Philosophy and Opinions




        We are circumvented today by environments more dangerous than those which circumvented other peoples in any other age.   We are face to face with environments in a civilization that is highly developed; a civilization that is competing with itself for its own destruction; a civilization that cannot last, because it has no spiritual foundation; a civilization that is vicious, crafty, dishonest, immoral, irreligious and corrupt.
        We see a small percentage of the world's populace feeling happy and contented with this civilization that man has evolved, and we see the masses of the human race on the other hand dissatisfied and discontented with the civilization of today - the arrangement of human society.  Those masses are determined to destroy the systems that hold up such a society and prop such a civilization.
        As by indication, the fall will come.  A fall that will cause the universal wreck of the civilization that we now see, and in this civilization the Negro is called upon to play his part.  He is called upon to evolve a national ideal, based upon freedom, human liberty and true democracy.


        God Almighty created all men equal, whether they be white, yellow or black, and for any race to admit that it cannot do what others have done, is to hurl an insult at the Almighty who created all races equal, in the beginning.
        The white man has no right of way to this green earth, neither the yellow man.  All of us were created lords of the creation, and whether we be white, yellow, brown or black Nature intended a place for each and every one.
        If Europe is for the white man, if Asia is for brown and yellow men, then surely Africa is for the black man.  The great white man has fought for the preservation of Europe, the great yellow and brown races are fighting for the preservation of Asia, and four hundred million Negroes shall shed, if needs be, the last drop of their blood for the redemption of Africa and the emancipation of the race everywhere.


        The human race is universally disturbed because of the many injustices inflicted upon the masses by the dominant powers.   The privileged classes have for centuries dominated the will of the masses, and as it would appear, have ground out of the toiling millions the last drop of sweat.   These millions are now in rebellion.  They are striking everywhere - in England, France, Germany, America and other parts of the world.  Those who are not on strike are shaking their fists in bloody revolution as a protest against the industrial and political systems of the day.
        In this big noise for world readjustment in the affairs of the human race, four hundred million Negroes cry out for better consideration and for justice.


        Present day statesmen are making the biggest blunder of the age if they believe that there can be any peace without equity and justice to all mankind.
        Any attempt at disarmament when half the world oppresses the other half is but a farce, because the oppressed will make their oppressors get armed sooner or later.


        The world is not yet perfect.   It is in chaos; yes, in confusion and out of this confusion will come many more upheavals that will shake its very foundation.  Fool not yourselves that the conferences that have been held, and will be held in the future, are sufficient to settle the disgruntled state of the world, the dissatisfied condition of humanity.  They have not gone down to the root of all evils that give cause to the great discontent, they will never be able to establish a permanent peace and present to us a settled world.
        The history of the past teaches us that we have had many wars, each more deadly, each more catastrophic, and even as the war of 1914-18 was the most deadly we have experienced for ages, so in the very near future we shall see the most bloody conflict ever waged by man.  Whether it is to be a war of the races or of the nations, no one can tell, but so long as this injustice continues - so long as the strong continues to oppress the weak; so long as the powerful nations arrange among themselves to oppress the weaker ones, and to keep the more unfortunate of humanity in serfdom, and to rob and exploit them, so long will the cause of war be fed with the fuel of revenge, of hatred, and of discontent.


        The political re-adjustment of the world means this - that every race must find a home; hence the great cry of Palestine for the Jews - Ireland for the Irish, - India for the Indians and simultaneously Negroes are raising the cry of "AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS", those at home and those abroad.
        It is a cry for political re-adjustment along natural lines, and this re-adjustment has come out of the war of 1914-18, because, we, as Negroes, realize that if (with our knowledge and experience of western civilization) we allow the world to adjust itself politically without taking thought for ourselves, we would be lost to the world in another few decades.


        The fall of nations and empires has always come about first by the disorganized spirit, - the disorganized sentiment of those who make up the nation or the empire.
        The one class opposing, fighting against the other, the other class seeking to deprive them of the essentials of life which are necessary for the good and well-being of all.
        The class that ruled in the past and the class that rules now in government, are the people who have always provoked the spirit of those who are ruled.  Hence you have social revolutions, civil strifes, which ultimately result in the downfall of the empire or the nation.  What has happened in the past will happen again.  I am not attempting to prophesy the destruction of any of the now existing empires or nations, but the empires and nations themselves are going to their own ruin.
        In Europe we hear of great industrial unrests.   Laborers uniting themselves and marching to the representatives of governments asking for better conditions to alleviate their suffering.  Instead of the representatives seeking to pacify and satisfy those who are in need, the representatives of such governments adopt a strongarmed policy to prosecute and persecute those who suffer and appeal for aid from the nation or the empire.  What happens?  The dissatisfied who are driven away by the majesty of the law, go back to those who suffer with them and scatter throughout the nation or the empire the spirit of dissatisfaction that ultimately breaks out in civil strife, social disorder, which in turn brings the downfall of the nation or the empire.
        People who rule (being selected by the masses of their own) forget when they come into power that they have an obligation to those who placed them in authority and through selfishness arrogate to themselves all that is good within the nation to the exclusion of those who suffer and to the exclusion of those who placed them in their positions of trust.  HENCE MONOPOLY - industrial, commercial and economic - which places power in the hands of the select few, and through the selfishness of administration by the few they cause the majority of the masses to exist always in want.  Through this want, a spirit of disssatisfaction springs up among the people, and they, in their passion, seeking to correct the evil, tear down governments.


        My enemies in America have done much to hold me up to public contempt and ridicule, but have failed.  They believe that the only resort is to stir up national prejudice against me, in that I was not born within the borders of the United States of America.
        I am not in the least concerned about such a propaganda, because I have travelled the length and breath of America and I have discovered that among the fifteen million of my race, only those who have exploited and lived off the ignorance of the masses are concerned with where I was born.  The masses of the people are looking for leadership, they desire sincere, honest guidance in racial affairs.  As proof of this I may mention, that the largest number of members in the Universal Negro Improvement Association (of which I am President-General) are to be found in America, and are native born Americans.  I know these people so well and I love them so well, that I would not for one minute think that they would fall for such an insiduous propaganda.
        All intelligent people know that one's nationality has nothing to do with great ideals and great principles.  If because I am a Jamaican the Negro should not accept the principle of race rights and liberty, or the ideal of a free and independent race; then you may well say that because Jesus was a Nazarene the outside world should not accept His Doctrine of Christianity, because He was an "alien."
        Because Martin Luther was born in Germany, the world should not accept the doctrine of Protestantism.
        Because Alexander Hamilton and Lafayette were not born in America, Americans should not accept and appreciate the benefits they bestowed upon the nation.
        Because Marconi was an Italian, we of the new world should not make use of wireless telegraphy.  Again I say, great principles, great ideals know no nationality.
        I know no national boundary where the Negro is concerned.  The whole world is my province until Africa is free.


        The man or woman who has no confidence in self is an unfortunate being, and is really a misfit in creation.
        God Almighty created each and every one of us for a place in the world, and for the least of us to think that we were created only to be what we are and not what we can make ourselves, is to impute an improper motive to the Creator for creating us.
        God Almighty created us all to be free.   That the Negro race became a race of slaves was not the fault of God Almighty, the Divine Master, it was the fault of the race.
        Sloth, neglect, indifference caused us to be slaves.
        Confidence, conviction, action will cause us to be free men to-day.


        I believe in a pure black race just as how all self-respecting whites believe in a pure white race, as far as that can be.
        I am conscious of the fact that slavery brought upon us the curse of many colors within the Negro race, but that is no reason why we of ourselves should perpetuate the evil; hence instead of encouraging a wholesale bastardy in the race, we feel that we should now set out to create a race type and standard of our own which could not, in the future, be stigmatized by bastardy, but could be recognized and respected as the true race type anteceding even our own time.


        For man to know himself is for him to feel that for him there is no human master.  For him Nature is his servant, and whatsoever he wills in Nature, that shall be his reward.  If he wills to be a pigmy, a serf or a slave, that shall he be.  If he wills to be a real man in possession of the things common to man, then he shall be his own sovereign.
        When man fails to grasp his authority he sinks to the level of the lower animals, and whatsoever the real man bids him do, even as if it were of the lower animals, that much shall he do.  If he says "go."   He goes.  If he says "come," he comes.  By this command he performs the functions of life even as by a similar command the mule, the horse, the cow perform the will of their masters.
        For the last four hundred years the Negro has been in the position of being commanded even as the lower animals are controlled.   Our race has been without a will; without a purpose of its own, for all this length of time.  Because of that we have developed few men who are able to understand the strenuousness of the age in which we live.
        Where can we find in this race of ours real men.  Men of character, men of purpose, men of confidence, men of faith, men who really know themselves?  I have come across so many weaklings who profess to be leaders, and in the test I have found them but the slaves of a nobler class.  They perform the will of their masters without question.
        To me, a man has no master but God.  Man in his authority is a sovereign lord.  As for the individual man, so of the individual race.  This feeling makes man so courageous, so bold, as to make it impossible for his brother to intrude upon his rights.  So few of us can understand what it takes to make a man - the man who will never say die; the man who will never give up; the man who will never depend upon others to do for him what he ought to do for himself; the man who will not blame God, who will not blame Nature, who will not blame Fate for his condition; but the man who will go out and make conditions to suit himself.   Oh, how disgusting life becomes when on every hand you hear people (who bear your image, who bear your resemblance) telling you that they cannot make it, that Fate is against them, that they cannot get a chance.  If 400,000,000 Negroes can only get to know thesmelves, to know that in them is a sovereign power, is an authority that is absolute, then in the next twenty-four hours we would have a new race, we would have a nation, an empire, - resurrected, not from the will of others to see us rise, - but from our own determination to rise, irrespective of what the world thinks.


        We hear a great deal of talk about world peace today.  Wilson of America, Lloyd George of England, Clemenceau of France a few years ago prophesied at Versailles a reign of peace.  Up to the present many of the leading statesmen of the world have pledged themselves to a program of world peace.  Many conferences have been held (political as well as industrial) for the purpose of settling the question of peace; but up to now none of them has laid the foundation for a real peace, for a lasting peace.
        The peace of the world cannot be settled by political conferences, or by industrial conferences only.  If we are to have a world peace it will only come when a great inter-racial, conference is called.  When Jew will meet Gentile; when Anglo-Saxon will meet Teuton; when the great Caucasian family will meet the Mongolian, and when all will meet the Negro, and then and there straighten out the differences that have kept us apart for hundreds of years, and will continue to keep us apart until Doom's Day, if something is not done to create better racial understanding.
        If white men continue to exploit yellow men, if white men continue to exploit black and brown men, if yellow men continue to exploit brown and black men, then all we can look forward to is a reign of wars and rumors of wars.   So long as Anglo-Saxons oppress Indians; so long as the French exploit the black race; so long as the Russian murders the Jew, so long will the cause for war be found, and so long will man continue to fight and kill his brother.
        If England wants peace, if France wants peace, I suggest to them to pack up their bag and baggage and clear out of Africa, because Africa in the future will be to them what Europe has been for the last three hundred years - a hot bed of wars, political intrigues and upheavals, - and Europe has changed many a time politically.  Once the great Napolean ruled, the Czars ruled and but recently the German Eagle was the symbol of fear.  To-day England stands out as the most brilliant star in the European political constellation.  But what of tomorrow?  Africa with her threatened upheaval will produce the same conditions in another century as Europe has done in the past.  Can we not see that we are marching headlong into the abyss of eternal destruction?  Can we not realize that we are not laying the foundation of peace?  Can we not realize that we are but provoking the sleeping passions of the races?  How long do you believe that four-hundred million Negroes will allow themselves to be exploited by alien races, robbed and murdered?  Just so long until the truth is brought home to them, and then when the sleeping giant awakens, even like Samson, he may bring down the pillars of the temple.
        The war of 1914-18 has created a new sentiment throughout the world.  Once upon a time weaker peoples were afraid of expressing themselves, of giving vent to their feelings, but today no oppressed race or nation is afraid of speaking out in the cause of liberty.  Egypt has spoken, Ireland has spoken, Poland has spoken and Poland is free, Egypt is free, Ireland is also free.   Africa is now speaking, and if for seven-hundred and fifty years Irishmen found perseverance enough to have carried the cause of freedom on and on until they won, then four hundred million Negroes are prepared to carry on the fight for African liberty even if it takes us to the seat of the Most High, yes if it takes us until judgment day, we shall fight the cause on and on without relenting.  The world may scoff at us, the world may deride us, but there have been many surprises for the world before, and there will be many more.  Englishmen scoffed at the Colonists when they agitated for independence in America, but their scoffs and derisions did not prevent George Washington from giving us the glorious Stars and Stripes.  Men laughed at the propaganda of Tolstoi.  The Czar himself impugned the idea of a more liberal Russia, but today Lenine and Trotszky rule.  Yes, the Louis's laughed at the propaganda of the Liberals of France, but the French Monarchy is no more.  Today Frenchmen take pride in the new democracy of France; so that others may laugh at us today because we are agitating the question of a free and independent Africa, but tomorrow, who knows, Africa will loom up as the greatest Republic in the world.


        God is a bold Sovereign - A Warrior Lord.  The God we worship and adore is a God of War as well as a God of Peace.  He does not allow anything to interfere with His power and authority.
        The greatest battle ever fought was not between the Kaiser of Germany on the one hand and the Allied Powers on the other, it was between Almighty God on the one hand and Lucifer the Archangel on the other.
        When Lucifer challenged God's power in Heaven and marshalled his forces on the plains of Paradise, the God we worship and adore also marshalled His forces, His Archangels, His Cherubims and His Seraphims, and in battle array He placed Himself before them with the royal standard of Heaven.  He faced the oppossing general Lucifer with his hordes on the battle plains of Heaven and there the great war began.  The whole universe shook as the battle raged between the two opposing forces, and as God the Creator gained the upper hand of Lucifer, what did He do?   Did He hoist the white flag of peace?  No, God Almighty, God the Omnipotent took hold of Lucifer and flung him from the heights of Heaven to the depths of hell, thereby proving that He is a God of war as well as a God of peace.  And when anyone transgresses His power He goes to war in defence of His rights.
        Man is only a little lower than the angels; the angels are only a little lower than the creator, but the Creator, has bequeathed to angels and to men the same principles, the same policies that govern Him as God.  And even as he goes to war in defense of His rights, so man goes to war in defense of his rights.
     I believe with Napoleon.   When some one asked him "On what side is God?" he replied.   "God is on the side of the strongest battalion."  Napolean was right.  He had a true concept of God.  God is really on the side of the strongest peoples because God made all men equal and He never gave superior power to any one class or group of people over another, and any one who can get the advantage over another is pleasing God, because that is the servant who has taken care of God's command in exercising authority over the world.


        If the white man has the idea of a white God, let him worship his God as he desires.  If the yellow man's God is of his race let him worship his God as he sees fit.  We, as Negroes, have found a new ideal.  Whilst our God has no color, yet it is human to see everything through one's own spectacles, and since the white people have seen their God through white spectacles, we have only now started out (late though it be) to see our God through our own spectacles.  The God of Isaac and the God of Jacob let Him exist for the race that believes in the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.  We Negroes believe in the God of Ethiopia, the everlasting God - God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, the One God of all ages.  That is the God in whom we believe, but we shall worship Him through the spectacles of Ethiopia.

Philosophy & Opinions of Marcus Garvey, edited by Amy Jacques Garvey (Atheneum, New York 1977).

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