Arab Marxism and National Liberation

Selected Writings of Mahdi Amel


Mahdi Amel (1936–87) was a prominent Arab Marxist thinker and Lebanese Communist Party member. 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. Amel’s writings serve as a reminder of the need to renew Marxist thought based on the concrete and particular social realities like colonialism.

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Mahdi Amel (1936–87) was a prominent Arab Marxist thinker and Lebanese Communist Party member. Born in south Lebanon, he studied, taught, and wrote on Marxist philosophy in relation to colonialism and national liberation in France, Algeria and Lebanon. He was assassinated in 1987.

Hicham Safieddine is lecturer in the history of the Modern Middle East at King’s College London and author of Banking on the State: The Financial Foundations of Lebanon (SUP, 2019). He is co-founder of Al-Akhbar English and The Legal Agenda English Edition.

Angela Giordani, Ph.D (2020), Columbia University in the City of New York, is an intellectual historian of the modern Arabic-speaking world. Her translations have appeared in Jadaliyya and The Arab Renaissance: A Bilingual Anthology of the Nahda (ed. Tarek El-Ariss, 2018).
Note on Translation

Part 1 Remembering Amel

1 Introduction: The Anti-colonial Intellectual

2 Biographical Note: The Martyr Intellectual

Part 2 Selected Writings

3 Colonialism and Underdevelopment I: An Attempt to Understand the Colonial Relation

4 Colonialism and Underdevelopment II: On the Colonial Mode of Production

5 On the Sectarian State

6 Marx in the Orientalism of Edward Said

7 The Islamised Bourgeois Trend

8 The Problem of Cultural Heritage

List of Amel’s Published Books
University students and faculty interested in political theory, Marxism, Middle East Studies, postcolonial studies, intellectual history, as well as activists and general public interested in Marxism and global south politics and history.
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