Frantz Fanon and Folha – 02/14/2021 – Mathias Alencastro

Immersed in the fight against radical Islam, Emmanuel Macron has decided to open a new front against “certain theories of fully imported social sciences”.

According to him, the progressive ideas that flourish in American universities on gender, race and post-colonialism contaminate French students and pose a threat to the loss of republican unity, one of the major themes of his tenure.

In reality, France is grappling with its own history. The authors who dominate the menus of “cultural studies” and “black studies” in the main universities of the United States are mostly from France or from the French-speaking postcolonial space.

The works of Jacques Derrida (1930-2004), Michel Foucault (1926-1984) and Achille Mbembe have been sublimated by the multidisciplinary environment of American intellectuals and the gaze of black activism in the United States.

The thinking of other representatives like Judith Butler and Angela Davis would not be the same without French philosophy.

Emmanuel Macron’s paranoia reinforces the decadent feeling of his political project. Chosen with the promise of promoting a global France in an increasingly nationalist world, he ended up embracing the provincial flag of anti-Americanism.

No author illustrates the contradictions of the political position of Macron as well as of Frantz Fanon (1925-1961).

The disciple of Aimé Césaire (1913-2008) ended up being ignored by French-speaking authors considered to be more conciliatory, such as the Senegalese Léopold Sedar Senghor (1906-2001), in academic and intellectual circles.

Fanon’s revolutionary past troubled the French, who sought to bury colonial and military memory.

In addition to being a prolific and virtuous author, the Frenchman from Martinique, who died in 1961 at the age of 36, was also one of the conductors of the anti-colonial struggle in Algeria, one of the capitals of the third world at that time. .

From the 2000s, he was resuscitated by American academics and became Michel Foucault of the 21st century, his writings and his ideas permeating works from all academic disciplines.

Those who have read Folha have witnessed this change.

A brief search of the newspaper’s archives indicates that Frantz Fanon has been mentioned more in the past two years (at least 26 in 2020 and 2019) than the previous twenty (around 23 between 2018 and 1998).

In a 2004 column, Elio Gaspari described Fanon as “a fine piece of antiquarian lost radicalism”.

Today he is the best-selling author in Brazil in the social sciences and psychology section of a famous virtual bookstore. Macron would be horrified.

It is impossible not to draw a parallel between the growing mentions of Frantz Fanon and the arrival on the scene of intellectuals such as Silvio Almeida, Thiago Amparo and Djamila Ribeiro.

Folha, who took a stand against racial quotas, was able to open its pages to the right people when the time came to demolish the Borbas Gatos. The newspaper’s contribution to the revolution of public debate on race, memory and inequalities will be the greatest legacy of these hundred years.

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