Prominent radical social critic Cornel West said that Black History Month honors an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, internationalist tradition that fights for a truth that “is always to allow the suffering to speak no matter who is suffering.”
West joined other radical Black leaders like Angela Davis and Mumia Abu-jamal at the "Black Radical Tradition In Our Time" conference in Philadelphia last month to discuss “challenging white supremacy and capitalism in anticipating the next stage of the Black liberation movement.” In a series of interviews on the conference, Abby Martin asked in teleSUR’s Empire Files about the application of the radical Black tradition today.
“It’s easy to sort of convince Black people to focus solely on the domestic situation and not to view themselves as citizens of the world,” West said on the show, connecting civilian deaths in the Middle East from U.S. drones to the deaths of Black youth in South Side Chicago.
He pointed out that “seductive” American exceptionalism covers up hypocritical domestic and foreign policy and touched on the role and obligation of white allies.
The show also features several speeches at the conference, including renowned political prisoner Mumia Abu-jamal, a former Black Panther. He connected the slave patrols protecting white property to armed policemen today and declared over phone that, “It’s movement time again.”Margaret Stevens, a veteran and history professor, challenged the white male retelling of Black history, telling Martin that “all people are emptied of any substantive analysis of history under capitalism.” She said that attempts to retell history by both revisionists and radicals tend to pit “Malcolm versus Martin,” but that both intertwine and must be understood within their limitations at the time they lived.