Journal Article — Fanon: Violence and the Search for Human Dignity — by Winston Langley




Fanon informs us that interdependence in economics, politics, ethics, or aesthetics (and/or the social institutions with which they are associated) encompasses the interdependence of psyches in the form of confrontations, threats, forbearances, negotiations, accommodations, control, and domination, as persons and groups of persons seek to influence the conduct and shape the social being of others. Today, global and sub-global interdependence is often neither based on reciprocity nor equality. Rather, what one generally finds in the multiplicities of continuing and new (sometimes, instantaneous) connections, is a system of non-reciprocal, imposed interdependence, where one’s peace is another’s subjugation, one’s wealth another’s poverty, one’s enlightenment is another’s ignorance, and where one’s winning and thriving are another’s losing and suffering. Oppression, which he saw in all of human history, had a trajectory, however. That trajectory is, as he saw it, one of increasing human social consciousness and, thus, one that is against the indefinite extension of oppression. Aligning himself with this history/trajectory, he sought not only to inform that consciousness but also to see if he could thereby help human beings to co-create systems of human encounters that are non-oppressive, reciprocally beneficial, and mutually nurturing of human development. Such a co-created system could (and can) only be realized if human dignity is acknowledged and made operational. He therefore called for a struggle to effect a “radical mutation of consciousness,” the pursuit of political education. A university is a proper forum within which one should extend the political education to which Fanon invites us.

Recommended Citation

Langley, Winston. 2007. “Fanon: Violence and the Search for Human Dignity.” Pp. 1-4 in Reflections on Fanon: The Violences of Colonialism and Racism, Inner and Global—Conversations with Frantz Fanon on the Meaning of Human Emancipation (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume V, Special Issue, 2007.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

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