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Understanding Neoliberalism Is Key to Building a Global Struggle for Economic Justice

By Benji Hart

When Cornel West called out Ta-Nehisi Coates for representing the “neoliberal wing” of the black freedom struggle “that sounds militant about white supremacy but renders black fightback invisible” in The Guardian at the end of 2017, his essay received a fair amount of backlash. While some called his actions divisive, still others claimed the crux of his argument—that Coates “narrow racial tribalism and myopic political neoliberalism has no place for keeping track of Wall street greed, US imperial crimes or black elite indifference to poverty” —was flat-out wrong. West claims that Coates benefited from “a black neoliberal president” whose black respectability “‘opened a market’ for a new wave of black pundits, intellectuals, writers and journalists.”

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