Every Friday I will post a biography of an honored hero in the revolutionary struggle. Some will be well-known freedom fighters like George Jackson or Kwame Ture, others, so not well known. Because not all believed in the same strategy to achieve liberation, we will see a conflict of ideas. Something that we can draw upon to construct our views today.
His revolutionary ambitions cut short by leukemia in 1961, psychoanalyst and philosopher Frantz Fanon had by the time of his death amassed a body of critical work that today establishes his position as a leading theoretician of (among other issues) black consciousness and identity, nationalism and its failings, colonial rule and the inherently "violent" task of decolonization, language as an index of power, miscegenation, and the objectification of the performative black body. Fanon's burgeoning popularity and influence on more recent post-colonial readings of black liberation and nationalism perhaps serve as an index of his centrality to the movement for Algierian self-determination in the 1950's that shaped (and, in turn, was shaped by) his diverse career as a political activist and critic. Born on the island of Martinique in 1925, Fanon fought with the allied forces against Nazi Germany in Europe during the second World War and afterwards studied psychiatry in France, where he published his first book, Peau noire, masques blancs (Black Skin, White Masks). While practicing medicine in Antilles in northern Africa during the French-Algerian war, Fanon actively supported and organized a resistance to French colonialism by authoring two books outlining an insurgent Third World uprising: L'An V de la revolution algerienne (A Dying colonialism or Year Five of the Algerian Revolution), and Les Damnes de la terre (The Wretched of the Earth).
"They are hungry: and the police officers, though they are now Africans, do not serve to reassure them particularly. The masses begin to sulk; they turn away from this nation in which they have been given no place and begin to lose interest in it."
The Wretched of the Earth