Frantz Fanon's The Pitfalls Of National Consciousness

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Writing during the height of the Algerian war, Frantz Fanon faced a divided African continent . The Wretched of the Earth reads as a warning sign to those residing in the newly independent nations of the Third World, of the threat posed by the nationalist bourgeoisie. His chapter on ‘The Pitfalls of National Consciousness’, examines how the aspirations of the colonized bourgeoisie come to overshadow the desires of the working class; and, rather cynically how this privileged elite merely seeks to overthrow colonial rule in order to usurp its position of dominance. This bourgeoisie replaces the middle class of the mother country, by convincing its compatriots that colonialism is merely a binary opposition of colonizer and colonized; and, is one that cannot be replicated along the…show more content…
While the nationalist bourgeoisie are happy to accept whatever scraps the ex-colonial powers throw their way, the lower class must not be content with this. Without social reform, political and economic transformation, national liberation will inevitably become an empty shell, ‘a crude and fragile travesty of what it might have been’ . Discovering the role that national consciousness will ultimately play in the decolonization process, can help one come to understand the motives of the nationalist bourgeoisie. If nationalism is conceptualized as something to entertain the masses in order to divert their attention from real issues, then it appears to be a stifling and suffocating culture that aids the elitist mission. However, if it is a culture that attempts to speak to the people directly in order to advance their resistance and struggles; and fosters and encourages dissent and criticism, then nationalism can create a foundation upon which mass transformative progress can come to be

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