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Cornel West

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West in 2011
Thinking hardly
or hardly thinking?

Icon philosophy.svg
Major trains of thought
The good, the bad,
and the brain fart
Come to think of it

Cornel Ronald West (1953–), an African-American philosopher, author, and civil-rights activist, has arguably become best known for his 1994 book Race Matters, in which he analyzes the relationship between race and social/economic matters.[1] He also appeared in both The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, and provided philosophical commentary on The Matrix Trilogy, injecting the philosophy of William James, Schopenhauer, and others.[2] As of 2018 he is an emeritus Professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University;[3] he is also professor emeritus in Philosophy and Christian Practice at the Union Theological Seminary in New York.[4]

Views on Barack Obama[edit]

In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, West supported Barack Obama as the Democratic Presidential candidate, speaking to over 1,000 of his supporters in 2007 at the Apollo Theater, Harlem.[5]

However, as a socialist, West soon turned sour on Obama's policies: he criticised when Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize as he deemed his drone bombing of civilians to be a little bit too hawkish and militarist. In his latter years, West became notorious for his criticisms of Obama. He criticizes him so much that he has been compared to a "jilted lover" by Chris Hedges from Truthdig.[6]

West retracted his support for Obama as early as 2009, saying that Obama had become "a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it."[7][8][9] In November 2012, West said in an interview that he considered Obama a "Rockefeller Republican in blackface."[10][11] Despite this criticism, he chose to vote for Obama in 2012.[12] In 2014, West gave an interview slamming Obama, calling him a "counterfeit" who posed as a progressive. West defined Obama's presidency as "a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency."[13]

2016 U.S. presidential election[edit]

See the main article on this topic: 2016 U.S. presidential election
Brother Bernie and Brother Trump are authentic human beings in stark contrast to their donor-driven opponents.
—Cornel West's Tweet (5:04 AM - 25 Aug 2015)[14]

In 2015, West expressed his support for the "democratic socialist" Democratic contender Bernie Sanders during an interview on CNN Tonight. West argued that Sanders' plans to divert wealth from Wall Street elites to the poorest members of society would be beneficial for the African-American community.[15] On August 24, 2015, West tweeted, "I endorse Brother @BernieSanders because he is a long-distance runner with integrity in the struggle for justice for over 50 years."[16][17] In July 2016, after Sanders exited the presidential race, West endorsed Green Party nominee Jill Stein.[18]

2024 U.S. presidential election[edit]

In 2023, West announced that he's running for president as a candidate on the left-wing People’s Party, a party that few people have heard of, indicating that he is likely to have trouble getting on the ballot in some states.[19]

As of June 13th, 2023, West has switched his nomination to the Green Party for a more "broad United Front."[20]


  2. The intellectual and 'The Matrix', LA Times, 20 May 2003
  3. "Cornel West: Department of Religion: Class of 1943 University Professor in the Center for African American Studies". Princeton University. 2016. "Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is a Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University." 
  4. [1]
  5. Parker Aab, Stacy (October 30, 2007). "Obama, Race, and the Right Side of History". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
  6. [2]
  7. "Cornel West Comments on Obama's Nobel Peace Prize: Hard to Be War President with Peace Prize". The Huffington Post. October 10, 2009. Retrieved October 28, 2009.
  8. Schneider, Matt. "Wild Shoutfest Between Al Sharpton And Cornel West On Obama And Race". Mediaite. April 11, 2011. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
  9. "Chris Hedges: The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic - Chris Hedges". Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  10. Kirell, Andrew (November 12, 2012). "Cornel West: Obama A 'Republican In Blackface,' Black MSNBC Hosts Are 'Selling Their Souls'". Mediaite. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  11. "An Interview with Cornel West on Occupy, Obama and Marx". CounterPunch. November 30, 2012.
  12. Cornel West Plans to Vote for Obama in November and Protest His Policies in February Vice. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  13. Thomas Frank (August 24, 2014). "Cornel West: "He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency". Salon.
  14. [3]
  15. "Civil Rights Activist Cornel West Throws Support Behind Bernie Sanders". Ring of Fire. August 19, 2015. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  16. Bernie Sanders Gets Stamp of Approval From Cornel West. The New York Times. August 25, 2015.
  17. West, Cornel (CornelWest). "I endorse Brother @BernieSanders because he is a long-distance runner with integrity in the struggle for justice for over 50 years.". 25 Aug 2015, 02:10 UTC. Tweet.
  18. Hensch, Mark (July 14, 2016). "Sanders ally Cornel West backs Green candidate". The Hill. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  19. Scholar Cornel West announces a minor-party presidential bid by John Wagner (June 5, 2023 at 1:23 p.m. EDT) The Washington Post.