In an interview with Al Jazeera broadcast on Friday, philosopher and political activist Cornel West said that the United States is going through a “neo-fascist” moment with President Donald Trump in the White House.
As the publication notes, earlier this month it was revealed that White House adviser Stephen Miller promoted racist, white supremacist propaganda.
During the 2016 presidential election, Miller — as emails obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center show — promoted racist stories to far-right news outlet Breitbart.
The latest revelations about Miller reignited the public debate about racism and race relations in the Trump era. West suggested that the new information about Miller does not come as a surprise, arguing that the Trump White House is neo-fascist.
“You have white supremacist perceptions, sensibilities and practices coming from above in a neo-fascist moment with a neo-fascist in the White House,” he said.
The philosopher also argued that the president himself is racist.
“He’s a narcissist, he’s a racist, he’s a xenophobe, he’s patriarchal, he’s homophobic,” West said, adding that Trump is “a sign and symptom of a spiritually decadent culture that allows someone like him to have that kind of power.”
According to the West, the United States is currently going through a distinctive “neo-fascist moment,” but it has always been a white supremacist country, with deep-rooted issues.
“And this is why I think so many people are depressed, especially on the left and in liberal circles, because they think that somehow this is so new that it might be impossible to overcome,” he said.
The only way the American society can go through the Trump era and evolve, according to West, is through struggle and solidarity with those who are suffering.
“We have to have real, real examples of integrity, honesty, decency, courage and hope,” he said.
West has previously argued that the only way for America to overcome the issues it is facing now is to deal with its past. In an August interview, for instance, the philosopher discussed former President Barack Obama’s legacy, positing that the Democratic Party needs to have a “candid” conversation about Obama in order to move forward.
West suggested that drone strikes, wars, and the Wall Street bailout are all part of Obama’s legacy, and Democrats running for office need to acknowledge that in order to successfully win elections and govern the country.
West has endorsed Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for president, becoming one of his most prominent academia surrogates. According to West, Sanders is “one of the last hopes” of the United States.