The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), an armed Marxist-Leninist Palestinian national movement, used its weekly Arabic-language organ, al-Hadaf (The Target), to demonstrate its revolutionary analytical acumen on a variety of topics, including contemporary international affairs, political theory, Zionism, and women’s liberation. However, in addition to this rich spectrum of subjects, al-Hadaf always contained a final section entitled “Culture and Literature” in the first years following its creation in 1969. This portion of al-Hadaf exhibited amateur poems produced in Palestinian refugee camps as well as verses and literary criticism from famous Arab poets like Tawfiq Ziad, Samih al-Qasim, and Adonis. Turning globally, this section also showcased translated poetry and prose from Vietnam, Cuba, and other revolutionary epicenters within the Global South. During his tenure as the magazine’s editor-in-chief from 1969 until his assassination in 1972, novelist and politico Ghassan Kanafani would transform the magazine into an influential outlet for Palestinian revolutionary artists who had been shaped by post-1967 legacies of displacement. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of “cultural production,” I will map out in my paper how al-Hadaf’s contributing editors and writers demarcated the “field” of Palestinian revolutionary literature via a process of inclusion and exclusion that reflected the PFLP’s broader Marxist-Leninist ideological commitments. My paper falls under the Counter-Cultural conference stream as I argue that al-Hadaf served as a regional locus of cultural production that was shaped by and contributed to the nascent revolutionary zeitgeist of the global New Left of this period.
Michael Peddycoart is a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations whose research examines the intellectual history of Palestinian leftist groups in the second half of the twentieth century. Michael’s research has been supported by the Nicholson Center for British Studies and University of Chicago Humanities Fellowship. He […]