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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Frantz Fanon and the Politics of Solidarity: On the Practice of Third World Intercontinentalism

  • Author(s): Bose, Anuja
  • Advisor(s): Rocco, Raymond A.
  • et al.

How was France consolidated as an imperial state, and how was its imperial form challenged from the colonies? This is the question I address in this dissertation by turning to the works of Frantz Fanon. I argue that Fanon’s first published work Black Skin, White Masks offers a critique and diagnosis of how the French imperial state was consolidated through racialized relations of social solidarity. In this work, Fanon shows that race mediated how social solidarity was articulated and practiced such that colonial subject-citizens were simultaneously included into and excluded from republican citizenship. Caught in the double bind of inclusion and exclusion, the possibility of forging any substantial sense of social solidarity between black and white citizens in France and its colonies was forgone. In Fanon’s subsequent writings - A Dying Colonialism, Towards the African Revolution and The Wretched of the Earth – he demonstrates that the racialized social solidarity of imperial France and the international political community more broadly, were challenged by practices of regional political solidarity between the Third World masses in the post-war era. Specifically, I argue that his writings articulate two sets of political practices that the masses of the Third World engage in to transform the imperialist structure of France and international state system 1) the practice of vigilance in response to being vulnerable to undemocratic rule internally and being subject to imperial domination externally and 2) the practice of sacrifice as a way to share and distribute the burdens of waging armed resistance against powerful imperial states. These practices form the basis of Fanon’s distinctive account of Third World political solidarity as a form of intercontinental populism between formerly colonized nations that could obliterate the bonds of racialized fraternity that defined colonial relations, and continued to define core and periphery relations in the postcolonial era.

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