Tag Archives: decolonization

Blog # 5 Fanon

Colonialism is a big concept on Fanon’s part. I do see where he gets the violence and agree with his theory. Colonialism, there is no attempt to hide the control by the governing capital. The police are right there on the street next to you speaking with force to get jobs done and follow the mother capital’s rules. This can make many people angry and in the mood to revolt with violent tendencies. The natural reaction is to fight fire with fire and what more do you expect from a massive colonized group that is being oppressed. It happened all over the world, in France, India, the United States and many other nations where revolution was sparked. But, you need the spark to be set and the best people are the ones with the least to lose and the most degraded in the society. They are the backbone to most revolutions as they provide the numbers in battle. Now, how can we compare this to society today…?

Revolutions around the world are still occurring, but lets look a little closer to home. Although we live in a capitalist society, that just covers up the oppression occurring. revolutions are taking place all around the nation from New York to Oakland. These events could be the start to a societal revolution that the people see is needed. There is still no spark yet, and the group is not focused so there will be no success in a revolution. Also the fact that the military with its standing army, hellfire missiles and stealth planes, any violent revolution will be slaughtered…Other methods must take commencement. As a nation, we have to take Oakland as a major example and just tweak the formula. It isn’t enough to just get people together. The group has to be focused with core ideas. They cant just stand around with their own personal ideas, one to disband the government while others just want milk and gas to cost less. With core ideas, their is a willingness and a bond to fight together. From the lumpenproletariat to the doctors and lawyers in our society, change will only commence if core ideas are drawn together and focused into a concise plan for success. 

Even though the cops are not armed on every street corner, capitalist society uses different control methods. from education to authoritarian government tactics the people are not entirely free and and oppressed not by guns, but by society. So as a society, we have to look at Oakland. If we have a problem with the way this nation works, we have to stand up as a group and act. We are not the worst in the world (some nations have over 50% unemployment rate for late teen-mid 20’s) but if this trend where the 1% gets richer while the rest suffer, it wont be long until we reach those numbers. So we look at Fanon with colonialism and control by the mother country. Even though we cant see them everywhere physically…All we have to do is look inside their methods through schooling, cuts in certain government and private areas, the disparity between pay between the CEO of companies and their workers, gas, taxes, control on certain substances even if their is a medical gain, etc. Just takes some reading in between the lines to see that we are still a controlled populous by a different mother country, wearing different clothing, speaking a similar language, with different tactics. We are still the colonized providing for the government. 





Blog Post #5: Malcolm X, Fanon, & Colonialism

Malcolm X, inarguably one of the most provocative Civil Rights leaders, was known for his radical views and blunt approach. Malcolm X dedicated the later portion of his life to what he would consider “emancipating blacks from mental slavery” and mobilizing them to (literally) combat racism and prejudice. He saw white Americans as the biggest threat to overall African American progress. Mr. X, however, did not believe blacks were honestly American. After listening to several of his speeches, I identified the source of these sentiments. He expressed many elements of colonialism and oppression (from white Americans) in his rhetoric. This automatically reminded me of Frantz Fanon and his literature. Fanon describes that within a colonial system, there exists two conflicting societies: the colonizers and the colonized. The colonizer oppresses and barbarizes the colonized, allowing himself/herself to take full control. In this particular case, Malcolm X would consider whites as the colonizers and blacks as the colonized. Throughout history, blacks were portrayed as less intelligent and incapable of functioning effectively in society. This is partially why systems such as Jim Crow were instituted. In the video above, Malcolm X particularly speaks on decolonization and the growth of a revolution. He discusses the difference between a black revolution and a negro revolution. The latter, he argues remains stuck in colonialism. Just as Fanon writes that liberation for the colonized is only possible through revolutionary violence,  Mr. X conveys this very same idea. He makes it a point to remind the crowd that every revolution in history, up to that particular point, had resulted in bloodshed. It seems that Mr. X could have been an unofficial student of Fanon.

‘Settler Colonialism: Then and Now’ (Video)

[Map of European colonial expansion/settlement of territories that become the United States, 1800-1820. Image from from The National Atlas of the United States of America (1970) via PCL Map Collection of the University of Texas at Austin Library]Most accounts of colonialism, like Frantz Fanon‘s tend to focus on the European powers.  Mahmood Mamdani claims that America was a “pioneer in the history and technology of settler colonialism” but “has yet to pose the question of decolonization in the public sphere.”  In this lecture, “Settler Colonialism: Then and Now,” Mamdani argues that “if there’s an ‘American exceptionalism’ it is this: the world’s first settler colonial state continues to function as one…The American sensibility remains a settler sensibility in important ways.”  This lecture was delivered on December 6, 2012 at Princeton University for the 10th Annual Edward W. Said ’57 Memorial Lecture.

Mahmood Mamdani is an academic, author, and political commentator. He is the author of, among other books, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (1996), When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda (2002), Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror (2010), and, most recently, Define and Rule: Native as Political Identity (2012). His works explore the intersection between politics and culture, the history of colonialism since 1452, the history of civil war and genocide in Africa, the Cold War and the War on Terror, and the history and theory of human rights.

Mamdani is presently the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at Columbia University in New York, and also Professor and Director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research at Makerere University, in Kampala, Uganda, and. He grew up in Uganda and acquired his B.A from the University of Pittsburgh, before going on to attain his Masters degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1969 and his PhD from Harvard University in 1974.  This event was sponsored by the Edward W. Said ’57 Memorial Lecture Fund, the Princeton Committee on Palestine, the Department of English, and the Program in African Studies.

‘Colonized’ by Corporations?

“Colonized by Corporations,” a column by Chris Hedges (Truthdig, 5/14) brings together multiple themes and concepts from the course — colonialism, decolonization, exploitation, revolution, legitimacy, violence, ideology, racism and white supremacy, to name a few.  Hedges argues that theorists of colonial rule like Frantz Fanon offer the best insights into the functioning of our own system, which he calls a “corporate state”:

“We have been, like nations on the periphery of empire, colonized. We are controlled by tiny corporate entities that have no loyalty to the nation and indeed in the language of traditional patriotism are traitors. They strip us of our resources, keep us politically passive and enrich themselves at our expense. The mechanisms of control are familiar to those whom the Martinique-born French psychiatrist and writer Frantz Fanon called “the wretched of the earth,” including African-Americans. The colonized are denied job security. Incomes are reduced to subsistence level. The poor are plunged into desperation. Mass movements, such as labor unions, are dismantled. The school system is degraded so only the elites have access to a superior education. Laws are written to legalize corporate plunder and abuse, as well as criminalize dissent.”

In order to challenge the “corporate state,” Hedges argues we must first recognize ourselves as “colonized subjects.” But, as Fanon observed in “Black Skin, White Masks,” the psychological mechanism of cognitive dissonance often inhibits such recognition:

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”

On the question of the “revolutionary potential” of different social classes and class “fractions,” Hedges concurs with Marx, that the marginalized poor (lumpenproletariat), as a group, present little threat to the ruling elite.

“The real danger to the elite comes from déclassé intellectuals, those educated middle-class men and women who are barred by a calcified system from advancement. Artists without studios or theaters, teachers without classrooms, lawyers without clients, doctors without patients and journalists without newspapers descend economically. They become, as they mingle with the underclass, a bridge between the worlds of the elite and the oppressed. And they are the dynamite that triggers revolt.”

Fanon and decolonization

Fanon describes decolonization in the Wretched of the Earth and the problems with it. For Fanon this can only be reversed with violence. Using biblical words “The last shall be first, and the first shall be last” Fanon describes successful decolonization.  He contends that “decolonisation is quite simply the replacing of a certain “species” of men by another “species” of men.” This of course is not a simple task but he shows a different outlook on decolonization.

For Fanon violence is the answer to the psychological and physical freedom of the native intellect. The colonial world Fanon writes is a “world cut in two” and that in this world a native is forced upon policing and subjected to there morals resulting in unfair treatment and a gun or weapon used to control the native.  He argues that” The intermediary does not lighten the oppression, nor seek to hide the domination; he shows them up and puts them into practice with the clear conscience of an upholder of the peace; yet he is the bringer of violence into the home and into the mind of the native….” This is powerful as Fanon is justifying the need for violence while showing that peace is not achieved without it. The people who put the idea, stereotyped and made the native an enemy not only will want peace but, will not understand why the native is violent.

We see this in America today where racism still exists sadly enough. America once hated black people and segregated race, it is a part of the aftermath of decolonization. Italians, Irish, African americans and presently latin americans have all gone through this racism and change. But as Fanon enlightens us to change our government violence may be needed.

In his essay “On National Culture” Fanon points out that “Colonialism’s insistence that “niggers” have no culture, and Arabs are by nature barbaric, inevitably leads to glorification of cultural phenomena that become continental instead of national, and singularly racialized.” By alienating the native intellect, they become consumed in the past and want to identify with their historical country. The native is not up to date with their current residence because they get lost in the past. This is bad because it negates the effects of being assimilated in the first place. A viscous cycle that must end in violence.

If Fanon is correct and violence is the only way the native and the settler can achieve a new unity and solidarity what can be said about America? Will it too crumble under decolonization? As an American from New York I have seen a vast majority of different cultures and traditions people hold onto. Perhaps the different culture is Americas assimilation and culture. Yet we cannot deny that not everyone believes this. America may be in risk for complete destruction untill racism does not exist but of course time can only tell.