Tavis Smiley & Cornel West on Occupy Wall Street: “How will history regard the silence of blacks in this moment?”

Via Matt Taibbi, we find this great discussion between Tavis Smiley, Dr. Cornel West (him, and them) and Keith Olbermann about Occupy Wall Street (preferred hashtag: #OWS).

The endgame problem is discussed. (Olbermann: “The people who hae the answers [to what’s wrong] probably aren’t in the protest right now.”) True? Not sure, though it’s a good question to ask.

But note the issue of black silence (3:00 into the clip) — not total, of course, but far too muted — due to the presence of the first black president in the White House.

This is a critical problem if Occupy Wall Street is not to remain mostly-white. Obama’s black defenders, Smiley and West seem to be saying, need to pick — either the issues or their guy. Sometimes you can’t have both. Video after the jump.

An excellent chewing of these issues, and exactly what has to happen at this stage of a nascent Tahrir Square movement. As West says, “This is a step-by-step process” and we’re in early stages of not just a national, but an “international movement.”

Remember, the goal of Tahrir Square was constitutional change. In my view, the goal of #OWS should be the same — the return to the rule of law.

With that as a goal, all of the issues that Smiley and West discuss would be addressed.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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