This essay begins by noting the commitment to the universal that animated Frantz Fanon’s praxis. It then suggests that in a moment of renewal in both radical thought and practice there could be real value in returning to this commitment. However, the essay warns that in the past the North Atlantic Left has often been too quick to assume the universalism of its own thought. It suggests that contemporary attempts to return to a universal emancipatory horizon have not taken full measure of this history, a history that has not always been innocent of race. It concludes that we need, following Fanon, to ground our conception of the universal in an ontology that recognizes “the open door of every consciousness.”

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