Fanon and Arendt on Violence

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Messika Ilana
Political Theory Paper 4
Fanon and Arendt on Violence

Violence is a predominant issue in the work of both Hanna Arendt and Franz Fanon, because each of them experienced it in a singular way (European totalitarianism and colonization) and agree on its presence these days in any political system: "violence (…) believed to be the common denominator"(Arendt, 3). They recognize the fact that violence is a criterion shaping the production of both individual and collective actors. Arendt describes the violent regime where she was under, and Fanon the physical and psychical brutality of the colonizers in regards to the colonized: every people in whose soul and inferiority complex has been created by the death and burial of its local cultural originality "(Fanon, 18). Both consent that violence is a mean and instrumental tool that is justified under certain conditions. For Fanon , violence is the only way to rediscover your own identity as opposed to the "white brain-washing" that made you think your base culture was wrong "the amputation of his being" (Fanon, 23). For Arendt, violence is to serve in very specific cases such as to a response to an extreme injustice or to open-up the space for politics. Both agree also on its destructive potential. Fanon is concerned with the destructive effect of colonization on the psyche of the oppressed people. He describes his "patients" moral status and shows about their feeling of humiliation, powerlessness, people hate themselves for what they are and develop a strong feeling of inferiority to what they have been formed to think to be a human being – the Whites. Moreover, the initial aim of violence is to reverse the colonization state that is annihilating the current political dynamics, a destructive aim. To Arendt, violence can certainly tear down and destruct but not so anything else which is it specific problem. They concur on the needs for...
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