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Cornel West and Barack Obama at 2007 fundraiser
A personal friend and recent adviser to President Obama addressed a socialist conference at which he declared “socialism has a future” while urging participants to help Obama.
Cornel West, an extremist race-relations instructor at Princeton, addressed the 10th annual Young Democratic Socialists conference earlier this month. The three-day event took place at Norman Thomas High School in Manhattan, named after an American socialist activist.
The meeting, entitled “Real change for a change,” described itself as a “snap shot of the current socialist movement in the United States.”
During a lengthy address available on YouTube, West declared “socialism has a future.”
He stated, “We are at a very crucial historical moment. My dear friend Barack Obama, he needs help. He needs deep help. He needs pressure. Organized, mobilized pressure.”
West went on to urge the crowd not to rely on “messiahs” or “leaders,” instead explaining the mantel for ushering socialist change into the country “falls onto us.”
Obama named West, whom he has called a personal friend, to the Black Advisory Council of his presidential campaign. West was a key point man between Obama’s campaign and the black community.
West served as an adviser on Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March and is a self-described personal friend of the Nation of Islam leader. West authored two books on race with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr, who was at the center of a recent controversy in which Obama criticized Gates’ treatment by police outside his home after a report of a burglary.
‘Racist American empire’
It was West who introduced Obama at a 2007 Harlem fundraiser attended by about 1,500 people that served as Obama’s first foray into Harlem after announcing his Democratic presidential candidacy.
WND reported West introduced Obama on stage at the fundraiser after first railing against the “racist” criminal-justice system of the “American empire.”
A scan of YouTube clips found West introducing Obama at the fundraiser while stating the “American empire is in such a deep crisis” and slamming the “racist criminal-justice system” and “disgraceful schools in our city.”
“He is my brother and my companion and comrade,” said West of Obama.
WND found a video that shows Obama taking the stage just after West’s introduction, expressing his gratitude to West, calling him “not only a genius, a public intellectual, a preacher, an oracle … he’s also a loving person.”
Obama asked the audience for a round of applause for West.
From a young age, West proclaimed he admired “the sincere black militancy of Malcolm X, the defiant rage of the Black Panther Party … and the livid black (liberation) theology of James Cone.”
Cone’s theology spawned Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s controversial pastor for 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ. West was a strong defender of Wright when the pastor’s extreme remarks became national news during the presidential campaign.
In 1995, West signed a letter published as an ad in the New York Times that voiced support for cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther.
In 2002, West further signed a “Statement of Conscience” crafted by Not In Our Name, a project of C. Clark Kissinger’s Revolutionary Communist Party. He then endorsed the World Can’t Wait campaign, a Revolutionary Communist Party project seeking to organize “people living in the United States to take responsibility to stop the whole disastrous course led by the Bush administration.”
After branding the U.S. a “racist patriarchal” nation in his book “Race Matters,” West wrote, “White America has been historically weak-willed in ensuring racial justice and has continued to resist fully accepting the humanity of blacks.”
Also in that book, West claimed the 9/11 attacks gave white Americans a glimpse of what it means to be a black person in the U.S. – feeling “unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence and hatred” for who they are.
“Since 9/11,” West wrote, “the whole nation has the blues, when before it was just black people.”
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott’