After leaving Algeria in 1957 Fanon and his wife Josie move to Tunisia. Tunis had recently become one of the bases for the FLN outside Algeria as militants and cadres were forced to flee the country with the defeat of the Battle of Algiers. Increasingly Fanon was absorbed in his work for the FLN and focused on building support and practical solidarity for the Algerian cause in sub-Saharan Africa. He also developed lasting links with other militants in national liberation organisations on the continent. Frequently Fanon championed the FLN way of doing things: an insurrection followed quickly by an escalation to the armed struggle. In this respect Fanon shared a naive belief in the ‘armed’ route to liberation with Guevara.

Below is the forth teaser to the forthcoming biography, The Militant Philosopher of Third World Liberation.

Part 4.

Dangerous Voluntarism

‘While there is much to distinguish Fanon from Che Guevara; Fanon’s understanding of revolutionary transformation, his sophisticated grasp of national liberation, but in his advocacy of the armed struggle (no matter what), the two men were remarkably and tragically similar. In Guevara’s laughable and tragic – though courageous – attempts to export the Cuban model to the Congo in 1965 and Bolivia in 1967, he made the same mistakes as Fanon. Both men shared a dangerous voluntarism that saw action and armed revolutionary struggle as a simple act of will. Fanon was a far more sophisticated thinker and theorist than Guevara but he shared many of the Argentinians belief in the heroic guerrilla. As Guevara sought a simple exporting of guerrilla war in the mid and late 1960s, so Fanon had earlier.

Yet Fanon would not have subscribed to Guevara’s belief that it was the duty of a revolutionary to make revolution, that become a rallying cry of many ‘true’ revolutionaries in 1960s and 1970s, but he did slip disastrously into a similar voluntarism with his fervour for the Algerian model. Still the differences between the men need to be restated, in case there is any confusion. While Guevara celebrated small bands of guerrilla fights, Fanon saw mass involvement of ordinary people essential for making the revolution and remaking – recerebralising – the people themselves. Revolution as an act of self-emancipation resides deeply in Fanon’s revolutionary thinking, but is not present in any meaningful sense in Guevara’s writing or practice.’