“Our time has come” : against Gilles Clavreul’s cop antiracism

Norman AJARI and Mireille FANON-MENDES
France, 5 October 2016

Traduction anglaise du texte "Contre l’antiracisme policier de Gilles Clavreul :« L’heure de nous-mêmes a sonné ! » de Norman Ajari et Mireille Fanon-Mendès France, paru le mercredi 5 octobre 2016 sur le site de la Fondation Frantz Fanon

​La Fondation Frantz Fanon remercie Karen ​Wirsig du réseau décolonial pour cette excellente ​et minutieuse ​traduction​


On September 27, 2016, a post called “Reverse racism ?” appeared in the “Think to act” [“Penser pour agir”] section of the Jean-Jaurès Foundation website [1]. The author is Prefect Gilles Clavreul, the man in charge of the French Inter-ministerial Delegation in the Fight Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (known under the French acronym DILCRA). The article demonstrates yet again that people seeking to legitimate their appointment to functions about which they have no knowledge or particular skills rely on a framework of analysis of social realities that only makes sense to themselves, and to those they seek to persuade. They act more out of class and race interest than out of a desire to respond to the political, moral, economic and social problems confronting society. In his article, the former police prefect attacks the lack of a social mix at the “Decolonial Summer Camp” and, more broadly, political anti-racism and decolonial thought, phenomena he equates with “neo-racism.” Accordingly, these decolonial activists are politically racist and ideologically on the side of the far right, though of course they are unaware of this given their lack of “enlightenment” by Clavreul’s brand of Eurocentric modernity.

If they were so enlightened, they would understand that they’ve lost their way. In the France dreamed of by the Prefect, everyone has their place : you have to find it and – in all modesty – accept it along with the prevailing politics. By assimilation, by “merit,” by identification. You must simply follow, without asking any questions, the dictates of the true republicans. Why oppose this Republic that makes a big show of welcoming all who accept to remain silent, disappear into the crowd, keep their heads down and adopt the dominant discourse of peaceful co-existence [“vivre-ensemble”] as set out in the motto Liberty Equality Fraternity ? A few yes-men will emerge from this human convoy of invisibility to confirm the rule of the success story that is told to all those who, having knocked their heads against the glass ceiling, express their dissatisfaction with the ways of the Republic.

We will get to the utter inadequacy and duplicity of this fantasy. But first we must focus on a particularly obscene distortion. Clavreul actually opens his article with a (very loose, as we will see) citation of Frantz Fanon. The Martinican psychiatrist and philosopher, member of the Algerian National Liberation Front, third-worldist thinker that the French secret service considered an “archenemy” of the Republic, is now being used to attack political antiracism and sing the praises of the French state. The Fondation Frantz Fanon could not remain silent on this indecent instrumentalization of an anticolonial figure by the police-style antiracism of Prefect Claveau.

Mutilating Fanon

No one owns the words of an author. Whoever claims the right to decide the real meaning of a text or a statement is condemned to lies and brutality. However, can just anything be said of a piece of writing ? Can just any meaning be given ? This was the question that haunted philosopher Jacques Derrida, who said this about the way in which others sometimes used his work : “I am under no illusion about my ability to control or own what I say or who I am but I would like – and this is the meaning of all struggle, of all compulsion in this regard – I wish at least that what I say and what I do were not immediately and clearly used for ends I believe I must oppose. I don’t want to re-appropriate my product, but, for this reason, I don’t want others to appropriate it for uses that I believe I must oppose.” [2] Gilles Clavreul has mobilized the words of Fanon to serve everything he spent his life fighting : European arrogance, state-like thinking, imperialism, sophistry and, especially, the maintenance of White privilege. This shameful betrayal must be recognized.

Here is how Clavreul cited the passage in question : “I am a man, and what I have to recapture is the whole past of the world. In no way should I derive my basic purpose from the past of the peoples of color. It was not the black world that laid down my course of conduct. My black skin is not the wrapping of specific values. […] I as a man of color do not have the right to hope that in the White man there will be a crystallization of guilt toward the past of my race. I as a man of color do not have the right to seek ways of stamping down the pride of my former master. I have neither the right nor the duty to claim reparation for the domestication of my ancestors. There is no Negro mission ; there is no White burden.” [3] This citation, and the way it is used, calls for four remarks.

First remark : This text, taken from the conclusion of Fanon’s first book, Black Skin, White Masks, was much more censored than Clavreul’s citation leads us to believe. In reality, the first part of the citation is a veritable patchwork of passages strung together without any regard for the coherence of the original. Between the first and second sentences, several lines are cut, including this passage : “Every time a man has contributed to the victory of the dignity of the spirit, every time a man has said no to an attempt to subjugate his fellows, I have felt solidarity with his act.” [4] That the Prefect Clavreul sought to hide this mutilation of the text suggests he meant to ignore not only Fanon’s thinking but his actual discourse, which was utterly critical of subjugation and domination. Why ? To be able to qualify as racist non-White populations that don’t have the material means to dominate and enslave their fellow beings. It is therefore not surprising that Clavreul also omitted a very long passage in which Fanon defends the Vietminh and the Indo-Chinese independence struggle, which concludes as follows : “If the question of practical solidarity with a given past ever arose for me, it did so only to the extent to which I was committed to myself and to my neighbor to fight for all my life and with all my strength so that never again would a people on the earth be subjugated.” [5] Once again, the Fanonian critique of subjugation, his defense of combat and radical engagement, go unmentioned : Clavreul retains only the few scattered passages in which Fanon tries to protect himself from White hatred. He deliberately removes the long critical anti-colonial arguments, patching together a timid and pro-Western Fanon that never existed. The first thing to note is therefore that this citation is a montage and Prefect Clavreul engaged in a deception in order to sidestep the Fanonian critique of subjugation.

Second remark : In the conclusion of Black Skin, White Masks, Fanon examines his state of mind – or more accurately the state of his mind. It is the mind of a man who knew the torment of racism, of countless injustices, but does not abandon the path to wisdom ; a man who seeks to avoid “sad passions.” Clearly, hatred of the White man is one. By what right does Clavreul place the organizers and participants of the Decolonial Summer Camp in opposition to Fanon’s “I” ? In inserting it into his article, Clavreul transforms this ethical confession, written in the first person, into a police command, inserting an authoritarian “You must !” Fanon does find it necessary to get rid of all feelings related to a past that is finished, but only in order to better concentrate the energy of one’s revolt on the injustices of the present. This intellectual and political program fits with today’s project of political anti-racism. Instead, the work of Clavreul, as our first remark demonstrates, consists in hiding from non-Whites the injustices of which they are the victims and even denying the existence of the subjugation they face. The Prefect is absolutely silent on the Fanonian challenge to White supremacy : he refuses to see it. Indeed, the way Clavreul appropriates Fanon’s words illustrates the importance the organizers placed in the lack of social mixing at the Decolonial Summer Camp. In the hands of a henchman of the state and/or a person in the service of defending White privilege, the words of a Black thinker are quickly re-appropriated, embellished and turned against his rightful brothers- and sisters-in-arms. That’s why it is sometimes a better plan to choose one’s audience. The second point to note is therefore that Clavreul misinterprets the words of Fanon by using them against activists that are the inheritors of his struggle.

Third remark : in his article, Clavreul is disturbed by the fact that, in political anti-racism, “the Manichaeism with which the depravity of some and the dignity of others are presented leaves a whiff of moral superiority of racialized people over whites.” If the author believes he has a sense of the conclusion of Black Skin, White Masks (all the more so if it has been mutilated and misinterpreted), he will doubtless be bothered by the powerful conclusion of the Wretched of the Earth : “For centuries, Europe has brought the progress of other men to a halt and enslaved them for its own purposes and glory ; for centuries it has stifled virtually the whole of humanity in the name of a so-called ‘spiritual adventure.’ Look at it now teetering between atomic destruction and spiritual disintegration. And yet nobody can deny its achievements at home have been crowned with success. Europe has taken over the leadership of the world with fervor, cynicism, and violence. And look how the shadow of its monuments spreads and multiplies. Every movement Europe makes bursts the boundaries of space and thought. Europe has denied itself not only humility and modesty but also solicitude and tenderness. Its only show of miserliness has been toward man, only toward man has it shown itself to be niggardly and murderously carnivorous.” [6] It’s not about insisting on the moral “superiority” of the racialized (in other words the vast majority of humanity), but about recognizing once and for all the historic moral abjection that the brief space-time of modern Europe represents. The Europe that, as Walter Benjamin said, “transformed the newly conquered world into a torture chamber” [7] ; this continent that makes, as W.E.B. Dubois wrote, of repeated massacres the “true soul of white culture” [8] ; this “morally, spiritually indefensible” [9] Europe as described by Césaire. Its transcendental cruelty is so pronounced that the efforts of the Islamic State, as any other criminal organization, to descend into indifferent savagery condemn it to ridiculousness : a macabre parody that bores the Old Continent as much as it disturbs it. From which the third point follows : Fanon, like all decolonial intellectuals, considered European pettiness to be morally indefensible.

Fourth remark : propaganda is not Prefect Clavreul’s only role as head of DILCRA. He also searches social media for statements that go against the ideology of the state. And it is not unusual for him to publicly threaten to drag the authors of these statements before the courts. Sometimes he even does so. Aya Ramadan, an activist from the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic [Parti des Indigènes de la République], was attacked for a tweet in support of Palestinian armed resistance. [10] The crime of supporting terrorism, which is the secularization of the crime of blasphemy, is what makes this kind of political trial possible. Must we be reminded that Fanon was a committed anticolonial activist who insisted on distinguishing legitimate armed resistance from inconsistent “terrorism” ? Palestine today, like the Algeria of yesterday, is the victim of an inhuman colonization of its people legitimized by a truly racist ideology, Zionism, that DILCRA refuses to condemn. Let’s review Fanon’s description of the figure of the mujahid from A Dying Colonialism : “The ‘terrorist,’ from the moment he undertakes an assignment, allows death to enter into his soul. He has a rendezvous with death. The fidaï, on the other hand, has a rendezvous with the life of the Revolution, and with his own life. The fidaï is not one of the sacrificed. To be sure, he does not shrink from before the possibility of losing his life for the independence of his country, but at no moment does he choose death. If it has been decided to kill a given police superintendent responsible for torture or a given colonialist leader, it is because these men constitute an obstacle to the progress of the Revolution.” [11] The fourth and final point to retain is thus : if Frantz Fanon were alive today, Prefect Clavreul would more likely be launching legal proceedings against him for supporting terrorism than quoting him favorably.

Rescuing state racism

If Clavreul crudely manipulates Fanon’s work, it’s for one purpose : absolving the French state of any hint of racism and denying the very existence of White privilege. This total ignorance of the fundamentals of the social relations of race stick out like a sore thumb, especially considering the composition of DILCRA’s scientific council. It didn’t take long for its meetings to take place entirely among White members. There are 21 members ; only one is not White ; and none is Black. This is a clear indication that the lived experience of racism, which is necessary to develop a proper understanding of racial violence, was disregarded. Such obliviousness allows Clavreul to state, using a sophism held dear by all those who seek to euphemize the crimes of modern Europe, that “colonialism and slavery are hardly exclusive to Western modernity,” thus denying the specificity of European intensity, determination and improvement on the subject.

To write that is of course to ignore the colonizing of power and knowledge that organized the world into dominant and dominated, into Being and Non-Being. It is to refuse to admit that the politics of “race,” presented as the evolution of modernity, produced a crime against humanity of a unique sort : unique in the 12 million people ripped by force from their continent, unique in the number of continents involved, unique in its duration : four centuries. This crime against humanity is unique as the very basis of the capitalist system that put people under the thumb of structural adjustment programs and continues to bring them to their knees by deregulating public policy in favor of transnational corporations, the financial system and private interests. The enslavement of millions of human beings because of the color of their skin or racializing phenotypes not only established the basis of the predatory capitalist system but also launched a terrible new era for these same people : colonialism, with its genocides, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Crimes that continue to go unpunished because those who organized them let themselves off the hook for the atrocities that were committed. They did this on one hand by adopting the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights that affirmed the universality of rights, the authors having privileged wishful thinking over a terrible lie given that a large part of the world was still in the hands of colonizers that had only force, contempt and hostility to give ; and, on the other hand, by accepting that the colonized could finally achieve independence.

In considering the way in which the period of enslavement is explained, in studying the refusal to historicize the development of “race” politics as a way of constructing a society of Being and Non-Being and its role in the construction of other forms of racism, it is easy to understand why people who come out of this cruel and traumatizing history demand that the known facts be recognized, analyzed, shared and that responsibility for them be accepted and, further, that reparative justice be made as the only way of creating a world of common existence. That’s what those who identify with decolonial thinking are trying to do. How do we deconstruct a racist blindspot that is based on a lie told by those who aligned themselves, and continue to align themselves, with White supremacy and euro-centric modernity ?

This is what Clavreul is trying to do in his article ; and in so doing he sings the same old song as those trying to construct an internal enemy. He is playing a dangerous game in this moment of economic and financial violence, a global context in which the war on terror is speeding up the destructuring of international relations and the deregulation of international law. To designate non-Whites who are making their voices heard and claim, following Aimé Césaire, that “our time has come” as enemies to be controlled and excluded is the work of an individual who is frightened and does not understand the change he must make. As a result, he refuses to seriously analyze the demands of the racialized and the reasons why their analyses and demands emerge in today’s context.

The republican winter is coming

Now that a light has been shone on Clavreul’s intellectual dishonesty, on the perversity and hypocrisy of his methods, it is time to focus on the ideology for which he puts it to use. In recent years, much has been said and written on the opposition between political anti-racism, which views racism as site of relations of force, and a moral anti-racism used to vaguely denounce “prejudice” or “discrimination” at the hands of certain malevolent individuals. In this context, the French daily Libération published a 2015 manifesto “In favour of political anti-racism” [12] a few months after the excellent video collective Usul devoted a program to the issue [13]. These stands challenge the “go along to get along” attitude of associations like SOS Racisme (anti-racist organization launched by Mitterrand’s socialist government in the 1980s – translator’s note), but also – and especially – their ambition to convert minorities’ aspirations for emancipation into an election recruiting ground for the governmental left. The new approach taken by Gilles Clavreul and his entourage is a reaction to the ever-stronger assertion of political anti-racism in the face of its historic rival. We describe the product of this reaction as cop anti-racism. Sensing the decline of moral anti-racism, he adopts much more expedient methods (political trials, smear campaigns, censorship, etc) and a more “virile” doctrine. The invitations to peaceful co-existence (“vivre-ensemble”) and the façade of universalism thus give way, bit by bit, to a proud chauvinism.

Moral anti-racism postulated that “everyone can be racist,” but it conceded without much difficulty that Arabs and Blacks are, in these matters, much more often victims than perpetrators. That’s not the case for cop anti-racism, which aims to place the descendants of Africans on the side of the accused. That’s the true purpose of Clavreul’s incoherent article, which confirms a statement the Prefect made to Libération and has been picked up on often : “All racism is wrong, but anti-Arab and anti-Black racism doesn’t have the same driving force as the violence of anti-Semitism. We have to be able to name the specificity of anti-Semitism.” [14] A half-millennium of conquest, of slave shipments, of humiliated colonized people, of pillage of African resources, of unequal exchange, is not enough to demonstrate the historic and present violence of anti-Arab and anti-Black racism. The hierarchy of racism according to DILCRA aims to make it easier to dismiss political anti-racism as anti-Semitic – even if political anti-racism is one of the only currents in anti-racism to take Jewish history and thought seriously. As an example, decolonial thinkers such as Enrique Dussel and Nelson Maldonado-Torres took great care to place anti-Semitism and its critics within the long history of European imperialism, which begins with the conquest of the Americas during the Renaissance.

Cop anti-racism retains the same simplistic approach as moral anti-racism. Clavreul describes the “very definition of political anti-racism ”as “a vision of the world structured into races.” This naïve approach opportunistically marries the struggle against racism – that is, against organized forms of power and violence – to a grandiose struggle against race. This pitiful confusion between cause and effect is not simply a case of careless logic : it is clearly politically motivated. Structurally, Clavreul can’t fight racism : as a Prefect, he represents the power of the state, he is the executor of its “monopoly on legitimate violence.” In his position, fighting racism (as an organization of power and violence) would be to fight himself. Instead, he delivers a chimeric assault on “race.” In reality, that simply means attacking all those who consider that modern societies are marked by unequal relations of force and subordination, of which Clavreul and his employers are the beneficiaries. Fighting “race” instead of fighting racism therefore simply means fighting the racialized. The article “Reverse racism ?” is nothing other than an attack on the credibility of a political vision of the world in order to strengthen the claim that the only way forward is the pathetic formal equality promoted today by the representatives of the French Republic.

Clavreul presents himself as a neutral observer, a selfless wise man, the middle ground between the excesses of fascism and radical political anti-racism. This false positioning hides the fact that he is one of the proponents of a fanaticism all the more disturbing given the resources behind it despite its laughable number of supporters : the fanaticism of the “Republican Spring” movement. Behind this silly slogan hides a chauvinist and Islamophobic ideology that seeks cultural hegemony. Political scientist Philippe Marlière has wisely described it as “a call to order of the Jacobin bourgeoisie.” [15] The organic intellectual of the movement, Laurent Bouvet, laid out its doctrine in his 2015 book L’Insécurité culturelle. The book presents itself as a theoretical work when it is actually more of a political marketing treatise for the governmental left. It lays the groundwork for Clavreul’s propaganda. Its thesis is as follows : “Without a principle of unification, either social, national or even simply democratic, multiplying and exacerbated cultural identities quickly enter into conflict. At that point, they can no longer participate in a common political project or even in a suitable electoral coalition.” [16] We will come back to the laughable equation here of political project with cynical electioneering. But first it’s worth noting that Bouvet argues in favour of a policy of cultural homogenization that he names, not surprisingly, “integration,” the model for which can only be the White middle class.

The circularity of Bouvet’s logic, repeated by Clavreul, is demonstrated by their utter inability to consider simultaneously equality and difference. When the Prefect accuses the Decolonial Summer Camp of refusing “mixing, diversity, the many,” he does not recognize that his argument implies that these qualities exist only when White people are present. He does not recognize that he is degrading the infinite diversity of the world by making it conditional on White approval. If DILCRA and the Republican Spring are afraid of nothing less than a “rupture” with the Republic, it is because they consider any political autonomy of the racialized as a scandal and a threat. Nothing should escape the authority of the state. The national scale is held as the only legitimate political scale, so much so that those described as “minorities” are expected to fit the mold of the supposed “majority” (White, male, middle class). Bouvet’s reflections contain all of what Indian anthropologist Arjun Appadurai names ethnocidal violence. Ethnocide occurs when a group describing itself as a “majority” as against “minorities” tries to create a fully homogeneous society. The only possible result of such a project is the cultural, symbolic and physical eradication of everything that does not fit with the so-called majority model. French identity, as viewed by DILCRA and the Republican Spring, invokes very precisely what Appadurai calls predatory identities “in which social construction and mobilization require the construction and mobilization of other similar social categories to represent a threat to the existence of a certain group defined as a ‘we’.” [17] And the republican “we” is unable to tolerate the very existence of the dream of decolonial autonomy. As soon as this appears, their sole obsession is to destroy it to ensure homogeneity at all cost.

But despite this chauvinistic obsession, a recurring element of this rhetoric harkens back to a feigned Marxist nostalgia. As such, Clavreul writes in his article that decolonial thought is marked by “American cultural studies, which themselves reinterpret and place within a multi-ethnic country the contributions of a European, and singularly French, structuralism. The relative disinterest in economic analysis and the importance placed in communities and religion are persuasive : this anti-colonialism is more liberal, in the Anglo-Saxon sense, than Marxist. Indeed, there is remarkably little criticism of the market and consumer society.” If cultural studies were above all British, not American, and were considerably influenced by Marxism, as demonstrated in a recent thick publication [18], no matter : this is not the Prefect’s first falsification. He is simply following Bouvet’s argument. As it happens, even if Bouvet subscribes to every last detail of the liberal democratic status quo, he shields his analysis with shreds of Marxist nostalgia. He doesn’t use its theoretical instruments, but holds up Marxism as a way of undoing the credibility of what he calls minority politics. He thus pretends to deplore “reducing the historical project of collective emancipation to a set of rights given to an ever narrower part of the population” [19] in which case even the critical left would have shifted to the side of liberalism.

This condemnation of liberalism is surprising from a writer that sees politics as nothing other than a market of opinions in which the only goal that counts is to gain the most shares. Clavreul shares this cynical vision of politics as combat in which thought is considered “talking points” and speaking out turns into “seeking media visibility.” Let’s not forget after all that the Republican Spring is an organization dearly held by the “socialist” government that in 2016 passed an infamous labour law. Clavreul and Bouvret raise Marx to delegitimize political anti-racism but never to fight the capitalist exploitation that this government encourages with all its might. They pretend to lament the absence of Marxism in decolonial thought all the while exalting bourgeois representative democracy in all its forms, obstinately refusing to imagine the possibility of another economic or political order. Meanwhile, decolonial thinking is focused on the details of Marxist analysis, steeped in analytic tools such as the concepts of the forces of production, fetishism and, of course, primitive accumulation, even if they are not always explicitly named. The spirit of Marx haunts decolonial theory, as it haunts all real critical theory : in other words, a political vision of the world, in terms of relations of force, exploitation and subjugation, and a philosophy of history. In short, everything that remains alive in Marxist spirit, ethical orientation and method is found in decolonial thought. For his part, Clavreul turns it into vulgar “talking points.”

“Our time”

Someone points out that my sweater is on backwards. Someone tells me I’m applying reverse logic. A coach tells his team not to reverse their warm-up exercises. In each case, it is implied that there is a normal way to wear a sweater, make an argument and do warm-up exercises and it’s important not to stray from it. When we do these things backwards, in reverse, something’s not right. In naming his article “Reverse racism ?” Gilles Clavreul admits himself that the normal meaning of racism is that of White people against non-White people. The idea of racism in the other direction is just as absurd and inconsistent as reverse logic. There is no reverse racism because there is no racism without power, without legitimacy, without certainty of self. Prefect Clavreul’s article demonstrates that “direct racism,” legitimized racism, subsidized by the state, is the reality of a cop anti-racism whose principle goals are to defend republican ideology and Zionism, criminalize political anti-racism and decolonial thought, and camouflage the colonial heritage, anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism and Islamophobia of the French state.

It is precisely against this that the people who participated in the Decolonial Summer Camp are mobilizing. These are also the people mobilizing against Islamophobia and comments that are as degrading to them as to the people who make them. “Our time has come,” Mr. Clavreul. The dominance of the colonial ideal in the White imaginary is no longer tolerable, even as it invades every corner of Western society, whether one is in search of a job, housing, leisure, a good doctor : suspicion, unconscious fear, xenophobia transformed into structural violence are always present. It is all of this, condemned for so long, that is no longer tolerable, especially if it comes with the obligation to “assimilate” by adopting a national narrative around French heritage, as demanded by a former French president, among many others. That would mean forgetting the history of humanity, which the Jacobin bourgeoisie is now trying to rewrite in light of a Republic that is adrift and, to reassure itself, seeking to reconnect with old fads born in the Third Republic. This is about launching a national narrative based on a dubious ideology, with no regard for fact, that everyone is expected to follow.

If the world’s people have learned anything, it is that it is possible to construct a sense of common existence on the basis of lies intended to maintain the other in a position of subordination all the while pretending this other is welcome ; unfortunately, the other is always lacking the excellence they can never achieve since the rules are carefully kept invisible. As a result, the White person lets themselves off the hook for this gap that keeps the other in a position of inferiority created by violence, underestimation and lack of love. They only want to help, but the other is resistant. As soon as the other is able to break through the glass ceiling, another obstacle will appear before them. This is the racist paradigm that continues to frame our societies ; in this context, how do you become a “man that interrogates” – as Fanon wrote – when everything takes you back to a status of inferiority that you have never been authorized to leave. This is the logic of a systemic organization that creates a world in which everything is objectified and turned into a financial product, but also a world in which being, power and knowledge function and relate to each other in such a way as to produce a regime of dependency of some toward others. In other words, a relationship of masters and slaves.

It is from this starting point that the Decolonial Summer Camp undertook its work. And it is this point that the dominant cannot admit. How is it possible for the others to get out of the ghettoization to which they have been consigned ? In order to throw off the colonial and colonizing yoke, it is necessary to make a break with the imposed model, to try to imagine an alternative no longer based on violence but on love and recognition of the other as another self, a loved-one, a recognition between the wretched.

This is the work begun during the Decolonial Summer Camp, together with other networks. It was meant to create and to think through the conditions of such recognition, not with those who dominate and sometimes accept to recognize the other, but for recognition between and among all of the wretched. To get there, it is time to break with modernity, an element of coloniality that prevents us from opening up to the world. That means thinking through a project that must disturb the order that maintains a violent colonial yoke over peoples and states.

And so Clavreul’s attempt to use a citation to prove the Others did not understand the very distinctive thought of Frantz Fanon, even if some of them refer to it all the time, has fizzled. Since “our time has come,” we can confirm that we have certainly understood and analyzed the words of Frantz Fanon, which remain today astoundingly insightful as long as one takes the time to understand what he said about the relationship between the dominated and the dominant instead of trying to falsify, betray, cheat and lie.

The goal is to understand that “[i]t is through the effort to recapture the self and to scrutinize the self, it is through the lasting tension of their freedom that men will be able to create the ideal conditions of existence for a human world.” [20] Now that our time has come, we are working towards this objective in spite of your lethal designs. An essential question presents itself, one that is implicitly contained within the question of the coloniality of power and knowledge : how to destroy the racism that weighs on so many citizens of a country ?


[1Clavreul, Gilles, “Un racism à l’envers ?”, https://jean-jaures.org/nos-productions/un-racisme-a-l-envers

[2Derrida, Jacques, Stiegler, Bernard ; Échographies. De la television. Galilée/INA, Paris, 1996, p. 46

[3To avoid ridicule, Clavreul cites Fanon without including the page numbers. In fact, his citation is a compilation of fragments found between pages 226 and 228 of the Grove Press edition of Black Skin, White Masks.

[4Fanon, Frantz, Black Skin, White Masks, trans. Charles Lam Markmann, Grove Press, New York, 1967, p.226

[5Ibid., p. 227

[6Fanon, Frantz, The Wretched of the Earth, trans. Richard Philcox, Grove Press, New York, 2004, pp. 235-6

[7Benjamin, Walter, Romantisme et critique de la civilisation, trans. Christophe David and Alexandra Richter, Payot, Paris, 2010, p. 129

[8W.E.B. Dubois, Darkwater : Voices from within the veil (1920), Mineola, Dover, 1999, p.22.

[9Césaire, Aimé, Discours sur le colonialisme (1955), Présence africaine, Paris, 2004, p. 8

[10Ramadan, Aya, “De l’oppression du peuple palestinien en général et d’un tweet en particulier,” http://indigènes-republique.fr/de-loppression-du-peuple-palestinien-en-general-et-dun-tweet-en-particulier/

[11Fanon, Frantz, A Dying Colonialism, trans. Haakon Chevalier, Grove Press, New York, 1965, pp. 57-8

[13USUL, “La polémiste (Elisabeth Levy),” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05OaQNkZ_9E

[14Géraud, Alice, “Gilles Clavreul, la valse antiraciste,” www.liberation.fr/societe/2015/04/16/gilles-clavreul-la-valse-antiraciste_1243400

[15Marlière, Philippe, “’Printemps républicain’ : le rappel à l’ordre de la bourgeoisie jacobine,” https://blogs.mediapart.fr/philippe-marliere/blog/080416/printemps -republicain-le-rappel-a-l-ordre-de-la-bourgeoisie-jacobine/

[16Bouvet, Laurent, L’Insécurité culturelle, Fayard, Paris, 2015, p. 156

[17Appadurai, Arjun, Géographie de la colère. La violence à l’âge de la globalization (2007), Payot, Paris, 2009, p. 80

[18Cervulle, Maxime, Nelly Quemener, Forian Vörös (eds), Matérialismes, culture & communication. Tome 2 : cultural studies, theories feministes et décoloniales, Presses des Mines, Paris, 2016.

[19Bouvet, p. 150.

[20Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, p. 231.