Fanon Today : better to understand in order to transform the world ! A suitcase, a country, a woman ! International Meeting Frantz Fanon, Martinique, December 2011

A suitcase, a country, a woman ! Fanon today : better to understand in order to transform the world !

By Marie-France Astegiani-Merrain, Peggy Cantave Fuyet and Hervé Fuyet

Association of Descendants of Black Slaves and their Friends (ADEN) and Frantz Fanon International Network (FFIN).

To paraphrase Mr. Césaire, we return to the homeland, the homeland of Frantz Fanon. Frantz Fanon left us half a century ago. His final prayer was : "O my body, make me a man who always questions" (1) !

Today, united pursuing his ideas, we continue the fight and we build a collective body to raise these questions. Many young Africans say they have discovered Marxism through Frantz Fanon. And this is true worldwide. Slavery, the colonialism, which followed and the neocolonialism of today are probably the supreme humiliations that we live both daily and concretely. Frantz Fanon keeps these humiliations vividly in mind, from everyday life, in which the words, silences or looks of others constantly remind us of the condition in which we are bound. He shows us, that not only our mind, but every muscle in our body quivers and shrinks to find protection from the arrogance of others. The founders of Marxism had never done that. They were not psychiatrists and they had not experienced these daily humiliations, which continue unabated.

To be guided by Fanon is not easy, because he is not physically present to show the way. We must therefore interpret his ideas, yet existing interpretations are many, various, and sometimes contradictory.

Let’s examine three recent case studies :

Bongos, father and son, suitcases full of money, Libya, a coveted black gold country, Ms. Nafissatou Diallo, a Guinean peasant who became a proletarian in the New York hotel trade.

To achieve this, we will look into various aspects of the life and thoughts of Frantz Fanon. This task is hazardous, but it can help us to use the tools he has left us. Reflecting on the Algerian revolution, Fanon shares with us its grandeur and richness. A hero who knew his death was near writes his most political book, The Wretched of the Earth, at the height of the action. How could he have modified his "flashes" of events if he had had the time ?

Part One

Some thoughts on the life of Frantz Fanon

Born in 1925 in Martinique, died in 1961 in the United States, and buried in Algeria, Frantz Fanon’s life is sadly short, but dense and rich. In this short time, he acquired two professions, professional psychiatrist and professional revolutionary. He practiced these two professions interactively in order to fight against human suffering. He struggled especially against the human suffering caused by slavery and colonialism, which he and many of his ancestors had suffered. In fact, all of Frantz Fanon’s life was structured by colonialism and by the fight against colonialism and neocolonialism.

They were Haitian slaves who in 1804 succeeded with the first social revolution of the Americas by overthrowing the French slave system that existed in Haiti. In Haiti, we have been independent since 1804, but we’re still not sovereign, as the Republic of Haiti is the first victim of neocolonialism. This must have really made Frantz Fanon think a lot, being from Martinique, and thus a cousin and neighbor of the Haitians !
Fanon, when he was teenager, lived through the Second World War, the biggest colonial war of all time. China, once colonized, was able to free itself, among other countries, thanks to the powerful Russian anti-colonial and socialist revolution of 1917. Fascism and Nazism in Germany, Japan and Italy tried to give strength and vigor to colonialism by recolonizing The Soviet Union and China. They even wanted to colonize Western Europe, as Aimé Césaire so rightly said, .in order to seize their colonial possessions and further martyrize them.

As Domenico Losurdo says as well, "So Stalingrad in the Soviet Union and the Long March together with the War of Resistance against Japan in China were two spectacular class struggles that prevented barbaric imperialism from achieving a division of labour based on the reduction of a great people to a mass of slaves or semi-slaves in the service of an alleged master race "(2).
It is therefore natural that Fanon, who had suffered racism by the bekes during childhood and by the fascist regime of Admiral Robert in Martinique during the Second World War, joined the forces of Free France to fight against the armies of Hitler. He contributed to the liberation of Alsace, birthplace of part of his mother’s family, but he also suffered daily from racism prevalent in the French army. He discovers "the racial distribution of guilt" because "The French does not like the Jew, who does not like the Arab, who does not like the Negro" (3).

We understand the bitterness of Fanon in this regard, because he is confronted with "ethnic discrimination and narrow-minded nationalism " (4). Indeed, violence– armed struggle, if it is not synonymous with victory, victory cannot be rebuilt. However, the program of the National Council of Resistance of 15 March 1944, admirable in many ways, contains only two lines concerning colonies calling for : "An extension of political, social and economic rights for Indigenous and colonized people"(5).

In this perspective, we may wonder if the letter of Frantz Fanon to his parents on 12 April 1945 in which he wrote, "I was wrong [for] an obsolete ideal " (6) is no more the reaction of a young man outraged by the everyday racism of the French army than a waiver of the anti-colonial struggle against fascism. The question needs to be asked in 2011, a time when we are witnessing a rise of the extreme right in Europe !
Fanon then resumed his studies and oriented towards the study of psychiatry in mainland France, where he was indignant about the racist pseudo-scientific distortions such as that of Mannoni or of Porot :
"Braggart, liar, thief and lazy, North African Muslim is defined as a hysterical moron and in addition, subject to unpredictable impulses for committing homicide"(7), or the "native North African whose cerebral cortex is little developed, is a primitive being whose life is essentially vegetative and instinctive, mainly controlled by the diencephalon "(8).

Alice Cherki describes in detail the political education of Fanon in Lyon. She writes that from 1946, in Lyon, in addition to his medical studies, he enrolled at the Faculty of Literature ; "He attended the classes of Merleau-Ponty and of the anthropologist Leroi-Gourhan. He is interested in ethnology, phenomenology, Marxism, and also, and primarily, to existentialism and psychoanalysis. He devours books and reads in a jumble Lévi-Strauss, Mauss, Heidegger, Hegel as well as Lenin and the young Marx. He also knows the writings of Trotsky ... but he does not read Capital, Fanon will never read Capital. He finds his discussions with his West Indian, highly "politicized" friends, who remained in Paris, to be of significant interest, and especially, in the method of Marxist analysis, but still he keeps his distance from their involvement in the parties, including the Communist Party."(9).

Alice Cherki’s writing is alarming, but the question is disturbing ! Fanon had campaigned for the then deputy Communist Aimé Césaire, he had many Communists friends and colleagues and he knew several members of the revolutionary Communist Party in Algeria (CPA). Why did he shy away from CPA which was fighting for national liberation and socialism, to join instead the National Liberation Front (NLF) which was a more nationalist independentist organization than a revolutionary one fighting for socialism and communism ? It is not possible for us to answer this question, but we can formulate the hypothesis that he considered most useful to try, according the constraints imposed on him by the NLF, to work towards a convergence between the nationalist movement and the revolutionary movement.

It is true that in the NLF, Fanon was in the left wing and he carried out, one might argue, a sort of entryism of his own way. Anyway, the issue is complex, difficult and probably we do not have all the elements to respond. A study of some aspects of Fanon’s thoughts can be an answer.

Some reflections on the thoughts of Frantz Fanon

It is gradually during the course of his life which was too short that Fanon developed his thoughts, as he was not born fanonien !
We usually tend to consider the theoretical thoughts of Frantz Fanon as a homogeneous whole. However, Fanon practiced simultaneously two professions in interaction, as professional psychiatrist and professional revolutionary. The theoretical tools of the two professions are not necessarily identical.

When he was treating a patient at the hospital in Blida-Joinville or later in Tunisia, he had in front of him a subject, a body and a mind, not a social class ! In his childhood and his adolescence he suffered from colonialist racism, just like his patients in Algeria, which was expressed by the colon, in words, looks, attitudes. To the colonized people, it generated tensions, stiffening, gait, and depression. As Fanon the professional psychiatrist has pointed out, this kind of racism could affect workers and poor white people as well.

On the other hand, the 1% of the big capitalists is responsible for the economic exploitation and oppression (to different degrees) of 99% of the people in general and in particular of the colonized people. And the sugar cane cutter of Martinique or the Algerian peasant have never met that 1 percent. It is though against this 1 percent, that is, some five hundred families at the source of colonial violence, that Fanon, the revolutionary professional wants to concentrate the counter-violence of the colonized people. We therefore put forth the hypothesis that it is useful to distinguish between fanonien theoretical tools predominantly psychological, and theoretical tools which are mainly political.

Some remarks on theoretical aspects predominantly psychological
There is in fact the same ambiguity between the psychological and the political approach of Freud who writes in New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis about the role of psychological factors. "Not only do these factors contribute to the establishment of economic conditions, but then they determine all acts of man." (10).Then again Freud also says in The Future of an Illusion "If, however, a culture has not gotten beyond a point at which the satisfaction of one portion of its participants depends upon the suppression of another, and perhaps larger portion – and this is the case in all present-day cultures – it is understandable that the suppressed people should develop an intense hostility towards a culture whose existence they make possible by their work, but in whose wealth they have too small a share.” (11). Freud too, just like Marx experienced racism and poverty. He says in Civilization and Its Discontent, "Anyone who has been through the misery of poverty in his youth, and has endured indifference and arrogance of those who have possessions, should be exempt from the suspicion that he has no understanding or goodwill towards the endeavors made to fight the economic inequality of men and all that it leads to." (12).


Thus, Fanon, as a psychiatrist often approached colonization from the perspective of the body and mind of the subject : "The first thing the colonial subject learns is to remain in his place and not overstep his limits. Hence the dreams of the colonial subject are muscular dreams, dreams of action, and dreams of aggressive vitality. "I dream I am jumping, swimming, running, and climbing. I dream I burst out laughing, I am leaping across a river and being chased by a pack of cars that never catches up with me". During colonization the colonized subject frees himself night after night between nine in the evening and six in the morning. The colonized subject will first train this aggressiveness settled in his muscles against his own people. This is the period when black turns on black, and police officers and magistrates don’t know which way to turn when faced with the surprising surge of North African criminality." (13).

Fanon also says : "Racism is not the only thing, but is the most visible element, the most daily, to be honest, at times, the crudest of a given structure." (14). He adds, "when the colonist speaks of the colonized he uses zoological terms. Allusion is made to the slithery movements of the yellow race, the odors from the "native" quarters, to the hordes, the stink, the swarming, the seething, and the gesticulations. In his endeavors to describe and find the right word, the colonist refers constantly to the bestiary."(15).

This predominantly psychological approach is of course also eminently political. It has played an important role in the development of national cohesion, as indicated in this passage from the Soummam platform, a platform heavily influenced by a great friend of Fanon in the NLF, Abane Ramdane and indirectly by Fanon himself :
"It is an undeniable fact that the action of NLF has changed the political climate in Algeria. It caused a psychological shock that freed the people from its torpor of fear and skepticism. It has allowed the Algerian people a new awareness of national dignity. It also identified a psycho-political union of all Algerians, the national unanimity building armed struggle and making the victory of freedom inescapable ... The doctrine is clear. The goal is national independence. The way is revolution by destroying the colonial regime." (16).

It is a cruel irony that, in fact, Abane Ramdane, seems he was murdered by Colonel Boussouf, due to internal dissension in NLF, and Fanon had spread completely a false version of a heroic death in battle against enemy colonies. This underscores that we can understand the political career of Fanon in the NLF only if we placed him within the limits which were necessarily imposed to him.


The extent of violence

It is not about resuming the fruitful debate on the role of violence in Fanon, but to speculate that Fanon, in some way, has underestimated rather than overestimated the role of violence if he has reduced the extent of it.
In the colonial situation, the world alientated by capitalism is imposed from outside. The capital that dehumanizes is a foreigner. Fanon has shown that the natural environment of the colonized is mocked and ridiculed. The colonist renders inferior the language, religion, customs, moral values, ideals, and pigmentation of the skin causing a permanent violence. Imre Marton had understood Fanon on these points, but in 1965 he added (we know he has slightly changed his approach in his speech at the Memorial of Fanon in Martinique in 1982). (17) that "For Fanon, the colonial world is only a matter of confronting violence, that is, violences that are objectivizing each other and violences that are subjectivizing each other ... isolating politics from economic mechanisms, separating the political sphere of the colonial system from the economic sphere." (18).

As a psychiatrist, Fanon focuses more on the oppression than on exploitation (which does not exclude a great insight into his political theoretical concepts).

By almost equating anti-colonial violence to armed struggle, does he considerably reduce the scope of it ? Capitalism and imperialism in their entirety, as well as economic, ideological and political struggles that are waged against these systems, aren’t they different forms of violence of varying intensity. Anti-colonial violence would not have been only the anti-capitalist violence and thus limited to armed struggle ! If this premise is adopted, it reinforces the importance accorded by Fanon to increased mobilization of the European Left in the anti-colonial and anti-neocolonial struggle.

Violence and victory

We saw that the young Fanon was stifled by the violence of the Pétain regime executed in Martinique by Admiral Robert and joined the armed struggle against racist Nazism, an extreme colonizer, including the colonization of Europe. He lived to see the victory over Nazism and realizing that the victorious powers were also colonial and racist, that we should continue the struggle. For violence without victory cannot allow us to start over !

How sad he did not live to see the victory of the Algerian independence for which he had fought so hard. We do not know how he would have assessed the life of independent Algeria, how he would have continued the fight for building that independence to a true sovereignty of the Algerian people.

Armed Struggle and Revolution

We sometimes have the impression that Fanon equates violence with armed struggle and armed struggle with revolution. A social revolution is the shift from one socio-economic formation to another and all armed struggles do not lead to a social revolution. One could say that the tragedy of Algeria is precisely that, despite a hard and heroic armed struggle and some unsuccessful attempts for a socialist revolution, it was unable to free itself from neocolonialism. This observation does not, however, minimize the deep and real progressive changes for the population after the war of liberation.

Some remarks on theoretical approaches predominantly political

The national bourgeoisie

Fanon was sadly visionary about the possible but not abuses by the national bourgeoisies after the "political" independence of the colonies. It was probably inspired by the plight inflicted on the new Republic of Haiti, a fate he had studied in his childhood and indirectly with his teacher Aimé Césaire.

We know that on the 1st of January 1804, Haiti declared its independence. ’ On the 17th of April 1825, France, by order of the office of Charles X, required a payment by the Haitian government, that is, a ransom of 150 million gold franc, as a condition for the independence on the basis of compensation for colonists because of loss of farm products in their field. This conditional acceptance was sent accompanied by a squadron ready to bombard Port-au-Prince. To meet the obligation, Haiti had to subscribe and borrow from French banks. The debt, which should be reduced by half in subsequent negotiations, has weighed heavily on the development of the island, even in its ability to cope with the multiple disasters that have ravaged Haiti "(19).

Fanon’s frequent trips to Africa, his experience as ambassador of the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic in Ghana, in 1960, and perhaps even his memories of Martinique have certainly influenced his evaluation of the national bourgeoisie.

It is interesting to note that the NLF during the Soummam Congress harshly but unnecessarily criticized the Algerian Communist Party (ACP) that feared a neocolonialist drift after independence. However, criticism of the ACP paradoxically alligned with Fanon’s fears in relation to the national bourgeoisie– in their role as accomplices of neocolonialism in the future. It is also, unfortunately, what really happened in part ! In this case, as in general, Fanon is clearly more Marxist than the NLF : "For my part, the more I know political cultures and circles, the more the certainty is imposed on me that the greatest danger to threaten Africa is the lack of ideology ... After a few hesitant steps in the international arena, the national bourgeoisie no longer feeling the threat of traditional colonial power suddenly discovers large appetites … We must once again return to the Marxist schema."(20).

Moreover, Fanon speaks of the "triumph of socialism in Eastern Europe" ! He knows that "the building of a nation continues to be part of the decisive competition between capitalism and socialism."

The Revolutionary Party

The Algerian Communist Party (ACP) was a revolutionary party which was part of the international communist movement including, among others, in those years the Communist Party of the USSR, the Chinese Communist Party, the French Communist Party and the Communist Party of Vietnam (leading armed struggle for independence and socialism). The national liberation movement in Algeria could have evolved with ACP toward socialism in a similar way as Vietnam. However, the NLF as shown in the Soummam platform, did everything to discredit the ACP, which it considered as a competitor rather than an ally :

"The ACP, despite its passing to illegality and through hype that the colonialist media has bestowed to justify the imaginary collusion with the Algerian resistance, it failed to play a role that should be reported. The communist leadership, bureaucratic, without any contact with the people, has not been able to properly analyze the revolutionary situation. This is why it condemned "the terrorism" and ordered, in the early months of the uprising, activists of Aures, from Algiers seeking guidance, NOT TO TAKE ARMS. The subjection to the French Communist Party (PCF) took the character of a right hand man with the silence that followed the vote of special powers. Not only do Algerian communists not have enough courage to denounce the opportunistic attitude of the parliamentary group, but they did not even breathe a word about the abandonment of concrete action against the war in Algeria : Protests against troop reinforcements, strikes in transport, shipping, ports and docks, against war material. ACP has disappeared as a serious organization especially because of the preponderance of European elements whose weakening of national Algerian convictions, that were artificial instead, caused the explosion of contradictions as responses to armed resistance. This lack of homogeneity and inconsistent policy are due to the fundamental confusion and belief in the impossibility of the national liberation of Algeria before the triumph of the proletarian revolution in France. This Ideology that turns its back on reality is a reminiscent of the conception of FSWI, French Section of the Workers’ International (in French SFIO), favorable to the policy of passive and opportunistic assimilation. Denying the revolutionary character of peasantry and Algerian fellahs in particular, it claims to defend the working class against the problematic danger of falling under the direct rule of the "Arab bourgeoisie," as if the national independence of Algeria should follow necessarily the way of missed Revolutions or even back off from any kind of feudalism."

And the Charter of Soummam concluded, without distinguishing between the independence of Vietnam on the way to socialism and that of Lebanon, that :
"Ten years ago, after the end of the Second World War, a tremendous explosion shook imperialism. The irresistible national liberation movement, longtime oppressed, swept the captive peoples. A chain reaction led colonized countries, one after another, in the conquest of a flamboyant future of freedom and happiness. In this short period, eighteen nations have emerged from the darkness of colonial slavery and advanced towards the sun of national independence. The peoples of Syria and Lebanon, Vietnam and Fezzan broke the bars of their cells and managed to leave the big prison of French colonialism. The three peoples of the Maghreb in turn expressed their aspiration and ability to take their place among the free nations "(21).

Soummam platform affirms both that the ACP is not a serious organization, and that it devotes much space to burden the ACP ! Arguably Fanon did not share this aspect of the Soummam platform, as he very often pronounced in favor of the international communist movement. Moreover, one can only regret that the nationalist movement and the communist movement could not unite in Algeria as was the case that same year in Vietnam or as is currently the case in Venezuela. Thus, the Communist Party of Venezuela (CPV), joins the statement of President Chavez when it declares : "There can be no revolution without a revolutionary party", stressing how the CPV corresponds historically to a Marxist-Leninist Party. ‘We also want to mention and applaud, because it’s very positive, the recent statements by the citizen and President of the Republic who says, we quote, "We cannot make a revolution without a revolutionary party", in fact, really we are very pleased about this." said Oscar Figuera in a press conference. (22)

Note, since we are in Martinique, that, according to the Communist Party of Martinique (CPM), the same problem arises. And Michel Branchi the chief editor of CPM newspaper, Justice, wrote : "The goal is to build, in one form or another, the Anti-colonialist Front mentioned by Aimé Césaire in the ‘Letter to Maurice Thorez’ and long defended by communists in Martinique "(23).

Sadek Hadjeres, a well-known Algerian communist leader wrote that, "While at the beginning of the liberation war, mistrust or even hostility towards the socialist ideology prevailed among the leaders of the insurrection, the attitude of many of them has gradually changed in the same manner as the success of socialism grows worldwide among working classes and intellectuals (1962). At the same time, the ideas of Frantz Fanon also gave them new perspectives that seduced them, especially as they became an ideological support, more or less populist, because of the suspicion they aroused towards the ruling circles of the PGAR (Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic), perceived as bourgeois and willing to sacrifice selfishly peoples’ interests" (24).

We know that while the Charter of Algiers in 1963, referred to socialism, any reference to socialism was abandoned in 1989 and Fanon’s influence was not enough !

David Macey tells us in his biography of Fanon : "Most statements by Fanon - and in particular those concerning the conditions of Independence and peace negotiations once he becomes spokesman of the NLF- arise from the decisions of the Soummam Congress." (25).

This observation may be true, but it ignores the fact that, although Fanon had never joined a Communist Party, his political positions were much closer to the International communist movement than those of the NLF in general. As spokesman for the NLF, Fanon had a duty of confidentiality, which did not always allow him to express his point of view in politics. Fanon’s biography written by David Macey, published in 2011, is a wealth of fascinating information on Fanon’s life. A note from the author, however, surprises us and tells us more about David Macey than about Fanon. “Although the last part of Black Skin, White Masks (Peau Noire, masques blancs) is preceded by rare quotations from Marx made ​​by Fanon, the dogmatic Marxism of the 1950s was not very useful for understanding the experience of the Black people, and the election of Communist deputies, as Fanon had observed himself in the beginning of 1952, had not materialized into​​ major changes in Martinique." That’s very odd, because the communist Ho Chi Minh who in 1941founded the League for the Independence of Vietnam or Viet Minh has, as Alain Ruscio says, a goal, "His goal ? To develop the tool for the liberation of his country (for him, without hesitation, a Patriotic Front led by a communist party rooted in national realities), to win the trust of the poor masses, and then to be in a position to trigger an insurrection at the appropriate time." (26).

It was not until 1975, after defeating French and US imperialism, that Vietnam won its independence and socialism. Ho Chi Minh could not savor the victory because he died in 1969, just like Fanon could not see the independence of Algeria. Still, even if Macey’s assertion, meaning that the international communist movement and the example of Vietnam, among others, were "not very useful" is not serious, it is yet shared by various specialists of Fanon !

As stated Cherki Alice, with her vigilant and incisive writing, "Fanon had no Marxist education of a Communist Party cadre. His Marxism was quite heterogeneous. Instead, he had knowledge in various disciplines like psychoanalysis which enabled him to enrich Marxism and political practice". Despite all the limitations that were imposed by the NLF where many leaders distrusted him, he must have thought that his militant devotion would be more useful in the NLF than in the ACP. Fanon recognized in all cases that "to the colonial peoples enslaved by Western nations, only communist countries have taken, at all times, their defense" (27).

The issue of the role of the peasantry, a theoretical psycho-political concept
For Fanon, "It is clear that in colonial countries peasants alone, are revolutionaries. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Peasants, outcast and hungry are the exploited that discover very early that only violence pays. For them, there is no compromise, no possible arrangement. Colonization or decolonization, it is simply a matter of power relationship," (28)
and also "the nationalist activist who decides ... to put his fate in the hands of the peasants he never loses. The peasant coat covers him with tenderness and unsuspected force." (29).

As Nguyen Nghe puts it : "When the revolutionary movement must wage long-term armed struggle, the Soviet revolution of 1917 model based primarily on the armed insurrection of the city proletariat, is no longer valid. The creation of long-term revolutionary bases in the countryside (becomes a necessity, as in China, Vietnam, Cuba, and Algeria. Poor peasants become the predominant element in the revolutionary organizations, battles take place in the countryside, thus victory comes from the countryside, and then ultimately, to cities. These conditions give rise to certain illusions or optical errors." (30).

According to this Vietnamese revolutionary, peasant reality is much more complex and it is mostly poor peasants who have revolutionary potential insofar as revolutionary militants awaken them to new ideas. Historical studies of Benjamin Stora and especially of Henri Alleg, confirm this point of view. Fanon, even if he was a black city-dwelling, agnostic, with limited knowledge of Arabic, in a Muslim peasant environment, lived and surely understood the complexity of the peasant world. In other words, one may wonder if the way he presents the peasantry is not intended to create a psycho-political illusion useful to the NLF !

Indeed, one could argue that the Fanonian notion of the Algerian peasant is both descriptive and political, but also an illusion in the psychological Freudian sense of the term, that is, a force, as the case of religion, for example. It is indeed difficult to imagine that Fanon had not known of the existence of conflicts between the rich peasants, middle peasants and poor peasants in revolutionary Russia or China during the Long March. In Algeria, in 1963, the moment of the nationalization of land, only 27% of arable land belonged to the colonists, that is 3 million hectares and 23% of arable land belonged to 1.3 % of Algerians owners. To this, were added smallholders and farm workers. During the War of Independence, the NLF was faced with many problems in the countryside and reality did not appear in any way as the picture presented by Fanon ! Sartre, who often cuts corners, added in his preface to The Wretched of the Earth : "Thus the unity of the Third World is not done : this is what is happening currently that passes through the union in each country, before or after independence, of all colonized people under the command of the peasant class. This is what Fanon explains... "(31).

Part Two

To what extent can our reflections on Fanon’s life and thoughts help us to understand and influence the current situation. To partially answer this question, we will deal with three "case studies". The working hypothesis underlying our three case studies is that the notions and tools of Fanon are even of greater importance today than they were during his lifetime. Indeed, the USSR no longer exists (at least currently), the international communist movement has been weakened, and many Euro-communist parties have changed into Euro-centrism and toward social democracy, which makes a socialist construction of independent African countries even more difficult. Fortunately, the People’s Republic of China, which became the largest trading partner of Africa, may to some extent compensate for the loss of the Soviet Union in the fight against colonialism, to the great displeasure of imperialism which may less impose its law.


We remember the Jeanson network and his suitcases carriers full of banknotes (mostly from the Algerian working class and small Algerian traders working in France), when Communists rubbed shoulders with other progressistes to support the NLF. What a sad irony to see, as the lawyer Robert Gourbi well explained (himself carrying a suitcase in the opposite direction) that today, among others, Bongos, father and son, kept in power by French Africa, who feed the French presidential election funds with their Bongo-Bongo suitcases.

According to the Verschave thesis, a large majority of African dictators and presidents of former French colonies have been established, supported and protected by the French State. He cites Omar Bongo (Gabon), Gnassingbe Eyadema (Togo), Paul Biya (Cameroon), Denis Sassou-Nguesso (Congo), Blaise Compaoré (Burkina Faso) or Idriss Deby (Chad) (32). Fanon had foreseen the slipping of the national bourgeoisie in the newly independent countries. French justice has obviously closed the case as prescribed ! What is particularly sad is to see that the French press, right and left, focused on the beneficiaries of suitcases full of banknotes. Does this case concern only Balladur, or Chirac, Mitterrand ; did he also take advantage of it, and what about others ? In fact, this neo-colonial policy compromises all French political parties from extreme right Le Pen to the Mitterrand left, and with the passive complicity of Eurocommunists. Few are concerned that this neo-colonial policy literally starves African people and it is a real crime against humanity.

Fanon failed to cure the European left from its Eurocentrism. Eurocentrism has, in fact, dramatically increased since the fall of the Berlin Wall ! Those who are trying their best to be the followers have a heavy task to accomplish ! However, today the situation has changed and all the "Bongo-Bongo" suitcases will not change the fact that even if the USSR no longer exists today, Communist China exists, and that the sphere of Western imperialism withers. During the period 2001-2010, the average annual growth of Sino-African trade reached 28%. China has thus become the largest trading partner of Africa. According to an official of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce ".. having missions and similar experiences, China and Africa are both developing countries. China, a sincere friend of Africa, still maintains a spirit of equality, effectiveness, mutual benefit and common development. In addition, China wants to share with Africa its development experiences and to realize mutual benefits and common development through investments and aids "(33).

A country : Libya

Demba Moussa Dembele, the Senegalese economist, quotes the Guardian of the 24th of August 2011, which states that " is the main NATO countries which supported and financed the CNT, including members with long time links to the CIA and M15.” That is why the Western powers had helped to create a CNT oil company to replace the Libyan state company and a "Central Bank of Libya." Also according Demba Moussa Dembele, CNT appeal for an outside intervention was the logical consequence of the close coordination between CNT and the West. Thus, the course of the campaign of massive destruction and terror of NATO did show that the "protection" of civilians was the veil used to hide the real purpose of the United States, France and Great Britain : namely cut down the Qaddafi regime to install in its place a more docile one, "grateful" to its Western "protectors" who would be amply "rewarded" with the control and the plundering of the resources of Libya. Brought to power by a coalition of mercenaries composed of NATO forces, their Special Forces, CIA, Al Qaeda fighters and monarchies of the Gulf and Saudi Arabia, the CNT will meet a great problem of credibility and even legitimacy by the Libyan people. Indeed, the call for external intervention clearly shows that the CNT did not enjoy popular support to bring down the Qaddafi regime, contrary to what happened in Tunisia and Egypt. Besides having been installed by a foreign force, the CNT is a very heterogeneous group, composed of radical Islamists linked to Al Qaeda, royalists, tribalists and representatives of the petty bourgeoisie. Moreover, the image of the CNT has been tarnished by the racist attitude basically observed against Black Libyans and Africans of the south of Sahara who worked in Libya. Busy to achieve its objectives to change the regime, NATO, with the complicity of the United Nations, has consistently rejected all calls for a cease-fire and calls for negotiation made by the African Union. NATO has even done everything to hinder the efforts of African countries to CNT, preventing Heads of State visits mandated by the AU at the beginning of air-strikes or submitting intense bombing in Tripoli during their stay. The United States, France and Great Britain have not only ignored the proposals of Africa but also tried to divide Africa by using some of their pawns or puppets to weaken the position of the African Union.

The refusal to take into account the position of Africa is prompted by the lack of respect or even contempt of Western leaders towards African leaders. African leaders are almost always demonized by the Western media, which represents almost all of them as "dictators" "corrupted" and "oppressors" of their people. And it is Western countries that would undertake to "protect" or even to "save" the poor African people from these "dictators", oppressors, "tyrants" ! There are certainly dictators in Africa, but most of them are "protected" by Western powers. As long as they loyally serve the interests of Western powers, they continue to protect and even present them as "democrats." It is only when these dictators can no longer serve the interests of their masters that they are abandoned, while seeking to ensure their successors, when it is possible.

Losurdo the Italian philosopher observes : "... like all colonial wars are barbaric, the current war against Libya demonstrates how imperialism is increasingly becoming barbaric.”
Criticism of Frantz Fanon, in The Wretched of the Earth, is even more bitter and devastating : "We should leave this Europe that does not stop talking about the Man while killing him wherever it meets him at all corners of its own streets, in all corners of the world. For centuries now, Europe has blocked the progress of other men and subjugated them to its designs, its glory. For centuries now, in the name of the so-called ’spiritual adventure’ it stifles almost all humanity ... The West wanted to be an adventure of the spirit. And in the name of the Spirit, the European spirit means that Europe has justified its crimes and legitimized slavery in which it maintained four-fifths of humanity "(34).

"After what happened in Libya, the threat of the re-colonization of some African countries is no longer a creation of mind. Those who still had doubts about the reality of imperialism and its evil nature, despotic, barbaric and terrorist must wake up. Libya must silence their doubts and sweep their illusions. Libya is a major test for Africa. And that (is fact), no matter what we may think of Qaddafi and his regime."( 35).

Indeed, the doctrine of "the right of humanitarian intervention" is the modern version of the "white man’s burden" which served as a driving force in the colonization of Africa in the 19th century in order to "civilize" its ’wild’ populations ! We know what this "civilizing" enterprise generated : serial genocides, repeated massacres, destruction of indigenous cultures, unscrupulous plundering of resources and heritage of Africa. "The right of humanitarian intervention" has the same objectives. Instead of "civilization" they mentioned the "protection" of populations against their "dictators", their "tyrants" !

As Demba Moussa Dembele, vice president of the International Frantz Fanon Network from Senagal, and worthy successor of Frantz Fanon says, "It is time to wake up ! Elsewhere, people are taking charge of their destiny by shaking off the yoke of imperialist domination. In Latin America, where ’Yankee imperialis ’ not so long ago called its "backyard", people are rewriting their own history, deformed and distorted after all these centuries of domination, punctuated by genocides, massacres, plundering and denial of indigenous cultures. But the fate of our oceans is not sealed and Africa will not remain the only dominated and humiliated continent "(36).

According to Franklin Lamb, "In the North of Sahel, a Front for the Liberation of Libya is already being built, because contrary to what one could read in a publication of the French left, many already regret Libya of the Green Book era’"(37).

A woman : Mrs. Nafissatou Diallo

After dealing with the relations between states and Bongo-Bongo father and son, with the war for oil, let’s talk now about a simple and humble person.
Fanon said about the dreams of Europeans that he treated : "With the Algerian woman, there is no gradual conquest, mutual revelation, but at the outset, with maximum violence, possession, rape, almost murder.

The act is brutal and of a para-neurotic sadism even with a standard European. ...The aggressiveness of the European will also be expressed in considerations of the morality of the Algerian woman. His shyness and reserve will be transformed according to the trivial laws of conflict psychology into their opposite and the Algerian woman will be hypocritical, perverse, even authentic nymphomaniac "(38).

Nafissatou Diallo is a Guinean woman and is not a dream but a real nightmare ! Apart from that, the resemblance to the Nafissatou’s description of the facts is striking ! Luiz Eduardo Prado de Oliveira, the Francobrazilian psychoanalyst, professor of psychopathology at the University of Paris 7 writes on the triple rape of Nafissatou Diallo and tells us about the "alleged" rape at the Sofitel in New York : "A maid at a big North American hotel was raped by a former president of the International Monetary Fund. She was actually raped a second time by a public prosecutor of the United States, with the police tape. Blatantly, she undergoes a third violence when the French television invited the rapist without a single concern to interview her, to hear her version of events as well. Moreover, the French newspapers do not seem eager to hear Diallo." (39).

Aimé Césaire said in his Discourse on Colonialism, "Each time a head is cut off or an eye put out in Vietnam and in France they accept the fact, each time a little girl is raped and in France they accept the fact, each time a Madagascan is tortured and in France they accept the fact, civilization acquires another dead weight, a universal regression takes place, a gangrene sets in "(40).

It is not of course intended to establish the truth here, although the demonstration of this psychiatrist, among others, is convincing ! But there are two camps here : those and mainly those women, whites and mainly blacks who demand a fair trial for Nafissatou (These are people who fight for human rights) ... and on the other camp the others !
Ironically, this occurred a few days after the anniversary of the abolition of slavery, a spark ignited the powder and blew up the incredible political and media mounting that would make the rapist of Africa and the alleged rapist of African woman, the President of France and its neo-colonial empire on the way of wizening !

The woman called Ophelia, Mrs. Nafissatou Diallo, the Guinean black peasant who becomes proletarian in the hotel industry in New York City confronts DSK, the head of international capitalism, disguised as a pink humanist, unfortunately with the support of many "Reds ".

The determination of Nafissatou not to kowtow, to stand up ("fam doubout" as they say in Haitian Creole) against sexual slavery, as did the slaves of Haiti who beat Napoleon and his troops in 1804, in my opinion, deserves the admiration of fanonians.

Yet in France, ministers of state, politicians in sight, right and left, are crying conspiracy against their good friend Strauss-Kahn who is supposed to be a chronic seducer, but not a sexual predator.

They hardly give the benefit of the doubt to this modest black maid of thirty-two years, who if she is honest, she had the tremendous courage to file a complaint against the powerful of this world, with all the dangers that it involves ! And what if this maid was telling the truth ? And if the big boss lied ? It will be a Black woman, from a country where many slaves came, who would have sby her courage, saved France from dishonor and humiliation. An action of great symbolic meaning ! And it occurred before it was too late, before DSK was a candidate for the presidency of the country, or even the President of France. A white petty bourgeois woman, Tristane Banon victim of strausskhanien slavery, joined the fight as well. Aragon was right to say "The future of man is woman. She is the color of his soul."(41).

All this happened with a deafening silence from the European "left", its press and its partner organisations ! Even feminist or anti-racist social movements when they are linked to the official left, psychiatrists known as progressistes, etc.. hesitated or downright refused to fight simply so that Nafissatou could have the right to a fair trial ! Pretexts are really fallacious : It’s a conspiracy against DSK, it is his presumption of innocence, French people are not interested in that, she is a black immigrant, thus necessarily fragile, so then acquiescent, it is not because she is black that we must defend her automatically, etc… And then what else !

When it became really impossible, resistants, men or women, of the last hour in the official left have appeared ! Marie-George Buffet, former general secretary of the FCP (PCF) is an exception, because she was involved bravely in the defence of Nafissatou Diallo and Tristane Banon. Fanon said, and it turns out wrongly because he cannot always be right ! (Little is yet known about FCP’s illegal action, even today) : "The Left has done nothing for a long time in France. But the Left’s action, denunciations, and analysis, have prevented a number of things." (43).

For what we are concerned with, the official left denounced nothing at all, except that we are too interested in the ’’case’’ !

As Frantz Fanon thought, slavery was abolished, but slave attitudes are not abolished yet ... For electoral considerations, either to avoid antagonizing the French Socialist colonialist and neocolonialist Party and a possible president of the Republic whose male chauvinistic excesses have been famous for a long time in the inner circle, there was a kind of code of silence in his case ! Those who want Fanon’s key ideas to thrive, have a lot of work to do !

Frantz Fanon could probably not even imagine that the FCP could collaborate with the Socialist Party for the second round of the presidential elections of 2012, in favor of a certain Dominique Strauss-Kahn !
A leader of the Communist Workers Party of Tunisia (CWPT) recently said that a few weeks before the recent uprising in Tunisia in 2011, DSK still welcomed the dictator Ben Ali for his "governance" and wished long life to his dictatorship ! We will not make our paper longer with the stories in the press about the transatlantic slave trade and traffic of black and white women allegedly organized by DSK in association with Dodo La Saumure or Briny Dodo and others ...

Nafissatou won against DSK, slave counter-violence conquered the violence of the white master. However strausskhania is still strutting about and strauskhanism, this foreign body that penetrated the left, that "germ of corruption" for which Fanon would say, is far from being eradicated !


What is the relationship between "Bongo-Bongo" suitcases, the overthrow of Green Book, Libya, the struggle for fundamental human rights undertaken by Nafissatou Diallo, and Frantz Fanon who left us 50 years ago ? The answer is that Fanon has left us powerful tools, his example and his ideas, and we should get used to employing these tools in today’s world.

The international balance of forces between imperialist forces and Communist forces has changed, among other things, the Soviet Union was defeated, but Communist China has managed to win. Lenin’s recommendation still seems valid :

"Workers of all countries and oppressed peoples, unite", as so aptly demonstrated by Fanon, it begins with the simple daily confrontation of body, gesture, language, simple acts that are part of the class struggle and anti-imperialist struggle.

Transatlantic solidarity of indignants– women and men, black or white, has debunked the pinkish stucco statue of DSK, but, as we have said, strauskhaniens still strut and strausskhanism is still alive ! Strausskhanism is indeed a pervert virus in the software of the left, a disguised form of the neo-colonial imperialism, it is the senile disease of the soft left !

We consider Strausskhanism as the enemy of the spirit of Frantz Fanon and the best tool of neocolonialism. And it is a black woman, a peasant that becomes an immigrant proletarian, to who some sanctimonious hypocrites ask to be perfect to be credible, who has lifted the veil on that wound.

Yes, Comrade Nafissatou Diallo is symbolically Fanonian and thus Fanon’s final prayer could be : "O my body, make me a woman who questions !"

To conclude, we will repeat what Fanon said, "Every time a man has contributed to the victory of the dignity of the spirit, every time a man has said NO to an attempt to subjugate his fellows, I have felt solidarity with his act. " There is nothing to change except perhaps, because language evolves, replace “Man” by “Human Being”.

Our aim was to keep the software of fanonism and try to update this software against many malware enemies who have been developed worldwide since Fanon left us half a century ago. We then undertook three case studies to test today these ideas and tools we have been bequeathed by Franz Fanon. It seemed that the test was conclusive and that all particular cases must be tackled today in a Fanonian perspective so that to achieve a universal, a truly universal that allows the convergence of progressive struggles. We can say indeed, to paraphrase the logic of Hegel’s that "The Universal should be such that it subsumes the richness of the Particular !" It should, we believe, as Marx and Fanon say, each in their own way, humanize humans !

(1) Frantz Fanon, Peau Noire, masques blancs, Œuvres, La Découverte, 2011, p.251
(2) Domenico Losurdo, « Reconstruire le Parti Communiste », Intervention au 6e Congrès national du PdCI,
(3) Frantz Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs, Seuil, 1952, p.20
(4) Alice Cherki, Frantz Fanon : portrait, Seuil,2000, p. 27 (5)
(6) Lettre de Frantz Fanon à ses parents, Memorial International Frantz Fanon : 31 mars-3 avril 1982 Fort-de-France. Dakar : Présence Africaine, 1984, p.269
(7) Antoine Porot - Notes de psychiatrie musulmane - Annales medico-psychologiques, 1918, 74, 377-384.
(8) Antoine Porot & C. Arrii, L’impulsivité criminelle chez l’indigène algérien ; ses facteurs : Annales médico-psychologiques, 1932, 90 : 588-611.
(9) Alice Cherki, Frantz Fanon, portrait, p. 31
(10) Yvon Quiniou, L’Homme selon Marx, éditions Kimé, 2011, p. 99
(11) Yvon Quiniou, L’Homme selon Marx, éditions Kimé, 2011, p. 95
(12) Yvon Quiniou, L’Homme selon Marx, éditions Kimé, 2011, p. 127
(13) Frantz Fanon, Les Damnés de la Terre (1961), La Découverte poche, 2002, p.53-54
(14) Frantz Fanon, Pour la révolution africaine, La Découverte poche, 2001, p. 39
(15) Frantz Fanon, Les Damnés de la Terre, La Découverte poche, 2002, p. 45
(16) Plate-forme de la Soumam
(17) Imre Marton, Contribution au mémorial, p.127
(18) Imre Marton, « A propos des thèses de Fanon », Action, Revue du Parti communiste martiniquais, 1965, numéro 7, p.45
(19) Appel pour le remboursement à Haïti de la rançon exigée par la France pour la reconnaissance de son indépendance
(20) Frantz Fanon, Pour la révolution africaine, Œuvres, La Découverte ,p.868-869
(21) Plate-forme de la Soumam
(22) http://canempechepasnicolas.over-bl
(23) Michel Branchi, « Portée politique et idéologique de la « Lettre à Maurice Thorez » : Aimé Césaire entre théorie et pratique » dans WWW.JOURNAL-JUSTICE-MARTINIQ... (lundi 1er juin 2009)
(24) Sadek Hadjeres, « Réflexions autour de trois décennies de “socialisme spécifique” en Algérie », dans Francis Arzalier (coordination), Expériences socialistes en Afrique 1960-1990, Le Temps des Cerises, 2010, p.138
(25) Macey David, Frantz Fanon. Une vie, La Découverte, 2011, p.296
(26) Alain Ruscio, « Viet-Minh, 34 ans de combats pour leur indépendance », L’Humanité Dimanche, 24 novembre 2011, p.86
(27) Frantz Fanon, Pour la Révolution africaine, Œuvres, La Découverte 2011, p.781
(28) Les Damnés de la Terre, p.46
(29) Les Damnés de la Terre, p.95
(30) Nguyen Nghe, « Frantz Fanon et les problèmes de l’indépendance », La Pensée, 107, février 1963, p. 31
(31) Jean-Paul Sartre, « Préface à l’édition », Les Damnés de la Terre, Œuvres, La Découverte, p. 434
(32) François-Xavier Verschave, La Françafrique, le plus long scandale de la République, Tribord (28 novembre 2011)
(33) Le Quotidien du Peuple en ligne (28 novembre 2011)
(34) Fanon Frantz, Les Damnés de la Terre (1961), éd. La Découverte poche, 2002, p.301 and 303
(35) Dembele Demba Moussa, Réflexions sur une guerre,
(36) Dembele Demba Moussa, Réflexions sur une guerre,
(37) Franklin Lamb, “Libya’s Liberation Front Organizing in the Sahel”,
(38) Frantz Fanon, L’An V de la Révolution algérienne, Œuvres, p. 283
(39) Luiz Eduardo Prado de Oliveira, « Le triple viol de Nafissatou Diallo, psychanalyse de l’exil et de l’immigration »
(40) Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism.
(41) Louis Aragon, Le fou d’Elsa, 1963.
(42) Alfred Gerson, Jean Vendart et Daniel Vernhettes, « Esprits de résistance », Maison du Livre,
(43) Frantz Fanon, L’An V de la révolution algérienne, Œuvres, Découverte 2011, p.381
(44) Frantz Fanon, Peau Noire, masques blancs, Seuil 1952

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