Published in 1961, the year of Frantz Fanon’s death, The Wretched of the Earth is both a powerful analysis of the psychological effects of colonization and a rallying cry for violent uprising and independence.
The book rejects colonial assumptions that the people of colonized countries need to be guided by their European colonizers because they are somehow less evolved or civilized. Fanon argues that violence is justified to purge colonialism not just from the countries themselves, but from the very souls of their inhabitants, who have been so damaged by its abuses.
According to Fanon, it is the poor above all who need to rebel if real change is to come, because the indigenous middle classes will just produce a society very similar to the old one. And after revolution, the new country should aspire to make real improvements in the lives of the worst off through education and investment.
The Wretched of the Earth became an inspiration for many liberation struggles around the world after Fanon’s death and continues to be a key text in postcolonial studies.