are guiding American towards more crony capitalism. The 'Empire' he speaks of is orchestrated, managed, and sponsored by Ivy League leaders.  Nonetheless, Dr. West, keep on keeping on.

  8. I am envious of Dr West intellectual freedom, not affiliated to any particular political ideology, he courageously speaks for the oppressed and the voiceless.A very inspiring, stimulating and empowering lecture.

  9. I meant you can't compare the African American's human rights issues with the homosexual movement because they're not the same thing!

  10. An amazing speech. This man speaks for many. He's the most amazing intellectual in America today, no doubt. I love his very words. I love his amazing compassion and intellectual ability to explain the most difficult concepts in simple terms. He's an american treasure and I will follow his words for the rest of my life.

  11. Gotta Love Dr. West… He will show you the power of love. 😉 On the commodification of everything in life and trump in the same statement… C Wright Mills.. “In a society in which the money-maker has had no serious rival for repute and honor, the word ‘practical’ comes to mean useful for private gain, and ‘common sense,’ the sense to get ahead financially. The pursuit of the moneyed life is the commanding value, in relation to which the influence of other values has declined, so men easily become morally ruthless in the pursuit of easy money and fast estate-building." – C. Wright Mills (1956)

  12. Finally someone puts Milo Yiannopoulos in his place: "he doesn't have the stuff to be part of a high quality conversation. You don't invite defenders of the earth is flat to a serious discussion of physics." Abso-fucking-lutely.

  13. I suspect that many of the flippantly dismissive commenters here simply haven't read the references that Cornel West draws on and are therefore limited in terms of understanding his analysis. The many names he mentions are a form of short hand to allude to concepts and contexts that would take too much time to explain in any detail. This is a fundamental part of constructing a discourse as a philosopher.

  14. I stopped at 23 minutes in and can't be bother to continue watching. This guy just spouts CNN talking points coated in black gospel.

  15. Bernie was stolen from ALL of us, from the world, really. He is so popular overseas. Dr. West is the true "deep thinker." Perpetually searching, digging, foraging for truth.

  16. Does West mention in this speech the key driver of USA Mid-East Policy, which is also the most powerful Lobby in the USA – the ISRAEL LOBBY, which has always sought to use American Soldiers as 'cannon fodder' for Israeli interests???

  17. "I am who I am because somebody loved me. Somebody cared for me. Somebody targeted me…The highest honor I have ever received has nothing to do with Harvard or Yale or Princeton…but it is being the second son of Irene B Wells and Clifton Wells." 10:27

  18. "Love Warriors different than polished professionals. Remember the difference of what it means to really fall in love with the quest for truth and goodness and beauty as opposed to falling in love with commodities, possessions and status…" 15:20

  19. "The greatest democratic and public intellectual in the history of the American empire…W.E.B. Du Bois." 16:34

  20. As an academic myself , it is always difficult for me to overlook the injustice done to blacks in general even though I now take a human-centric approach in my research. As Dr West puts it " He is in solidarity with the poor kids ".I do employ afro-centric ideas especially to address a patriachial world order .I am totally sympathetic to his idea that he can't join the Panthers due to the fact that morality is not derived by blood , race , territory affiliation. It emerges out of responsibility for the Other.This is beyond rules, laws and social contract. The subject must be decentred so that it can only comes to light when it is responsible for otherness in Others .This is exactly how Sociality is conceived.

  21. as of 27:00 no significant point, though much third rate histrionics…28:00 now insults to the POTUS…slurs against "white males" around 28:30…(I wonder how many names are dropped in this speech?)…various familiar quotations…under the guise of not "fetishizing Donald Trump," the foregoing insults are not supplemented with discussion or evidence…something about "white supremacy" around 32:00…something about plantations and "swing low sweet chariot"…(he actually started singing this, sort of)…something about Bernie and Jane having "integrity" [no mention of Jane's little problem with misuse of funds etc or Bernie's taking tens of millions from his supporters and then telling them to go home…)..several big laughs from crowd as of 36:00…Milo should not be invited to speak "let him stay home" [applause]…something about Socratic…learning how to die…around 37:00 low whispering regarding "vo-ca-tion"…38:00.. "legacy of patriarchy"…"too much xenophobia"…"empires!",..more names: Plato James Baldwin Muriel Rukeyser…as of 40:00 still no central point discernible…. I give up Bro. West. But the crowd seemed to like it.

  22. West is a total light weight inflated by the media as though with a tire pump, floating like a goodyear blimp of self-righteous bla bla and virtue signaling. All posturing, no substance. Loads of hat and boots, but no cows at all (though large amounts of manure and perhaps methane….) Tedious beyond belief, and if you've seen one of his routines you've seen them all. CornBall West. If you want cornball, he's got the best. He's hippin and he's hoppin, he's bippin and he's boppin…he's jivin and he's thrivin. Believe it.

  23. Thank you DrWest,when Barack Obama wrote me via Valerie Jarrett saying " any one who smokes pot before age 10 is mentally ill for life with no valuation of whole plant therapy"I wrote him back saying my 165 tested IQ and DrWest supported SANDERS.here's to the ' exemplarity' of DrKings pacifism and don't forget JIMI.I labor in the vineyards of suffrage with the music of BLIND WILLIE McTELL @ Barbara Salisbury 140 vids.YouTube.Rock the Soul on BROTHER WEST!Chris Young!!!Barb Salisbury!!!

  24. Racism is alive and well in this comment section. The hate spewing from two commenters is evident that racism and xenophobia are real characteristics of the REGRESSIVE RIGHT! America needs to rid itself of less than humans like vince33x and Blank spot. Those two are triggered by this beautiful and brilliant speaker.

  25. There are NO, and have never been, "prophets". The very notion is contrary to our experience.
    That said, I like Dr. West.

  26. other bullshit by liberrals that trying to play the for ever racecard, and its bullshit what all of you say , cause its seems to me that black americans rather illegal take their place , get more benefits , the mexican outbreed the american citizerns, ,change the laws to favor islamics , and all way cry victim hood, who follow you is just anti america , and america be flood with illegal to replace the blacks/white americans

  27. one thing about the great musicians. they all dead and gone. iam. going to be a. CEO and own my own. company. industrial engineering.

  28. How about some real people to speak? You don't need a bunch of letters to have wisdom. If anything having letters makes you limited by a system designed by a people who have traditionally value things over life.
    This speaker has good points but it would be nice to see and hear from people who are not part of this system.

  29. Fantastic rendition of the TRUTH by Brother Cornel West! What a delivery of factual thesis with so many references and citations!

  30. It's a great speech and he covers important ground but right off the bat I've got to call out the elitist smarmy pride of the emcee – 2:00 – forget the resume, it's about ideas. There are plenty of assholes in all of those institutions you mention (even though West is not one of them) and the brand doesn't speak for itself.

  31. Brother West always reminds me of the Apostle Paul, how he opens his talks with Greetings to his fellow laborers.

  32. Why do i think this speaker is going to be some hardcore appeal to moderation faggot, whom themselves lives in a middle class community shielded from low income and minority populations? Not trying to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but. It really activates my almonds when pundits say anything about anything. And all the comments are a variant of "stunning and brave!"

  33. He's alright. The love ethos is great, but the religious drapery is tired and his use of 'terrorism' is rightly pejorative for non-state actors. Mandela as a terrorist is a stretch.

  34. I heard this GENTLEMAN say this a whole lot of YEAR'S AGO and the BASIC FORMULA is still .the KEY . Unless YOU are EDUCATED OR KNOWLEDGEABLE ,YOU can not be POLITICAL ENLIGHTEN . That's way they always ENGICIZE EDUCATION OUR PARENTS and GRANDPARENTS . If YOU did know and UNDERSTAND YOU could be LED down any PATH in LIFE by SOMEONE who was EDUCATED and KNOWLEDGEABLE .It's only when YOU KNOW and UNDERSTAND as INDIVIDUAL in YOUR OWN MIND can YOU make COMPITENT DECISIONS in LIFE ,otherwise YOU at the MERCY of ANYONE around who does knowand can get YOU to ACCEPT their POSITIONS on any and all ISSUES RELEVANT To them in LIFE . EVNE if it GOES AGAINST YOUR BEST INTEREST in LIFE.

  35. This Cornel West is truly the nutty professor. Can anyone tell me what's his point? Speak to your audience Sir. You're not being graded on your eloquent word choice.

  36. BS! Bernie sold out to Hillary and bought another house. I used to think Dr West knows what he's talking about. Now I realize that he is SENT to push an agenda.

  37. i dont even have to listen to west self, he only spew bull shit, and he is a racebaiter mictimologist, n an islamist apeaser, i wonder how west become dr , did he used afirmative action to graduate by getting an leg up,and one thing that he really never mention its that the academia lefties that push all the bs with tranders studies n indocternation on the young ,nhe supports the savespace for oversensitive kids,n segration for richblackds that find studying to hard and called it racist , it has nothing to do with trump , but with liberalism, n democrat madness

  38. I love this brilliant mind. I can listen to Dr. C. West all day. Only one word comes to my mind when I think of him which is "Brilliant".

  39. It doesn't take intellectual rocket science to agree righteous moral spiritual integrity should be, Do unto me as I do unto you. May the same quickly be Granted unto you by the universe reaping harvest & back to Dust for you if I have to yield my spirit from my existing plateau.

  40. Education is Bullshit! Whites have the majority of education and use that to hurt others, hurt the Earth and kill gods creatures. Now that it is 2019 what has having education REALLY gotten humans. Whites STILL have hate in their hearts. You'll NEVER read your way out of that it's been over 500 yrs!

  41. Hello I love list to you . I need to say my daughter is 9 grade I wish have you speak at your school I know that to ask but I have to ask

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