Marcus Mosiah Garvey (Part five)

Views on communism

“Fundamentally what racial difference is there between a white Communist, Republican or Democrat?”

—Marcus Garvey[23]

Garvey is known as a leading political figure because of his determination to fight for the unity of African Americans by creating the Universal Negro Improvement Association and rallying to gather supporters to fight. With this group, he touched upon many topics such as education, the economy, and independence. An important aspect of his career was his thoughts on communism. Garvey felt that communism would be more beneficial for whites by solving their own political and economic problems, but would further limit the success of blacks rising together. He believed that the Communist Party wanted to use the African-American vote “to smash and overthrow” the capitalistic white majority to “put their majority group or race still in power, not only as communists but as white men” (Jacques-Garvey, 1969). The Communist Party wanted to have as many supporters as possible, even if it meant having blacks, but Garvey discouraged this. He had the idea that communists were only white men who wanted to manipulate blacks so they could continue to have control over them. Garvey said, “It is a dangerous theory of economic and political reformation because it seeks to put the government in the hands of an ignorant white mass who have not been able to destroy their natural prejudices towards Negroes and other non-white people. While it may be a good thing for them, it will be a bad thing for the Negroes who will fall under the government of the most ignorant, prejudiced class of the white race” (Nolan, 1951).[24]

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