What Frantz Fanon teaches us - EFF

Fighters say that no other African thinker across the world has had so much influence on black thought


20 July, 2016

The EFF marks the 91st Birthday of one of our ideological founding fathers, Frantz Omar Fanon who was born on this day, in 1925. Fanon was born on the Caribbean island of Martinique which was under French colonial rule. Disgusted by the colonial racism of the French sailors who took over the government of Martinique after France fell to the Nazis in 1940, Fanon left Martinique at the age of 17 to join the Free French Forces in World War II. 

He participated in the War as a soldier fighting against Nazism in France, in particular in the battles of Alsace. In 1945, Fanon returned to Martinique to complete his schooling and also worked for the camping of his teacher and friend,  Aimé Césaire. He then went back to France completed his university education in the French town of in Lyon graduating in medicine and psychiatry. 

Fanon spent the rest of his life participating in the Algerian War of independence from French colonial rule as part of the National Liberation Front. He was even appointed Ambassador to Ghana for the Provisional Algerian Government. He died in 1961 of Leukaemia and is buried in Ain Kerma in eastern Algeria.

No other African thinker across the world has had so much influence on black thought in political, cultural and artistic spheres like Fanon. Many African novelists, musicians, filmmakers and activists of decolonisation have all credited Fanon’s influence in their own works.

In our Founding Manifesto, the EFF says it “draws inspiration from the broad Marxist-Leninist tradition and Fanonian schools of thought in their analyses of the state, imperialism, culture and class contradictions in every society”. We draw our understanding of colonial and anti-black racism from Fanon. That is why we make no apology that only when the question of land is resolved will genuine decolonisation happen in South Africa.

Through Fanon, we also come to understand the pitfalls of libation movements and how, after liberation, the post-colonial governments turn against the people to repeat the horrors of former colonisers. Fanon teaches us that they do so because they fail to transform the lives of the people. This failure is caused by the embarrassing fact that liberation movements never had an economic emancipation program because they do not understand their own economies. 

It is also Fanon that teaches us, in no equivocal terms, that ““Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfil it, or betray it” which is the opening line of our Founding Manifesto. Upon this message we have built and chosen our own generational mission which is the attainment of economic freedom in our lifetime.

We celebrate Fanon, both as a thinker and as a ground force who always fought from the front to defend what was human in our world. Our Local Government Elections Manifesto draws inspiration from Fanon in its pursuit to build a people’s municipality where land is returned to the native populations.

Long Live the spirit of Frantz Omar Fanon, Long Live.

Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters, 20 July 2016