Marcus Garvey Day
Today August 17th, is the birthdate of Marcus Moziah Garvey. Founder of the UNIA and the Pan-Africanist thought now refered to as Garveyism. Many in the black community are not fully cognizant of the long lasting effects of Garvey. The UNIA was home to Malcolm X's father and the blueprint upon which the Nation Of Islam was founded. Leading Anti-colonial movements and leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta and the ANC to name a few, were greatly influenced by Garveyism Indeed the national flags of Malawi, Kenya and Ghana are all derived from the Red, Black and Green of the UNIA. Before Marcus Garvey very few blacks would even dare to think of internationalising the struggle of blacks. Very few organizations were even cognizant of the need for blacks to organize themselves economically and industrially in order to compete in the coming global marketplace. Today such nations that took such advice, such as India and China have become well respected in the world and feared for thier growing economical strength. Meanwhile those who failed to heed the words of Garvey some 80 years ago, now find themselves mired in poverty, AIDS and dependency upon their former colonizers. Their leadership, as Garvey predicted would be vultures of the masses.
Often times people talk about how much progress blacks have made. In terms of social acceptance, this cannot be argued with. Indeed as Garvey told us, the leadership of "colored' organizations had as their goals the social acceptance of blacks in America. In so much as that was thier goal they have suceeded. But Garvey warned us that such a goal in and of itself was dangerous becuase it would distract 'the negro" from developing ecomincally and industrially and would result in blacks falling further and further behind the "more advanced races." If we look across the globe we find that Africa is full of problems. Just two days ago there was a massacre in Burundi. The reason: colonisation by the Tutsis? Colonisation? Zimbabwe is falling into famine because even though the white farmers are off the land, the indigenes apparently have no skills to farm. No doubt white experts will eventually be on the way as most blacks with expertise ( in America) won't volunteer to go. We couldn't get people to go to Liberia in 1924, why would they go now? Black farmers are losing land left right and center in the US, but I bet nary a single one of them would consider opening up shop in Zimbabwe and guarantee themselves a living. But Garvey told us that while telling the Black man and woman that they had no place in Africa, they would go there. And there they are taking the oil. They are taking the Coultan. They are taking the Diamonds, they are taking the coffee. They are taking the Nurses and the Doctors. Everyone can find value in Africa except the black man.
I'm very aware that not all is bad in Africa and not all blacks have it bad. Indeed throughout history it never been bad for alblacks. But unlike so many previously colonized we seem to just not really care for our own general well being. We only do what we see others doing. For example, Pan-Africanism and a Pan-African government wasn't really taken seriously until the EU came to fruition. And even with changes to the OAU to the AU (how much aping can be done?) it is still a ways from where we should be. The overthrow of Artistide is a shameful mark on blacks. To have it happen in the bi-centenial is just even worse. Garvey would have unlikely been alive today. But there is little in my mind that makes me think that he would have been a powerful voice up thorugh the 60's and perhaps the plight of Africans around the globe would be different. Perhaps it was best that he died when he did.