Those of us who prowl the web looking for interesting reading material will inevitably come across Garvey’s Ghost, a blog of informed and intelligent analysis from an African perspective. Its proprietor, Sondjata, was kind enough to give us the time for an interview.
How did you end up thinking radically differently from the mainstream? What was your introduction to more historically-aware politics, and how did it change over time?
I have always thought differently from the mainstream (even though according to multiple ‘political leaning” testsÂ I am apparently almost dead center in terms of left-right. However; I had earlier been attracted to more left wing and black liberal (liberational) ideologies.
I later moved into Pan-Africanism of the Garvey strain which put me on the political “right” of black left ideology (if that makes sense). Later on as I strove to maintain intellectual honesty and challenged my own beliefs by looking at data thatÂ I previously dismissed as “racist” due to adhering to the “Thou shalt not read, watch or otherwise acknowledge information from non-left sources” religion, I moved in what would be considered by most a more rightward direction. Of course as mentioned earlier, by many measures I am a centrist which means, in my opinion, being honest with the facts ought make you a centrist.
If you were in control of the world, what would civilization look like, both locally and globally?
I don’t want to control the world. I actually came to the decision that I was unfit for that level of leadership a long time ago. I have “revenge” issues.Â I think world control (globalism) is at the root of many problems. I have spent around 20 years simply trying to consider how to make Garveyite Pan-Africanism workable and no matter how I’ve thought it out it means upsetting (and possibly eliminating) a great deal of people.
While there may be technological means to overcome issues such as language, I don’t see how you can “control the globe” without seriously impacting local cultures and customs.Â Personally I’m currently leaning to nations setting up themselves as they see fit and do whatever they see fit so long as they don’t negatively impact other nations (warfare, environmental damage). People should be able to leave a nation/culture they don’t care for but upon arriving in a nation they find more inviting must adopt the norms of that society.
Do you think there is an underlying psychological condition behind Leftism, or is it an informed choice, and if so, why do people choose it?
I think we have to define “leftism.” Leftism as we see it now (I refuse to call it “progressive”) and leftism as we saw it in say Barbara Jordan’s time was very different. Old style leftism as I understand it (which could be wrong) was concerned with abuse of power by the powerful. So we had unions that definitely helped the American worker. You had the issue of slavery, Jim Crow and other abridging of rights of certain citizens. I don’t think anyone with a conscience can honestly take issue with these things.This is where I think people get into liberalism. Who’s for discrimination? So it is an obvious logical and importantly emotional decision to be attracted to liberalism.
Modern day liberalism is quite different. Through my reading and watching I am convinced that current liberalism is Marxism/socialism in American garbÂ (or British, French what-have-you). Yes there were definitely communist influences in the early civil rights movement(s) with even communists in leadership positions but their power, in my opinion, was blunted by a sense of patriotism and cultural respect. Now those checks are all but gone. What happens now with liberals is that you take the emotional power of “are you for discrimination” and you then use that to widen your power grab or as others put it, move the goal post. It also allows those who see themselves as victims to blame an external party (which is human nature) rather than look at themselves.
Garvey’s Ghost has been high on my reading list since I found it. When did you start the blog, and why?
I started Garvey’s Ghost in Dec 2003.Â Generally I was upset about G.W. Bush as well as what I considered extremely weak black writings on various subjects. Being a solutions-orientated person, I decided to do something other than complain. By the way it is the longest running, continuously updated black blog that is not a news aggregator.
What do you think Marcus and Amy Garvey offered that others have not, and why are they more obscure than some other thinkers who seem to get all the press?
Well it’s a good thing I reviewed my answer to this question because I totally did not answer the question posed. The reason that I believe Garvey (Marcus and Amy) and Garveyism is and has been ignored is because it generally does not appeal to the “white people owe us everything and all we need to do is make ’em pay” ideology that is rife on the black left.
Part of this again is human nature.Â Imagine I came to you and gave you the following offer: I will give you a brand new car for your use right now or I’ll give you the parts to build a new car and all the tools to build it and maintain it and if you like build more. 99.9% of people would say “thanks for the keys.” Liberal ideology is taking the keys. Garveyism is taking the parts and tools. Garveyism is hard in the short term but pays in the long term. But you gotta build the car.
When The Black Star Line company was formed the NAACP went out against it. Think about that, the NAACP was against a black-run organization that would be employing black people. So this is why Garveyism isn’t accepted by left blacks. Oh they love the Red Black and Green. But symbolism is easy.
Speaking specifically about Amy Garvey I would point out thatÂ she often wrote scathing indictments of black men not being husbands, fathers and leaders. Amy Garvey wouldn’t be out here talking about how “our babies are being shot by police.” She would be out there talking about why are your babies out robbing the stores and shooting each other? She’d be asking, what kind of fathers are letting their babies out in the street like that?Â I found Amy’s huge contributions to Garveyism much later than discovering Garvey himself and once I discovered her huge impact on the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)Â I added her name to the masthead of the blog.
What do you think of white nationalists and the Alt Right? Is there any legitimacy in these belief systems, or are they compensatory pathologies?
Two different groups with some overlap. As Garveyite Pan-Africanist I cannot be opposed to White Nationalism as a principle. I cannot advocate for black people running their countries however they see fit and then turn around and say that white people cannot run their own nations as they see fit. As a matter of fact I think places like Germany, France and England need a good dose of white nationalism to get themselves back on track. That track being running the country for the benefit of its natives and citizens first! I want to make sure I point out that there is a difference between a “white nationalist” and a “white supremacist.” One can definitely be both but the two are not necessarily mutually inclusive.
That said I have to address America. Where I diverge from white nationalists or white nationalist leaning persons such as those who run Vdare is that America is not a white native country. While it was in fact founded by whites (in the collective sense) none of those whites have a “native” claim on the land as they do in England, France, etc., thus I disagree with those at Vdare that America is not a proposition nation. It most certainly is. Of course the proposition is that one accepts as the general culture that which came from the founders and particularly those of the founding documents.
So to be clear the US is a proposition republic formed on the governing principles of the English. English common law informs all US laws and are the only legitimate source for interpretation. However the US is culturally a mix of a variety of nations whose influences we can see in various states.Â This is unlike any of the native West European nations.
The best white nationalists can claim about America is sweat equity.Â This is a position you’ll see espoused by Ramzpaul. He points out (correctly) that there was no America as we know it, before Europeans got here and that since Europeans came, conquered and built, Europeans get to claim the nation (a similar argument is made about South Africa).
The problem with this idea is that Europeans were not the only group with “sweat equity” in America. The African population, property or not, was here just about as long as any founding family and given the history of slavery, no one can claim they did not work. So in reality Africans descended from the slave trade have just as much a claim (if not differently based) as whites do. I think many white nationalists have a problem processing that. Or to the extent they do, they simply don’t care.
With that said, let me be clear that I
Per the Alt-Right, this is coming to you after the Spencer “Hail Trump” thing.Â I look at alt-right like I did Gamergate. It’s composed of way too many types of people to be easily defined.Â
I believe that the MSM are using the same techniques it did on Gamergate on the Alt-Right. The way I see it, the Alt-Right is a “home” for those who are not attracted to “conservatism” or “Republicanism” but have no desire to be on the left because the left essentially lost their marbles at least eight years ago. Had the left not completely lost its mind, then the alt-right would have no need to even exist.Â
When it is racist to say a country should enforce its borders, you have a serious problem. When the world is never to forget the Holocaust but I’m supposed to be against a fellow citizen who watched his or her loved ones and fellow citizen jump out of a burning building because that was preferable to burning alive, and now is not “fond” of Muslims?
So as long as the left double and quadruple downs on their agenda an Alt-something is going continue to exist. There will be “unsavory” people doing unsavory things. But that’s human nature.
Can you tell us about yourself: what was your early life and family like? What do you enjoy doing? How does being opposed to most of the political and social thinking around you, and probably the behavior of most others, affect your life?
I’m a first generation American. Family is from the Caribbean. Raised Seventh Day Adventists, left Christianity for what I would call “Reform” ATR (African Traditional Religion). I’ve been on the outside of “mainstream” thought on a lot of things for a very long time so I end up not interacting with folks socially that much.
Do you write or speak beyond the blog? Where can the rest of us find these creations?
I do not write for any other publication. No one has invited me to speak and for aforementioned reasons, I don’t expect to be asked. I briefly created a YouTube series. I won’t embarrass myself by pointing anyone to it, but if you search the blog you’ll likely find it.
What, in your view, does the term “nationalist” mean? Are you influenced by any nationalists from other tribes?
As discussed previously, a nationalist is a person who wants space for their people (however defined). They want to control it in whatever way they see fit. I’ve looked at the acts of various nationalists but I’ve been mostly influenced by Garvey. A lot of the anti-colonial struggles and leaders of that era were heavily influenced by Garveyism. That said, I like to think for myself and a lot of conclusions I’ve come to have come from study.
Does your viewpoint extend to other issues, like monarchism and environmentalism, and how do those fit into your existing worldview?
I have never paid any attention to monarchism. I know it’s a current in NRx circles. As a science-based person I am concerned about the Environment but I see that a lot of countries, leaders and the like have taken to politicizing it and making money off of it. Anyone who’s familiar with earth history knows that the earth’s climate is always changing and that our journey on this rock is a speck of dust in the time the earth has been here and we have been keeping records for not even 1/10 of that time. Whenever I hear people talk about global warming and how man will be devastated by it, I remind them that homo-sapiens-sapiens lived through an ice age with nothing close to the knowledge and technology we have today.
Also, I see a lot of hand wringing about people, usually those stuck in the stone age, who will be very negatively affected by climate change. Well. Sucks to be them. This is why you adapt. This is why you move. This is why you organize into larger national units. If the left wasn’t so intent on letting primitive people remain primitive so that they can virtue signal, they’d be preparing those folks for what’s coming. Like really you are still living in a desert? Why? And I’m supposed to help you stay like that? No thanks.
Where do you see human civilizations going in the future, and do you have hope for a better outcome than the present?
I’m not really much of a futurist so I’ll leave the whole “future of humanity” thing to others. But I will say that in the short term, in the first world, there are some big problems.
Automation is going to eat labor for lunch and dinner. Too many people think the rise of AI is just like the industrial revolution. They are very wrong.Â There is going to be a decimation of the human labor market like never seen before. This is going to cause upheaval. Personally I think governments are going to have to get to a guaranteed income which of course means taxing companies.
Thank you for your time, and I hope our readers enjoy this informative interview!