The Washington/DuBois conflict is basically a chicken/egg debate; what comes first for newly “liberated” Black masses. Should we focus on industrial development and shun political confrontation, or should we engage in direct confrontation with Systems of oppression right away. Was our economic development more important than our political/intellectual development? That’s it in a nutshell; and history has proven both of these men wrong; and DuBois lived long enough (into his 90s) so see how wrong he was.
The fatal flaw in both of their positions is that they were both Integrationist, they just had divergent plans or methods for Integrating with our oppressors; Integration with a System or State founded on our oppression does not work, no matter if you integrate based on industrial skills, or academic achievement and political engagement.
Over the last 100+ we’ve had people follow and achieve on both of these men’s plans, using both of their methods; and yet overall we are stagnant or losing ground.
Marcus Garvey was a perfect marriage between Washington and DuBois and he eliminated the fatal flaw in both of their plans and ideologies; that’s why he was subverted and expelled from the nation while Washington and DuBois were allowed to operate in the US for decades and received millions in funding from White benefactors, cuz the White Elites knew both of their plans were no threat to the Systems and Institutions of White Domination, but Garvey’s agenda was.
The bottom line is that it don’t matter how many skilled laborers we have, how many academics we have, or how much Fiat Currency we amass as individuals or as a group; if we do not feed these skills, educational achievements, and money into a Revolutionary Pan-African Agenda, and deploy them against the Systems and Institutions of White Domination, we will fail, or worse; all of our talents, brilliance, and resources will got to further advance our oppressors, just ask Obama if you don’t believe me.
I respect both BTW and WEB, but I have deep issues, I got really strong problems with both of them; but I study and respect both of them. There is so much insight in their lives and teachings that could benefit us now, but we can’t take them as is, we have to critically dissect and reconstruct them in order to make them useful for us today. That’s how we honor our Ancestors, but building on their strengthens not by replicating their mistakes; or by idolizing and fetishizing them, which many people tend to do today.
Oh, and one more thing, BTW was the foundation of the whole concept and tradition of having a “Black Leader,” assigning the leadership of the entire Race are a large Black population to an individual Black man or a small group of Black men; and we still haven’t abandoned this dysfunctional model of leadership. Our people need to be lead by an Agenda, not an individual; we need a well articulated plan of action to guide us, not some charismatic Black man (who’s usually funded by our enemies); from Booker T, to King, to Jessie, to Umar, to Farrakhan, and Obama; we need to correct this shit or we will continue the cycles of dysfunctional leadership. The person who leads us needs to be as accountable to us and our larger agenda; not blindly followed.
Any Black person in a leadership position should know that they don’t own that post, that post belongs to the people and our Struggle, and they should be removed if proven incompetent or if they divert from the people’s agenda. I won’t get any further into Black Leadership; but I think this is the greatest damage BTW did to the Black community, setting up this absurd “Black Leader” model for African in America.