"We have leaders who have completely sold out."
They have been co-opted:
"Obama is the highest manifestation of the co-optation that took place,” West said. “It shifted to the black political class. The black political class, more and more, found itself unable to tell the truth, or if they began to tell some of the truth they were [put] under surveillance, attacked and demonized. Forty percent of our babies are living in poverty, living without enough food, and Obama comes to us and says quit whining. He doesn’t say that to the Business Roundtable. He doesn’t say that to the corporate elites. He doesn’t say that to AIPAC, the conservative Jewish brothers and sisters who will do anything to support the Israeli occupation against Palestinians. This kind of neglect in policy is coupled with disrespect in his speeches to black folk, which the mainstream calls tough love."
"He is a shell of a man,” West said of Obama. “There is no deep conviction. There is no connection to something bigger than him. It is a sad spectacle, sad if he were not the head of an empire that is in such decline and so dangerous. This is a nadir."
"Obama used [Martin Luther] King’s Bible during his inauguration, but under the National Defense Authorization Act King would be detained without due process. He would be under surveillance every day because of his association with Nelson Mandela, who was the head of a ‘terrorist’ organization, the African National Congress. We see the richest prophetic tradition in America desecrated in the name of a neoliberal worldview, a worldview King would be in direct opposition to. Martin would be against Obama because of his neglect of the poor and the working class and because of the [aerial] drones, because he is a war president, because he draws up kill lists. And Martin King would have nothing to do with that."
"We are talking about an imperial system, manifest in Obama’s robust effort to bomb Syria. War crimes against Syrian children do not justify U.S. war crimes. We are talking about a corporate state and a massive surveillance and national security state. It operates according to its own logic. Profit on the one hand, and secrecy to hide imperial policy on the other. Jesse [Jackson] was the head house Negro on the Clinton plantation, just as Sharpton is the head house Negro on the Obama plantation. But there is a difference. Jesse was willing to oppose Clinton on a variety of issues. He marched, for example, against the welfare bill. But Sharpton loves the plantation. He will not say a critical word. It is sad and pathetic. We are living in the age of the sellout."