August 17 2020
By Al Gray
If Marcus Garvey’s spirit passed through Jamaica today, still with his inexhaustible energy, passion and vision for the unity of all Africans at home and abroad, and for the establishment of a United States of Africa, what would he be saying to us?
No one can be sure but here are my thoughts. First, he would be asking those who have withdrawn from this national election process: where is your party? where is the party with the red, black and green flag, with the programme to teach (or hopefully continue teaching) the youth about their roots in the great civilizations of Africa like Songhai and Mali? Where are our strong non-exploitative business and cultural links to organizations in Africa? What about the Black Star Line? True, I was sabotaged but the vision was correct. What have you done to establish a Black Star Line 2?
What are you doing to stand up with the African brothers in the US who are being slaughtered like chickens and whose consciousness as a dignified race and people is now beginning to re-emerge? We, Jamaicans, have always been at the forefront of African consciousness. What specifically are we doing to continue this great legacy? Are you in touch with the Black is Back Coalition in the USA? Look beyond your borders to express and receive solidarity.
Related: 10 Quotes from Marcus Garvey
Why don’t we see vibrant UNIA organizations in all communities’ island-wide, linked through businesses, schools and cultural activities?
Why are our universities, the centres of education for those who are usually among the most progressive in our society, the youth, why are they so backward in this regard? Why, since Michael Manley dared revive our slogan of self-reliance, despite the might of US imperialism, why have we seemingly reversed his slogan to “backward ever, forward never”? What are you teaching our youth about the need to change this society to work in the interest of people of African descent?
Have the two traditional parties united or divided the people? Have they contributed to the legacy of brutal warfare of brother African against brother African? If so, what is on your agenda to wipe this remnant of mental slavery from the face of our country?
Or, are we still a colony just dressed up differently with the new colonizers working behind the scenes – divide and rule? Why are we still looking to the IMF, the World Bank, USAID, and the agencies that everyone knows operates as an instrument of the imperialists?
We need a new vibrant party, no matter how long it takes and no matter how many challenges internally and externally that are placed in the way. There are enough people who are not involved in the present political parties, at home and abroad, who can be brought together under the umbrella of the red, black and green flag. The two-party system took many countries to so-called political independence, but life has shown us that they cannot go any further. A different kind of party is needed for economic and cultural liberation. Parties that are linked across geographical borders.
Brothers and sisters, he might say, its time, in fact way past time, to look within your class, within your communities for leaders, those who will unite the hundreds of thousands who dominate the ranks of the poorer class. It is time to look for those among yourselves who have the courage, and who cannot be swayed by money and other forms of bribery. it can be done; it has been done. Toussaint and the heroic Haitian people did it in 1804‼!. Bolivar and the heroic Latin American people did it shortly after; Fidel, Che and the heroic Cubans did it. It is time for Jamaicans to show that our greatness is not just in music and athleticism, we are the sons of Nanny, Tacky and Sam Sharpe. Parliamentary “democracy’ is a scam, we all know that it has kept us in- dependence on the imperial powers.
As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of the Negro People’s of the World, let us rekindle the spirit of Marcus Garvey and target having a vibrant UNIA branch in every community in Jamaica in the next decade, as we lay the foundation for a new Garveyite party or the strengthening of any that now exists. Do not wait on anyone, start now and make this a lifelong task‼!
One aim, one love, one destiny
Al Gray is a retired Jamaican living in the USA. He can be reached at email@example.com