As we approach 50 years of Independence here in Barbados let us recall to mind the messages given to us by those who fought to lay the foundation for our true liberation. Let us not forget this as we have not yet arrived to the final destination of liberty for African people at home or abroad.
Here are some extracts from The Philosophies and Opinions of Marcus Garvey. Please note that for the Barbadian contextual application of this article, when Marcus speaks of other races in his message, we can relate this to those of our race educated by our race on the philosophies and ideals of another races.
"That we suffer so much today under whatsoever flag we live is proof positive that constitutions and laws, when framed by the early advocates of human liberty, never included and were never intended for us as a people. It is only a question of sheer accident that we happen to be fellow citizens today with the descendants of those who, through their advocacy, descendants laid the foundation for human rights.So this brings us to the point where, as a people, we can expect very little from the efforts of present day statesmen of other races (colonially minded politicians), in that their plans, (as far as advantages to be derived there from are concerned) are laid only in the interests of their own people and not in the interest of Negroes (masses); hence it is imperative that Negroes as a people evolve just at this time a statesmanship (leadership) sufficiently able to cope with the designs and movements that are being made that will (except we prevent it) ultimately mean our doom and destruction.
The Negro is an Industrial Make-Shift.
The Negros prosperity today, limited as it is, is based upon the foundation laid by an alien race that is not disposed to go out of its way to prepare for the economic existence of anyone else but itself; therefore our present prosperity as far as employment goes, is purely accidental. It is as accidental to-day as it was during the war of 1914-18 when colored men were employed in different occupations, not because they were wanted, but because they were filling the places of men of other races who were not available at that time. Negroes are still filling places, and as time goes on and the age grows older our occupations will be gone from us, because those for whom we filled the places will soon appear, and as they do we shall gradually find our places among the millions of permanent unemployed. The thing for the Negro to do therefore, is to adjust his own economic present, in readiness for the future.A race that is solely dependent upon another for its economic existence sooner or later dies. As we have in the past been living upon the mercies shown us by others, and by the chances obtainable, and have suffered there from, so will we in the future suffer if an effort is not made now to adjust our own affairs.
Lack of Co-operation in the Negro Race
It is so hard, so difficult to find men who will stick to a purpose, who will maintain a principle for the worth of that principle, for the good of that purpose, and if there is a race that needs such men in the world today, God Almighty knows it is the race of which I am a member.The race needs men of vision and ability; men of character and above all men of honesty, and that is so hard to find.
The greatest stumbling block in the way of progress in the race has invariably come from within the race itself. The monkey wrench of destruction as thrown into the cog of Negro Progress is not thrown so much by the outsider as by the very fellow who is in our fold, and who should be the first to grease the wheel of progress rather than seeking to impede it. But not withstanding the lack of sympathetic co-operation, I have one consolation—That I cannot get away from the race,and so long as I am in the race and since I have sense and judgment enough to know what affects the race affects me, it is my duty to help the race to clear itself of those things that affect us in common.
White Mans Solution for the Negro Problem in America
Immediately after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in America, the white man started to think how he could solve the new problem of the Negro. He saw that the Negro could not be slaughtered by wholesale killing in that it would be a blot on American civilization; he therefore had to resort to some means of solving the problem, which meant the extinction of the Negro in America. The plan he decided on was as follows:"Now that America is undeveloped and we have but 34,000,000 in population (30,000,000 being white and 4,000,000 black) a number not large enough to develop the country as we want it, we will use the 4,000,000 blacks until we have built up the country, sufficiently and when we no longer need their labor, we will throw them off and let them starve economically and die of themselves, or emigrate elsewhere, we care not where. Then no one can accuse us of being inhuman to the Negro as we shall not have massacred him."A hearty welcome is extended to white people from all parts of the world to come to and settle in America. They come in by the thousands every month. Why? The idea is to build up a vast white population in America, so as to make the white people independent of Negro labor; thereby depriving them of the means of livelihood, the where withal to buy bread, which means that in a short while they will die of starvation.Those of us who study industrial conditions among the race must have noticed that Negroes in America have been thrown out of jobs that they occupied formerly, and their positions taken by European Immigrants. Now if the white people have not reached the apex of their intention industrially, as far as the development of the country is concerned, and they have exhibited such a degree of prejudice since they started their plan; how much more prejudiced will they not become in the next one hundred years when their population will be doubled by emigration and birthrate? This is the problem the Negro has to face in America."
This is the problem the Negro faces in Barbados as well. Ultimately we work for the white man in the manufacturing, sale and consumption of his goods and major services. I challenge Barbadians to state two or three major sectors of Barbadian economic life controlled by Black people. We used to complain of the influx of Guyanese labor being injected into our island. never mind these were fellow Black people, we complained. Here comes the Chinese, but the difference is they come with financial backing, and it seems that makes it ok. As a people starved of history and the political science of our own philosophies, we are unaware of the legacy and the inroads to colonialism. Each and every race is securing their economic position in the world based on what will be beneficial for the existence and liberation of their people now and in the future. What are we as a race of people doing? Have we adjusted our governance, our education, our economic power to liberate us as a nation of people, or are we just jostling for better positions at the feet of others? Pretty flags and sweet words spoken in anthem do not amount to liberty.