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tv   Book Discussion  CSPAN  November 29, 2014 4:30pm-5:54pm EST

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>> next cornell west discusses his book. association, thank you. >> i am a mmedijour >> i i am a multimedia journalist at channel five news and vice president of the national association of black journalists. i i am happy to introduce two special guests today. ial gu. dr. cornel west is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual, a professor of philosophy and christian practice at union theological seminary and professor emeritus at princeton university. the also taught at yale, harvard and the university of paris. graduated from harvard and
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obtained his a and b hd in philosophy at princeton. he has written more than 20 books and has edited 13. he is best known for his classics race matters and democracy matters and his memoir brother west, living and loving out loud. he appeared frequently on the colbert report, cnn and c-span and he also made his film debut in the matrix and was a commentator on the official trilogy released in 2004, his latest book, "black prophetic fire" with a distinguished scholar chris the bushindorr prevents a perspective on six african-american leaders including frederick a. bliss, w. e. b. du bois, martin luther king jr. ellen baker, malcolm x and otto while barnett. examine the impact of these men and women in their ear ats and across the decades and rediscovers the integrity and
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commitment within these passionate advocates and all so therefore wines by providing new insights that humanize these well-known figures cornel west takes an important step in rekindling the black prophetic fire so essentials in the age of obama. helen has been director of the beacon press since october of 1995. she pulled a master's degree in english literature from the university of virginia. she began her career in publishing and random house in 1976. acquisitions that beginning could get killed don't's the healing, national book finalist, the iron cage, one today, cornel west's "black prophetic fire" and anita hill at 3 imagining quality. cheese sayre eight years on the board of pen, new england, and is administrator of the hemingway foundation pen award. thank you for being you today.
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[applause] [cheers and applause] >> thank you for that very warm miami welcome. it is a great pleasure to be here today with all of you and i have a greater honor of being in dialogue with cornel west. in addition to the introduction you just heard a i want to say that cornel west is working on two other books with us and one coming up soon is his addition of the writings of martin luther king jr. which will be called appropriately the radical king. that will be published on dr.
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king's birthday and you should all look out for that and his next book after that will be a very important one, justice matters. we are looking forward to that as well. i am going to ask cornel west to talk briefly about each of the six figures he discusses in the new book and then to reflect on how their legacy impacts us today and that i will turn the floor over to questions. michele alexander said that "black prophetic fire" was a fascinating exploration of the black prophetic genius and fire. i would like to start by asking you how you define "black prophetic fire" and then we can talk about each of the figures. >> thank you for that question. i would like to begin briefly by saluting personnel, my publisher, very blessed to work with james baldwin.
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the same as james baldwin, so many other talented figures and i would like to salute president petronis and mitchell kaplan. those of the two leaders. 31 years, 31 years is a beautiful thing. and that collaboration and black prophetic fire. i want to begin by saying i am who i am because somebody, somebody cared for me. we need to and the baptist church, willie cook and vacation bible school teacher.
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these people provided and lived experience and answer to the voices for questions. how does integrity facebook freshen? how does honesty face deception? how does decency face in salt? and how does virtue meet force? integrity, honesty, decency and a sense of virtue in the face of what? trauma, stigma, i come from people who have been terrorized, traumatized for 400 years in the united states, so when we talk about frederick douglass, we talk about w. e. b. du bois and ella baker and malcolm or martin, talk about folks who belong to integrity, honesty, decency, a sense of the frigid, telling the truth, expose lies and do it with love in their heart, compassion in the face of
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catastrophe. we abuse people, wrestle with the catastrophic, not just problems, is not just the negro problem but catastrophe visited on black people. the question is prophetic fire response to that catastrophe, we have a deep sense of trying to tell what truths and most importantly willingness to pay the cost. sacrificing popularity for integrity, sacrifice feeding in for bearing witness and i am very proud to be a small part of that great tradition of great people in this ferguson moment, we need it more than ever, more than ever. [applause] >> you begin the book with frederick douglass. really interesting choice because he was a very complicated guy, wasn't he?
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tell us about his bearing witness and which he glossed sight of that. >> it is always on fire. . tubman 19 times, in the belly of the beast. david walker, he is a dead man 9 years later in boston. what a bounty on his head. willing to tell that kind of truth, vicious forms of evil in this society, not just white supremacy but spills over, to indigenous peoples, coordination of working people, anti-jewish, anti-arab, anti catholic, all of those part of our history but white supremacy sitting at the center. frederick douglass is the most
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eloquent picks slave in the history of the modern world. by eloquence i'm talking cicero and eloquence, wisdom speaking in the face of catastrophe. there is nothing like him. he is part of the american imperial machine and his relation to haiti and the dominican republic and my critique, it is hard to be on fire for a long time because you have 1860's 7-65. he had 30 years to live. malcolm died at 39, malcolm got at 39, ellen baker was going to get to that. will was on fire her whole life. it is hard to be on fire your whole life and leno's that because we live in the age of the sellout. and 20 and 30, now you look at them and their well adjusted and
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even discerning what is going on with the fire in ferguson. and discern what they're going on, the get freedom fighters like ashley yates or alexis templeton and tory russell and brother of wiley, right now in the belly of the beast in mississippi, ferguson. >> let's jump to lighten up wells in fact. she was an extraordinary woman and i discovered so much about her. don't think the lot of people know much about. >> i wish her name was well-known. and to the degree to which she
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was and a red hair telling the truth about american terrorism. we have a lot of talk about terrorism since 9/11. all americans feel unsafe, he does for who they are whether it is blackened and erica for 400 years. to be hated for who you are. we have an 9/11 flight initiative. it happens every week. happens every month, happens every year, it is not something that happens one time and everybody gets afraid. would it idle wells do? booker t. washington and the boys were arguing about education and civil rights, she was confronting american terrorism, lynching, the rock face of the american nation state with courage and they ran her out of tennessee, put a bounty on her head. if not for t. timers fortunate in new york, they still hunted her down in new york and she had to leave the country and go to
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britain and she came back with her classics, got something to say about the underside, the night side of america, terrorism at the center, jim crow and jane crow. in our textbooks they call it segregation. we are talking american terrorism, for two days it was a precious black man or black woman or black child hanging from a tree, the southern trees at the great billie holiday singing with such power and the jewish brothers writing the lyrics. it was a serious struggle, she organized black women and a black woman's club. we need to know much more, the classic crusade of justice. we need to know how she was able to sustain -- she is a sunday school teacher in chicago. she led the club music from chicago but was also missed treated as was the case with
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every individual in this text. many black people -- when you are on fire in that way talked to hate yourself, believe you have the wrong hands and lips and noses and hair texture, believe you are less beautiful, less intelligent, less moral, and black folks have been like that for hundreds of years. and they try to say don't be afraid, don't be intimidated, don't be scared. and mobilize one of history in their backs up. she was misconstrued by that. including w e boyce himself. but all the human beings are
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cracked vessels, we try to humanize across the board. i know wells, i wish she was in the house hold, she was a household word. >> maybe it will be soon. >> so many voices, raising their voices. what does it cost? >> bender my bed. >> i thought it was every bed. indeed, very important to have these women voices. they want to tell the truth and bear witness. brothers too. >> tell us since we are talking about sanitized, tell us about martin luther king and his -- what do you mean by that?
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>> you mention his name, it is like john cold frame and knee nazi moan, just got to pause for a moment. how, in the face of so much hatred and contempt could he do shout so much love, the face of so much terror? he is in the paddy wagon in the 1960s the get him in the dark with a german shepherd coming get him every moment. and in readsville prison, looks like martin had a nervous breakdown. one word to say, this is the price we must pay for the freedom of our people. that is why we are talking about when we talk about martin luther king. he is the product of a tradition, comes out of a rich tradition, brother moses is in arizona somewhere. he understands that.
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what happens to martin luther king jr.? he gets sanitized and sterilized because that much black glove and fire is always a threat to america. americas misunderstands black rage as always being connected to revenge. it can be connected to black love. this is what love looks like in public, tenderness is what feels like in private. he was a tender man too just like malcolm. he was a sweet man. but he had a deep commitment to justice. when he died 72% of americans disapproved of him. 55% of black people disapprove of martin when he died. everybody loves him now that the worms got him. the fbi said he was the most dangerous man in america. how come? so much love. so much fire. why was that he was unpopular at
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the end? a critique of empire, the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, he was telling the truth, vietnam, trying to organize all poor people beyond civil rights, adding human-rights, and talked about in 64 going to the united nations, bringing america to try for the violation of human rights of black people. that is the marvin it scared folks. and understandably so. when you are working at that level of love and fire it would be very difficult to embrace -- you have to embrace at a cost. it is radical. >> we turned into santa claus. >> exactly, turned him into an old man with toys in his bag, everybody can't wait to see him. the same to nelson mandela but that is another text for another
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time. marvin, this radical king would keep track of the centrality of the love commitment and compassion and willingness to pay the costs. this was part of the challenge of the intergenerational. is a love letter to the younger generation. i am passing from the scene. i don't need to be center stage. tell that to al sharpton. you don't need to be center stage. there is something called grassroots leadership, indigenous leadership in these contexts. get out of the way of the camera and let the young folks speak, let them tell their truth. you stand alongside them. we go to jail when we go to ferguson. we want the young folk to know some of us old school folk, and we love them and love and deeply. we might not understand everything but we are in solidarity with them even as we want to respect and protect and
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correct them. we stand alongside them like cold frame allowing eric dolphin to play, cold rain could have been center stage every performance. yet -- what the young voices in. come john, see what i'm talking about in terms of what it means to tell the truth but also make room for the young folks coming through because so many of them have been unloved and uncared for and unattended to and i have been so loved and cared for and attended to for three lifetimes. got the shiloh baptist church at yale and princeton so it is a matter of keeping the caravan of love for the love train curtis mayfield sank about. get ready, don't need a ticket to get on this love train. but are you ready for the love train? ..
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yes, but you no what, everyone is a star. >> some of these stars start lining up at the microphone because we are going to let you ask some questions. one of the characters i was really intrigued by was ella baker. in fact, i think what you
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were saying about not being center stage was really ella baker's mo. >> and a wonderful book by dear sister barbara ramsey, one of the great professor scholars of our day, that we live in the age of ella baker as it relates to ferguson, ferguson, as it relates to occupy wall street. a particular leadership. it raise all the voices, not just one at the center. no head negro in charge who could neither be murdered nor co-opted. d be murdered or co-opted. you bring all the voices. as executive director of kings organization and the voices of stokely, michael, diane nash, a wave of others. ella baker was a democratic activist, a
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democratic activist, but she believed the centrality of grassroots because the meant to t5 the mental capacity and ability of those every day people, those james cleveland called ordinary people. as you access their ability and capacity, you do not have to have just one leader representing all black people and all brown people, usually to be co-opted. and once you co-opted or murder, lo and behold depression, disorientation, and the possibility of those capacities in the abilities of ordinary people to overlook. ella baker is someone we have to catch up with. she is ahead of us, and she died, of course, working closely with my precious puerto rican brothers and the liberation movement. she was cosmopolitan, international, always at a
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grassroots level, and there is nothing wrong if people think you are charismatic, but you must use your charismatic as a form of service not a form of conspicuous consumption that makes you center stage as an individual rather than part and parcel of the group. that is why count basie was always with the group. him projecting himself as some individual. he understood there is no talent without the group. we could go on and on and on mama coal and sister maria here, too. >> okay. let's. >> okay. let's start with the questions. thank you, on that high note >> thank you for being here, thank you for continuing with the struggle. my name is paul fletcher.
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you know you know my dad arthur a fletcher. >> from kansas? >> yes. >> yes. >> i just want to mention that, though. absolutely. >> i was skimming i was skimming through your book and noticed one of the sections that i definitely have concerned with i read in the new york times it was $60 trillion that the banks used to launder arms and drug money from the cartel and selling arms to the iranians and no one went to jail, nobody went to jail, and yet jail, and yet we are going to jail for petty drugs. and i am glad you mentioned, , but when i tell people $60 trillion they still look at me like him talking about something that cannot be imagined. i'm like, yeah, it's hard to believe that when this economy is for trillion dollars and we have 60 trillion being stolen. and nobody. too big, they said, to go to
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jail. >> that was in the book, though, book, though, brother. >> that was in the new york times. >> outcome of the times? i thought somebody snuck something in my text. i got you. i understand. >> in the book you start out in the beginning talking about no one went to jail before the catastrophe of 2,008. >> all of the crimes committed on wall street, insider trading, market manipulation to me are absolutely right. the jamie diamond calls at the white house and makes a deal. they get caught straight to jail. that that is a criminal justice system that is in some ways criminal, that is in some ways criminal. it is true. if you talk about rule of law for four people, let's have will of law for all people. for wall street if we have
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it for main street. what jane austen would have called constancy. increasing tuition, interest rates for students, still out of control. the banks treated that way and students another. which group is more important for the future of the country, the student or the bank? what are we talking about? priority, not a matter of hating on rich people. some rich people can do the right thing in my view. i will fight for their right to be wrong. i'm a libertarian about these things that we have to tell the truth in regard to how warped our criminal justice system really is. you know michelle alexander's great texts of the new text the new jim
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crow. zero, absolutely. >> thank you for being here. my question is not about the case, the fact, verdicts, but what do you think martin luther king would say about the reaction and protests and ferguson? >> from the young people themselves? >> what i am saying is, maybe how i feel, martin luther king stood for peace and peaceful protest. i am wondering, what do you think he would say about what is going on there. >> i see what you are saying i can speak on behalf of martin, but based upon his life, his work, his witness, he would call for resistance, resistance, but it would be nonviolent resistance. that is the kind of whether he was. resistance but nonviolent
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resistance, which is to say, he would not go to ferguson and say, we have got to cool things off. the cool things off you end up in a deep freeze. the challenge has always been how do you channel your rage into love and justice rather than hatred and present? that is the question, and that is the question martin luther king was wrestling with and answered it with nonviolent resistance. i think, in fact, you are right. keep in mind for my calling for peace and calm is not downplaying the violations that have been taken place, not just in ferguson, every 28 days, every 28 hours a precious gem brother is shot by police or security guard. this is the tip of an iceberg. you can't go in and say we are concerned about
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the violence of the young folk cannot deal with the violence of the system. and martin luther king would want to accept that. but like myself he was at jesus loving free black man who put love at the center. america ought to be grateful in fact, in some ways america ought to see black people and give them a standing ovation. yes. all this hatred, contempt, and still dishing out the wonders about love. whas .. sending the contempt back and how long will that tradition line. america, america, i'm praying for you. you are in a world of trouble. >> is true. it's true. >> i was moved by your lament that ida b wells is
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not a household name. i'm interested. i am interested in hearing your thoughts about the importance of the intergenerational transfer the intergenerational transfer of knowledge of the struggle, basic and knowledge of history, sustaining of profile or new fires. >> that is the profile of what this is. this is true not just for black folk but precious human beings all around the country and the world, we live in a whole world driven by big money and the money is very much about the erasure of memory and historical connection, three dimensions of time passed, confined to the present and repetition of instant gratification and fleeting pleasures with corporate media generating massive weapons of destruction.
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not the attention to the things that matter but distraction and this is true for our young people. it is why i spent so much time in music. music is still a dominant transcendence of young folk and synagogues and temples so all they have is music to get some business and their music is so thin from oligarchs that control recording, radio and video and live performance ran and it is very rare to get a group that sounds as sweet and mellow as the motions and dramatics to the main ingredient to the left or the miracles or enchantment because those are soft voices that listen and blend with voices that affect your soul. there is no group among young people that sing as electricity or another ban that is left on a national level.
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no third street rhythm, no/songs, no art programs, at they get stole murdered every day and those schools, a vicious cycle in these schools. they don't have assets to imagination and critical intelligence through the arts. some can sing a tune to make a million dollars. next, turns over in his grave. it is not in their graves. so i come from people who were very concerned about getting it right. when they sing the notes because polls were predicated with you got those know it's right in that church or on the block or in the club's, but with the corporate as asian of music, schools over the market ties that take place, comes down, integrity, decency, push through the margins and all about the
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eleventh commandment, you shall not get caught. and don't get caught. don't get caught. that is the sad thing. given the universal is unchallenged. about preserving treasures and earth and vessels, what comfort do you have about aspiring profit. >> wonderful question. >> every time i come here. >> umbrella college. got you. >> i'm reading it that you are here now.
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i appreciate that. every generation takes people who are full of compassion, willingness to pursue as a christian, willingness to pursue the truth and unconditional love. so that is a matter of example. there have to be enough examples of around to be contagious. there was a wonderful line, examples of judgment, people's judgment is shaped by his they are imitating. would you see exemplify before them. marketeers, where they go. megalove or courage, usually not. they go to university, and deeply -- entrepreneurs, institutions with money flow and so forth and so on.
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cash rules. doesn't have to rule me. and quest for integrity and cut against the grain. and young folks are hungry and thirsty, ferguson is the tip of the iceberg. it happened in california, new york, chicago, folks are fired up and tired of the old models of the market here. they want to see something that is real, give me something real, that is what young folks are saying. they want to see the real thing. these are the real thing. and some others, we got a whole bunch of folks who are the real thing. i have six of them here and this is just the peak of this wonderful tradition. >> thank you. i want to ask in light of obama's immigration speech fares
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they can you comment how well he did or how not well he did when it comes to speaking about the human dignity of these undocumented immigrants and marginalized groups. >> we have to recognize like abe lincoln, like harriet beecher snow or frederick douglass or philip randolph with the trade union movement. and barack obama was pressured by the magnificent wave of activism, yeah and immigrant brothers and sisters from all around the country. i was blessed to be a small part of it, arizona, washington d.c. looks like we had that chance of a snowball in hell at that time. took a while to do that. political calculation didn't want to do that, he was a politician like any other
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politician. and benefits health care benefits and other kinds of benefits, pay taxes and no benefits. there is something wrong about that, deeply wrong. he took the first step and of course he will get a fire storm losing the right wing. he will get that if he is singing out of tune in the shower. so what? that is not new. the sky is blue and grass is green. of course he will get it. take a stand. part of my criticism of its is he tends to punt on second down rather than force down. he gives in too quick. not enough backbone. i was glad to see what he did and keep the pressure on to make sure our immigrant brothers and sisters are treated in such decency but i don't like the fact that people talk about america as a nation of immigrants.
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that overlooks our indigenous population. is not true. america is not a nation of immigrants. immigrants play a fundamental role in the shaping of america. they don't need to be in the room to be truthful about that. often times, immigrants downplayed the distinction between voluntary immigrants and involuntary immigrants. might alone--on the african side, got complicated. we laughed but included rates, included violations. i don't know. we had to find out. but involuntary immigrant has a different status as voluntary immigrant. come from hitting the ground from jamaica and the jamaican people hit the ground moving, haiti hitting the ground moving, what great people they r.
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different circumstances, don't put it in the same category, don't put it in the same category. there are thousands of bonet on the bottom of the atlantic ocean that will remind us of that immigration track of those precious dignified africans who came here and encountered a slave auction and that is what we are dealing with in ferguson. we were already criminalizing for what we got here and we still look at too many of our precious young black people as if they are criminals before they have done anything. this is true for ground and especially blacks, especially blacks but i appreciate that question. my dear friend barack obama i applaud at this time. >> we have time for one more question. >> my name is louis armstrong, i heard you say something earlier about the 400 years and what i
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want to ask you is those 400 years you are talking about are the same 400 years as tennessee's 1513. >> in the biblical text? that is a creative imagination. appreciate it. appreciate it. it is difficult for me to make that kind of leak in our late modern times, what was told in the biblical text that shake my own traditions so i would never want to make any direct parallel. when i read the biblical text, i read it as a christian i am christian centric and focused as jesus as the lens to which i keep track of what is in that text and because i keep track of it in the way of keeping track of love and justice it doesn't really spill over into the
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particular years and parallel of the years that i am focusing on. but your prophetic work, stay strong, absolutely. >> thank you so much, continence 18. it is such a wonderful conversation which it could go on and on. [applause] >> cornel west, "black prophetic fire" is his newest book. what is the format of this book? >> i was blessed to work with a scholar, the finest scholar from germany, we had a trans-atlantic dialogue with her idea action will be to come up with this dialogue and focus on these towering figures, frederick douglass, martin luther king jr.
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the inevitable ella baker but i do want to see this because you have been added to singing high level quality in such a magnificent way. 17 years you covered this. thank you very much. how that makes a difference. >> host: let's go back to you. why are these people profitable? >> there is one they exemplify, integrity, honesty, decency, we live in such a market driven culture, a lot of criminality. attempt to be a person of integrity, honesty and decency makes you counterculture role but obviously becomes more a liability, almost subversive in some instances in our culture and when you look at these figures they have a sensitivity
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to your needs and suffering of others but fundamentally committed to be decent honest people who simplify integrity. >> host: how well known was w. e. b. du bois in his time? >> the most famous black intellectual of his day. alongside john do we. the first half of the 20th century, 1963 but at the end of his life he was so critical of america's role in the world that came to supporting african colonialism and militaristic regime is in the middle east as well as latin america and shifted over to james baldwin and gwendolyn brooks, so many courageous intellectuals that for a moment was the darling of the mainstream that continues to hold onto integrity and and popularity and ended very much
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when they took his passport away and thank god for harry belafonte and others that held on and martin luther king had a problem at carnegie hall that supported it and most people said don't do it because it is too and populace be associated with the w. e. b. du bois and so many others that continued to push him and he is one of my grand hero's. at high levels in his case and in their case and in my case i like to aspire to the type of person they were. and ella baker is one of the greatest democratic activists of the 20th century, executive director of the christian leadership conference, executive director of student nonviolent coordinating committee. marvin licking, andrew young and
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others and carmichael bob, diane nash, ellen baker, competing the charismatic model, the messianic leader, moses lake leader, she said no. i want grassroots indigenous horses like we have in ferguson and the popes and alexis templetons, right now in the midst of unbelievable tension, in many ways exemplify ella baker's concern about indigenous leader should as opposed to a messianic leader coming from the outside or the inside. >> host: where does barack obama fit into "black prophetic fire"? >> guest: barack obama in his brilliance and charisma in winning the presidency without a black prophetic tradition,
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willing to tell the truth, bearing witness in a courageous way, he moves through the electoral political system. it was true for adam clayton powell and the congressional caucus. once you make the move on the inside you have to make a fundamental choice, wall street versus main street, drones versus no difference, massive surveillance state so that prophetic tradition both enables him and also brings critique to bear on him. but he has to make some choices with our brothers and sisters with regard to immigration. it is important, i wish he could extend the benefits actually but he is showing some kind of grit which i wish he had done a long time ago. it is sad that so many young black brothers and sisters being
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mistreated and abused by the police department's that he has not engage in any federal prosecutions of police as president or eric holder as attorney general. you cannot allow your fellow citizens of any color targeting black and brown youth to be shot in the back of brand over. and chamberlain and eric garner and michael brown and oscar grant, on and on. we have got to have movement that the federal level. we haven't had that in the way we should being true to allow baker and frederick douglass. >> was that a critique of president obama? >> guest: telling the truth when the chips fall where they.
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wire you always criticizing the president? i hate injustice. i love for people and working people, i try to love everybody. the chips fall where they may, if you make a choice of wall street or main street, a major critique of the president. to the degree to which i am committed to building main street, homeowners, i am not committed to bailing out plutocrats, and how many went to jail, and crack back off of the jail, and one did get caught so that says something about the criminal justice system. it is too tilted against the will to do. and the president said yes, we torture folks, there will portraits, tortures a crime against humanity and nature can't preserve its moral and
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spiritual soul. what kind of rule of law and we have? and wiretappers. trying to be consistent in our rule of law. >> host: 202-585-389 zero, east and central time zones, 3891 for those in the mountain and pacific time zones, you can dial in and let's take some calls. let's begin with d'arcy in wheeling, north carolina. you on booktv with cornel west. >> caller: hello, i really appreciate all these plugs. i was wondering if you were to do any writing on a contemporary and specifically i have one in mind, what is your feeling on
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minister louis farrakhan? would you consider writing about him or elijah muhammed? these are people who are not mentioned a lot in the dialogue and i would like to hear your opinion of the minister? >> host: before we get his opinion what is your opinion? >> i admire both because they see things from a different point of view. a different vantage point. i would like to see what dr. west feels. >> host: thank you. >> guest: both figures are towering figures within the black nationalist tradition, martin delaney through market czar and they are fundamentally focused on how can we ensure that black humanity is not dishonored or devalued in america. i take that black nationalist tradition very seriously. i am not a black nationalist but
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i take it seriously. i recognize there is no malcolm x without the love of elis some muhamed who loved him from malcolm little to malcolm x the great freedom fighter even though later on with eli shut himself and louis farrakhan, louis farrakhan comes out of the black nationalist tradition and i have been blessed to know him for many years and i have been blessed to have at any time spent--the million man march we worked together, spent time at his home. first time i met louis farrakhan, it was sustained. i had been critical about anti-semitism and he came back at me and we pulled the biblical text out, wrestled with history and so forth. i've learned much from him. he learned some things from me and i salute his attempt to keep track of black humanity whether
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i agree or disagree with different things. in the end he is certainly courageous. he has been willing to hold on to what he believes in the face of the unpopularity. that is always a very important sign for trying to tell the truth. i pushed him on patriarchy and anti-jewish remarks he made in the past and i push among critiques of the american empire especially latin america, got strong ones in the middle east but he is my dear brother. >> host: next time you have a conversation with louis farrakhan our c-span cameras -- >> guest: you come on right in. >> host: robert in georgia. >> caller: thanks for taking the call. i heard your remarks about those references back when people played warren's ahorns and if y
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shops as it makes a difference? what is that thing you wear around your neck? thinking of 20 years ago this comes out of nowhere, but i saw the reaction of the black community after the o.j. trial and i was wondering was that instead of reparations or was that payback? i was afraid they hate us. >> guest: appreciate the question. it is quite understandable that there be a human rage in the face of perceive human injustice that has been chronic and systematic. the fundamental question has always been in black america how do you challenge race through love and justice as opposed to hatred and revenge but the rage is there when you have 28 hours, some precious black child shot by police officer or security guard it is human to respond
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with resignation. something is wrong if you don't have a concern about that but the question is, is it one that takes the high moral and spiritual ground or will it be full of the same hatreds coming that one's self one's own community in this regard. it is not reparation, it is a rage that is rooted in a chronic investment. usa today had this report, the police department hit 70 of them, records in which black people are arrested ten times more than white brothers and sisters with the same behavior. you cannot live in a democracy with arbitrary police power at that level. it is unacceptable. i would say the same about arbitrary corporate firearms or patriarchal power or against our gay brothers and sisters and so on, being morally consistent
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here. this is just a scarf that i could show you. it painted a magnificent picture. i carried this with me all the time. this is bob marley's mother. i will be very gentle with it. and that is luther vandross's mother and he is one of the great writers. >> host: how long have you kerri diss around? >> guest: so many years is impossible to count but i mention that in terms of the way it was with musical genius to constitute who we are, to be there for sanity and integrity in a way that serves when it comes to so much misery. when i talk about john cold frame's love supreme and gary williams on the piano, not really talking about just entertainers but talking about warriors of the spirit who put
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law at the center and through their sound and felice they remind me brother peter is a human being, brother cornell is a human being no matter where we come from, we have capacity to come together, listen to i love supreme. listen to mississippi goddamn. it is not chocolate, you got a lot of white brothers and sisters from frank sinatra to average white man. >> host: picture of cornel west's mother? >> guest: in my eye. no doubt about it. >> host: where were you raised? >> guest: a black neighborhood, shiloh baptist church, one of the greatest passions. and my son could have done that.
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i have a great granddaughter. brother came less. the isaac brothers. >> host: eric in seattle, you are on with cornel west. >> caller: thank you. pleasure speaking to you, mr. west. i feel like the biggest problem in the african-american community in the united states is we look to other people to be our leaders. and the united states senate, in this past election what actually happened was you had democrats trying instead of speaking up for the rights of the people who put them in office. this is going on in ferguson. governor nixon actually to speak up but he cannot win elections and these are senators like
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chuck schumer speaking about drones but nothing about stop and frisk. what i would like to add, isn't it time -- we only have black congressional members of congress, no whites. basically what we have is the symptoms like you said, legalized these, nothing for the blacks. the unemployment rate is 11%. what can we do to focus on our own community. >> host: we got your question. cornel west? >> guest: appreciate your spirit as well as your question. no doubt we live in a country where the public conversation has moved so far to the right that we end up with republicans who in my view have a very mean-spirited avenue toward poor and working people and too tied to the well-to-do but the democratic party has become so
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spineless, they moved to the right as well. you are right, a democratic governor in missouri found often times as if he is a republican to the corps because he is appealing to the same anxieties and insecurities and not wanting to take a moral stand and say this arbitrary policy, not just in fergus in but st. louis, it is a moral conviction, what they say about people, they won and election as opposed to costanza for justice, what conception of human beings do they actually have? what does it mean for black politicians? how many of them voted for the militarizing of the weapons that go into urban context into black communities? many voted for the same thing and it was under eric holder and barack obama you got that militarizing intensified of the police department that makes ferguson looked like baghdad so the black politicians need to be
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rendered accountable as well. i am glad you are lifting your voice because we come to lift every voice, not every ago. too many black folks are just that those of the mainstream rather than a voice that cuts against the grain. >> host: you have written 25 books? >> guest: 21, 22. >> host: this is the one we invite you to talk about, the one you talked about earlier today, "black prophetic fire". chris that -- >> guest: i had an introduction and some critical words about the tradition and age of obama trying to sell the truth but most importantly we come from such a great people in the face of such injury, dealing in discounted love.
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black people talk america something about love through our music and lives, we taught america about justice through our struggles and the question is how do we keep that alive? it is a gift that everybody, you have a white brother, as they got along the black freedom movement because they saw love and justice, a matter of what we need to be sensitive to because it causes so much hell. these are fellow human beings teaching these things about what it means to be human. the best thing in our music, the duke ellingtons and louis armstrongs and aretha franklins and others. >> host: keith in washington d.c. you are on with cornel west. >> caller: what is going on? i was trying to to deal with the subject matter of the bank's,
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with elaine fletcher, a woman who worked for chase bank and they tried to pay them all and the basic sub prime business rate stands going on with the home loans with a deal with these loans that have already been sold to another bank and returned after they missed multiple payments and the dates on those types of loans basically expired. they put them in a bundle, and they work for and basically couldn't get any platforms to speak about what was going on. can you talk about elaine? do you know about her? >> i am so glad you raised that
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issue. i salute her. i salute the courageous whistle-blowers like ed snowden and chelsea manning and others who answered to truth and justice, no that the mainstream institutions are hiding the mendacity and criminality of direct connection between lies that cover-up and crimes that violate people's humanity. it is sad that there has not been a full-scale investigation of wall street crimes. when we look back 20 years, we got eric holder in place. you, was strong in terms of supporting the voting rights for people, strong in terms of trying to make sure within the context of the electoral politics there was fairness. he made some important moves but not enough with regard to jim crow, in the prison industrial complex, but they are on his face when it came to dealing with wall street crime.
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the idea that the head of jpmorgan, jamie dimon, he can make a phone call to the white house and set up deals and end up paying just money and never say he was guilty when he knows he was guilty. imagine committing a crime and just calling and saying we have some money, we will send some money and we are off the hook. that is not a criminal justice system that we need. people need to be accountable and responsible. i don't want to send people to jail but when you commit crimes of that magnitude and getting away with it and she is on the inside what would happen? like henry kissinger, we discover 15 years ago, of course massive crimes were committed. too late to prosecute, have a town hall, make a movie out of it and they are of the hook.
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and the wiretappers. not for 37 years. and samuel beckett. 60% of the name. and the war on poor young people, disproportionately black and brown and red too. rule of law tilted in that direction, this whistle-blower, and the hero in terms of trying to be honest about what democracy is all about which is high quality public life with citizens who can exercise freedom of expression. like rush limbaugh. fight for his right to be wrong because i libertarian too. i think he is wrong most of the time that he has a right to be wrong. he has done some damage to
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public life, told a lot of lies and so forth but he has a right to. at the same time when you have government telling lies and is not honest about it that makes it difficult. we can straighten him out intellectually and politically and keep track of his humanity. >> host: for met him? >> guest: never have. >> host: when was the last time you spoke to president obama? >> guest: not since campaign 2008 but for good reasons. but i promised 65 events, when he wins that afternoon and the next morning i would be his social critic. i was critical of the system as opposed to other individuals and i tried to be true to my word and tell the truth about the choices he has made. when you make good choices with expanding health insurance, it is a wonderful thing.
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the big pharmaceutical companies and property insurance companies i am critical. i want to single payer and he did too in 2004. it is a matter of time to be true to what the lord put me here to do but in the end my first identity other than being the second son of irene and clifton, he is to be a christian and i am very serious about that. for me the good news of jesus christ is one of being in the world and not of it. refusing all forms of idolatry, open to self criticism with putting love in the center and love is always perceive to be important and week in a world that is so cold and cruel and yet that love can never be shut out. suffocated and unconditional
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love, thank god the roman empire put him to death for moneychangers in the temple. what was the temple combination of wall street, white house, congress and hollywood altogether. running the money change out. love of poor people begins with a dove tied to the sacrifice of the poor. that is the jesus that mean so much to me and i understand i love my agnostic brothers and atheist sisters like bill maher and the others who have wonderful contributions to make but i have to be honest and candid where i am coming from and what constituted this particular jesus loving free black man, a short move. >> host: cornel west is teaching at union theological seminary and and is calling in from mount juliet, tennessee. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. i cannot tell you how honored i am to be talking to cornel west.
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one thing i would like to bring up. >> host: an honor to be talking to you. >> caller: thank you for calling me sister because i consider you my brother. >> host: >> guest: you are my sister indeed. >> caller: thank you very much. i have listened to you over and over again and you continuously say 400 years of slavery. i have done the next. you pin it on the united states. united states did not come into being until 1789 to 1865. that makes it 96 years. that was 625,000 people who died, not all for the abolition of slavery. my family did. i don't know why i feel the need to say that.
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>> host: do you want dr. west to define his 400 years? is that what you're looking for? >> caller: what i'm looking is not to define it but to defend it. >> host: we got the point. >> guest: there we go. absolutely. what i always say is it is 400 years of being terrorized, traumatized and stigmatized. it goes back to the 1600s. the united states doesn't emerge as an independent colony breaking from the ugly empire of britain until 1776 and later constitution but 400 years of being terrorized and you have slavery for 244 years but you only have slavery between 1787, and 1865 under the aegis of the united states. you see the point i am trying to
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make? >> host: she is listening. >> guest: she is gone. the terror that continues, 244 years of slavery which is a long time. the average age of a slave was 26, rape and violation of the women going on all the time, families of course shatter and what have you. under the u.s. constitution, you have got slavery for another eight years. what does it mean to have the u.s. constitution of proslavery document in a practice, in practice, no matter how beautiful words were, in practice it still reenforced slavery and then we get the break. democratic energy from below. she is right about the civil war. it took a war to break the back of white supremacist slavery but 12 years reconstruction, sun shines for a bit, here comes jim crow.
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another kind of slavery. that wonderful book slavery by another name, it is a powerful story. that is what i have in mind and with ferguson, the peak of an iceberg, too much arbitrary police power, certain kind of traumatizing, a certain kind of stigmatizing taking place but especially for our precious for and working class folks. of upper-middle-class folks, even upper-middle-class black folks, many can hold it at arm's length, they can be caught by the police because it is stigmatizing that they hold it at arm's length more so than the precious ones in the hood. >> host: what happens if the grand jury does not in played the officer in ferguson? >> guest: it doesn't look good. it doesn't look good. i think the spirit of martin luther king said resist non
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violently, don't calm down and end up in a deep freeze but stay on fire but always take the high spiritual ground. people have a right to write his indignation in the face of chronic in justice, no doubt about that and i am hoping and praying magnificent indigenous leadership of young people build on a rich legacy is of barnett's allow baker, marvin, frederick douglass and w. e. b. du bois. >> host: all featured in "black prophetic fire". bob in seattle, good afternoon to you. >> caller: if i could add a comment slavery goes back 2,000 years, black -- egypt, ed jesus and slaves to honor -- obeyed their masters, masters be good to your slaves. today it occurs in saudi arabia and many countries.
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my question with regard to this is how can you convict him before he has even had a fair trial? thank you entitled take your comment off the air. wikipedia >> guest: appreciate it bose points. we were talking about the so enslavement of new world africans, slavery was an institution in place for thousands of years. you read the work by patterson, one of the great slab -- g7 societies with slaves, absolutely right. we are talking specifically about slavery in the new world in the western hemisphere, the modern period. i am calling for a fair trial. i don't convict darren wilson at all. i do believe he did something deeply wrong but i don't convict him. i believe in fair trials but how do you have a fair trial when
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you have a grand jury that is not transparent, we don't know what goes into it and it is not just michael brown. we are talking all the black sisters, black brothers, brown sisters, brothers and white for too who could be mistreated. arbitrary police power. i don't want to think it is just a matter of michael brown or darren wilson. i call for a fair trial but i do find it hard to believe somebody can kill somebody and not even be arrested. to hurt somebody, i would get arrested in a minute. i would be in jail year before i even have a trial. the police have to be accountable. they have a difficult job. i know that and there are decent police, i know that but there
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are too many police, the police culture think it is all right to get away with mistreating precious, for black and brown kids and you send it is just wrong, it is immoral. got to stop killing children. is just wrong. >> host: we have more fun calls waiting for you. kevin is in bakersfield, calif.. you are on the air with cornel west. >> caller: yes, it is a pleasure to speak with you. thank you for representingcol a representingcoltrai representingcoltraine. i will turn on to him in a little bit. as soon as i am done with this conversation. i listened to you and i have read you since race matters and watched you on television but i
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have never heard your thoughts and i would like to reflect on the great senator daniel patrick moynihan's report when he was with the labor department with lbj on the black family and what his references were to that and would like you to reflect on that if you would and how that has changed and how it may not have changed. >> host: quickly before we get at 18's answer, tell us about yourself. >> caller: just a california boy interested in these issues, dr. west, and hear him reflect upon.
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>> guest: thank you. i appreciate the question. it was a great study of the black family and the ways in which in some way shot at during slavery but a fundamental yearning of black people has always been to reconnect with attempts to preserve remnants of the family under lovely conditions of slavery. the problem with daniel moynihan, he coined the term benign neglect when it came to black people. that meant you make certain justices but use code words for the white majority to let them know black folks are not going to be in any way taken seriously in terms of suffering. they are going to be pushed to the margins, they're going to be tolerated or an afterthought. i'm critical of moynihan in that regard. at the academic level in terms of claims about the black family being in deep trouble, turned out to be right. but not for the right reason because he characterized it more
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as a pathological behavior on the -- on behalf of black people where i think it has more to do with massive unemployment, more to do with the red lining of neighborhoods that made it difficult for black people gaining access to goods and services regarding basic services, water and so forth. we know the relation of banks in the real-estate industry that produced the jim crow juniors, the housing residential patterns characterized by segregation. i tend to be critical. and we agree 20% of the time but didn't have a drink. he loved to drink. i try not to drink too much. >> host: syracuse in louisville. >> caller: greetings to you, how
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are you? >> guest: good to hear your voice. >> host: go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: in louisville, it loves you dearly. i know he is watching this. i want to ask you a couple questions. to everybody as brother and sister, i remembered tony brown saying at one time along time ago, when it all comes down with their mother is black and i wondering what your reason is for referring to everyone as brother and sister. my second question is i know you said you have a 7 our conversation with louis farrakhan and i was referring as
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criticizing barack obama. that farrakhan made a comment on an interview one time that we should be careful of criticizing him. the things we say and the reason we might set up a climate that is undesirable for him. i think you know what i'm talking about in light of what is happening. >> host: we have to leave it there. go ahead. >> guest: it has to be separated from demonizing especially in an atmosphere in which so many people actually hate him and want to do harm but i do think we have to raise our voices in a critical way even as we separate
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ourselves from those demonize ears. louis farrakhan is actually quite right. and wrestling with that in terms of malcolm x and he has been very candid and in some ways courageous about telling the truth about that particular historical period but there was another question she had the beginning. i referred to everybody as brother and sister. that is how i was raised. we tried to be part of the beloved community and enact in a cold and cruel world and each of us are creatures born between urine and feces. we will be terrestrial worms one day. in the end we on come out of our mom's love. the species itself emerged in africa. we all have an african mother. there is no doubt about that. at the human level we always make connections. i believe in letting my enemies. it sounds archaic but as a christian it has great insight
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because it means even people you hate you don't want closure on them so they can't change, so they won't be able to transform themselves, later down the line they will be better and we are made in the image of god and love that image as well. bobby georgann guy, a conservative catholic brother, we have been together almost eight nine years and all around the country. how can you spend time with robby george, he is deeply conservative but i have a deep love for the brother. we wrestle with the issues and he is -- we have the same love of enemies too. we wrestle the issues in that way. i had a dialogue with ronald reagan, try to end the dialog with ronald reagan because you have someone like that, magnificent freedom fighters who play a role even militant atheism, i think he is wrong on the got a question. that would be right across the board but they are my brothers and sisters and also for people i


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