As the world abandons the anomaly that was the 3 decades of unipolarity centred around the US, now is a good time to take stock of the situation and ask ourselves, what would Marcus Garvey make of the situation and how would he react?

This is not a simple mental exercise for the sake of exercise, for it is easily forgotten that Garvey was active and influential both before, during and after WWI, a time much like this one which saw the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.

The inter-imperialist war which was WWI, led to the destruction of at least 3 established empires, the ending of the Pax Britania and was the tinder which led to the independence of the colonies a mere 50 years later.

If Mr Garvey were alive today, he would view the ongoing struggle between NATO and Russia/China as the perfect time to strike a chord with the masses and demand repatriation.

Regardless of what some may say, Marcus Garvey and his teachings remain as relevant today as they were during the inter-war period which saw Africans and their diaspora organising in such a manner as to strike fear into the hearts of the US who illegally arrested and deported him. His call for Africa for the Africans is a mantra which still has to be heeded as we see the UK and France retaining undue influence in their former colonies.

But his teachings remain relevant for other reasons as well. Black is still not viewed as beautiful in the minds of black people.  Black people still live in squalor when compared to other racial groups, and we still find ourselves on the worst end of the totem pole when it comes to earnings.

The unfortunate truth is that if Mr Garvey were to appear on the earth today, he would not be pleased with our achievements. Independence is easy to attain especially if people don’t want you.  The transformation of the mind however takes a longer time, and it is in that area where Mr Garvey would be especially upset.

In Jamaica, a country which is overwhelmingly black, we loathe ourselves so much that we have what must be called a bleaching epidemic as people try so hard to remove the very blackness from their bodies. In a country overwhelmingly black, our connections to Africa remain to be fully articulated and are loose.

As the world burns and old empires disappear from maps, now, just like the interwar period, presents an excellent opportunity to implement the teachings of Garvey so we do not make the same mistakes.

We must use this time to build real links and connections with Africa and the various states in the continent. We must embrace a level of protectionism to allow domestic industry to grow, we need in short the implementation of Marcus Garvey’s manifesto when he headed the PPP.

That platform, the manifesto and the issues it spoke to remain relevant today as they were back then. Just as a refresher, the issues Mr Garvey spoke to were:

Even if we exclude the points surrounding self-government, legal aid and libraries, and parks the rest of this list remains relevant.

The minimum wage remains at pocket money level despite the increase; schools that are not of a certain vintage are failing; over a quarter of the population lives on captured land, and the list goes on.

Even the points of self-government, libraries and parks remain points of key relevance almost 100 years since they were first demanded.

As a nation, we could all do with revisiting the teachings of Marcus Garvey, and the global geopolitical realignment provides an ideal opportunity to not only speak praises of Mr Garvey but to also implement the changes he called for. We can protect local industries, we can and should expand the library system, we should be creating more cities and we definitely need land reform.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey would not be pleased with what we have done with his legacy, more work is to be done to remove the mental shackles, but the obstacles would not deter him, and nor should they deter us from the mission.

The brave new world which is beginning before our eyes is a chance which does not come around often enough. We are being presented with the opportunity of implementing the reforms, breaking the mental shackles holding us back and embrace nations which are trodding the same path.

In the end, it means acknowledging the fact that Garvey was right, these countries will not treat us as equals all things considered and as a result we must take ourselves away, build ourselves and come back demanding the equity we deserve. That radical move if done will signal that we have truly taken Garvey’s teachings on board and are serious about seeing it through. Garvey remains relevant both at home and abroad and will continue to be relevant, it is up to us to either see his ideas through to fruition or abandon them.

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