Fanon, Frantz


Fanon, Frantz
(1925–1961)
   A revolutionary socialist activist and major theoretician of Third World liberation, Fanon was strongly influenced by Marxism, but both developed it and departed from it in his analysis of colonialism. Born in French colonial Martinique, he attended schools both there and in France. He volunteered to serve in the French army in 1944, and subsequently studied medicine and psychiatry at the University of Lyons in France. In 1953 he was made head of the psychiatric department at Blida-Joinville hospital in the French colony of Algeria. When the Algerian war of independence began in 1954 Fanon helped the rebels, gradually becoming more involved in the rebel cause. He resigned from his hospital post in 1956 and became editor of the Algerian National Front’s (FLN) newspaper. In 1960 he was appointed ambassador of the Algerian Provisional Government to Ghana. In the same year he was diagnosed with leukemia for which he was treated in the Soviet Union and the United States. He died in a hospital in Washington, D.C. in 1961 and was buried in Algeria.
   Fanon has through his writings and example been influential in the Third World and among black activists in the United States. His most important writings are Peau noire, masques blancs (Black Skin, White Masks, 1952), L’an V de la révolution algérienne (published in English under the title Studies in a Dying Colonialism, 1959), Les damnés de la terre (The Wretched of the Earth, 1961), and Pour la révolution africaine (For the African Revolution, 1964). Of these The Wretched of the Earth is the most famous, and notable for its advocacy of and emphasis on violence in the process of national liberation. In addition, Fanon portrayed the peasantry rather than the proletariat as the key revolutionary class, and saw psychological liberation as a fundamental part of national liberation.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

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