Ta-Nehisi Coates sat down with an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! on Wednesday, where he said that he “will be voting for Sen. Sanders.” This endorsement is particularly interesting, due to some very real criticisms Coates wrote about Sanders earlier this month.
Coates is a correspondent for The Atlantic and won the 2015 National Award winner for his book, Between the World and Me. His essay, The Case for Reparations, is a must read. Late into last January, Coates wrote about some of his frustrations with Sanders’ lack of willingness to publicly support reparations for slavery.
The criticism of Sanders is one that is both new and old. As Coates notes, people are beginning to look at the issue of reparations from a new historical lens. That new lens is what fuels most of Coates’ critique of Sanders’ stance on reparations. That being said, there has always been tension between all the flavors of the black liberation movement, with all of the flavors of the revolutionary left.
Coinciding with the rise of the New Democrats, this is an old feud that has largely been missing from the mainstream political discussion for several decades. Indeed, the fact that this debate is once again seeing the light of day is a very good thing to happen. A synthesis of diverging thoughts cannot occur if they are neglected.
During the interview, Coates says that he is stunned by the rise of Sanders. Goodman asks Coates why he is stunned. His response is revealing:
“Well, I think, had you told me this like a year ago, I certainly would not have expected, you know, an avowed socialist to be putting up these sorts of numbers and actually be contending for the Democratic Party nomination. But I think it’s awesome. You know, I think it’s great. You know, like a lot of people, I’m very, very concerned about Senator Clinton’s record. I’m very, very concerned about where her positions were in the 1990s, when we had some of the most disgusting legislation in terms of our criminal justice, really, in this country’s history. I get really, really concerned when I see somebody taking $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs, will not release what they’re actually saying. That’s concerning. And so, having options, not having this be a coronation, I think, is a good thing. So, I’m stunned, but I’m pleasantly stunned.”
The interview should be a treat to watch for anyone on the left.
You can watch the entire interview in full, below.
Featured image video screenshot via Democracy Now!