Wretched Of The Earth
Fanon\'s book, "The Wretched Of The Earth" like Foucault\'s
"Discipline and Punish" question the basic assumptions that underlie
society. Both books writers come from vastly different perspectives and this
shapes what both authors see as the technologies that keep the populace in line.

Foucault coming out of the French intellectual class sees technologies as
prisons, family, mental institutions, and other institutions and cultural traits
of French society. In contrast Frantz Fanon (1925-1961) born in Martinique into
a lower middle class family of mixed race ancestry and receiving a conventional
colonial education sees the technologies of control as being the white colonists
of the third world. Fanon at first was a assimilationist thinking colonists and
colonized should try to build a future together. But quickly Fanon\'s
assimilationist illusions were destroyed by the gaze of metropolitan racism both
in France and in the colonized world. He responded to the shattering of his
neo-colonial identity, his white mask, with his first book, Black Skin, White

Mask, written in 1952 at the age of twenty-seven and originally titled "An

Essay for the Disalienation of Blacks." Fanon defined the colonial
relationship as one of the non recognition of the colonized\'s humanity, his
subjecthood, by the colonizer in order to justify his exploitation. Fanon\'s next
novel, "The Wretched Of The Earth" views the colonized world from the
perspective of the colonized. Like Foucault\'s questioning of a disciplinary
society Fanon questions the basic assumptions of colonialism. He questions
whether violence is a tactic that should be employed to eliminate colonialism.

He questions whether native intellectuals who have adopted western methods of
thought and urge slow decolonization are in fact part of the same technology of
control that the white world employs to exploit the colonized. He questions
whether the colonized world should copy the west or develop a whole new set of
values and ideas. In all these questionings of basic assumptions of colonialism

Fanon exposes the methods of control the white world uses to hold down the
colonies. Fanon calls for a radical break with colonial culture, rejecting a
hypocritical European humanism for a pure revolutionary consciousness. He exalts
violence as a necessary pre-condition for this rupture. Fanon supported the most
extreme wing of the FLN, even opposing a negotiated transition to power. His
book though sees the relationship and methods of control in a simplistic light;
he classifies whites, and native intellectuals who have adopted western values
and tactics as enemies. He fails to see how these natives and even the white
world are also victims who in what Foucault calls the stream of power and
control are forced into their roles by a society which itself is forced into a
role. Fanon also classifies many colonized people as mentally ill. In his last
chapter he brings up countless cases of children, adults, and the elderly who
have been driven mad by colonialism. In one instance he classifies two children
who kill their white playmate with a knife as insane. In isolating these
children classifying there disorders as insanity caused by colonialism he
ironically is using the very thought systems and technologies that Foucault
points out are symptomatic of the western disciplinary society. Fanon\'s book
filled with his anger at colonial oppression was influential to Black Panther
members Newton and Seale. As students at Merrit College, in Oakland, they had
organized a Soul Students\' Advisory Council, which was the first group to demand
that what became known as African-American studies be included in the school
curriculum. They parted ways with the council when their proposal to bring a
drilled and armed squad of ghetto youths onto campus, in commemoration of

Malcolm X\'s birthday, the year after his assassination, was rejected. Seale and

Newton\'s unwillingness to acquiesce to more moderate views was in large part
influenced by Fanon\'s ideas of a true revolutionary consciousness. In retrospect

Fanon\'s efforts to expose the colonial society were successful in eliminating
colonialism but not in eliminating the oppression taking place in the colonized
world. Today the oppression of French colonialism in Algeria has been replaced
by the violence of the civil war in Algeria, and the dictator of Algeria who has
annulled popular elections, a the emergence of radical Islam which seeks to
replace colonial repression with religious oppression. But this violence might
be one of the lasting symptoms of Frances colonial brutality which scared the
lives of Algerians and Algerian society; perverting peoples sense of right and
wrong freedom and discipline.