“I know no national boundary where the Negro is concerned. The whole world is my province until Africa is free.” ~ Garvey
On this day August 17, 1887 the great revolutionary leader Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born. His politics has come to be known as Garveyism and is charecterised by the basic tenets of self-identity, self-worth, self-reliance, self-improvement, black self pride and responsibility in a sense that represents the whole people both as individual units and as a collective.
Marcus Garvey has come to indicate a vibrant revolutionary experience as mediated via the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and the African Communities League (ACL). His legacy also symbolizes the spiritual awakening of black people so as to break the white supremacist chains that enslave them. Garveyism was ideologically conceptualised in Harlem in 1918 and soon grew rapidly throughout the world. To this end close to a thousand UNIA affiliates were established and membership grew aggressively by their thousands within a short period of seven years. Garveyism did something unprecedented at that time. It awakened the black consciousness of the people which in turn made Harlem to be felt around the whole black world.
Together with the likes of Hubert H. Harrison, A. Philip Randolph, Chandler Owen, and W. A. Domingo Garvey converted the Harlem blacks into a people’s parliament during the years of the First World War and beyond. This was the era of “the ebony sages,” the new black intelligentsia – the era of those who built a solid base for what we know now as the “Harlem Renaissance”. It was a time when in every black space the race question was unapologetically interrogated and discussed. The resolution of the race question is central to Garveyism. This in turn calls into question the resolution of the land question and suggests how inextricably linked the two questions are.
It therefore follows that Garveyism speaks directly to today as it does to the past and the future. It evokes the historic experience of black dispossession and colonial land theft. Furthermore it indicates as a vital force for change what exactly is to be done so that Africa and the world could be free for real. In this regard the legend of Garvey is compelled to find extension in the revolutionary conclusions of Black First for Land First via the organizing idea of Black Power!
Garvey continues to inspire generations of revolutionaries who rally for a truly liberated Africa. To this end the liberation of Africa and the Garveyism that must be brought to bear upon it, in the achievement of this liberation, is an inevitable part of the historical process going forward. Garvey himself said that “(t)he question may start in America….but (it) will not end there.”
ISSUED BY THE INTERIM COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT
17 AUGUST 2015
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