By: Trevor Loudon
Cornel West / Barack Obama
Cornel West is a leading U.S. Marxist academic and activist. He is an honorary chair of Democratic Socialists of America. His involvement in the DSA can be traced back to 1977 at which time he was a contributor to the newsletter of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee – Religion and Socialism Committee. DSOC would later become the largest socialist organization in the U.S., the DSA. In 1983 he was at Union Theological Seminary. In the mid-1990’s, Cornel West was a contributing editor to the Oakland based Institute for Social and Economic Studies – sponsor of CrossRoads magazine. Among the goals of the magazine was, seeking to: “promote dialogue and build new alliances among progressives and leftists… and to bring diverse Marxist and socialist traditions to bear…” In 1994, West was listed as one of over 100 New Party activists credited with building the New Party. This was the same organization which in 1996, would put its weight behind a candidate for the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama.
In 1998, West was listed as an endorser of and a speaker at the “Communist Manifestivity event to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Communist Manifesto.” Also in 1998, West was a founder of the Black Radical Congress; unsurprising given his history of involvement in the DSA‘s African American Commission, its Racial Diversity Task Force and his commitment to promoting the struggle against racism amongst democratic socialists. In 2007, West spoke at the Left Forum alongside such activists as Frances Fox Piven, Barbara Ehrenreich, Howard Zinn and Joel Rogers. In 1992, West had spoken at the Socialist Scholars Conference, the predecessor to Left Forum. More recently he has served on the editorial board for Dissent Magazine and as a sponsor of New Politics, both publications of the DSA. West also serves as a contributing editor for Jim Wallis‘s magazine, Sojourners. (more…)