The Wretched of the Earth
|The Wretched of the Earth|
The 1st (1963) translation
|Original title||Les Damnés de la Terre|
|Translator||Constance Farrington (1963)
Richard Philcox (2004)
|Subject(s)||Racism and Colonialism, Violence, Post-colonialism, Third-world development, Revolution|
|Publisher||Grove Press (1963 translation)|
The Wretched of the Earth (Les Damnés de la Terre, 1961), by Frantz Fanon, is a psychiatric and psychologic analysis of the dehumanising effects of colonization upon the individual man and woman, and the nation, from which derive the broader social, cultural, and political implications inherent to establishing a social movement for the decolonization of a person and of a people. The French-language title, Les Damnés de la Terre derives from the opening lyrics of The Internationale, the 19th-century anthem of the Left Wing.
In the introduction to the The Wretched of the Earth, the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre presents Fanon’s thesis as an advocacy of justified violence, by the colonized people against the foreign colonizer. The political focus derives from the first chapter of the book, “Concerning Violence”, wherein Fanon indicts colonialism and its post-colonial legacies, for which violence is a means of catharsis and liberation from being a colonial subject. Nonetheless, in the foreward to the 2004 edition of The Wretched of the Earth (1961), Homi K. Bhabha said that Sartre’s introduction limits the reader’s approach to the book and its contents as the promotion of violence.
The Wretched of the Earth presents thorough critiques of nationalism and of imperialism, a discussion of personal and societal mental health, a discussion of how the use of language (vocabulary) is applied to the establishment of imperialist identities, such as colonizer and colonized in order to teach and psychologically mold the native and the colonist into their respective roles as slave and master, and a discussion of role of the intellectual in a revolution. Fanon proposes that revolutionaries should seek the help of the lumpenproletariat to provide the force required to effect the expulsion of the colonists. Moreover, in traditional Marxist theory, the lumpenproletariat are considered the lowest, most degraded stratum of the proletariat social-class — especially criminals, vagrants, and the unemployed — people who lacked the class consciousness to actively participate in the anti-colonial revolution. Yet, Fanon applies the term lumpenproletariat to identify the colonial subjects who are not involved in industrial production, especially the peasantry, because, unlike the urban proletariat (the working class), the lumpenproletariat have suffient intellectual independence from the dominant ideology of the colonial ruling class to readily grasp that they can successfully revolt against the colonial status quo, and so decolonize their nation and their country.
- in English by Richard Philcox
- in English by Constance Farrington (Penguin Books, 2001)
- in Spanish by Julieta Campos (1963, first edition in Spanish, Fondo de Cultura Económica)
- in Persian by Ali Shariati
- in Turkish by Lütfi Fevzi Topaçoğlu
- in Hebrew by Orit Rosen
- in Japanese by Michihiko Suzuki and Kinuko Urano
- in Arabic by Sami Al Droubi
- in Dutch by Han Meijer