Frantz Fanon was born in 1925 on the island called Martinique in the Caribbean Sea. His first book was “Black Skin, White Masks”. Frantz Fanon died at the age of thirty-six in Washington, DC from cancer.
The Wretched of the Earth was greatly influenced by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, the first chapter “Concerning Violence” states abruptly that “decolonization is always a violent phenomenon.” Without a doubt, Frantz Fanon was a revolutionary psychologist and psychiatrist, during his lifetime he made a big contribution to Algerian Revolution and was not a stranger to social change. He saw the obviousness of social structure being split up and thought it to be the result of encompassing impacting social relationships between individuals, between organizations and institutions, and formal and informal gatherings of people. This was the age when nations were gaining their independence and this was accompanied by the violence and disruption everywhere.
Most of the content and analysis of the Wretched of the Earth focuses on the dialectic between the colonized people, usually not white and the colonizers generally white. The whole relationship between them was built in violence, violence made up every little linking part. Fanon states in this inescapable reality: “. . . The settler and the native are old acquaintances. In fact, the settler is right when he speaks of knowing “them” well. For it is the settler who has brought the native into existence and who perpetuates his existence. The settler owes the fact of his very existence, that is to say, his property, to the colonial system”(36).
Most of the popularity of Frantz Fanon work brought his insistence on examining the psychological and social alternations of that time, there were stimulated by the movements for freedom. He explored what the traits that these movement bring, such as dignity, humanity and liberate nation. Fanon writes that this movement “transform spectators crushed with their inessentiality into privileged actors, with the grandiose glare of history’s floodlights upon them (36).”
The authors stress on the issues of aggression that occurs while social and political changes are taking place, is by far the most valuable part of his analysis. While any blows from the policemen, or white settlers are tolerated, any slight confrontation from colonized brings instant retaliation.
Franz Fanon tells that this type violence occurs on all level, mass and individual. He also viewed wild and vigorous displays of dancing and the fanatical embracing of other worldly religions as outgrowths of this muscular tension. During the times of fighting for independence these practices decrease in number however, as the aggression of colonized now goes against the colonizers. Indeed, one of Fanon’s main themes is that the struggle for freedom can lead directly to better mental health for the masses of the colonized.
Franz Fanon does not neglect the important factor of class in his analysis. He is suspicious of colonial bourgeoisie since lots of people try to assimilate in to the settler sector. The position that they hold is such as to expel the colonizer and destroy factories and farms.
Following the lengthy initial chapter is one entitled, “Spontaneity: Its Strength and Weakness.” He discusses the dynamics of nationalist parties in detail touching on the role that workers, intellectuals, peasants, lumped-proletarians, and the colonial bourgeois play in embryonic national party formations. Fanon’s brilliant analysis of the politics of decolonization is complex and nuanced and must be read closely to be fully appreciated.
Frantz Fanon 1925–1961
Writer, theorist, psychologist
Born on July 20, 1925, in Fort-de-France, Martinique; died on December 6, 1961, in Bethesda, MD; married Josie Duble, 1952 (died 1989); children: one son. Education: Studied medicine and psychiatry in Lyon, France, after World War II. Military Service: Served in Free French Army during World War II.
Career: Writer, 1952-61; Blida-Joinville Hospital, Blida, Algeria, head of services, 1953-56; Manouba Clinic and Neuropsychiatric Center Jour de Tunis, Tunisia, psychiatrist, 1957-59; All African Peoples’ Congress, participant, 1958; revolutionary polemicist, undercover agent, late 1950s; Algerian Provisional Government, ambassador to Ghana, 1960.
Fanon was awarded the Croix de Guerre, the French equivalent of the Purple Heart, for bravery during his service in the Free French forces. Yet Fanon experienced racism on an ongoing basis while serving in the military, even in France, where he noticed that white French women refused to dance with the black soldiers who had fought to liberate them. The hurts of Fanon’s childhood surfaced, and he recalled thinking, according to Declan Kiberd of the Irish Times, that “this isn’t your war. When whites kill each other, it’s a blessing for blacks.”
Source: Manheim, James. “Fanon, Frantz 1925–1961.” Contemporary Black Biography. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. (May 17, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3431000026.html