Arab Marxism and National Liberation
Edited by Hicham Safieddine
Translated by Angela Giordani
Introduction by Hicham Safieddine
Mahdi Amel (1936–1987) was one of the most well-regarded and beloved Marxist theoreticians of his generation in the Arab world. He wrote widely and left behind a score of important books whose topics ranged from revolutionary theory to poetry.
What drove Mahdi Amel was a simple problem – how to produce Marxist concepts that would be faithful to Arab reality? When Marxism came to the Third World, it had to be supple and precise: to learn from its context and understand the ways that capitalism morphs into new venues and explores the ways for social transformation to drive history.
This collection brings for the first time to an English audience lengthy excerpts from six major works by Mahdi Amel. These include the two founding texts on colonialism and underdevelopment in which Amel began to grapple with the question of dependency, his treatise on sectarianism and the state, his critique of Edward Said’s analysis of Marx, his exposure of emerging Islamised bourgeois trends of thought as part of a broader critique of everyday thought, and his reflection on cultural heritage as perceived by Arab bourgeoisie.