The Occupy Movement has focused on occupying physical spaces to draw attention to important issues. However, it is even more important that each of us work hard to get our own lives together. We need to free our minds and resist the outside forces of capitalist consumption. Be ready to live with less and avoid entrapment by credit schemes. As the system continues to melt down, only those who are resilient and self-sufficient will be able to thrive. One of the best ways to do this is to understand and practice the Rastafarian lifestyle as modeled by Bob Marley. His words that inspired this title are “Judge not, before you judge yourself.” Get your own life in order if you want to be able to challenge the Babylon system. He summed it up perfectly: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.”
I personally became aware of and interested in Rastafarianism about ten years ago through Bob Marley’s life and music. I did my own research into what it means to live the Rasta lifestyle. I found that this social movement has much to teach us about how to free ourselves and take down the system. We can’t get one without the other. I began to teach about this in my social change and social movement classes. I found many young people eager to embrace the principles and practices that Bob Marley and others preach about in their music. In fact, the Occupy fighters already believe in and live many of the values and practices espoused by the Rastafarian way of life. I developed a series of slides to use in my lectures and have included them here. Each should be self-explanatory. Then, I include lots of great pix and quotes from Bob Marley’s music and interviews. This tribute recognizes that Bob Marley’s music and messages are more relevant today than ever.
While a professor at NC State University I was trying to set up a “Marley Center for Community Creativity” in Jamaica. I was blessed to be able to spend the evening backstage at Damian (“Jr. Gong”) Marley’s concert in Cary, NC. Afterwards my son and I were invited back to the bus. I talked with Damian about my plans and we watched his favorite movie called “Life and Debt.” We reasoned together and I learned a lot. Unfortunately the conservative bureaucrats at my risk-averse university would not support my efforts. If interested you can click here for a copy of the full Powerpoint presentation. The following slides were a core part of that proposal.
When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself.
The more we smoke herb, the faster Babylon will fall.
All dese governments and dis this and that, these people that say they’re here to help, why them say you cannot smoke the herb? Herb is a plant, you know? And when me check it, me can’t find no reason. All them say is, “it make you rebel.” Against what?
The authorities tell you that you mustn’t smoke herb because it’s bad for you. Yet if they catch you at it they’ll carry you off to prison. I think it’s better to be smoking herb out here free than being in prison.
My future is righteousness.
If I was educated, I`d be a damn fool.
The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively
The biggest man you ever did see was once a baby
I handle fame by not being famous…I’m not famous to me.
The first thing you must know about me is that I always stand what I stand for. Good? The second thing you must know about yourself listening to me is that words are tricky. So when you know what me a stand for, when me explain a thing to you, you must never try to look upon it in a different way from what me a stand for.
Reggae is a music that has plenty fight. But only the music should fight, not the people.
Rastaman vibrations gonna cover the earth! Like the water cover the sea.
Rastafari is not a culture, it’s a reality.
My music fights against the system that teaches to live and die.
To really solve a problem, you really feel like killin’ someone. But whose problem am I gonna solve when I kill someone? So I figure peace I the best thing.
The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?
Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.
When the race gets hard to run, it means you just can’t take the pace. Rise O fallen fighters, rise and take your stance again, He who fight and run away, live to fight another day
Here come a man like me saying ‘Don’t vote!’ Rasta no vote.
Every law! The only law which is law is the law of life. The law how I live.
Free speech carries with it some freedom to listen.
Politics no interest me. Dem devil business. Dem a play with people’s minds. Never play with people’s minds.
I don’t stand for the black man’s side. I don’t stand for the white man’s side. I stand for God’s side. I only have one thing I really want to see happen. I’d like to see mankind live together – black, white, Chinese, everyone – that’s all.
People want to listen to a message, the word from Jah. This could be passed through me or anybody. I am not a leader but a messenger. The words of the songs, not the person, are what attract people.
Man can’t do without God. Just like you’re thirsty, you have to drink water. You just can’t go without God.
Conquer the devils with a little thing called love!
If cat and dog can get together, why can’t we love one another?
Because when you unite, that is the power of God, you know. God love Love, which is unity. So when you unite, you get the whole power of God. That’s what him want. Until Black people unite…if the Black people don’t unite, the world, no one, no one can live good.
Select Group of Bob Marley’s Lyrics
Every man’s got a right to decide his own destiny.
Open your eyes and look within. Are you satisfied with the life you´re living?
Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.
But my hand was made strong by the hand of the Almighty.
Love the life you live. Live the life you love.
If you get down and quarrel every day, you’re saying prayers to the devil, I say
No bullet can stop us now, we neither beg nor will we bow.
I ‘m gonna be iron like a lion in Zion.
It takes a revolution to make a solution.
If you are the big, big tree, we are the small axe, ready to cut you down.
No man can lead man, we have to have unity.
Don’t gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold.
You can’t educate us for no equal opportunity talking about people, freedom and liberty.
The road of life is rocky and you may stumble too. So while you point your fingers someone else is judging you.