Thursday, 16 June 2011

Frantz Fanon and the "Lumpenproletariat"

by Peter Worsley, Socialist Register, Vol.9., 1972

In 1960, I attended the All-African People's Congress in Accra, Ghana. The proceedings consisted mainly of speeches by leaders of African nationalism from all over the continent, few of whom said anything notable. When, therefore, the representative of the Algerian Revolutionary Provisional Government, their Ambassador to Ghana, stood up to speak for his country, I prepared myself for an address by a diplomat-not usually an experience to set the pulses racing. Instead, I found myself electrified by a contribution that was remarkable not only for its analytical power, but delivered, too, with a passion and brilliance that is all too rare. I discovered that the Ambassador was a man named Frantz Fanon.

During his talk, at one point, he almost appeared to break down. I asked him afterwards what had happened. He replied that he had suddenly felt emotionally overcome at the thought that he had to stand there, before the assembled representatives of African nationalist movements, to try and persuade them that the Algerian cause was important, at a time when men were dying and being tortured in his own country for a cause whose justice ought to command automatic support from rational and progressive human beings.

Full Text: PDF