Hezbollah — Part of the Global Left?


Reading this article about Hezbollah fighting in Syria and up to its waist in blood, it made me wonder if a certain philosopher still believes that Hezbollah is a social movement that is “progressive,” “on the left,” and “part of a global left,” even if that “does not stop us from being critical of certain dimensions.” Talk about precarious life and bad judgment. It makes me wonder again and again about intellectuals and politics. About Syria, the  critical theory crowd remains silent.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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9 Responses to Hezbollah — Part of the Global Left?

  1. efmooney says:

    Is it a paradox that the lefty-ness of critical theory so often seems miles away from “real-time” politics? I think Marcuse or Arendt (for instance) — from the Frankfurt School — were closer to the disasters of their day — and on the correct side of them — than most present-day inheritors of that critical tradition. But . . .

    • zjb says:

      actually, i’m not sure about that either. am increasingly sure that Arendt bungled her judgment of Eichmann.

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  3. esque says:

    Your Google skills should be as good as everyone else’s. Butler’s explication of this comment at http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/judith-butler-responds-to-attack-i-affirm-a-judaism-that-is-not-associated-with-state-violence.html may be an example of CYA-ism, but it exists.

    • zjb says:

      a lame explication for a comment that was idiotic in the first place, no matter what context you put it into or take it out of. the initial remarks at the conference included the caveat that she herself does not support violence. so that was clear from the start to anyone who cared to listen to the youtube clip and/or read the transcript. so that’s a red herring. even read charitably and with the caveat, i don’t see how the statement makes sense because i don’t see why or how anyone would include Hezbollah on the global left. it’s a position, by the way, she continues to advance at Mondoweiss.

      • esque says:

        It seems to me that the two statements display the weakness of abstraction (“global,” “Left,” “imperialism,” “resistance”).

      • esque says:

        PS: Or, perhaps, the weakness of skeptical discourse (which Levinas analyzed so well at the end of OB).

  4. miri says:

    I’m not sure I understand this comment. Butler is presumably referring to the fact that Hezbollah was founded at least in part as a group dedicated to fighting the occupation and seeking justice for people oppressed by Israel as a colonial power. Insofar as she understands anti-colonial struggles as being a significant part of a “global left” movement for political freedoms, why wouldn’t Hezbollah (assuming the understanding of them above) fit into this paradigm? “Left-wing” isn’t a synonym for “good” and certainly not for “non-violent,” even if they are sometimes carelessly used that way.

    Now obviously, we could dispute the question of whether Hezbollah is actually devoted to the anti-colonial struggle. But if one (or Butler) did believe that, then they’d be sort of part of the global left by definition, right?

    • zjb says:

      thanks, Miri. yes, as you say, i would dispute the question about Hezbollah’s commitments to the anti-colonial cause versus Iranian theocratic interests, and now Syrian regime interests. but i guess, as part of all this, i’m also questioning the soundness of Butler’s beliefs about Hezbollah, which really means the soundness of her political judgment. what this might or might not say about her philosophical acumen is another point entirely, and about which i’m not willing to weigh in as critically.

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