Violence and Victory: Guerrilla warfare, ‘authentic self-affirmation’ and the overthrow of the colonial state

Kaempf, Sebastian (2009) Violence and Victory: Guerrilla warfare, ‘authentic self-affirmation’ and the overthrow of the colonial state. Third World Quarterly, 30 1: 129-146. doi:10.1080/01436590802622433

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Author Kaempf, Sebastian
Title Violence and Victory: Guerrilla warfare, ‘authentic self-affirmation’ and the overthrow of the colonial state
Journal name Third World Quarterly   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1360-2241
Publication date 2009-01-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/01436590802622433
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 30
Issue 1
Start page 129
End page 146
Total pages 18
Editor Shahid Qadir
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Subject 360100 Political Science
750600 Government and Politics
9402 Government and Politics
1606 Political Science
Abstract This contribution critically investigates the ideas underpinning the armed struggle of colonial subjects against colonial states in the middle decades of the 20th century. It focuses in particular on two of the most influential texts that inspired and guided violent anti-colonial resistance, The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon and On Guerrilla Warfare by Mao Zedong. Both Fanon and Mao provided powerful analyses of the violent (psychological and military) underpinnings of colonialism and articulated strategies of resistance. This contribution argues that the persuasiveness of Mao’s and Fanon’s thought stemmed from their deep dialectical (ie Hegelian) understanding of war and colonialism. By demonstrating the dialectical foundations of Mao’s and Fanon’s thought—inspired intellectually by their readings of Carl von Clausewitz and Jean-Paul Sartre—the contribution illustrates how their understanding allowed them not only to fathom the interactive dynamics at the core of war and colonialism, but also to devise successful ways of unseating colonial power. Yet,while they shared a common belief in violent anti-colonial struggles, they nevertheless diverged fundamentally in their respective conceptions of violence. Mao (through Clausewitz) held an instrumental view of violence, whereas Fanon (through Sartre) understood violence in existential terms. This meant, as is argued here, that their respective conceptions of violence would not necessarily, on their own, have been sufficient to bring colonialism to an end. Taken together, however, their instrumental and intrinsic conceptions of violence complemented each other and helped armed anti-colonial struggles succeed around the globe.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 5 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 25 Mar 2009, 23:52:51 EST by Elmari Louise Whyte on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies