Those who have studied the global Black Revolution of the 20th century have had to read the masterwork of Frantz Fanon,The Wretched of the Earth, which was known as ‘the handbook of the Black Revolution’, from Accra (in Ghana) to Oakland, California, USA.
This work, as much a psychological study as a diagnosis of the nature of French colonialism in Algeria, gave militants tremendous insights into the nature of Imperialism and how resistance exploded against it.
Former Black Panther leader, Kathleen Neal Cleaver, has written repeatedly that Fanon’s influence on Black revolutionaries in the U.S was “profound.”
But before he published The Wretched of the Earth (originally published as Le Damnes de la Terre in French), he wrote a remarkable series of articled anonymously for the Algerian revolutionary journal El Moudjahid, from September 1957 to January 1960, El Moudjahid’s attacks on the French political and military colonial officials is unusually sharp and focused, reflecting Fanon’s unique psychological and ideological insights into the Algerian and African struggles against European colonialism.
El Moudjahid is an Arabic term meaning “one who wages jihad or struggles”, and here one sees Fanon in a potent war of words against the foreign occupation of Algeria.
But Fanon was far more than a word warrior. In his 1964 work Toward the African Revolution, we find Fanon, the critic, the political analyst, the Africanist, the internationalist, the Marxist and the anti-imperialist.
In his El Moudjahid articles, Fanon anonymously gives voice to the FLN (French: Front Liberation National; English: National Liberation Front) and ridicules French efforts to tie the FLN to rapes, killings and massacres, condemns Arab and African collaborators and dissects how French forces used torture to intimidate the Algerian resistance.
Torture in Algeria is not an accident, or an error, or a fault. Colonialism cannot be understood without the possibility of torturing, of violating, or of massacring .
Fanon was a revolutionary journalist; or perhaps more clearly, a revolutionary who also worked as a journalist.
His heart was with all anti-imperialist, revolutionary, and national liberation movements. His heart was with rebel friends like [Kwame] Nkrumah of Ghana, and [Patrice] Lumumba of Congo.
His heart was with what he called The Wretched of the Earth – the world’s dispossessed.