This essay revisits the history of Socialist Lebanon, a Marxist organization founded in the mid-1960s by militant intellectuals in Beirut. Examining their labors of, and thoughts on, translation, which the members of Socialist Lebanon regarded as constitutive of the Marxist tradition, the essay tracks how they inscribed their struggle in a globally shared contemporary horizon of the people's struggles from China to Cuba; argued against anchoring political positions in a historicist, evolutionary reading of Marx that would endlessly defer revolutionary practice until the objective conditions are met; and called for a thorough diagnosis of the present's particularity. In doing so, the essay seeks to complicate retrospective sketches of Arab Marxists, such as Susan Buck-Morss's, that depict them as elitist and vanguardist modernizers and oppose them to immanent Islamist critics. The essay concludes by arguing for a retrieval of Socialist Lebanon's ethos for our increasingly intractable present.
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Fadi A. Bardawil; Dreams of a Dual Birth: Socialist Lebanon's World and Ours. boundary 2 1 August 2016; 43 (3): 313–335. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-3572854
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