Capitalism and the Ideal State: Marcus Garvey

Capitalism and the Ideal State: Marcus Garvey


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



When we elect a President of a nation, he should be endowed with absolute authority

to appoint all his lieutenants from cabinet ministers, governors of States and Territories,

 administrators and judges. He should swear his life as a guarantee to the State and

people, and he should be made to pay the price of such a life if he deceives, grafts,

bows to special privilege or interest, or in any way undermines the sacred honor and

trust imposed upon him by acts of favoritism, injustice or friendly or self-interests.



Books about Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey, Hero: First Biography (1983) / Marcus Garvey: Anti-Colonial Champion (1988)

Black Moses: The Story of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (1960)

Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (1986)

Marcus Garvey: Black Nationalist Leader  (2004)  / Classical Black Nationalism: From the American Revolution to Marcus Garvey (1996)

Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa (1974) / Amy Ashwood Garvey: Pan-Africanist, Feminist, and Wife  (2000)

Books by Marcus Garvey

Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey or Africa for the Africans / Marcus Garvey: Life and Lessons (1988) 

 Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey (2005)  / The Poetical Works of Marcus Garvey


The American Experience – Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind (2001)

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Capitalism and the State

By Marcus Garvey


Capitalism is necessary to the progress of the world, and those who unreasonably and wantonly oppose or fight against it are enemies to human advancement: but there should be a limit to the individual or corporate use or control of it.

No individual should be allowed the possession, use or the privilege to invest on his own account, more than a million, and no corporation should be allowed to control more than five millions. Beyond this, all control, use and investment of money, should be the prerogative of the State with the concurrent authority of the people.

With such a method we would prevent the ill-will, hatred and conflicts that now exist between races, peoples and nations.

Modern wars are generally the outgrowth of dissatisfied capitalistic interests either among foreign or strange peoples or nations.

Until a universal adjustment takes place the State or nation should have the power to conscript and use without any obligation to repay, the wealth of such individuals or corporations through whose investments or interests, in foreign countries, or among foreign or strange peoples wars are fomented and made; in which the nation is called upon to use its military or naval power as a protection of the rights or interests of such citizens when the conflict cannot be prevented or settled otherwise.

The innocent citizens of the country should not be called upon to make sacrifices in men, money and other resources, as is generally done in times of war, and those most interested or responsible by their acts of selfishness go free, or only bear but a proportionate part of the burden.

The entire burden of the war should rest upon and be the responsibility of those whose interests brought about the difficulties, and they should be made to pay the full cost of such a war.

Men like Morgan, Rockefeller, Firestone, Doheny, Sinclair and Gary should not be allowed to entangle the nation in foreign disputes, leading to war, for the sake of satisfying their personal, individual or corporate selfishness and greed for more wealth at the expense of the innocent masses of both countries.

Oil “concessions” in Mexico or Persia; rubber “concessions” in Liberia, West Africa; sugar or coffee “concessions” in Haiti, West Indies, to be exploited for the selfish enrichment of individuals, sooner or later, end in disaster; hence ill-feeling, hate, and then war. Let us unite and stop it for the good of the people and the nation.

The trick of the selfish capitalist is to stir up local agitation among the nations; have them shoot or kill some citizen of the capitalist’s country, then he influences the agencies of his Government to call upon the home authorities for protection. A harsh diplomatic note is sent that inspires an insult or further injury, then an ultimatum is served or a demand made for indemnities or war declared with the hope of arresting from the particular weak, unfortunate country such territories where oil, rubber or other valuable minerals or resources are to be found.

This kind of dollar diplomacy is a disgrace to our civilization and for the sake of humanity should be stopped.

Source: The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey or Africa for the Africans, pp. 72-73

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Governing the Ideal StateBy Marcus Garvey


Our modern systems of Government have partly failed and are wholly failing.

We have tried various forms, but none has measured up to the Ideal State. Communism was the last attempt, and its most ardent advocates have acknowledged its limitations, shortcomings and impossibility.

The reason for all this failure is not far to seek. The sum total of Governmental collapse is traceable to the growing spirit of selfishness, graft and greed within the individual. Naturally, the state cannot govern itself: it finds expression and executes its edicts through individuals, hence the State is human. Its animation is but the reflex of our human characters. As a Nero, Caesar, Alexander, Alfred, William, Louis, Charles, Cromwell, Napoleon, Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt or Wilson thinks, so expresses the majesty of the State.

If we must correct the maladministration of the State and apply the corporate majesty of the people to their own good, then we must reach the source and there reorganize or reform.

Under the pressure of our civilization, with its manifold demands, the individual is tempted, beyond measure, to do evil or harm to others; and, if responsible, to the entire State and people, and by thus acting he himself profits and those around him, there arises corruption in Government, as well as in other branches of the secular and civil life.

All other methods of Government having been tried and failed, I suggest a reformation that would place a greater responsibility upon the shoulders of the elect and force them either to be the criminals, that some of us believe they are, or the good and true representatives we desire them to be.

Government should be absolute, and the head should be thoroughly responsible for himself and the acts of his subordinates.

When we elect a President of a nation, he should be endowed with absolute authority to appoint all his lieutenants from cabinet ministers, governors of States and Territories, administrators and judges. He should swear his life as a guarantee to the State and people, and he should be made to pay the price of such a life if he deceives, grafts, bows to special privilege or interest, or in any way undermines the sacred honor and trust imposed upon him by acts of favoritism, injustice or friendly or self-interests. He should be the soul of honor, and when he is legally or properly found to the contrary, he should be publicly disgraced, and put to death as an outcast and an unworthy representative of the righteous will of the people.

A President should, by proper provisions made by the State, be removed from all pecuniary obligations and desires of a material nature. He should be voted a salary and other accommodations so large and sufficient as to make it reasonably impossible for him, or those dependent upon him, to desire more during his administration. He and his family should be permanently and substantially provided for after the close of his administration, and all this and possibly more should be done for the purpose of removing him from the slightest possible material temptations or want. He, in turn, should devote his entire time to the sovereign needs and desires of the people. He should, for all the period of his administration, remove himself from obligatory, direct and fraternal contact with any and all special friends. His only friends outside of his immediate family should be the State. He should exact by law from all his responsible and administrative appointees a similar obligation, and he should enforce the law by penalty of death.

His administrators and judges should be held to strict accountability, and on the committing of any act of injustice, unfairness, favoritism or malfeasance, should be taken before the public, disgraced and then stoned to death.

This system would tend to attract to the sacred function of Government and judicial administration, only men and women of the highest and best characters, whom the public would learn to honor and respect with such satisfaction as to obliterate and prevent the factional party fights of Socialism, Communism, Anarchism, etc., for the control of Government, because of the belief that Government is controlled in the interest of classes, and not for the good of all the people. It would also discourage the self-seekers, grafters, demagogues and charlatans from seeking public offices, as the penalty of discovery of crime would be public disgrace and death for them and their families.

The State should hold the wife of a President, and the wives of all administrative officials, solely responsible for their domestic households, and they should be required by law to keep a strict and accurate public account of all receipts and disbursements of their husbands during their administrative terms, and if any revenue comes into the household other than provided by law, should be promptly reported to the responsible officer of the State for immediate action, and should the wife conceal or refuse to make such a disclosure, and that it be discovered afterwards, and it was an act of crime against the dignity and high office of the incumbent, she and her husband should be publicly disgraced and put to death, but any child or member of the family who, before discovery, reports the act, should be spared the disgrace and publicly honored by the populace for performing a duty to the State.

The State should require that the husband and his consort under the severest penalty for non-performance, report the full amount of his entire wealth to the State before taking office, and that all incomes and salaries legally authorized be reported promptly to the wife to enable her to keep a proper public account.

Whenever a President or high official during his term has performed solemnly and truly all his duties to the people and State, and he is about to retire, he should be publicly proclaimed and honored by the populace, and all during his life he and his family should occupy a special place of honor and respect among the people. They should be respected by all with whom they come in contact, and at death they should be granted public funerals and their names added to the niche in the Hall of Fame of the Nation. Their names should be placed on the Honor Roll of the Nation, and their deeds of righteousness should be handed down to the succeeding generations of the race, and their memories sung by the poets of the nation.

For those who have abused their trusts, images of them should be made and placed in a national hall of criminology and ill fame, and their crimes should be recited and a curse pronounced upon them and their generations.

Government left to the free and wanton will and caprice of the individual in an age so corrupt as this, without any vital reprimand or punishment for malfeasance, other than ordinary imprisonment, will continue to produce dissatisfaction, cause counter agitations of a dangerous nature and upheavals destructive to the good of society and baneful to the higher hopes and desires of the human race.

This plan I offer to the race as a means to which we may perfect the establishment of a new system of Government, conducive to the best interest of the people and a blessing to our disorganized society of the twentieth century.

Source: The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey or Africa for the Africans, pp. 74-76

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Marcus Garvey—born on August 17, 1887 in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica—left school at 14, worked as a printer, joined Jamaican nationalist organizations, toured Central America, and spent time in London. Content at first with accommodation, on his return to Jamaica, he aspired to open a Tuskegee-type industrial training school. In 1916 he came to America at Booker T. Washington’s invitation, but arrived just after Washington died.

As the leader of the largest organized mass movement in black history and progenitor of the modern “black is beautiful” ideal, Garvey is now best remembered as a champion of the back-to-Africa movement. In his own time he was hailed as a redeemer, a “Black Moses.” Though he failed to realize all his objectives, his movement still represents a liberation from the psychological bondage of racial inferiority.

When he settled in New York City, he organized a chapter of the U.N.I.A., which he had earlier founded in Jamaica as a fraternal organization. Drawing on a gift for oratory, he melded Jamaican peasant aspirations for economic and cultural independence with the American gospel of success to create a new gospel of racial pride. “Garveyism” eventually evolved into a religion of success, inspiring millions of black people worldwide who sought relief from racism and colonialism.

By 1920 the U.N.I.A. had hundreds of chapters worldwide; it hosted elaborate international conventions and published The Negro World  widely disseminated weekly, though banned in many parts of Africa and the Caribbean. In 1922 the federal government indicted Garvey on mail fraud charges stemming from Black Star Line promotional claims and he suspended all BSL operations.

Two years later, the U.N.I.A. created another line, the Black Cross Navigation and Trading Co., but it, too, failed. Garvey was sentenced to prison. The government later commuted his sentence, only to deport him back to Jamaica in November 1927. He never returned to America. In Jamaica Garvey reconstituted the U.N.I.A. and held conventions there and in Canada, but the heart of his movement stumbled on in America without him.

Garvey  remained a keen observer of world events, writing voluminously in his own papers.

His final move was to London, in 1935. He settled there shortly before Fascist Italy invaded Ethiopia and his public criticisms of Haile Selassie’s behavior after the invasion alienated many of his own remaining followers. Garvey died June 10, 1940.

posted 18 May 2011

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 Malcolm X Speaks on Marcus Garvey  / Marcus Garvey Speech

Marcus Garvey “Africa For The Africans”  /  Look For Me in The Whirlwind  /  Marcus Mosiah Garvey

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Sing Your Song

Harry Belafonte on Art and Politics, Civil Rights & His Critique of President Obama

Harry Belafonte, legendary musician, actor and humanitarian. He’s the subject of a new documentary about his life, called Sing Your Song. This interview was conducted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. 

Belafonte Whited Out In Oakland  /  I’m So Pissed Off  /  Transcript of Harry Belafonte-Larry King Interview

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



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Amy Ashwood Garvey: Pan Africanist, Feminist, and Wife No. 1 Or, A Tale of Two Amies

By Tony Martin

“She had a sort of coup in the UNIA,” Martin said of Amy Ashwood Garvey. This was when she was in Jamaica between 1939 and 1944, a period when Mrs. Marcus Garvey No. 2, Amy Jacques Garvey, was also in Jamaica.” Martin’s sources were Amy Ashwood Garvey’s papers, consisting of letters, scripts and photographs–found among her friends Lionel Yard and Ivy Constable Richards, the National Library of Jamaica, in London and in Chicago from the former head of the UNIA, the Hon. Charles L. Jones.  In 1924, in London, she started an important organisation,” Martin said. That was the Nigerian Progress Union, later to become the West African Students Union (WASU). “WASU is one of the most important organisations in the history of Pan-Africanism,” Martin said, pointing out that Kwame Nkrumah was once president. In 1946, she traced her ancestry back to Asante in Ghana.  Jamaica-Gleaner

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Malcolm X

A Life of Reinvention

By Manning Marable

Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist. Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins’ bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable’s new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.

Reaching into Malcolm’s troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents’ activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

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Ghosts in Our Blood

With Malcolm X in Africa, England, and the Caribbean

By Jan R. Carew

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While this book will not replace The Autobiography of Malcolm X (LJ 1/1/66), it is an important supplement. All libraries that own the autobiography should also purchase this one.—Library Journal

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Civilization: The West and the Rest

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These were the “killer applications” that allowed the West to leap ahead of the Rest, opening global trade routes, exploiting newly discovered scientific laws, evolving a system of representative government, more than doubling life expectancy, unleashing the Industrial Revolution, and embracing a dynamic work ethic. Civilization shows just how fewer than a dozen Western empires came to control more than half of humanity and four fifths of the world economy.

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Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918 (By Jeffrey B. Perry)

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Mighty Be Our Powers

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By Leymah Gbowee

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Mighty Be Our Powers is the gripping chronicle of a journey from hopelessness to empowerment that will touch all who dream of a better world.—Beast Books 

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

  / Leymah Gbowee Wins 2011 Nobel Peace Prize  / Nobel Peace Prize Winners

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Mandela’s Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage

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Woven into these life lessons are remarkable stories—of Mandela’s child­hood as the protégé of a tribal king, of his early days as a freedom fighter, of the twenty-seven-year imprison­ment that could not break him, and of his new and fulfilling marriage at the age of eighty.

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Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall’s African Journey (2008)

Thurgood Marshall became a living icon of civil rights when he argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court in 1954. Six years later, he was at a crossroads. A rising generation of activists were making sit-ins and demonstrations rather than lawsuits the hallmark of the civil rights movement. What role, he wondered, could he now play?

When in 1960 Kenyan independence leaders asked him to help write their constitution, Marshall threw himself into their cause. Here was a new arena in which law might serve as the tool with which to forge a just society. In Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall’s African Journey (2008) Mary Dudziak recounts with poignancy and power the untold story of Marshall’s journey to Africa

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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