Lebanon and Middle East: On the Hezbollah and fundamentalism - "We need a large movement from below!"

Joseph, Daher; Noel, Van Den Heuvel

Publisher:  Europe Solidaire Sans Frontieres
Date Written:  01/07/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX22466

Interview with Joseph Daher on his new book on the political economy of the Hezbollah.



Noel van den Heuvel: You have just written a book about Hezbollah. Why, in your opinion, was it necessary to reengage in this topic?

Joseph Daher: When I started in 2010, I thought it would be necessary to study Hezbollah and other Islamic fundamentalist movements because there many questions were still unanswered. You had different point of views regarding movements such as Hezbollah or the Muslim Brotherhood. Whether they were termed fascist, as conservative study centres would suggest, or as an Islamic brand of liberation theology as we witnessed in South America. I opposed both understandings. Another point of view I departed from: analysing it as a political party according to its political program, policies, and the social origin of its leadership and cadres. You cannot consider it progressive, but instead as a reactionary and sectarian political party, supporting a capitalist economy. It is a gradualist Islamic fundamentalist movement with an ideal of establishing an Islamic State. Although this is not possible under the current conditions in Lebanon.

This perspective on Hezbollah, though, was not present in my opinion: a holistic analysis, also looking at the political economy of Lebanon and the evolution of Hezbollah in relation to neoliberal policies that resulted in social differentiation in the population, also among Lebanese Shiites. Subsequently, Hezbollah's ideology can't be explained isolated from its political context and dynamics, whether being local, regional or international.

Finally, I wanted to bring forward thoughts of the Lebanese Marxist Mahdi Amel, especially from his book "In the sectarian state" regarding his analysis on issues of sectarianism, behaviour of the Islamic bourgeoisie during the civil war, and finally also the concept of "community class" and his criticism of it.
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