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AFRICAN REVOLUTION IN FRANTZ FANON: A HERMENEUTICAL INVESTIGATION

ABSTRACT

Revolutionary Violence as a force for liberation was fundamental to the thought of Fanon. Fanon's arguments have been surprisingly neglected throughout the literature about him. He argues that there has been no effective decolonization in Africa because the colonial structures have not been destroyed. What happened at independence was the Africanization of colonialism. There can be no effective decolonization and consequently no freedom so long as the colonial structures obtain. And to destroy colonialism effectively violence is indispensable. Violence destroys not only the formal structures of colonial rule, but also the alienated consciousness which colonial rule has planted in the mind of the native. Unlike the socalled dispassionate native intellectuals, he is not content with a mere description of the structure of politics or a catalogue of colonial injustices.

He propounds a theory of social action and makes a passionate plea for revolutionary decolonization and the creation of a free society in which man would acquire authentic existence. His vision of the ideal society was that of a socialist populist democracy, a combination of Marx and Rousseau, in which man would be free to maintain and express his nature.

Using original source material as the basis for hermeneutics, I will eventually argue that Fanon's acceptance of revolutionary violence is logically linked to the remnants of a dualistic perspective that Fanon himself describes as being of colonial birth. The more complex justifications Fanon offers for African Revolution must be seen in the light of the goals of his programme. Ends justify means for Fanon. He believed that violent means were necessary in order to achieve certain ends/ goals.

This thesis concludes that Fanon’s revolutionary humanism is the outcome of a particular and personal interpretation of his experience of the African colonial predicament, and is therefore eminently hermeneutical. Thus, the result is that Frantz Fanon can only be adequately interpreted if his arguments are critically assessed in the light of his ultimate goal: “the liberation of man from exploitation by other men.” We may criticise his vision or the means of its attainment, but we neglect the issues he raises only at our peril.

 

CHAPTER ONE

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of Study

What makes me recall Frantz Fanon now, particularly his memorable works on the “African revolution” and the “wretched of the earth” is the recent upsurge of revolutions in North Africa. Since Fanon wrote “Black Skin, White Masks” in 1952 and the Wretched of the Earth” in 1961, hardly a decade went by without someone rediscovering the value of “human consciousness” and the need for a “second wave of national liberation, for a continual African revolution in the broadest sense of the word: a catharsis.

The African Revolution in Frantz Fanon is never germane as now with the current uprisings in North Africa and the Arab World. Recent events in Cote d’ Ivore, Sudan, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya bespeaks virtual revolution. The popular masses of these countries revolted against despotism, dysfunctional governance and

dictatorship. For instances, in Egypt the immediate issue was the drive to democratize – to end the 30 years reign of the octogenarian dictator, Hosni Mubarak. The more latent issues were inequality in economy, a situation where the wealth of the nation is concentrated in the hands of the ruling elite and poverty was the lot of the majority.

Similarly, Libya has been firmly under the iron grip of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi for over 41 years. On February 16, 2011, the Libyans rose to overthrow the 42-year old dictatorship of Col. Gaddafi who seized power in a military coup in 1969, when he overthrew King Idris 1 and declared Libya an Arab republic. Gaddafi, in his bid to cling to power, threatened to burn Libya rather than surrender thereby making Libyan revolution the bloodiest in recent times.

What we have witnessed so far in North Africa is a cry for justice and the establishment of a system based on fairness and the rule of law, just as Frantz Fanon clamoured for. Previous thinking that the Islamic Arab states were immune to popular democracy has been shown to be false. We are now seeing that the ...Get Complete Material.


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