On the Leftist Groups in Middle East Political Science: A Conversation with Sune Haugbølle (S. 5, Ep 41)

Sune Haugbølle

On this week’s POMEPS Conversation 74, Marc Lynch speaks with Sune Haugbølle. Haugbølle is an associate professor at Roskilde University, and much of his research focuses on Leftist movements in the Middle East.

“Before the Arab uprisings, I had a sense for a long time that there’s a real gap in the historiography of the modern Middle East. Leftists groups,”Haugbølle says, “Have really been understudied. There’s a lot we don’t know about them— and I think that lack of knowledge came from the notion that somehow the left had ceased to be important.”

“I’m trying to see what the historical memory of failures and trasitions of the Left in the last couple of decades means today for the Leftist activitists, militants, intellectuals today,” says Haugbølle. “The history of the Arab Left is global.”

In today’s world, Haugbølle argues, “The new Left is a fragmented field of smaller movements. It’s by definition a vast array of influences.”

“Obviously the Middle East is not in the throes of the American homogeneity that it used to be years ago. And they’re trying to find their feet in that.” The Left must question of imperialism, especially with the conflict in Syria, says Haugbølle.

“We re-conceptualize the struggle in this confused, post-revolutionary period that we’re in. That comes for the fore in the question of: Syria. Do you see the Russian intervention as a sort of protection of a popular regime with legitimacy, a people’s army that needs to be protected from America’s attempt to smash it? Or do you see that equally as imperialism? Most of the international socialists have taken the line that the Russian intervention is also a form of imperialism. You get splits over that.”

“There’s an intellectual history and a political history. There’s so much we don’t know. There’s so many achieves people haven’t looked at. Journals people haven’t read yet,” says Haugbølle.

Listen to Haugbølle’s full conversation on iTunesSoundCloud, or below:

Read more from Haugbølle:

In Defense of Ideology : Notes on Experience and Revolution, POMEPS, 2016.

Bassem Chit and Revolutionary Socialism in Lebanon. Middle East – Topics & Arguments, Vol. 6, Nr. 1, 01.05.2016, s. 65-74.

New Approaches to Arab Left Histories with Sing, Manfred. I: Arab Studies Journal, Vol. XXIX, Nr. 1, 01.05.2016, s. 90-97.

The Leftist, the Liberal, and the Space In Between : Ziad Rahbani and Everyday Ideology. I: Arab Studies Journal, Vol. XXIX, Nr. 1, 01.05.2016, s. 168-190.

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