Du Bois Was Right About White Nationalism in 1920: It’s a Global Threat

By Joseph Orosco (March 18, 2019)

In 1920, one of the big controversies in racial justice issues was the tension between Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. Du Bois.

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Garvey believed that Black folk in the US would never be treated with justice and the best plan was to return to Africa to build new states in which they could be the majority of the population.  Du Bois thought this plan was foolish, for a number of reasons.  The biggest problem, as he made clear in this essay “The Souls of White Folk”, is that white supremacy is a global phenomenon–at the core of white identity is the need to dominate, expand, and control–and trying to retreat onto another continent would not get Black people out of danger:

“But what on earth is whiteness that one should so desire it?” Then always, somehow, some way, silently but clearly, I am given to understand that whiteness is the ownership of the earth forever and ever, Amen!

The more that is revealed about the white nationalist terrorist shooting in New Zealand this past week, the more it seems to me that Du Bois was right back in the day.  Some links to check out:

The New Republic published recently that white nationalism is a global problem.

The Australian shooter cited Donald Trump as one of his inspirations in thinking about the need to protect white people from “replacement”.  On the same Friday as the incident, Trump warned the US is being “invaded” on the Mexican border.  Trump does not feel white nationalist terrorism is a growing threat, despite some evidence to the contrary.

Shane Burley’s work is pointing out how anti-fascist forces are mobilizing to what they see as a global phenomenon.