Frantz Fanon – The Political Writings from Alienation and Freedom

Fanon Can’t Save You Now: “The 23 essays that appear in The Political Writings were extracted from the collection of recently discovered writings by Frantz Fanon called Alienation and Freedom, first published in French in 2015. Edited by Jean Khalfa and Robert J. C. Young and translated by Steven Corcoran, The Political Writings largely draws from Fanon’s contributions to the radical Algerian independence newspaper El Moudjahid, and they date from August 1957 to February 1961. Each was written in direct response to events in an ongoing anticolonial revolution, at the center of which was May 13, 1958, and its aftermath. Featuring 21 essays from El Moudjahid, The Political Writings functions as a long-lost companion to Toward the African Revolution, first published in 1964, three years after Fanon’s death. There are lingering questions and controversies surrounding the authorship of these essays — all of them unsigned and anonymized — and Khalfa and Young freely acknowledge that some of them were likely ‘only partly authored by Fanon himself.’ It is also the case, as the editors note, that Fanon’s ‘thinking at least strongly influences them.’ Undoubtedly Fanon is their guiding presence. In their brief but bold introduction, Khalfa and Young, both superb Fanon scholars, sound a welcome note of warning: by ‘turning [Fanon] into a political icon, his well-argued and very lucid critiques of the possible despotic future of postcolonial societies get buried.’ Fanon has become an almost mythical figure in antiracist and anticolonial discourse, and in the process, many of his specific political commitments have been watered down or edited out. Any reader of the vast literature on Fanon might be struck, for example, by the relative neglect of chapter three of The Wretched of the Earth, ‘The Misadventures of National Consciousness,’ in which Fanon raises alarms about the rise of a postcolonial national bourgeoisie. …”
LA Review of Books
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