Cornel West and the Politics of Prophetic Pragmatism
AUTHOR: Wood, Mark D.
PUBLISHER: University of Illinois Press
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Wood evaluates the political consequences of a shift in West's position from an earlier, revolutionary socialist stance to a later, progressive reformist one. In his early writings, West condemned capitalism as antidemocratic and contended that struggles against racism must be advanced as part of an international working-class movement against capitalism. Wood shows how West's subsequent reworking of Marxism supports his transition from a socialist to a progressivist politics. No longer arguing for public control of social production, West now identifies the major enemy of black survival as nihilism and seeks to expand democracy within the boundaries of capitalist property relations in the United States.
In criticizing West's post-Marxist tendencies to downplay deep structural antagonisms, avoid class struggle, and abandon internationalism, Wood counters that struggles for ecological integrity, human rights, and social justice should be explicitly linked to the goal of socializing production to satisfy human needs and support universal individuation. His critique constitutes an important contribution to the development of aperspective that aims to enable U.S. workers and their allies to build a genuinely democratic global society.
PUBLICATION DATE: 8/9/2000
CATEGORY: Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, Social Science