Ever since the news broke out that American philosopher Dr. Cornel West announced his third party bid as a Green Party candidate for president on June 6th, many Black people expressed their excitement at the possibility of a Black person who advocates for Black people and other people of color residing in office. With a track record of critiquing the political binary of Democratic and Republican parties, and calling past presidents such as Donald Trump a neo-fascist and calling Joe Biden a milquetoast liberal, there is no denying that West will not hold his tongue for any politician and any institution. West is a progressive activist who wants to see America fight to end poverty, mass incarceration, wars, and ecological collapse. Guaranteeing housing, health care, education, and living wages for all are listed as goals for his campaign on Twitter. Even though others may see how he is an individual fit for office– that he might solve current issues going on in America and bring honesty with his ability to critique the US government– what Black people have to understand is that no person in this power dynamic will grant you a reality where you do not suffer under an oppressive system, no matter how charming.
When it comes to Black people voting for presidents, many of us are sold the false dream that voting a person we want to see into office allows our voices to be heard, and allows us to step into our power as a people. However, this is only half true. Yes, our votes have some type of power to elect a person into office, but in past times and even recently where Black people elected someone into office, policies that were supposed to be put into place to better our communities, were not passed and allowed the continuing of Black genocide. From police killing Black people to low income communities still having low life expectancy rates compared to neighboring white communities, BIPOC communities have not received proper resources and freedom from an oppressive system. Some may call this situation hopeless, and express that there is no point in voting. The reality is that casting a ballot will not give you the true financial power to advance in the next social class as much as it might get you a sticker saying that you did something socially acceptable. Instead of casting a ballot for who we want in office, what we should be doing is voting and protesting with our money. As said by Dr. Amos Wilson: “Negroes think power is in voting, power is not in voting, power is in money, having control of the major minerals and resources.” Our money holds the true value in power as well as natural resources. If we want to see the change West promises, creating Black ethno-states and practicing group economics are our best friends. With true economic power, we have spaces funded by us, made for us, our institutions, and more.
It is a well-known fact that Black faces in high places within the system are loyal to the high places and not Black faces. No matter how socially conscious a person is and the accolades about their craft of social justice work, you are none of those things if you fight for freedom or “truth and justice” within a system based on white supremacist lies and oppression. Not only is it contradictory but it does nothing, and will never compare to liberation. A truly conscious person would know that truth and justice are not found within the justice system of America; it is found in community leaders who mobilize and organize their people. As a collective, we need to stop going within systems or into white spaces in general that continuously abuse us and attempt to infiltrate us. The white men who made these institutions would have never made it that easy for us to be free and have control over a country when we were their commodities and labor who built it. It is a waste of time and effort, and pushes the idea that we need to be in these spaces to be validated as powerful leaders when we can be all those things and more in places where we are celebrated instead of tolerated. So instead of praising Black people who were fighting to live in a white house built by enslaved Africans in America, we should be giving our flowers and support to community leaders who work to feed, sustain and protect our communities.