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Reply to "Marcus Garvey Was A Colonialist"

This seems like a pretty good source (you can provide yours)...

quote:
While Garvey's experiences in Liberia differed in practical terms from those of Du Bois, they too revealed the bankruptcy of early-twentieth-century Pan-Africanism as a platform for cooperation between diasporan and continental Africans. When Garvey dispatched Elie Garcia and a Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) delegation to Liberia in 1920, his intention was to acquaint President C. D. B. King with the aims of his organization and the various schemes he hoped to implement as soon as he got approval from the Liberian government. (74) Among Garvey's numerous goals were: to transfer the headquarters of his organization to Liberia, with the ultimate aim of using West Africa as a base for his crusade against European imperialism; to launch a $2 million campaign to help Liberia repay its debts; to help raise funds for the government of Liberia to build schools and hospitals; and to resettle New World blacks in Liberia, who in turn would help the republic develop its agriculture and other natural resources. In return, Garvey expected the Liberian government to grant the Association enough land for its schemes, especially land for the resettlement of blacks from the Americas. (75)

The Americo-Liberian leadership initially welcomed Garvey's ideas and promised to work closely with the UNIA to fulfill its ambitions, while hoping that Garvey's promise of financial support would sustain its strapped government. In December 1923, another delegation led by UNIA secretary general Robert Poston was sent to Liberia to finalize arrangements for the resettlement of about twenty thousand black families from the United States and the Caribbean who, as part of the resettlement program, were expected to emigrate during the next two years. (76) In May 1924, after receiving approval from the Liberian government, Garvey decided to send a team of engineers to assess the situation in Liberia, especially the site earmarked by the Liberian government for the UNIA resettlement project. However, in an unexpected turn of events, the engineers were detained upon arrival in Monrovia and summarily deported by the Liberian authorities on 31 July 1924. The Liberian News, a progovernment newspaper, quoted President King as saying that his decision to proscribe Garvey's movement in Liberia showed his administration's reluctance to tolerate any movement "which tends to intensify racial feelings of hatred and ill-will." (77) Assessing President King's rationale for proscribing UNIA, historian Monday Akpan perceptively remarks: "Behind this policy, and behind the failure of Garvey's colonization scheme, was the determination of the ruling oligarchy of earlier settlers to defend their privileged position against any 'intruders.' They were therefore prepared to suppress ruthlessly any person or organization which threatened to end this exploitation." (78) As we have seen, relations between Americo-Liberians and their indigenous compatriots were far from cordial, punctuated by recurring hostilities and hinging on an unfair distribution of wealth and power that allowed about five thousand Americo-Liberians to dominate nearly five hundred thousand indigenous people. Adopting a similar line of reasoning, historian Frank Chalk argues that the Americo-Liberian leaders believed that Garvey hoped to improve the conditions of indigenous Liberians and therefore saw the UNIA as a potential threat to their political dominance. According to Chalk, "Once the Liberian elite understood Garvey's aims [vis-a-vis indigenous Liberians], even if there had been no threat from Britain and France, it was inevitable that Garvey's movement would be banned in Liberia." (79) It seems likely that the Americo-Liberian leadership was enthusiastic about the Garvey project only because it promised financial support. In the end, however, even the prospect of monetary aid was outweighed by the suspicion that Garvey's presence in Liberia might not only inflame indigenous Liberians, but also give Britain or France an excuse to interfere in Liberian affairs...

...by the time Garvey began negotiations with the Liberian government, he had not only aroused the suspicions of the U.S. government, but news about his movement as a source of revolution was spreading in European colonial circles and many parts of Africa. The ruling elite in Liberia indeed was perturbed by UNIA claims to represent blacks worldwide. The last thing the leadership wanted from a movement like Garvey's was the chance that its actions might undermine the status quo in Liberia.

...In all probability, Garvey never gave the peculiar circumstances of Americo-and indigenous Liberian relations any serious consideration... Liberia, which he had hoped to use as a launching pad for his plans, proved to be unsuitable for the vociferous Pan-Africanist, and, as a result, Garvey was forced to focus his efforts elsewhere. Indeed Garvey's "enthusiasm for Liberia lasted only so long as that country seemed willing to promote his plans." Consequently, he would accuse Du Bois of complicity with the Liberian government to thwart his scheme--an accusation Du Bois repeatedly denied.


From: W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Pan-Africanism in Liberia,
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