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Cornel West remarks, "It's impossible to translate the issue of the greed of Wall Street into one demand, or two demands. We're talking about a democratic awakening.... you're talking about raising political consciousness so it spills over all parts of the country, so people can begin to see what's going on through a set of different lens."

Cornel West returned to talk to the people in Liberty Plaza on the afternoon of September 29, before the 4 o'clock Stock Market bell daily march. (photo: James Wagner)
Cornel West returned to talk to the people in Liberty Plaza on the afternoon of September 29, before the 4 o'clock Stock Market bell daily march. (photo: James Wagner)



A US Autumn Responding to Arab Spring

By Cornel West, Democracy Now!

01 October 11

 

Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns

 

 

t's impossible to translate the issue of the greed of Wall Street into one demand, or two demands. We're talking about a democratic awakening," said Dr. Cornel West when he spoke with Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman during a visit Tuesday night to the Occupy Wall Street encampment. Some critics have expressed frustration at the protest's lack of a clear and unified message. But the Princeton University professor emphasized that "you're talking about raising political consciousness so it spills over all parts of the country, so people can begin to see what's going on through a set of different lens, and then you begin to highlight what the more detailed demands would be. Because in the end we're really talking about what Martin King would call a revolution: A transfer of power from oligarchs to everyday people of all colors. And that is a step by step process." Dr. West also called on President Obama to apologize for calling on members of the Congressional Black Caucus to "stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying" when unemployment among African Americans has reached record highs and two of five Black children live in poverty. This video features Amy Goodman's interview with Dr. West, along with his address to Occupy Wall Street protesters.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what do you say to people about what's happening with Occupy Wall Street, and what you feel, talking to people here, are the key issues here?

CORNEL WEST: Well, I think we've got to keep the momentum going because it's impossible to translate the issue of the greed of Wall Street into one demand, or two demands. We're talking about a democratic awakening. We're talking about raising political consciousness, so it spills over; all parts of the country so people can begin to see what's going on through a different set of lens. And then you begin to highlight what the more detailed demands would be, because in the end we're really talking about what Martin King would call a revolution; a transfer of power from oligarchs to every day people of all colors, and that is a step-by-step process. It's a democratic process, it's a non-violent process, but it is a revolution, because these oligarchs have been transferring wealth from poor and working people at a very intense rate in the last 30 years, and getting away with it, and then still smiling in our faces and telling us it's our fault. That's a lie, and this beautiful group is a testimony to that being a lie. When you get the makings of a US autumn responding to the Arab Spring, and is growing and growing - I hope it spills over to San Francisco and Chicago and Miami and Phoenix, Arizona, with our brown brothers and sisters, hits our poor white brothers and sisters in Appalachia - so. it begins to coalesce. And I tell you, it is sublime to see all the different colors, all the different genders, all the different sexual orientations and different cultures, all together here in Liberty Plaza; there's no doubt about it.

AMY GOODMAN: Does it surprise you, what you're seeing right now?

CORNEL WEST: Well, not really. I knew there would be some moral outrage as a two party system begins to decay, and the mean-spiritedness of the Republicans moving more toward reactionary and quasi-fascist politics and the relative spinelessness of the Democratic Party, tied to oligarchs as well, but centrists, trying to hold off against the viscous right-wing politics of the Republican Party, but refusing to, in any way be progressive. And you heard broth Barack's speech to the Black Caucus the other day. March with me, condescending, insulting -

AMY GOODMAN: Take off your bedroom slippers.

CORNEL WEST: Disrespecting, stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying. I tell my brother; he got to understand the genius about Marley. He called his group the Wailers, not the whiners. The Wailers were persons who cry for help but against the context of catastrophe. When Wall Street cried out for help, they got billions of dollars. Working people, poor people are crying for help. Whining is a cry of self pity, of a sentimental disposition. That's not what's happening in poor America. That's not what's happening in working class America and that's, certainly, not what's happening in black America. It's high unemployment rates, two out of five black kids in poverty, that's not whining, that's not complaining, that's legitimate critiques and legitimate grievances out of a genuine grief. So that I ask the president to apologize. He needs to ask for forgiveness. You don't talk to people that way; I don't care what color they are when they're suffering, not at all, you see. But, most importantly, here, people are straightening their backs up.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY LEADER: Mic check.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Mic check.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY LEADER: Mic check.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Mic check.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY LEADER: Mic check.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Mic check.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY LEADER: We are going to be starting...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: We are going to be starting...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY LEADER: Our general assembly...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Our general assembly...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY LEADER: We would like to...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: We would like to...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY LEADER: Start...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Start...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY LEADER: With some words...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: With some words...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY LEADER: From Cornel West...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: From Cornel West...

[CHEERING]

CORNEL WEST: There is a sweet spirit in this place.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: There is a sweet spirit in this place.

CORNEL WEST: I hope you can feel the love and inspiration...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: I hope you can feel the love and inspiration...

CORNEL WEST: Of those Sly Stone called every day people...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Of those Sly Stone called every day people...

CORNEL WEST: Who take a stand with great courage...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Who take a stand with great courage...

CORNEL WEST: And compassion...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And compassion...

CORNEL WEST: Because we oppose...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Because we oppose...

CORNEL WEST: The greed of Wall Street oligarchs...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The greed of Wall Street oligarchs...

CORNEL WEST: And corporate plutocrats...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And corporate plutocrats...

CORNEL WEST: Who squeeze the democratic juices...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Who squeeze the democratic juices...

CORNEL WEST: Out of this country...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Out of this country...

CORNEL WEST: And other places around the world...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And other places around the world...

CORNEL WEST: I am so blessed to be here...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: I am so blessed to be here...

CORNEL WEST: You got me spiritually break-dancing on the way here...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: You got me spiritually break-dancing on the way here...

CORNEL WEST: Because when you bring folks together...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Because when you bring folks together...

CORNEL WEST: Of all colors...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Of all colors...

CORNEL WEST: And all cultures...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And all cultures...

CORNEL WEST: And all Genders...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And all Genders...

CORNEL WEST: And all sexual orientations...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And all sexual orientations...

CORNEL WEST: The elite will tremble in their boots...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The elite will tremble in their boots...

CORNEL WEST: Yeah...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Yeah...

CORNEL WEST: And we will send a message...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And we will send a message...

CORNEL WEST: That this is the US Fall...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: That this is the US Fall...

CORNEL WEST: Responding to the Arab Spring...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Responding to the Arab Spring...

CORNEL WEST: And it's going to hit Chicago...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And it's going to hit Chicago...

CORNEL WEST: And Los Angeles...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And Los Angeles...

CORNEL WEST: And Phoenix, Arizona...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And Phoenix, Arizona...

CORNEL WEST: And A-Town, itself...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And A-Town, itself...

CORNEL WEST: Moving on to Detroit...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Moving on to Detroit...

CORNEL WEST: We going to hit Appalachia...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: We going to hit Appalachia...

CORNEL WEST: We going to hit the reservations with our red brothers and sisters...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: We going to hit the reservations with our red brothers and sisters...

CORNEL WEST: And Martin Luther King Jr. will smile from the grave...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And Martin Luther King Jr. will smile from the grave...

CORNEL WEST: And say, we moving step by step...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And say, we moving step by step...

CORNEL WEST: For what he called a revolution...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: For what he called a revolution...

CORNEL WEST: And don't be afraid to say revolution...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And don't be afraid to say revolution...

CORNEL WEST: Because we want a transfer of power...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: We want a transfer of power...

CORNEL WEST: From the oligarchs...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: From the oligarchs...

CORNEL WEST: To ordinary citizens...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: To ordinary citizens...

CORNEL WEST: Beginning with the poor children of all colors...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Beginning with the poor children of all colors...

CORNEL WEST: And the orphans and the widows...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And the orphans and the widows...

CORNEL WEST: And the elderly...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And the elderly...

CORNEL WEST: And the working folk...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And the working folk...

CORNEL WEST: That we connect the prison-industrial complex...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: That we connect the prison-industrial complex...

CORNEL WEST: With the military-industrial complex...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: With the military-industrial complex...

CORNEL WEST: With the Wall Street oligarchy complex...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: With the Wall Street oligarchy complex...

CORNEL WEST: And the corporate-media complex...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And the corporate-media complex...

CORNEL WEST: And the corporate-media multiplex.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: And the corporate-media multiplex.

CORNEL WEST: So, I want to thank you and it's a blessing to be a small part of this magnificent gathering.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: So, I want to thank you and it's a blessing to be a small part of this magnificent gathering.

CORNEL WEST: This is the general assembly, consecrated by your witness and your body and your mind.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY: This is the general assembly, consecrated by your witness and your body and your mind.

CORNEL WEST: Yeah. God bless you. God bless you. God bless you.

[CHEERING]


Guest: Cornel West, professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University and the author of numerous books on race.

 

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+47 # ddriesen 2011-10-01 07:47
Two simple demands would be very helpful:
1) Break up too-=big-to-fai l institutions immediately.
2) Tax all financial sector compensation exceeding $1 million at a 90% rate, investing proceeds in hiring the unemployed for insfrastructure and helping distressed borrowers to keep their homes.
 
 
+31 # jlohman 2011-10-01 08:09
Not at all "impossible to translate." There is only one cause and only one fix for our economic problems: Political corruption! Nothing will change until we eliminate it with public funding of campaigns. The Fat Cats demand lower taxation, which reduces revenues to offset the higher government spending that made them so rich. And THEY fund the elections, so don't even think about working on the small fires.

If the wealthy want to fix the problem and continue walking freely in public, they should use their money to clean up the system.

Jack Lohman ...

http://MoneyedPoliticians.net
 
 
+1 # Virginia 2011-10-01 09:54
I've spent the last 10 days with a brilliant researcher reviewing Wall Street patents, trademarks, contracts and industry PR where they brag about their systems of intelligence - an oxymoron. They re-engineered mortgages into "options" before the borrower signed, eliminated the need for appraisals and used primarily the borrower's "credit risk" analysis and willingness to pay to induce investors.

This economic financial socialism the "New World Order" is an epidemic and has collapsed the economies world wide. Was Wall Street the culprit or, like their own patented behavior programs, a tool used in a grander scheme... an unthinkable sinister plot. See Republicans Reflect at www.deadlyclear.com
 
 
+3 # Torvus 2011-10-01 12:18
FRANKENSTEIN FINANCE : This - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2043943/ROBERT-HARRIS-How-supercomputers-preying-human-fear-taking-worlds-stock-markets.html - is an essay from today's UK Daily Mail. Whether there is any real point in continuing to read finance/economi cs is a moot point now, I think. The article is written by the esteemed author Robert Harris. telling me/us/the non-financial world? something new. If computers are able to predict as well as the article indicate, how the heck is it that the financial community landed the world in such a mess? Is it that they just don’t understand what computers are telling them, don’t believe it, or just don’t care? The elite don't care, except for votes corporate or political. There should be some way of making them accountable, to stop them playing games with our hard-earned economy. I don't think 'plot' is the right word for a section of people who are far too crooked, greedy and selfish to get together and work it out. So long as finances play out in their favour they'll just support each other. Too bad for the rest of humanity,eh?
 
 
0 # Bill Clements 2011-10-03 18:16
Political corruption is largely about power and greed.
 
 
+17 # Vardette 2011-10-01 08:29
The only way any of our demads will make change is with on going protracted protests and we MUST vote out the current house and senate and replace them with Progressive Independents. This is not just my view and makes sense. And above all we cannot allow a our nation to fall into the hands of a TP President because everything we hold dear will be destroyed! If we think its bad now a TP pres will make Bush look good.
 
 
+15 # in deo veritas 2011-10-01 09:27
We need a leader who will demonize the Tea Party the way McCarthy demonized anyone who wasn't a Republican in the 50's. Fight fire with fire. The corporate fascists have used the Tea Party to their nefarious ends without any real opposition. NOW is the time to crush them before they crush us. Can they take what they have been dishing out? Not likely-cowards and bullies rarely can.
 
 
+10 # in deo veritas 2011-10-01 09:30
Why can't the demonstators use the bull horn while the police can? Makes no sense unless you realize that the banksters make the rules and the gutless clowns who run NTC do as they are told-including Bloomberg.
 
 
+6 # epcraig 2011-10-01 09:47
If we start the General Strike on Halloween do you suppose we can celebrate Thanksgiving properly?
 
 
+14 # sol4u2 2011-10-01 09:59
Cornel West has stated the truth - Amen! It is time for us to get up and act! There has been NO in-depth coverage of OCCUPY WALL STREET? It’s a viable movement & people should see others take a stand! Americans are standing up to greedy corporations, close-minded politicos &are vocal on the bailouts, unemployment & growth of a 2 class system! Fair taxes are needed on earnings over 200K plus sur tax on earnings over 1.5 million (i.e. 2% +). It’s time we go back to real news reporting, objective truth telling, not the fluff media news tries to pass off as news!
 
 
+19 # molinarico 2011-10-01 10:24
I was at Occupy Wall Street yesterday and met an incredible group of people from every walk of life...students , unemployed, moms, grandmothers, teachers, ground zero construction workers, verizon employees, entrepreneurs and financial workers. The other 99%. It was the most inspiring day I have had. The movement is real and you are all invited to engage. PLEASE be a part of the revolution. We need every voice to be heard. The 2 core issues I got were 1. Accountability for the crimes committed by wall street and 2. No more preferential treatment -- taxes or otherwise -- for the top 1%. And 3. Shame on the NYPD for their brutality towards peaceful demonstrators. Spoke to one young man who was charged with 3 felonies after getting beat up by the NYPD. Total abuse of power.
 
 
+18 # Teresaalsara 2011-10-01 11:01
Many of us "older folks" have seen this mess building up for several decades. Now it is at a tipping point! God bless the demonstrators at Occupy Wallstreet and at protests in other cities! I have been watching this since it started! The whole system is now too corrupt! It needs redone from the top down! I am disabled and poor, but I wish I could still be there to protest with them, we all need to do what we can to help! All of our systems are corrupt including all branches of government, coporations have too much money and power, and the 1% control eeverything including our media. The rest of us need to be united in order t reclaim what our forfathers fought for, and died for, our freedom! This is our CHANCE! Don't let the Dream die!!!
 
 
+9 # Peace Anonymous 2011-10-01 12:56
I am amazed that the powers that be keep asking what the people on wall Street want? I am also concerned that to arrive at this juncture the movement may be able to generate some changes in the financial institutions but to come this far and leave democracy still resting in the hands of corporate America would not only be detrimental to the west, it would a disappointment to people all over the world. Corporate America controls the economies of a substantial portion of the world, particularly the 3rd world. As globalization has impacted the entire world for the benfit of a select few so should this movement be designed for the benefit of all.
I am so proud of these people, especially the young people, who have assumed the responsibility that corporate America traded for their selfish, personal wealth. Keep marching.
 
 
-6 # Joeconserve 2011-10-02 07:47
Someone please clarify. Cornell West wants to transfer power from the oligarchs to the ordinary citizen starting with the poor children of all color. Is the process automatic once the oligarchs are gone or will West step in to guide? Since the power goes to the children first who sets up the rules to guide? The children? Perhaps West will take the lead, kinda becoming a ruler so to speak, punishing nonconformists, etc. Or, perhaps it is just, "OK, kids, you got it. Remember lunch is at noon so don' t be late."
 
 
+3 # Writ 2011-10-02 15:12
I support the marines who claim they will come now to protect the protestors against police abuse and encourage all veterans to do so. As Americans wake up and see they have been victims of the slight of hand game by both parties, they will start paying more attention to their self-governance . Repeal the Patriot Act and begin to demand not only Wall St givebacks but givebacks across the board, starting with liveable wages and lowered rents. This should only be the beginning of an entire world wide march against banks, landlords, and all the greed that is destroying the world.
 
 
-2 # Writ 2011-10-02 16:15
What Cornell West says is great but there is something slimy about the way he and Tavis Smiley have taken to a tour to malign the president. Lets face it, we are not in an ideal situation with Obama but at least he has shown some heart. If we allow the heartless Republicans in who are already showing what they would do were they in, why is West and Smiley talking against Obama? To do that, opens the door to the Republicans. The last thing this nation needs is a Republican president so they can finish what they started, enslaving Americans. Republicans are deliberately bringing down our money system, shipping jobs overseas, stripping Social Security. Watered down the health care package Obama tried to give the citizens, the only president who did more than talk about it, did it. But what did Republicans do, it fanned the racist flames of the Lynch Mob (Tea Party) and got them to work against their own interests, by saying the package cost too much. Yet said nothing when giving billions to banks and Wall St. In other words, its OK to help the wealthy but when it comes to helping the people it cost too much. Their reasoning is unsound yet you get dumb America supporting them in their contention.
 
 
-4 # Writ 2011-10-02 16:16
That is what West and Smiley are doing on their little bus tour. Remember must infiltrators pretend to be with the people in order to infiltrate. West sounds like he is making a political move with all his rhetoric but lets just ask how is he and Tavis affording their nationwide Obama blasting tour? Could they be collecting their Republican 30 pieces of silver? Something to think about.
 

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