George Ciccariello-Maher is Associate Professor of Politics and Global Studies at Drexel University and the author of We Created Chávez: A People's History of the Venezuelan Revolution, also published by Duke University Press.
The Decolonial Nation in Motion
In context of the Algerian Revolution, Fanon transposed this decolonized dialectic from racial to national identity. Setting out from his famous description of the colonial world as fundamentally Manichaean and divided, he formulates a decolonial violence capable of appropriating colonial violence—and even the parameters of the colonial world itself—inverting these, and pressing an otherwise frozen world into creative motion. This motion, I argue, does not stop with the establishment of the young decolonial nation, itself a long and difficult task wracked with internal tension and complexity. Instead of coming to rest with a frozen national unity, Fanon instead disintegrates that unity outward, immediately complicating it and insisting that the nation must remain in constant motion if it is not to fall prey to a merely formal liberation. Rather than settling on unity, Fanon’s dialectics of decolonization—in part through its transposition to the global level—inaugurates a global rupture, setting Europe against a renascent Third World.