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Is Cornel West our Big Leader?

by John Spritzler

June 9, 2023

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If you read this article by Chris Hedges praising Cornel West, you will likely think that yes indeed, Cornel West is the Big Leader we finally have.

I'm not so sure, and here's why.

Our Big Leader, if we truly ever have one, will explicitly refute the lies that the ruling class uses to keep us, the have-nots of all races and nationalities and ethnicities--so divided against each other that we cannot succeed in actually removing the oppressive upper class from power.



The #1 lie that the United States ruling class has used to oppress ALL races of working class people, since the days before the United States even existed as an independent nation, is the claim that systemic racial discrimination against non-whites benefits ordinary working class white people. The modern version of this lie is the phrase "white privilege"--the word "privilege" means by definition a benefit. (If you don't understand why this is a lie, read my explanation here and/or read MLK, Jr.'s explanation by listening to (or reading) his speech here.) To learn how the ruling class used this lie to oppress both the "white" and "black"--those words weren't used back then--bonded laborers in the Virginia Colony read my article here. This article also quotes Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. DuBois making this same extremely important point.)

The key reason that the effort to fight against systemic racial discrimination against non-whites is FAILING is that it does not explicitly refute the Big Lie that says this discrimination benefits working class whites. Read about this in the previously linked article here. 

So, has Cornel West ever publicly refuted this big lie? I cannot find any evidence that he has. Can you?



Another lie that the ruling class uses to pit the have-nots against each other is the lie that says that Israeli government violence against Palestinians is for the purpose of benefiting ordinary Israeli working class Jews--of making them safe--and that therefore anti-Zionism is antisemitism in effect if not intent because it opposes that which is necessary to make Jews safe.

I PERSUASIVELY refute this Big Lie in my article, "The Israeli Government Attacks Ordinary Jews As Well As Palestinians" here, an article that persuades even passionately pro-Israel Jews to become anti-Zionist!

The anti-Zionism movement, however, refuses to reject this Zionist Big Lie, as I show in detail here. This is why the anti-Zionism movement is abjectly failing to win over the great majority of the general U.S. public in contrast to how the anti-apartheid-in-South-Africa movement did win over the great majority of the general public; I discuss this in my article, "Dear Fellow Anti-Zionist" here.

So, has Cornel West, who, yes, speaks out against the oppression of Palestinians, ever refuted the Zionist Big Lie that enables this oppression to continue? I cannot find any evidence that he has. Can you? See the postscript #1 about what West does say in a video interview.


When a person purports to be the leader of a movement against oppression, but at the same time refuses to explicitly refute the ruling class lies that keep the oppressed divided against each other, then that person is not a leader but rather a mis-leader.


The aim of a mis-leader is a) to capture the following of people getting more and more revolutionary in their thinking by saying the things they want to hear; and b) to steer them away from gaining the clarity and solidarity they need to actually make a revolution.


Robert Reich, for example, is a misleader; he gains a following of many people who are opposed to class inequality, but steers them into demanding not the abolition of class inequality but merely its "perfection" with Equal Opportunity, as I discuss here.

What is Cornel West?


Postscript #1. July 27, 2023

I was asked by a Facebook friend to watch this interview of Cornel west (by an anti-establishment interviewer, not CNN etc.), in particular time points (in minutes) 8, 19 and 27. Here is what I replied to this person:

OK, I listened to these time points. Cornel West does not ever say that systemic racial discrimination against non-whites HARMS, not benefits, white working class people. If I am wrong (which I would LOVE to be, by the way) then please cite West's exact words saying explicitly what I hope to, but do not find, him saying.

Yes, West says OTHER good things: that he is for improving the lives of all poor and working class people, and that class is key (the true point he makes at time point 27 on the basis of class being key is that back misleaders who, like Obama, side with the upper class are opposed to the working class despite being black.)

But here's the thing. The U.S. ruling class is not particularly afraid of socialists who talk about class and socialism. Why not? Because the ruling class relies on keeping the have-nots too divided to be a serious threat to ruling class power. The ruling class has discovered that it can keep the U.S. have-nots sufficiently divided along race lines by a Big Lie: ensuring that white working class people believe that they benefit from systemic racial discrimination against non-whites and feel either #1) lucky to enjoy this benefit and anxious to hold onto it, OR #2) guilty for enjoying this benefit. When it comes to weakening the working class, the #1 and #2 responses are BOTH useful (to the ruling class.)


Therefore, since the ruling class absolutely depends on this Big Lie, there is no excuse for a working class leader to avoid EXPLICITLY and PROMINENTLY refuting this big lie the way MLK,Jr. did. One should not have to infer from the fact that West says OTHER good things that he also disagrees with this Big Lie. And yet, that seems to be the case with West. Prove me wrong, PLEASE!

White working class people who listen to West's interview may think that he is on their side too, but there is no reason to think that if asked the question, "Did Jim Crow benefit or harm the poor whites in the South?" they would reply, "It harmed them." In fact, very few people today answer that question correctly by saying "It harmed them." Very few! And it will remain very few if all people hear is what West said in this interview.

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