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Marcus Garvey: Look For Me in the Whirlwind












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Online Forum: Marcus Garvey and Nationalism
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First I want to encourage this very positive project and move of the PBS. As a teacher, I have already used many programs and ideas that were presented. Since I live and work in Europe, ordering the tapes is the only possibility for me to work with PBS materials. As an English teacher, the presented materials are very interesting. The topics we focus on are mainly texts centering around race issues, discrimination and the interesting aspects of foreign cultures.This is very necessary in a country like Belgium, where 33% of the votes are in favour of the Flemish Nationalist party. I know and see what nationalism can do. In a certain way it is a means to give people an identity. On the other hand, it can destroy basic values, such as human rights and morality. As a matter of fact, I respect Marcus Garvey a lot. I am a Rastafarian and therefore also apply the teachings of Haile Selassie in my life. Now, my question is; isn't it better to unify our forces in this time and fight the power together with righteous ones of every race than to be divided and segragate black and white. I cannot see the benefit from that. South Africans who come just out of Apartheid, will tell you.

Answered by Robin Kelley:
This is a matter of opinion and strategy. However, returning to Garvey's history, early on he did support other national struggles for liberation. He made very strong remarks in support of the Irish struggle for self-determination under the British Empire, and like his contemporary Hubert Harrison (a black Socialist in Harlem who had some relations with Garvey), he made occasional remarks in support of India and other colonial subjects. In other words, the Garvey movement demonstrated early on that there is no contradiction between building an autonomous, independent black movement and supporting other struggles for liberation. In this sense, Garvey shared a lot with Jewish Zionism. As Robert Hill points out in his work, Garvey patterned his Universal African Legion after the Jewish Legion, which came to be seen as a Jewish national guard for Palestine. There were many references to Jewish Zionism in his discussions of the UNIA. He also received significant patronage from Jewish financiers (ie. William Ritter of the U.S. and Abraham Judah and Lewis Ashenheim of Jamaica).

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