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Cornel West & Chris Hedges: How the Black Elite Betrayed the Civil Rights Tradition (VIDEO)

August 14, 2015 in Blogs

By Adam Johnson, AlterNet

Dr. West argues that the black prophetic tradition has been replaced by capitalism and individualism.

In the first episode of Chris Hedges's new teleSUR show Days of Revolt, the Pulitzer-Prize winner sat down with long-time friend – and recently arrested—Cornel West to discuss the current state of black America in the age of Ferguson. West's primary critique remains what he refers to as the “black elite class” who he says have betrayed the black poor. 

“What took the place of collective fightback was individual outward upward mobility” West insisted, “so (instead of) what was once in place—much stronger moral conviction—we see ruthless ambition.” 

West has spoken up for years about what he considers to be other black intellectuals inability to discuss class and empire. A conversation that's become more heated of late as many in the Black Lives Matter movement have critiqued Sanders for only talking about class while some progressives have critiqued neoliberal “identity politics” for dismissing class altogether. West, for his part, insists on highlighting both.

“So you hit the issues of homophobia while you hit the issues of male supremacy. But in the end, if you're not hitting monopoly capitalism,” Dr. West said, “if you're not hitting the imperial policies that flow therefrom, you're still not going to be at the root of what we need to come to terms with.”

Watch the interview below:



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