Occupy Supreme Court: Cornel West Arrested (video)

On the afternoon of the day that a memorial to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — the first honoring an African-American on the National Mall — was dedicated with speeches by President Barack Obama and the Reverend Al Sharpton, civil rights activist and Princeton professor Cornel West was among 19 people arrested for protesting on the steps of the Supreme Court.

West and the others refused to leave the grounds of the court. Their protest was intended to mark that it has been ten years since the war in Afghanistan started; the protest also had an “anti-war and anti-corporate greed message” allying it with Occupy Wall Street.

West, the author of books including Race Matters and Democracy Matters, had attended the dedication of the memorial to King. Back in August, around the time when the memorial had originally been scheduled to be dedicated to coincide with the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington (Hurricane Irene necessitated that the ceremony be rescheduled), West had written an op-ed, Dr. King Weeps From His Grave, in which he took Obama to terms for falling “tragically short of fulfilling King’s prophetic legacy”:

Instead of articulating a radical democratic vision and fighting for homeowners, workers and poor people in the form of mortgage relief, jobs and investment in education, infrastructure and housing, the administration gave us bailouts for banks, record profits for Wall Street and giant budget cuts on the backs of the vulnerable.

West called for what he says would be King’s response to our crisis, a call to revolution:

A revolution in our priorities, a re-evaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens.

In light of the protests in New York and around the world this past weekend, West’s words seem prophetic. In a July New York Times Magazine interview, West had described himself as “an intellectual warrior and spiritual soldier” — and he’s now putting his words into action.

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Photo by happygreentea

108 comments

gary leigh
gary leigh4 years ago

THE CONSTITUTION GIVES THE SUPREME COURT TOO MUCH CONTROL OVER THE VERY CITIZENS IT'S SUPPOSE TO PROTECT. NO ONE CAN QUESTION IT 'S AUTHORITY. WE NEED A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT GIVING VOTERS THE FINAL RIGHT TO OVERULE THIS BODY BY A 2/3 VOTE. IT'S ONE OF THE GREAT MISTAKES MADE BY THE FRAMERS AND IT'S KICKING THE CITIZENS IN THE REAR TODAY. CITIZENS VS FAIR ELECTIONS IS BUT ONE EXAMPLE OF THE KINDS OF MAJOR MISTAKES THIS BODY MAKES AND WE ALL PAY FOR IT BY LOSING OUR REAL CHANCE AT DEMOCRACY.

jill j.
jill jacobson4 years ago

I just wish everyone would STOP BLAMING OBAMA, he is trying so hard to get us out of the Bush/Cheney mire....And every step of the way he is being blocked by the ineptitude of the radical RIGHT of CONGRESS.....I respect and am very proud of our president.......Put yourself in his shoes and try getting something accomplished in Repub Quicksand!

Robert Tedders
Robert T.4 years ago

Completely agree, just never heard of this guy. Is he like, a latter-day MLK?!

Alexandra Rodda
Alexandra Rodda4 years ago

Good on him.

Jane H.
Jane H.4 years ago

Thanks to all who take part in this uprising, Cornell West in particular.

Monica D.
M D.4 years ago

I like the fact that he is speaking out.

Marina Joslin
Marina Joslin4 years ago

Very glad intellectuals like Mr. West are taking a stand, too. Others of his caliber should follow suit. Let’s all show our support and shut the 1% and their brain-washed allies, so they cannot say that the protestors are nothing, but a bunch of punks, hippies and bumbs.

William K.
William K.4 years ago

There needs to be an Occupy the Supreme Court, and I am glad to see such a protest. Citizens United needs to be overturned. It is inherently undemocratic, and most constitutional scholars agree that the whole process of making the decision was constitutionally flawed.

Frances C.
Frances C.4 years ago

You can go to the Dylan Ratigan show and sign the petition for "get money out of politics."

Pressure the Republican Congress to pass THE JOBS ! As well as Democrat Ben Nelslon.

Frances C.
Frances C.4 years ago

I Did not say that third party candidates are second class citizens. Please do not put words in my mouth.