Cornel West speaks at Harvard University when W.E.B. Dubois Medals were awarded in 2019 for contributions to Black history and culture.
AP Photo/Elise Amendola
The philosopher and political activist announced his candidacy with the independent People’s Party

Princeton professor emeritus Cornel West *80 announced Monday he will run for president against Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Joe Biden in 2024, saying his campaign for “truth and justice” will be a “movement for priceless poor and working people of all colors here and abroad.”

“We’re not talking about hating anybody,” he said. “We’re talking about loving. We’re talking about affirming. We’re talking about empowering those who have been pushed to the margins.”

West earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard and came to Princeton in 1973, earning a Ph.D. in philosophy and writing his dissertation on “Ethics, Historicism and the Marxist Tradition,” according to a biography kept by the dean of the faculty. He has since gone back and forth among colleges, including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Union Theological Seminary, where he’s currently a philosophy professor.

The Dean of the Faculty biography calls West’s 1992 book, Race Matters — one of many books he’s published — “seminal,” saying it “firmly established Cornel” as the country’s premiere Black public intellectual.

At Princeton, West was the Class of 1943 University Professor in the Center for African American Studies. He left in 2012 but has maintained some Princeton ties, including friendships with professor Eddie Glaude Jr. *97 in the Department of African American Studies and James Madison Program director Robert George. 

West is considered a far-left progressive, while George is often considered the face of Princeton’s conservative side. In 2016, the two spoke with PAW about their support of intellectual diversity on campus.

“…The most important thing about a university has to do with that high-quality, diverse dialogue in which people are questing for truth, knowledge, beauty, and hope,” West said at the time.

When West announced his candidacy, The New York Times immediately noted his famous criticism of President Barack Obama, and that the People’s Party he’s running with was founded by Nick Brana, who for a while worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. 

“Do we have what it takes?” West asked in his campaign video. “We shall see. But some of us are going to go down fighting.”