Marcus Garvey Philosophy (Up, up, you mighty race! You can accomplish what you will)

edited February 2015 in Pan Africanism

Marcus Garvey Philosophy : "Up, up, you mighty race! You can accomplish what you will." Marcus Mosiah Garvey

My Brathas and Sistas, again we are motivated and inspired by the teachings of the Honourable Garvey. As you will realize, this quotation is a very relevant follow through to the previous message on confidence. This statement is as applicable today as it was in the 1920s when Garvey said it. It is a serious cause for concern that about 90 years later we still need to be exhorted to get up. Some might argue and say that we have made significant achievements and give examples like the taking over of Afrikan countries from the colonizing forces, the gains made by the Civil Rights Movement and hence presence of a black man as president of the United States. These could indeed be viewed as successes depending on how you look at it, whether they are or not, in my opinion, will be developed in a later posting.

Also read:
Marcus Garvey Philosophy (God and Nature first made us what we are - Part 1)
Marcus Garvey Philosophy (God and Nature first made us what we are - Part 2)

Of immediate concern, is the message above and what its significance is for the Global Afrikan Family. Let us analyse together. In much of what I write you will notice that I address myself at two levels, that is the individual and the collective, this for me is premised upon the fact that if we have to take responsibility for our race we have to start at individual level, each and every one of us has to sit back and interrogate their own relevance to the Afrikan cause. As you read through please apply the message to yourself first and then the Global Afrikan Family, see whether you are part of the solution or part of the problem. If an honest stock-take shows you that you are part of the problem may I suggest that you actively work on becoming part of the solution and therefore answer to some of the challenges that we face as a people. If, on the other hand, you conclude, after a brutally honest and deep stock-taking session, that you are part of the solution, may I encourage you to up your game, give us more, so that we can accomplish what we will as a Global Afrikan Family.

Up, Up
To urge a person to get up presupposes either of two things, that the person is down or is up to a certain level but needs to get up to a higher level.
Looking at it from an individual’s perspective, we all know the levels that we are at, this is not about competing but simply about being true to self so that we can be effective in our efforts as we arise at personal level. No one may be said to have reached the mark.

Garvey was calling up the individual and the race to arise simultaneously. Even today it is still necessary, as Family, to arise from some of the following areas of our lives:

1. Slumber that makes us believe that everything is OK and the world is fair.

2. Lack of awareness that is afflicting a lot of us.

3. Lack of consciousness that is affecting a lot of our people.

4. Lack of spirituality, here I am not referring to being religious and going to church but being spiritual.

5. Lack of political awareness and keeping up with global issues as they impact upon us as the Global Afrikan Family.

6. Pull him/her down syndrome, we are amongst the worst, world over, when it comes to doing each other down. In so doing, it is not just the individual who has been pulled down that is affected; it is all of us collectively. Next time before you pull a Bratha or a Sista down, think about how you are affecting/hurting/harming/compromising the whole Family and indeed yourself as well and in the process creating space for our enemies to take advantage of us, you included. As long as it affects Afrikans it affects you as well, directly or indirectly it has an impact which you might not realize till it is too late.

7. Lack of oneness and unity, if the current happenings around the world do not force unity upon us then I do not what will. We seem to be failing to unite voluntarily but I see that there are catalysts that are pushing us in the inevitable direction of unity, some of which are these:

7.1 Arab expansionism into the southern parts of Afrika, Mali, Mauritania, Western Sahara and Morocco, to name a few, are cases in point. For those who have failed to appreciate the issues around the Afrikan people’s resistance in South Sudan it is and has been part of a quest to stop Arab expansion and the continued Arabisation and the enslavement of our people, yes Arabs are still enslaving our people..

7.2 Chinese invasion of Afrika and the destruction of Afrikan economies and industry in the process which has resulted in many ordinary Afrikans being compromised in the process.

7.3 Creation of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) whose mission statement reads as follows:
Africa Command protects and defends the national security interests of the United States by strengthening the defense capabilities of African states and regional organizations and, when directed, conducts military operations, in order to deter and defeat transnational threats and to provide a security environment conducive to good governance and development. (Emphasis mine)
8. The sudden increase in so-called investors taking up mineral resources and agricultural land all over the continent with little or no direct benefits to the ordinary Afrikans.

9. The effects of neo-colonialism on the lives of ordinary Afrikans and a so-called leadership that looks out for its own selfish interests and not those of the ordinary people.

10. Lack of respect for time. Strange is it not, that Afrikans are the inventors of the clock but are the worst when it comes to time keeping. We need to get over AT and BMT as some have come to so affectionately call it. AT is Afrikan time and BMT is Black Man’s Time. It is not enough that the task has been accomplished let us do it in time, our competitors are time conscious and we do not have the luxury of working as though we have all the time on our hands.

We are not ahead anymore in the race of life, we are lagging far behind to be complacent and settle for second best or mediocre. It is time we did away with AT and BMT, or whatever other people refer to it as. The fact that much of the Afrikan continent is 2 (two) hours ahead of London means nothing in the race of life and achievement.

You mighty race
Despite the down-trodden condition of the Afrikan people world over, Garvey could still see in them the greatness that was then and still is now, being confirmed by history as well. Garvey was not daunted by the immediate reality that was starring him and the rest of the people, in the face, daily. On the contrary Garvey saw a mighty people, where being mighty speaks of one or indeed a people who possess or display great power, skill or vigor.

Is it not the case today as well? When you look at the condition of the Black people, regardless of whether you look at the continent of Afrika or the Diaspora, East or West, one thing that we have in common is that we are confined to the lowest rung of every ladder, social or otherwise. I am not here talking about the few elites who somehow, especially through politricking the masses have found their way to the top of the system. For many of our people, simply seeing what we are going through and where we are, despite supposed independence and civil rights, creates a sense of dread and uselessness. If you try to work on your own you are bound to burn out and fail, as you take your place in the Afrikan people’s cause, as an individual, do so clearly realizing that there is no individual who can be called a team, so you can only but be a team player.

Garvey saw the might of the Afrikan people in as far as their physical, mental and spiritual strength. His confidence was not only premised upon self-belief but also on the faith that he had in his fellow Afrikans. As a further premise and therefore justification to Garvey’s confidence was his knowledge and understanding of who we are, as a people, historically. We have manifested greatness and can, if we rise together, manifest greatness again. He knew about the pyramids, about the great Afrikan civilizations, about who introduced education to the world, about who introduced health and wellness (medicine) to the world, about who introduced the concept of one God amongst other things.

If we allow ourselves to learn and realize that we do not come from savages and vagabonds who were in darkness waiting for God to send the white man to switch on the light then definitely our awareness and consciousness will be up and up and it will be a major boost to our confidence. Maybe for those who do not know or do not believe you will appreciate your great past and take pride in your Ancestors. For those who read Bratha Skhokho SaTlou’s posting on the Moors you will have a greater comprehension of what I am referring to.

In as much as the quotation above carries a message to individuals, the clarion call was, to a great extent, to the race as a whole. If we as a race can only but believe in ourselves and each other, half the battle will be over as we reclaim our might.

You can accomplish what you will
Psychology and medicine have recorded numerous examples of what people can achieve purely as a result of will power. As we rise up, so Garvey says, we can achieve and attain to the goals that we will in our hearts and minds. This is easier done at a personal level but the challenge that we face as Afrikans, collectively, is that we are so divided it is unbelievable. As long we are a people divided we shall not arise and our only fate is extinction, we will end up confined to the museum where those who tell Our Story will tell as they please.

But then saying that, is it not the case already that the non-Afrikan historians are telling the story in a manner that has white-washed us out of the true story. Yes we do have our own heavy weights in telling our story but for some bizarre reason, which I can only attribute to schizophrenia, on our part, these great teachers, including Garvey are not part of the curriculum that we teach to our children, even on the Afrikan continent, where we are supposed to be independent and free. It is great to learn that as from the next academic year Garveyism and Pan-Afrikanism, incorporating Afrikan history, will be part of the school curriculum in Jamaica. How will it be should we be extinct?

Again time for personal stock taking:

1.​Are you ready to arise as an individual?

2.​Are you ready to rise together with other members of the Global Afrikan Family? If not, why not?

3. ​Are you the one that you also have been waiting for to help transform your reality and that of the Afrikan people globally?

Do not miss:
Marcus Garvey Philosophy (God and Nature first made us what we are - Part 1)
Marcus Garvey Philosophy (God and Nature first made us what we are - Part 2)
Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe: Challenge to Pan-Afrikanists
Pan Afrikanism : Brief Introduction


  • What an inspired piece of writing. Marcus Garvey surely made us see the value of being a black person. His philosophy continues to inspire our race, in a world where we are least appreciated.
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