"It is not because because the Indo-Chinese discovered
a culture of their own that they revolted. Quite simply this
was because it became impossible to breathe, in more
than one sense of the word."
Frantz Fanon, "The Wretched of the Earth"
On February 20, 2021, the New Black Nationalist [NBN] movement in America’s settler state adopted Frantz Fanon’s corpus of theories as its guiding revolutionary philosophy.
As the vison keepers of Black Nationalism’s historical project, our charge is developing theoretical products that illuminate a path to create a Black majority post-patriarchal nation. Incorporating Fanon’s constructs into our theoretical models now sets our project on a new trajectory.
Since January 2018, NBN has been renovating Black Nationalism’s theoretical house to scale-- which is to say--to meet the challenges emanating from American Empire’s precipitous decline, and an increasingly precarious international situation fraught with uncertainty and upheaval.
NBN’s analyses on Black identity, national belonging, gender equity, B.L.M. 2.0--The Next Iteration, Radical Black Feminism, Cultural Enlargement Theory, Crisis Theory and the Collapse of American Empire, and launching a Black Diaspora Movement have congealed as the touchstones of NBNs ‘2020 Statement of Principles.’
These works constitute the molecular structure of a distinct Black Nationalist ideological variant.
The coupling of Fanon’s decolonial works on phenomenology, dialectics, ontology, and ‘new humanism,’ with NBN’s ‘Statement of Principles,’ integrates our ideological frame with the cosmos of Fanon’s philosophical system.
Combined with our plans in 2021, to conduct a one-year critical reading and updating of Fanon’s writings on race, nationalism, women, capitalism, colonization, Marxism, violence, and culture, New Black Nationalists will possess a coherent and comprehensive system of ideas.
With a retooled theoretical template of this magnitude, we hope to begin the process of repositioning our movement to convert revolutionary possibilities into real victories. Achieving this goal will require shifting the “Fanonian Debate” from the halls of academia to the streets across the diaspora where rising Black mass movements erupted in the 2020 “Summer of New Beginnings.”
In this regard, it will be important to look back at the limited but valuable experience of Black Fanonian political forces. In 2013, the breakaway ‘Economic Freedom Fighters Party [EFF], now the third largest elective party in South Africa declared itself a Marxist-Leninist-Fanonist Party.
Andile Mngxitama, a former EFF theorist before he left the party to head the ‘Black Land, Black First,’ organization, characterized the EFF’s adoption of Fanonism this way:
“The EFF finally liberates, Marxism and Leninism from the racist clutches that dictates that the African and black experience must be viewed from the perspective of the West and that the horrors of anti-black racism and colonialism be reduced to a mere “epiphenomena,” Bringing Fanon into the great duet of Marx and Lenin completes the anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist and anti-racist circle which is the only real basis for true liberation.”
The EFF ‘augmented’ it’s Marxist-Leninist bent with Fanon’s decolonial anti-racism doctrine to certify its Pan Africanist credentials. They also weaponized Fanon’s blistering indictment of Africa’s weak national bourgeoisie. Fanon’s “Pitfalls of National Consciousness” became a battering ram for the EFF to bludgeon the ruling ANC for its capitulation to white neo-colonial rule.
In the U.S., the Black Panther Party engaged Fanon from a different angle. “The Wretched of the Earth” hit the streets in 1966, just as the Black urban rebellions were reaching their summit. Under Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, and Eldridge Cleaver’s leadership, the BPP embedded three Fanonian concepts into their incipient revolutionary nationalist program.
The BPP likened America’s homogenous Black urban centers to Fanon’s descriptors of Third World colonies dominated by imperial penetration and economic exploitation. In Fanon’s Manichean colonized world, West Oakland’s Black ghetto was Algiers’ Arab Casbah—a bidonville teeming with dense poverty, pestilence, and revolutionary energy.
As oppressed colonies under the jackboot of U.S. imperialism, the BPP also justified armed self-defense and underground liberation armies to resist the armed forces of American Empire.
Channeling Fanon, the BPP championed the “lumpenproletariat,” as a revolutionary force for liberation. Cleaver’s liberation army were the young ghetto warriors whose future capitalism had doomed to oblivion. Cleaver asserted these dispossessed youth were an “unskilled, unfit, industrial reserve army displaced by automation,” and a “Criminal Element’ that lived by their wits and existed off what they rip off.
How groups like the BPP and EFF interpreted and applied Fanon’s teachings will be an important part of the discourse on our website’s Fanon Forum. However, the point being raised here is the potential for Fanonian theory to be applied in vastly different countries, with diverse conditions, and historical narratives.
Fanon integrated the best thinking of different ideological, philosophical, and political schools of thought. These knowledge bases reflected the Black and Arab colonial experience he encountered in his living spaces that spanned Martinique, France, Algeria, Tunisia, and Accra.
For this reason, in 2021, New Black Nationalist will recalibrate its efforts to grow the new Black Diaspora Movement [BDM]. Over the coming months, we will begin to reorient the Black Diaspora Movement to a Fanonian-based International Movement.
The philosophical and political elasticity of the Fanonian system exist because Fanon captured critical universal aspects of the Black and Arab colonial liberation experience. Fanonian theory is broadly applicable precisely because he refused to be enclosed by absolute truths or a singular epistemological system. Fanon was wedded to truth, wherever he found it. Fanon’s analytical method is worthy of emulation.
In a similar vein, New Black Nationalists are not Afropessimists, Afrocentrists, Pan-Africanists, Marxists, Democratic Socialists, Afrofuturists, Feminists, Cultural or Religious Nationalists. Nevertheless, we incorporate the best thinking from these diverse schools of thought that reflect the totality of the Black national experience in America’s settler state.
As a nationalist movement we should represent and reflect the character, content, and democratic aspirations of our diverse Black communities. Uppermost in our vison, is the creation of post-heteropatriarchal society, which cannot be achieved without Black women and Black feminists playing the leading in designing the architecture or a new social order. Thus, the Fanonian method” comports with our desire to thrive intellectually in an open-ended environment of experiment and discovery.
Frantz Omar Fanon remains was one of the world’s foremost liberation thinkers and the authoritative voice of contemporary Decolonial Theory. His influence reaches across the past six decades and the Global South—Global North divide. Fanon’s works are continuously debated among Black intellectuals, Black feminists, political activists, students, book clubs and study groups of community-based organizations on every continent throughout the Diaspora.
Frantz Fanon is admired and loved because his efforts to end neocolonial exploitation and oppression eclipsed the boundaries of nationalism. Fanon's intellectual curiosity was a ceaseless journey probing the frontiers of revolutionary struggle for a “new humanity”--one that explodes the failed global project of European Enlightenment.
Fanon’s vision was a summons to create what he called a "new history of man." Leukemia cut short Fanon's life six decades ago at the age of thirty-six. But the relevancy and urgency of Fanon's transformative theories has never been more important. As his successors, New Black Nationalists proudly announce during the observance of Black History Month 2021, our adoption of Frantz Fanon’s body of work as the guiding philosophy of our movement.
Learn from Fanon and Breathe!