Fanon 's Work Fit Well Into The Reading List Of Many Black Power Activists

Fanon 's Work Fit Well Into The Reading List Of Many Black Power Activists

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Fanon’s work fit well into the reading list of many Black Power activists. And this article suggests that it did so because Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth combined familiar themes that have long been present in African American Political Thought and have shaped Black social and political activism for decades, if not centuries. In addition, and particularly important with regard to the Black Power Movement long-term impact, Fanon’s outlook provided an important “defense” against the new reading of the old “cultural pathology-theme,” which White politicians and scholars revived in the wake of African American demands for more economic and social equality. In sum, Fanon’s authority on matters of psychology, read as a clear appeal for Black self-care, a reading of the role and the tools of colonizers and the national bourgeoisie that undergirded the black activists’ renunciation of a politics of minor concessions and unfulfilled promises, provided plenty of intersections that resonated well with Black Power activists.
The simplistic popular portrayals of the Panthers and other black power activists that still dominate official historical discourse tend to distort the varieties and the depth of how Fanon’s ideas and practical knowledge was appropriated by the movement. There is no doubt that some activist used TWE to justify their acts of violence that in various cases had little to do with the Party’s revolutionary objectives. In doing so, their readings were, oddly enough, very well in line with the early scholarly assessments of Fanon’s work. That said, the above presented evidence shows that the hot-headed, violence-centered interpretations of Fanon’s work constituted only one part of the complex Black Power interpretations of Fan...


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...f post-colonial life, Fanon warns his readers of the dangers of a social treason, emphasizing the need to educate the people to that they can actively participate in the political process. In addition, in the most prescient part of his book, he elaborates on the national bourgeoisie and its vulnerability to easily dismiss racial solidarity to make the most out of the post-colonial economic situation. Fanon’s second warning pertains to the lasting negative psychological impact of colonialism, and its undoing. More descriptive than the other parts of the book, this part of Fanon’s discussion of violence has received much less attention. Here, Fanon illustrates the psychological toll the systemic colonial violence and the counter-violence has on both the colonizer and the colonized. The price is high, and the deformation creates “a lost generation” on either side.

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