“…. was the first man of color to lead and develop a mass movement. He was the first man on a mass scale and level to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny. And make the Negro feel he was somebody” – Martin Luther King Jr.
As America finds itself in a state of civil unrest, Black people are forcibly dragged into this whirlpool of uncertainty created by Darth Orange wondering at which moment will his attention (or lack thereof) specifically target us. What feels like a surreal hostage situation without a clue as to who will remain alive at the end of this presidential term has many wondering, how can we fight back? We’ve taken note of the parallels between Cheeto Man and Hitler, steps and initiatives that gave way to Nazi Germany but maybe we also need to stress the history of revolution instead of living in fear. For Black America, we can’t afford to just sit back and wait to see what happens next; we need to look back at the legacies of past leaders who actively worked to gain unity and independence for Black folk. Marcus Garvey is one of those leaders that comes to mind when you mention revolution especially one on a larger scale.
“…we expect that white man to discover his America, to lay the foundation of his nation, to give for his nation, to die for his nation, to build up his nation, and then to say to you who were his slaves, “Come and govern me, go and sit in the Capitol and tell me what I should do” – Marcus Garvey
Founder of the Black Nationalist movement, his ideologies gave birth to NOI (Nation of Islam), Rastafari movement and various organizations like the New Black Panthers, which came from Garvey’s ability to lay out certain truths while empowering Black people simultaneously. In a world of global anti-blackness, He strayed away from only thinking US-centric and called for solidarity among all Black people (reportedly 400,000,000 at the time) across the globe. He stressed goals of unity under the premise of industrial, political, social and religious emancipation as a nation. He created jobs and opportunities keenly aware of the road ahead full of backstabbers and race-traitors as well as government intervention. Extreme at times, his gall was what carried the people on his back whether his beliefs or actions were considered imperfect or not. Focused on the development of the Black community instead of spending time hating White people, he was able to focus. In 1914 he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (had over 1,900 divisions in more than 40 countries by 1920) and in 1919, the Black Star Line steamship corporation and raised $800,000 for its first ship, the Yarmouth. He also started a newspaper called Negro World which grew to become quite popular even more so than other Black publications of the time. When you study Black leaders, you’ll find that many made use of this same audacity to reach the hearts of Black folks who had no sense of direction, no sense of identity, no sense of hope. As we currently engage with Neo-Nazis and White Nationalists, it important to note how people underestimated these national socialist parties. Garvey’s views of Hitler evolved as the fascist Nazi regime grew to power. Initially an admirer, he viewed Hitler as a German Nationalist and praised him; unaware of the racialist ideologies attached to fascism. Upon witnessing the persecution of the Jews and attempts to regain colonies in Africa, He would then begin to condemn Hitler and fascism while pleading to the Black community to take a stand and establish a Black nation.
“The attitude of the white race is to subjugate, to exploit, and if necessary exterminate the weaker peoples with whom they come in contact. They subjugate first, if the weaker peoples will stand for it; then exploit, and if they will not stand for subjugation nor exploitation, the other recourse
is extermination.” – Marcus Garvey
“Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey edited by Amy Jacques-Garvey” pg. 11
While the-guy-with-small-hands runs our country directly or indirectly into the ground, many economic commentators believe he will bring us into the next Great Depression. Consequently, fascism greatly expanded during the Great depression so……not to be an alarmist but…this is a cause for some concern.
It goes against common sense to sit back and watch it all unfold when we can collectively help stop it. Punching Neo-Nazis isn’t as helpful as people think, using violence only emboldens these “Alt-righters” and gives the SCROTUS…excuse me…POTUS…motive to protect them by persecuting protestors. It was made clear after Troompa Loompa’s removal of Neo-Nazi and White supremacy groups from our government’s terror watch list. Proposed recently were anti-protesting bills allowing police to shoot protestors, allow cities to sue protestors, and allow citizens to legally hit(and or kill) protestors with their cars. This behavior shows that the priorities of the elite fall in line with white nationalism in conjunction with classism as even poor white people will feel its effects.
With protests occurring constantly worldwide in defiance of this Injustice League in office, we must study the past and strategize the future. The “patriotic” protectionism being implemented is being done without regard for the everyday citizen and we must rise before these policies have irreversible outcomes. Marcus Garvey set goals we view as arduous but what enamored me was the gall he had to even try and accomplish things of that scale. Perhaps we let that gall escape us when our leaders were cut down but victims as a group can turn the tide if motivated enough. We must acknowledge the chinks in our armor and revise where our leaders have failed. We tend to think in a minute history vacuum; many can’t imagine that things could get as bad as it did in other periods of time. My best advice is “Let’s not find out”.
“There can be no peace among men and nations, so long as the strong continues to oppress the weak, so long as injustice is done to other peoples, just so long will we have cause for war, and make a lasting peace an impossibility. Hungry men have no respect for law, authority or human life.”