134 Comments

Using Fanon presumes the existence of “colonization” to begin with, a “fact” for which there is no evidence. Because the precondition does not exist, the theory (or its sketch as used by academics today) is irrelevant.

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I'll admit that I clicked on this with the intention of defending Fanon, but you made both of the points I had in mind: (1) Black Faces, White Masks is a very different and deeply thought provoking work. (2) Even the Wretched of the Earth is full of qualifications and complications. At times, it's very hard to determine whether Fanon is being prescriptive or merely descriptive. (I think it's best read almost as memoir.)

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In my 85 years, no better discussions have ever existed than here on the Free Press comment section..

A great big "Thank you," to all.

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The people propagating this 'rhetoric of decolonization' are themselves colonizers. They should decolonize themselves first. Do us all a favor!

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Not condoning colonialism by any means, but remember that the FLN were no saints and were brutal to both French (military and civilians) as well as Algerians. There were plenty of Algerians that fought alongside the French, the harkis, and were opposed to the FLN. These national liberation movements were not cut and dry. There were many competing factions and plenty of Algerians fled to France after the FLN took over Algeria.

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I can't help but see the cyclical nature of humanity.

For any location/population, there exists an opinion—e.g. a banana must only be opened by breaking at the stem end. Another person/group may have a slightly different opinion—a banana could be opened by splitting at the blossom end; this disparity in opinions becomes factions. Thus, we have two factions of the same location/population. All things being equal, the struggle for power, to push one faction's opinion over the other creates a majority/minority pair.

By virtue of being in the minority banana eating faction, i.e. the banana underdog—using Fanon's logic—grants themselves the right to use violence against the majority.

Its all bananas.

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I still have my 1968 paperback copy of The Wretched of the Earth, with its adulatory (but, alas, incoherent) preface by Sartre. I thought Fanon was a nutcase then and I still think so now. Anyone who can come down unequivocally on the side of "absolute violence" against "this narrow world strewn with prohibitions" (like decency and humanity) is certifiable. You don't have to be an imperialist to reject the world Fanon clones would condemn us to live in.

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The inclusion of Sartre here is apt. I had forgotten how beguiling the idea of revolution was back when he was in his heyday. Heidegger, for me, also had that irrational appeal of a gnostic, mystical truth available to the few. They were often in my bookbag, though Being and Time was comically impossible to read and existentialism was as much anti-humanist rot as smoking Gitanes was cool. But I do not recall the worship of violence as being so preeminent. So many of us are shocked that kids barely out of their teens can be so sucked in, when what we've missed is what has gone on in the humanities departments for decades. These are places that took the romanticism of revolution and oppression and structures of power to their logical conclusion, that they don't count if they remain mere theory; they have to be acted upon (of course, the "actions" will be done by the oppressed far, far away while the academics get to watch from their sanitized distance, probably masturbating at their desks). These are the bloodlust dreams of the AR-15 loner acting out his grotesque fantasies; the only difference being the instititutional constraints of academia, which though incredibly weak at least give the impression that all this talk and theory is never going to escape the lab. But when it does, you can see in the "exhiliration" of these over-credentialed, tenured miscreants a perverse joy, followed of course by the mandatory "statement" of "that is not who I am." But of course that is who they are.

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So many terrible ideas have come from Francophone intellectuals since the French Revolution, from the General Will to Deconstruction and the Left Bank’s love affair with Maoism. Privileged college students latch on to many of these ideas as a way to expiate their own guilt for their own status, and the humanities has morphed into fan service and conformity to serve this desire of trust fund kids to dabble in radicalism.

Unfortunately the essential incoherence and illiberalism that isn’t a problem in a university setting has bled out into the culture, where it is having terrible effects. It is a tragedy that those given the responsibility to preserve and pass down the best of the Western Greco Roman Judeo Christian tradition have instead poisoned and prejudiced entire generations against it, and we see the results in the streets, the mental hospitals, and on TikTok.

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What appears to have happened today is that professors no longer teach fact based, analytical courses. They have substituted opinion, and usually radical opinion, for historical fact without identifying it as such.

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Fanon is rather provincial in his world view. The communists in East Europe, the Chinese in Tibet, Islam in Algeria. All of these forces were brought in by the sword but some how don't register. This was a great article that really enlightens on the Eurocentric/American focus of "Decolonization".

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Bravo, Eli. This is excellent research and analysis. ❤️TFP

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An excellent piece. Thank you so much. Please do not be silenced.

I would add a couple of points.

1 - The business of the glorification and near-deification of the so-called victim, which crept into intellectual parlance in the US courtesy of Foucault, Derriga et al. and has grown almost deafening in its loud, self-righteous, religiously fervent and overbearing insistence on its own correctness, is absolutely crippling the intellect and the ability of many to see straight.

2 - People adapting this view appear to become almost physically unable to stop themselves from craven crawling after and prostration after over all that can be deemed "BIPOC" "LGBTQ+", "Colonized" or what victim-name they fasten onto. Whether the motivation is guilt or just a wish to be loved, it is simply frightening how quickly persons afflicted with this victim worship born-againism seem to be totally unable to look at a spade and recognize it as a shovel, let alone call it one.

3 - So we get ourselves into situations where we have intellectuals (so-called) and the policy makers (so called) who cannot, cannot, CANNOT perceive that truly oppressive, violent and vile actions that CAN be meted out by human beings (BIPOC OR NOT) when their lust for power, revenge, or money or a combination of the three has allowed them to tune into and turn up the volume on their own very dark sides. REGARDLESS of "motivation", allowing oneself to be become a monster is to become a monster. I don't care if the person was beaten as a child -- if they grow up to become a child-beater, they are a child beater. Not a victim. A victimizer. Life in the refugee camps may be tough, but if your answer to being used as a political pawn (yes, that IS what the Palestinians have been living with since their Arab brethren failed to wipe out Israel in the war of 1948) is to become a murderer and a rapist and a terrorist, then --- good heavens! -- you ARE a murderer and a rapist and a terrorist. This is Hamas; and the the mullahs in Teheran who fund them are quite ready to fight the "great Satan" and the "little Satan" in THEIR lust for power and regional hegemony to the last Palestinian.

And the list of monsters certainly doesn't stop there. This is Hezbollah. These are the Houthis. And in the West, this is BLM.

Really and truly...... it is time to stop worshiping the so-called victim, open our eyes, and understand simple truths such as burying bombs under hospitals and refugee camps, and moving outside those refugee camps to kill, rape and burn OR JUSTIFYING THOSE ACTS is the work of perverted, twisted and dark minds and hearts, NOT the actions of so-called liberators or freedom fighters,. Evil is evil. Deal with it.

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So many liberal arts college students are completely untethered from historical fact that it’s easy for faculty to indoctrinate them with neo-Marxist prattle or existentialist mumbo jumbo.

They dare not challenge the professors views on current events. When I went to Yale graduate school in 1985 the Dean of the Graduate School told us you are here to educate yourself and we are here to help you do that. Graduation was only the beginning of that process.

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One of Fanon's books was on the bibliography of one of my courses as a Government major at Harvard in the late 1960s. I do not remember which one but he was lauded as an authentic voice of the oppressed. That was a heady time for the young and idealistic among us. I was an adherent of Ghandi and MLK Jr in terms of believing that non-violent resistance was the way to go. I was suspicious of groups like the Black Panthers even before there was evidence of their murderous ways. Thanks for the background, Eli.

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Professor Russell Rickford said the Hamas atrocities meant that Palestinians “were able to breathe for the first time in years . . . I was exhilarated."

You know who else can't breathe, "professor?" Jewish babies. They were cleansed forever by your "exhilarating" Hamas butchers.

Fuck you, professor. Just. Fuck. You.

As for Faron? “In its bare reality, decolonization reeks of red-hot cannonballs and bloody knives,” he wrote. “For the last can be the first only after a murderous and decisive confrontation between the two protagonists.”

He was right, but not in the way he might have hoped. Israel was the colonized, not the colonizer, and has used its cannonballs and knives to great effect. More specifically:

Europe, in the form of the Roman Empire, originally colonized neither Arabs nor Palestine, since neither existed in the 2nd Century. Instead, Europe colonized the Kingdom of Judea and kicked many of its nut-brown Jews into European exile, turning their descendants into, ironically, the very white Europeans that the Lefty McLeftersons of academia fashionably decry as White European Colonial Imperialist Invaders (tm).

It took Jewish de-colonizers a couple thousand years, but in 1948 they took their homeland back, defended it successfully from the Arab colonial onslaughts of 1948 and 1967, and now, in 2023, are finishing off the next round of Assassins. No cannonballs necessary. Hellfires work quite nicely.

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Give ‘‘em hell Shane !

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LOL! I normally try to contain myself, but his "exhilarating" was so profoundly offensive I hope he gets dick weevils.

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Yup.

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