On “On Violence”

Fanon emphasises many times that the colonised dream not of taking the coloniser’s place: ‘Not of becoming a colonist, but replacing him.’ (16)

That too me was really significant, because I feel like the nuance of that difference eludes me — so the native doesn’t want to BECOME a coloniser, but wants to simply take the latter’s place. What does that mean, really?

When you take someone’s place, do you not take over the function of that person? Do you not step into the position of power that person had, thereby wielding that power?

It’s got me thinking — does Fanon really mean to say that the native wants to step into that position, wield that power but importantly NOT ‘oppress’, well, themselves? It seems like a moot point to me.

But another more important point to me is that Fanon in “On Violence” seems to me to reveal how the native-with-power will simply be oppressing/committing injustices on other groups of people.

Fanon writes as if nationalist aims were of supreme importance – ‘in their part of the world slogans of national liberation should come first’ (22) – and enacts that in this article: there is nary a mention of gender inequalities or  subtle-but-important ethnic differences, as if the colonised were a monolithic whole.

Thus when he writes of how ‘Truth is what protects the “natives” and undoes the foreigners’ (14), I find myself a  little worried. Whose truth is it? That of the nationalist, but soon-to-be-fascist?

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