Frantz Fanon: The Brightness of Metal


‘Fanon’s thought is marked by an axiomatic commitment to an immediate and radical egalitarianism – including the recognition of a universal capacity for reason. It is shaped, in its deep structure, by a profoundly dialectical sense of the capacity for the human to be in motion. His thought, taken as a whole, did not waver from what Aimé Césaire, the extraordinary surrealist poet, described as the obligation ‘to see clearly, to think clearly — that is, dangerously’.

Liberation must, Fanon insists, restore ‘dignity to all citizens, fill their minds and feast their eyes with human things and create a prospect that is human because conscious and sovereign persons dwell therein’. For Fanon, the restoration of dignity is not a matter of return. The journey towards what, in the last year of his life, in a letter written to the Iranian intellectual Ali Shariati, he called ‘that destination where humanity lives well’ is undertaken via a constant process of becoming and enlargement of the sphere of democratic reason. As Lewis Gordon notes, for Fanon, legitimacy is not a matter of offering proof of racial or cultural authenticity; rather, it emerges ‘from active engagement in struggles for social transformation and building institutions and ideas that nourish and liberate the formerly colonized’.

For the university-trained intellectual, Fanon poses a simple demand, but one that retains its radical charge almost sixty years later: to move beyond the ontological and spatial ordering of oppression and commit to a form of insurgent and democratic praxis in which ‘a mutual current of enlightenment and enrichment’ is developed between protagonists from different social locations.’ More here.

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