[Marxism] Re: Is Frantz Fanon Still Relevant? Hell yes.

M. Junaid Alam mjunaidalam at msalam.net
Mon Mar 14 19:02:01 MST 2005


Fanon is more relevant today than ever precisely because the challenges 
and questions he posed are still with us in a big way. I think Fanon's 
writings epitomize the challenges classical Marxism could not foresee 
and cannot answer - that is, the national and colonial questions in the 
context of the maintenance of a privileged imperialism. Fanon grapples 
with questions that classical Marxism breezed by in maximalist 
theoretical formulations that did not come to pass historically, namely 
an imagined cleaned transcendence of feudal relations in the periphery, 
and an elevation of colonies into European-modeled capitalisms.

This theory had the very attractive advantage of reconciling inevitable 
devastations of whole primitive societies as being ultimately 
progressive - it posited them as transforming relations onto a clean 
capitalist polarized basis which would then serve as a precondition for 
socialism- but it had the disadvantage, speaking 150 years in 
retrospect, of not having actually happened. It seems, to my eyes 
anyway, that the struggles between air force pilots pressing buttons for 
bombs versus farmers in rice paddies, or 60-ton tanks versus 
stone-throwing kids, illustrates that the Civilizing Mission has still 
failed to actually civilize those primitives whom capitalism was 
apparently supposed to reestablish on a more advanced basis. Rather, the 
whole sordid spectacle has de-civilized the civilizers themselves. That 
is the central contradiction which Fanon's works speak to.

On the chap who wrote the article: he seems good-hearted, but on some 
level it's more of the same typical post-modernist muck. This part for 
instance:

"Globalization gazes at the nation-state through the rearview  mirror, 
as we speed on a fiber-optic freeway toward the strategic 
denationalization of state sovereignty."

The fiber-optic freeway?  Yeah, there blows by the nation state, and 
nationalist ideology itself...look long and hard into that rearview 
mirror and see the "fading" demons of reactionary nationalism - Zionism 
and Americanism - along with other autocentrisms, ie. Arab nationalism, 
Islamic radicalism, also apparently on the wane...I don't think we will 
have any such luck now anymore than Marx did over the India question in 
1853. The beast called nationalism is still the major, immovable force I 
think any serious socialist has to come to grips with in analyzing 
society and developing tactics to promote socialist values effectively.




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