Black Image – Beyond Slavery: 1884 Berlin Conference

Go Lean Commentary

There is no doubt, the Slave Trade and the institution of Slavery – installed by the dominant European cultures – were degrading to Black Image.

But Slavery was not the beginning nor the end of this degradation, or devalued appreciation of Black Image to the European world.

As related in this commentary series, the degradation started in 1491 when Pope Innocent VIII authorized Slavery and the Slave Trade. Most European powers ended their slavery institutions by mid-1800’s (i.e. UK: 1838; France: 1848; Netherlands: 1848; US: 1865). Yet in 1884, the Europeans were at it again; not with a new round of slavery but rather a new round of degradation:

The Scramble for Africa.

So rather than oppressing, suppressing and repressing African-descended people in the New World, the malicious actions went to the source, the motherland for Africans: Africa. See the Appendix VIDEO below and this excerpt from a previous Go Lean commentary about Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey:

There was a constant, efficient and emphatic “grab” for the assets and capital of Africa – human capital included. Garvey’s assessment was 100 years after the formal Slave Trade ended in 1807. Yes, the European nations had divided up all of the African continent for their own empire-building and economic manifestations; see the encyclopedic reference here:

The Scramble for Africa was the occupation, division, and colonization of African territory by European powers during the period of New Imperialism, between 1881 and 1914. It is also called the Partition of Africa and by some the Conquest of Africa. In 1870, only 10 percent of Africa was under formal European control; by 1914 it had increased to almost 90 percent of the continent, with only Ethiopia (Abyssinia) and Liberia still being independent. [Liberia was an American “Moral Protectorate”]. With the Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1936, only Liberia remained independent. There were multiple motivations including the quest for national prestige, tensions between pairs of European powers, religious missionary zeal and internal African native politics.

The Berlin Conference of 1884, which regulated European colonisation and trade in Africa, is usually referred to as the ultimate point of the scramble for Africa.[1] Consequent to the political and economic rivalries among the European empires in the last quarter of the 19th century, the partitioning, or splitting up of Africa was how the Europeans avoided warring amongst themselves over Africa.[2] The later years of the 19th century saw the transition from “informal imperialism” by military influence and economic dominance, to direct rule, bringing out colonial imperialism.[3]
Source: Wikipedia – retrieved February 5, 2019 from:

This is the continuation of this Teaching Series for July 2020 on Black Image; this is entry 5-of-6 from the movement behind the 2013 book, Go Lean…Caribbean. Every month, this movement presents a series on issues germane to Caribbean life, history and prospects. This entry asserts that the normal and default setting for the European community ethos (attitude, disposition and/or driving spirit) towards African people is one of exploitation, unless the exploiters are met with a stronger opposing force.

(Remember: The Republic of Haiti, gaining independence  in 1804, only after the well-trained Black Haitian Revolutionary forces executed 4,000 European citizens for constantly trying to enslave them).  🙁

It is no wonder Black Image as seen by the Euro-centric world is only that of “Less Than”.

We should never be surprised by this actuality. We should simply expect it. This theme is embedded throughout the month’s series. The full catalog on Black Image for this month is presented as follows:

  1. Black Image: Corporate Reboots
  2. Black Image: Pluralism is the Goal
  3. Black Image: Colorism – The Stain of Whiteness – Encore
  4. Black Image: Slavery in History – Lessons from the Bible
  5. Black Image: Beyond Slavery: 1884 Berlin Conference
  6. Black Image: The N-Word 101

The Go Lean book, serving as a roadmap for the introduction of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), asserts that Caribbean stakeholders must Grow Up and handle their affairs themselves, rather than looking towards some “Overseas Masters” to manage our affairs for us. This must be the resolve, not just for governance, but for economics and security provisions as well.

Consider communications and media networks and how Caribbean people had been judged by foreign or Euro-centric standards:.

If the media networks in the region are owned by foreign entities, then foreign standards are still “the rule”.

No more!

Change has come to the world and to the Caribbean region. The advent of Internet Communications Technologies (ICT) now has voluminous options for media to be delivered without the large footprint … or investment. Now anyone can easily publish VIDEO’s and Music files to the internet and sell them to the public – models abounds: i.e. pay-per-play, or subscription.

There is the opportunity for Caribbean stakeholders to convene, consolidate and confederate the region for their own optimized broadcast and streaming networks. This was the lesson learned from the Berlin Conference of 1884; that if we do not have a “seat at the table”, then we are only “on the menu”. For the “1884 Table”, the menu was the land, people, resources and capital of the African continent – they divvied up the assets with no fights or battles. For the “Caribbean Table”, the menu is the eyeballs and consciousness of Caribbean people or Black Image.

Imagine the deployment of a new Caribbean Network! Not like ABC, NBC or CBS (in the US), but rather like the WWE Network or World Wrestling Entertainment. In a previous blog-commentary this definition was presented:

This is better! (Every mobile/smart-phone owner walks around with an advanced digital video camera in their pocket). We are now able to have a network without the “network”. Many models abound on the world-wide-web. Previously, this commentary identified one such network (ESPN-W); now the focus is on another, the WWE Network, associated with the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. This network is delivered via the internet-streaming only (and On-Demand with limited Cable TV systems).

We have so many examples-business models; think: WWE, ESPN-W, YouTube and Netflix …

Let’s do our own Image Building Network; and let’s do that now.

This focus, building a regional Caribbean Network, has been a mission for this Go Lean movement from the beginning of this movement. This theme has been elaborated in many previous blog-commentaries; consider this sample here: Big Hairy Audacious Goal – Caribbean Media: Learning from Netflix et al Caribbean Youtuber providing a Role Model with Expanded Audiences Way Forward – Caribbean ‘Single Market’ for Media How the Youth are Consuming Media Today – Digitally Net Neutrality: It matters here … in the Caribbean Sports Role Model – Turn On the SEC Network

A positive image is not automatic …

… for people of African heritage from their European counterparts. We must be deliberate and technocratic in our efforts for Caribbean Image management.

Yes, we can …

Black Image has endured a lot … over the years, before, during and after the bad old days of slavery. But we now know what to do; we know how and when we must act. Most importantly, we must do it ourselves. We must have a seat at the table.

As reported in every entry of this series during July 2020, we must message the truth, if not to the whole world, then at least here in the Caribbean. This is how we can make our regional homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 14):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

xiv.  Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

xxiii. Whereas many countries in our region are dependent Overseas Territory of imperial powers, the systems of governance can be instituted on a regional and local basis, rather than requiring oversight or accountability from distant masters far removed from their subjects of administration. The Federation must facilitate success in autonomous rule by sharing tools, systems and teamwork within the geographical region.

xxvii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

xxx. Whereas the effects of globalization can be felt in every aspect of Caribbean life, from the acquisition of food and clothing, to the ubiquity of ICT, the region cannot only consume, it is imperative that our lands also produce and add to the international community, even if doing so requires some sacrifice and subsidy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix VIDEO – The Berlin Conference (1884 – 1885) –

Logic Owl
The history of the Berlin Conference and the colonial scramble for Africa during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, as countries like Great Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and more fight for African colonies. At the expense of the African people across the continent.


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