Frantz Fanon

Killer cops, drone wars and the crisis of democracy –

2014 violence

Racism and its close cousin xenophobia are ingredients baked into the slave morality that afflicts so many white Americans, feeding a persecution complex and a sense of permanent aggrievement among the most historically privileged demographic group on the planet. (Yes, there are millions of poor whites, and they have good reason to lament their marginal, forgotten status. They also have a strong tendency to look for enemies in the wrong places.) Crime is at or near all-time lows, employment is high, many consumer goods are cheaper than ever before and the United States has not experienced a major attack by foreign terrorists in 13 years. Given all that, it is crucial to conceal the real source of middle-class and working-class America’s worsening anomie: the vast gulf of inequality between the super-rich and the rest of us, along with the stagnant wages, declining benefits and longer work weeks confronted by ordinary people.

As the black radical philosopher Frantz Fanon observed in the early 1960s, racism becomes a tool in the hands of the masters, used to pit different sectors of the oppressed against each other. He was talking about the European working class and its reluctance to join forces with the anti-colonial struggle in Africa, but we face a version of the same problem today. This week I watched an eerie and powerful new collage film from Swedish documentarian Göran Hugo Olsson called “Concerning Violence,” which is inspired by Fanon’s revolutionary classic “The Wretched of the Earth” (a book not as far away from Nietzsche as you might suppose). The film is an essayistic and aphoristic assemblage of archival footage from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, opening a window onto various episodes from that little-understood and profoundly important period of post-colonial and anti-colonial history in Africa. But it also struck me as a distorted mirror reflecting our own situation, which has elements of internal colonialism (with respect to the poorest elements of our population), and an external neo-colonialism, although held at a great distance and largely invisible.

via Killer cops, drone wars and the crisis of democracy –


‘Concerning Violence’: Fanon lives on – Opinion – Al Jazeera English | #OYRchallenge

'Concerning Violence': Fanon lives on - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Concerning Violence is inspired by The Wretched of the Earth, the 1961 book of Martinique-born psychiatrist and revolutionary Frantz Fanon, excerpts of which serve as the film’s narrative and are read by singer and activist Lauryn Hill.

Among Fanon’s sober assessments is that colonialism “is violence in its natural state, and it will only yield when confronted with greater violence”. Decolonisation, he writes, “is always a violent phenomenon”. “Decolonisation, which sets out to change the order of the world, is, obviously, a program of complete disorder”.

'Concerning Violence': Fanon lives on - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

The film corroborates these assertions with footage from former European colonial possessions in Africa. Scenes variously depict the subjugation and impoverishment of native populations, juxtaposed with Europeans sun-tanning and playing golf in picturesque African settings in between wantonly extracting resources and imprisoning and torturing people.

For another modern-day example of legitimised violence and self-victimisation by the very purveyors of said violence, it seems appropriate to once again bring up the state of Israel, which shares the ex-Rhodesian resident’s knack for hallucinating himself into a position of unparalleled suffering at the hands of “terrorists”.

via ‘Concerning Violence’: Fanon lives on – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

Frantz Fanon Black Skin White Mask |#OYRchallenge

Frantz Fanon:

“I am black; I am in total fusion with the world, in sympathetic affinity with the earth, losing my id in the heart of the cosmos — and the white man, however intelligent he may be, is incapable of understanding Louis Armstrong or songs from the Congo. I am black, not because of a curse, but because my skin has been able to capture all the cosmic effluvia. I am truly a drop of sun under the earth.”
Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks