FRANTZ FANON is one of Africa and the modern era’s most celebrated revolutionaries. His views remain influential long after his death.
In 1961, while battling leukaemia, he dictated to his wife his masterpiece The Wretched of The Earth. He found some strength after a new round of treatment and travelled to the Tunisian/Algerian border to address Armée de Libération Nationale as it prepared to fight the French and enter a free Algeria.
It would be his last public appearance as he read from his draft of what would become his most famous chapter in Wretched of The Earth.
Looking at the rampant corruption sweeping through our country today, an excerpt from this chapter in Wretched of the Earth rings true. Fanon’s theories of the fall of liberation movements and the governments they lead after colonialism is prophetic.
“After independence, the party sinks into an extraordinary lethargy. The militants are only called upon when so-called popular manifestations are afoot, or international conferences, or independence celebrations. The local party leaders are given administrative posts, the party becomes an administration, and the militants disappear into the crowd and take the empty title of citizen. Now that they have fulfilled their historical mission of leading the bourgeoisie to power, they are firmly invited to retire so that the bourgeoisie may carry out its mission in peace and quiet. But we have seen that the national bourgeoisie of under-developed countries is incapable of carrying out any mission whatever.
After a few years, the break-up of the party becomes obvious, and any observer, even the most superficial, can notice that the party, today the skeleton of its former self, only serves to immobilize the people. The party, which during the battle had drawn to itself the whole nation, is falling to pieces. The intellectuals who on the eve of independence rallied to the party, now make it dear by their attitude that they gave their support with no other end in view than to secure their slices of the cake of independence. The party is becoming a means of private advancement.
There exists inside the new regime, however, an inequality in the acquisition of wealth and in monopolization. Some have a double source of income and demonstrate that they are specialized in opportunism. Privileges multiply and corruption triumphs, while morality declines.
Today the vultures are too numerous and too voracious in proportion to the lean spoils of the national wealth. The party, a true instrument of power in the hands of the bourgeoisie, reinforces the machine, and ensures that the people are hemmed in and immobilized. The party helps the government to hold the people down. It becomes more and more clearly anti-democratic, an implement of coercion. The party is objectively, sometimes subjectively, the accomplice of the merchant bourgeoisie. In the same way that the national bourgeoisie conjures away its phase of construction in order to throw itself into the enjoyment of its wealth …”