Cornel West, 25 years ago


“We live on the brink of a new wave of social activism in America. The defeat of the Bush administration unleashes new possibilities to enhance the plight of working and poor people in this country. Bill Clinton has shown that he is a clever and adroit politician. His pivotal victory should signify a crucial turn toward revitalizing the public spheres – from public health care, public education, public transportation to public conversation. Yet this turn will yield significant progress only if prophetic and progressive fellow citizens bring power and pressure to bear on the fold – a more egalitarian redistribution of wealth and power that includes the elimination of poverty, a head-on assault against white supremacist ideas and practices which embraces moral accountability of police power in the inner cities, a monumental pushing back of patriarchal and homophobic structures and a cultural renaissance that gives moral meaning and social hope for citizens in a more free, just – and ecologically sound – future.

As I travel across this nation I sense a deep hunger and thirst for a more compassionate country – one in which public service supercedes private opulence, institutional fairness triumphs over individual greed and the common good prevails over group xenophobia.”

– Cornel West, ‘Introduction’ to Prophetic Thought in Postmodern Times, 1992.