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Cornel West: The Precarious Fate of Barack Obama

by Big Think • 40,289 views

http://bigthink.com The president faces a choice, Cornel West says. He can be a masterful, Machiavellian politician like Bill Clinton or a great transformative leader like Abraham Lincoln.

@snave799 Wow, thats some of the dumbest shit ive ever heard. Not only does it make no sense and come off somewhat racist (re-read what you typed) but it makes absolutely NO SENSE. Please stay in school.
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This "put preasure on him" rethoric just dont do it for me . I am for drastic changes in the system rather than putting preasure on Obama for every issue that has to be decided on.
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i would love to just have a conversation with this dude
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Hasnt barack had a couple social movements? he has had the opportunity! and, just like the rest of them, he kept silent because of the corporate ballgag in his mouth!
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I wish ppl would get off obamas dick like he is the only one in the white house. A president only has but so much power. everyone in the whitehouse in my opinion is accountable for what is wrong with our country. we need to address the white house as a whole instead of just one person. one person cant just make a difference in our country. EVERYONE INCLUDING MYSELF NEED TO TAKE A STAND AND STOP WAITING ON ONE MAN.
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Cornel West prophesied the OWS movement.
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@bluesboy25000 In re-reading your post I feel I may not have properly understood your tone.
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dr. west is amazing! he's my hero! i love him. preah on, my brother..man, i wish i had the cash to go to princeton and take his class. i could learn so much from brother west.
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@VRRA4 Which is what he said, turn the volume up and watch it again.
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You mean back when Republicans had what would be universally regarded as Liberal/Leftist ideologies well over a hundred years ago? ...Partially. Lincoln did CHOOSE to be a part of their party based on his own political and personal beliefs, so it wasn't them molding him so much as a "glove fitting into a hand made for it"... ...but yes, they were a FACTOR in making Lincoln great. Not a huge one, but one nonetheless.
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ron paul / dr. west ,,,,america 2012!
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I think we'd all love to see that but realistically that's not how american politics work. We do still have checks and balances. So the moment obama goes for that drastic change he'll be condemning the party. So whatever he tries to do will be stopped in its tracks by the system. No house/senate member would back a non-(devout) christian, black, revolutionary. Conversely, he's right that it's up to us to to get the ball rolling since as the baby boomer era passes, we'll become the primary voters
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I love Brother West. I am reading his book called Democracy Matters. He's a genius.
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@justgivemethetruth Thats a fact ! Its the shadow forces at play, if he deviates he will not live very long.
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@2left4obama I agree somewhat with your sentiment but let me tell you, the HRC is not at the helm of our movement. They are just paid stooges standing there like mannequins in the shopping mall of democracy. But what has happened at the grass roots level is a revolution, and it's not going to stop. Millions of people coming out, thousands of gay student organizations being established all over the country, local nondiscrimination laws being enacted...this is no fashion statement.
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Obama is a total bluff, a very socialist one at that, and the idea of waiting for such a man to be a Lincoln is of the utmost absurdity. It's simply democrat wishful thinking. If "he" even got Bin Laden it was because of Bush's intelligence tactics, the very same tactics he criticized, crapped on, and wanted to eradicate without any congressional success. If someone is to thank it's congress for stoping him. Yet, so what, he still has no true exit plan and economy wise he is totally inept bs.
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@NormDePlume69 I say complete goverment power is bad whether it is a theocracy, or atheistic communism, just allow people to believe what they want and don't force religion or a lack of one on them.
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@lockpride Not at all, i wasn't addressing the 2008 election specifically. McCain is a senile idiot, a typical Washington insider and dangerous war hawk-- that being said i was more than happy to vote for Obama. In hindsight, i bought into the hype that Obama was the answer to shaking up the corrupt, self-serving establishment driving our great nation into the ground. But as it turns out he is just another slick talking politician who goes back on his promises after getting elected.
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Blah Blah Blah... socialist mouth-spewing. Seriously, go live in Russia, or Saudi Arabia, see how things actually work there. Maybe then you could appreciate the US instead of hating it.
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haha.. yea, ive seen that video. i dunno, the way it seems to me, obama wants to be liked by the conservatives. he wants to get along, and they step on him again and again. he keeps moving farther and farther to the right, and they keep telling him how leftist he is. but at the same time, he signed the NDAA into law. uses drone attacks like he's playing call of duty, killing many civilians in the middle east. dr. west's criticism is definitely valid in many respects imo.
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We lost with Obama! He's a loser because we are meant to be failures and he won't dare go against the establishment. There is no Black agenda!
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i like that hes willing to admit the possibility that forces other than race and class exist. i do think these are still important, however. obviously the present system of government has to change, forget obama or whoever is in power. borders need to open up, and we have to recognise the need for a global system. could be the 1st step towards achieving those dreams of equality that have been hard fought for centuries.
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Where as I agree with you. I wanted to correct you on "atheistic communism" When Bush said God told him to go into Iraq, that was a problem. When Stalin killed millions of people, that was a problem, BUT Mao & Stalin didnt do it for a lack of belief in religion, they did it for control/power. Hence you shouldn't say "atheistic communism" as atheism had nothing to do it, nor are they connected.
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not only that, he comes out of a black tradition that is not his own, that he was adopted into as an adult. the social movement obama needs to motivate him is the skeptic movement. he needs to lose the religion that he only joined because he needed a sense of community. he needs to learn that he can have his own community, not just whatever one he's lumped into by a narrow-minded society.
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We need to start a movement to eliminate money and instead go back to just trading goods.
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deep thoughts from the brother, as always.
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he kinda reminds me of Jiraya Sensei....now if only there was a Naruto to save us all...
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Cornell West is an idiot. Affirmative action at its best.
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@evillutionskate Well, if you are in the so-called United States, you are getting it, even if your degree is in African American studies.
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you shitters know fuck-all!!! He looks like Grady From the Sanford and Son
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When i get old I wanna be like CW
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Oh yes he does have a social movement. Make a stand on religion. Stop the act. For once, make the most inconceivable precedent in politics possible: Be honest. Set an example, like a leader. "I do not believe there is sufficient evidence to believe in God." This is all it takes as a world leader.
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When will Canada approach their own ideals. America's blacks are Canada's indigenous.
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One of the most important thinkers of our time I feel because of his area of experties, and the proof of his love for humanity, he will offer us the best understanding of where our work lies as a nation and a planet.
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reply to my comment when you've found your messiah who was born in the hood as a crack baby and got shot 9 times while obtaining Ph.Ds in political science and economics from universities with no rich white people in them then delivered his message through a TV network he created and funded himself without rich white people then went on to ameliorate all social ills of the black community through the power of prayer you fuckin joker
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@asswuppin so a black politician always has to be safe.one term and out.then america has a long way too go
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Brilliant and always reminding to be critical and Socratic while remembering the love. A theory on power and energy to realize departures from the technocratic advisers. Society is shaped by the conditioning of technology built around petroleum, diffusing renewable energy technologies will alter the society, to reduce social inequality. When inequality, poverty is gone from the globe it will not be challenging to for peace be to maintained when obtained through justice?
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oh? so iyo a great thinker must BE born as such? how else would you expla? if it wasn't but for his ABILITY to LEARN from other great thinkers? honestly quit buying into the religion rhetoric, your comment (though true) only serves to PROVE how religions (of all types), even in pagan times were used to coerce & restrain critical thinking!
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he called it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Best MAN ever
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great video....speaks the truth!!
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Okay, two things: (1) "No Child Left Behind" was George W. Bush-era legislation...not Clinton, and (2) Allen West is a politician, nothing more. He should not be mentioned in the same sentence as Prof. Cornel West.
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@themountainviewguy A politician is a masterful liar.
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You're dumber than the chair I'm sitting on. What the fuck do Russia or Saudi Arabia have to do with socialism? They're surprisingly similar to amerika. And 'we' are good supportive friends with Suadi Arabia. We give them millions of our tax dollars, and even more in petrol money. So, in conclusion, use your brain.
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Well as we have have seen unfortunately brother President Barack Obama has shown he is not willing to talk about race and in face played Uncle Tom to the Teahadists and fox news after firing Shirley Sherrod. He is the epitome of Machiavellian duplicity and saying one thing and doing another. There has been no significant change to speak of and that is partially our fault for not going out in the streets like the Teahadists and the Beckastanis
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gilrean, Great and interesting comment. My thoughts are not for many more decades... :(
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Republicans and their belief's made Lincoln great. Sorry kiddies. Facts are just facts.
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@bobshenix When I read "Can you imagine if the [non-existent] "white community" were to vote based on race??" I couldn't help but laugh, as I don't have to imagine. The "hypothetical" situation you just presented us was reality for about 200 years of our nation's history. And would you rather the people to have supported McCain? I'd imagine that the country would be in the toilet bowl, as was it's direction during the bush era. That said, i'm not exactly on Obama's Jock.
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you can only call it like you see it.......new world...no souls
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If you want a better Obama, Dr. West, then think about how to build a progressive popular movement. As you observed, the Abolitionist movement presssured Lincoln into a more progressive direction. Well, that's how it works. No movement, no progress
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thank you (really) I never knew this....life experienc+ academics make a true expert
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@joneselius When God shows up, trouble is afoot. Slavery soon follows.
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The problems of First Nations people continue to be a challenge and a national disgrace. Our Prime Minister apologized to those who had been abused and alienated from their families and culture by being forced to attend residential schools, but failed to initiate programs that would help them to close the gaps in education, healthcare and employment. As so often happens, we know what needs to be done, but are stymied by governments which lack the political will to help a minority population.
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Bullshit that he doesn't have a movement. The gay liberation movement is the civil rights struggle of our generation. Millions of people have come out of the closet. When hundreds of thousands of us march on Washington nobody deigns to notice. We along with other progressives boycott the last election and look what happens. I'm sick and tired of people making excuses for Obama and his administration. Either you are competent and deliver on your promises, or you are not...and step down.
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do black people feel that or do you feel that? i didnt agree with everything he said, but i think he made some good points. also you're getting on him for personal criticism of obama, but your original comment was nothing but a personal attack on dr. west
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Cornel West pretty much nails it.
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saying obama is a great politician etc. is like saying a clown entertaining a group of little kids is a great comedian
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If Obama were white (fully white) Dr. West would not be so kind in his analysis. The black community generally supports Obama by why? Can you imagine if the [non-existent] "white community" were to vote based on race?? Obama duped Americans, he is a disingenuous fraud and a liar. The only good thing he has done is somehow prevented the war hawks from attacking Iran and launching a catastrophic WW3. Regardless, he's Bush Jr. and protects his Wall Street buddies just the same. Racial hypocrisy.
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Where are the popular movements for jobs? Against racism? To protect the environment? Wake the fuck up progressive America! You can't wait to be directed by patronizing, rich liberals. We need people powered grassroots movements!
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Cornell, you tell it like it is, but here's my impression ... Obama's policy team is the CIA as far as I am concerned. He used blacks and Wright to culture a leftist image in order to get the left elected, at just the right time. The power structure in the US is not going to bow to "pressure", when we have a leader who is programmed to be President by the powers that be so cleverly.
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I think that Obama has played the blacks, poor and the youth
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Holy shit is this fella smart or what? I wonder if Occupy Wall Street can make Obama change...
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he's a funky dude... in a good way
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This is the first "Like this post if..." I've ever seen that deserved a vote up.
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This is from November of 09, I'd love to hear what he thinks now.
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Masterful analysis by Cornell West As an outsider (Canadian) I watch and wonder if America will ever approach the reality of government by and especially for the people.
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lol this sounds like completely pertinent to today's obama, same as 2009
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yeah, I understand. It wasn't the atheism that made Mao and Stalin kill people, it was a want of power. That's my problem with too much government control , is that one person ends up in charge and wants power. I just meant when a government has gotten to the point of regulating belief, there's an issue. I probably could have been phrased it better though.
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the forces on wall st. are too powerful for Obama to do anything that will benefit the common folks....white and blacks wall st is the new washington
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Prof. Cornell West is proof that there is a GOD!!
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Obama, during a period in American economics when we are at a low, spent $42.8 million to take a trip to Africa..., Excluding Secret Service costs... He's a fucking moron and a horrible person. Before you reply, when was the last time you took a vacation outside of the states without saving up money for at least two months?
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I like what he has to say but Lincoln was not an Abolitionist, he supported slavery,
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Cornel West is the biggest in a barrel of crabs. Its hypocritical on West's part to acknowledge that a man is a great politician and then to act surprised and disappointed when he acts like one. If Jesus were president West would say he wasn't doing enough. Obama doesn't owe Black people anything bedause he never promised US anything. He knew then and knows now that Blacks cannot be elected POTUS, But a good politician who happens to be Black can. Don't hate the player, hate the game.
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this guy couldn't be more black if he tried. i like what hes saying tho
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Note to all sound people who might mic Brother West. This man can not be laved up you must boom mic him! He moves around way too much for a lav
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If Barack Obama really pushed progressive agendas a lot of rich people would lose money. Let's attack those unethical corporate entities using every available mean. Part of our fight comes from our vote and political involvement, but the rest is about how we spend our time and money. The left is made of gay people, weird people, smart people, and black people. The right is rural white people, rich white people, random non-white people, armed citizens, and corporations.
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@timmo1963 What the hell are you talkinga bout? Obama isn't using race at all to divide anyone. White backlash is caused by white paranoia, not black people breaking glass ceilings.
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Question: Where do I go to get a degree in European American studies?
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There is no difference between Obama and Bush, the programs and policies Obama complained about are now expanded. He promised to end the war, he expanded in into two more countries? Extended the Patriot Act? Expanded foreclosures and unemployment.... Hope and Change - where?
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This guy has something that makes you pay attention to him. I think it's the beard.
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Excellent points, especially about Lincoln and how taking to the streets cannot be the only voice of new progressive social movements
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