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More Poverty of Philosophy

"Each generation," Fanon wrote in The Wretched of the Earth , "must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it." This quotation has been one of my maxims for years, a way to structure not only my activist/organizing work but also my intellectual labour as a philosopher. While it is indeed the case that every activist and organizer must necessarily abide by this maxim––to discover the mission of the conjuncture, as difficult as it might be, and to work to fulfill this mission rather than betray it––because this is what organizers do by definition, such a maxim is often lost on philosophers. Indeed, in more than a decade of blogging here I have written multiple posts on the delusions of academic philosophy . Even still, I am continuously struck by the ways in which philosophers cannot live up to this maxim by failing to discover their generational mission and thus, due to this failure, betraying it without even realizing the betrayal. S