Vietnam and Cuba as revolutionary role-models? Debates among the Arab Left since 1967

This project examines the political and ideological orientations of the Arab Left after the crushing defeat by Israel in June 1967 in respect to its views of other „Third World“ revolutionary movements. This event caused a lively debate among the Arab Left’s protagonists, who started looking for models of successful anti-imperialist struggles in other parts of the Third World that they could imitate. They especially admired the Vietcong’s war against the USA and the movements started by Che Guevara as „model revolutions“. The core of the thesis will be an analysis of the discourse of the Arab Left in its most important theoretical journals in the years after 1967 with regard to those topics. In addition to that, interviews with former activists will be conducted. Sojourns in Beirut and Alexandria will provide access to the required sources. The project will make an important contribution to the field of transnational intellectual history by examining so-far neglected connections between different parts of the Third World. By providing deeper insights into the trajectory of the Arab Left, it will also help to understand its decline after 1970 and the concurrent rise of Islamist movements in the Arab World.

The project is supported by a PhD-fellowship of the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst.