• The Left Chapter

"I think we are witnessing America as a failed social experiment."

The full text of Cornel West's statement on CNN


I think we are witnessing America as a failed social experiment. What I mean by that is that the history of black people for over 200 and some years in America has been looking at America's failure, its capitalist economy could not generate and deliver in such a way people can live lives of decency. The nation-state, its criminal justice system, it's legal system could not generate protection of rights and liberties.


And now our culture so market-driven, everybody for sale, everything for sale, you can't deliver the kind of really real nourishment for soul, for meaning, for purpose. So when you get this perfect storm of all these multiple failures at these different levels of the American empire, and Martin King already told us about that.


The system cannot reform itself. We've tried black faces in high places. Too often our black politicians, professional class, middle class become too accommodated to the capitalist economy, too accommodated to a militarized nation-state, too accommodated to the market-driven culture of celebrities, status, power, fame, all that superficial stuff that means so much to so many fellow citizens.


And what happens is we have a neo-fascist gangster in the White House who doesn't care for the most part. You've got a neoliberal wing of the Democratic party that is now in the driver's seat with the collapse of brother Bernie and they really don't know what to do because all they want to do is show more black faces -- show more black faces. But often times those black faces are losing legitimacy too because the Black Lives Matter movement emerged under a black president, a black attorney general, and a black Homeland Security [Secretary] and they couldn't deliver. So when you talk about the masses of black people, the precious poor and working-class black people, brown, red, yellow, whatever colour, they're the ones left out and they feel so thoroughly powerless, helpless, hopeless, then you get rebellion.


We've reached a point now a choice between nonviolent revolution -- and by revolution what I mean is the democratic sharing of power, resources, wealth and respect. If we don't get that kind of sharing, you're going to get more violent explosions. Now the sad thing is in the neo-fascist movement in the White House, you have some neo-fascist brothers and sisters out there who are already armed. They show up at U.S. capitol and they don't get arrested, they don't get put down. The president praises them. See what I mean?


White supremacy is going to be around for a long, long, long time, don't be surprised when this happens again. Try again, fail again, fail better. That's the blues line of our Irish brothers. But the question is we must fight. Even in the moment where we have a failed social experiment, we must fight. We must have an antifascist coalition against the White House-Republican party. We have to tell the truth about the milquetoast cowardly activity too often we see too often in the neo-liberal wing of the Democratic party. - Cornel West, May 29, 2020