Dr. Cornel West is tossing his hat into the U.S. presidency ring. On Monday, the political activist, scholar, educator, and social critic announced that he’s running “for truth and justice” as a candidate for the independent party People’s Party.
“I come from a tradition where I care about you,” West stated in his announcement video. “I care about the quality of your life. I care about whether you have access to a job with a living wage. Decent housing. Women having control over their bodies. Healthcare for all. The escalating destruction of the planet. The destruction of American democracy.”
The announcement also comes as a belated birthday surprise, as West recently turned 70. In a follow-up interview with The Chris Hedges Report, West detailed reasons for his decision to run.
“Progressives in the Democratic Party think they can get away with rendering invisible their consensus to extravagant militarism,” he said. “But it goes hand-in-hand with the U.S. imperial policy. It goes hand-in-hand with expansion of NATO. It goes hand-in-hand to lead us in the proxy war with Russia. It goes hand-in-hand with taking money out of programs that have to do with education and healthcare and jobs with a living wage and housing, basic social needs of, not just people in this country, in the empire, but around the world.”
While continuing to call out Democrats, West’s move as a third party candidate puts him in the 2024 presidential race with current President Joe Biden, twice-impeached former president Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, author Marianne Williamson, environmental lawyer and writer Robert F. Kennedy and others. West also becomes the thirteenth Black presidential candidate in U.S. history.
A disciple of the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, West has written 20 books on the topics of cultural theory, philosophy, politics and music, including 1993’s Race Matters and 2004’s Democracy Matters. A former Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at his alma mater Harvard College, West resigned from the institution in 2021, departing for the Union Theological Seminary. West’s resignation stemmed from a tenure dispute and his criticism of Harvard Divinity School, where he stated that it was in “intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy.”
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