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New Left Review I/57, September-October 1969

M. A. Malik

Comment on Trabulsi

Anyone who has written an article as rich in information and insight as Fawwaz Trabulsi earns the reader’s gratitude. The only reason for the following critical comments is that the goal the author set himself, that of providing a ‘Marxist-Leninist framework’ for understanding the Palestine liberation struggle, is a most ambitious one. If one studies the classic examples of Marxist-Leninist analysis (Lenin’s The Development of Capitalism in Russia, Mao’s Report of an Investigation of the Hunan Peasant Movement) one can note a number of common features. Firstly they are produced at a turning point in the development of the revolutionary movement and provide the theoretical foundation for a wholly new political line, leading to a wholly new strategy and form of revolutionary organization (Bolshevik Party, People’s Liberation Army). Usually such a Marxist-Leninist analysis is the distillation of both original research into the objective co-ordinates of the class struggle and direct participation in that struggle. The purpose of this brief evocation is merely to remind us that re-describing social reality with the appropriate terminology (“contradiction”, “class struggle” etc) is not what is meant by Marxist-Leninist analysis. It is surely not asking too much of comrades engaged in theoretical work if we insist on the need for new research into class relationships where existing bourgeois scholarship is inadequate (which is bound often to be the case). Such research must be guided by rigorous attention to the fundamental principles of scientific socialism and enriched by the lessons of struggle.

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M. A. Malik, ‘Comment on Trabulsi’, NLR I/57: £3

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