The Revolutionary Humanism of Frantz Fanon

“The renewed protests against racism and police brutality over the last year have supplied a fresh impetus for thinking about the nature of capitalism, its relationship to racism, and the construction of alternatives to both. Few thinkers speak more directly to such issues than Frantz Fanon, the Martinican philosopher, psychiatrist, and revolutionary who is widely considered one of the twentieth century’s foremost thinkers on race and racism. Fanon had direct experience of French colonial rule, from the Caribbean to North Africa, and brought that experience to bear on his intellectual work. He played an active role in the Algerian revolutionary movement that struggled for independence in the 1950s, but he warned that independent African states would simply replace the colonial system with a national bourgeoisie unless they followed the path of social revolution. Some of Fanon’s key works have been available in English translation for many years. However, the recent publication of over six hundred pages of Fanon’s previously unavailable writings on literature, psychiatry, and politics makes this a fitting moment to reexamine his thought anew. … Returning to France in the late 1940s, Fanon immersed himself in the literature of Négritude, a French-speaking black pride movement. At the same time, he absorbed the latest European intellectual developments such as phenomenology, existentialism, psychoanalysis, and Marxism. This led to his first book, published in 1952 when Fanon was only twenty-six: Black Skin, White Masks. Fanon’s great breakthrough in Black Skin, White Masks was to analyze racism in sociogenic terms, denying it any natural basis. Skin color may be biologically determined, but the way that we see and interpret it is conditioned by social forces which are outside of our control. This phenomenon is so pervasive that race and racism come to appear as ‘natural,’ transhistorical phenomena. For Fanon, such mystification cannot be stripped away by mere enlightened critique since it is deeply rooted in objective social realities and must be challenged at that level. In recent decades, the ‘social construction of race’ has become such a cliché that the radical implications of Fanon’s theoretical breakthrough are easy to miss. If race is socially constructed, it follows that specific social relations are responsible for its birth and perpetuation. ….”
W – Frantz Fanon
Reading Frantz Fanon
Criterion – Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask (Video)
Revisiting Frantz Fanon: memories and moments of a militant philosopher
Anti-colonialism and Humanism

Twentieth-century political thinker and fighter against colonialism and imperialism, Frantz Fanon, left an indelible mark on history.

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