by Hisham Bustani
The situation of the Arab Left is similar to "the phenomenon of the transformation of the Left" on the global scale and a reflection of it. The reason is simple: the Arab Left, as a general rule though with some exceptions, was never a "Left" in the dialectical materialist sense. It has always been a reserved, conservative entity, "reactionary" rather than proactive, "importing" theory rather than producing it, adhering to the "letter of the text" (mainly the text of the Soviet policy!) rather than being an innovative critical thinker.
Below I attempt to dissect the main weaknesses of the Arab Left, as well as the obstacles it faced, and discuss whether there really was an Arab Left at all. This is of special importance since, coming from a Marxist position itself, criticism will help in evolving a revolutionary Left again in the Arab region and the world.
Under the British and French occupation, the division of al-Mashreq al-Arabi (the Arab East, divided by colonialists into the states we know today as Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq) took place for many objective reasons: