Beyond Arab Nationalism? The Plo and its Intellectuals, 1967–1974

Katlyn Quenzer*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The Arab defeat of 1967 ushered in a new period of resistance. With Arab nationalism’s weaknesses fully exposed and the PLO given renewed support, leftist intellectuals within the organization had space to think beyond the realities they had experienced in the past few decades. For them, Palestinian liberation meant more than simply what its name suggested; it was part of a larger revolutionary struggle to transform the region. Their context, goals, and ideas define them as anticolonial intellectuals, much in the fashion of Fanon’s concepts of the colonized intellectual and building national consciousness. By 1974, with these goals left unfulfilled, a different course was chartered for the PLO, and national consciousness was left as fractured as the groups that worked to build it. Framing them as anticolonial intellectuals as described by Fanon’s colonized intellectual helps to clarify their goals, obstacles, and shortcomings. In this essay I demonstrate that Fanon’s notions of the colonized intellectuals and anticolonial efforts at building a national consciousness are parallel to and predict the efforts and failures of the leftist intellectuals within the PLO from 1967 to 1974. Using primary source material such as PLO factions’ publications, the intellectuals’ memoirs, and personal interviews with individuals active during the time, as well as secondary materials, I work to show the important link between Fanon and the PLO’s leftist intellectuals working from 1967 to 1974. In doing so, we gain a better understanding of what led to their failures, the overall significance of their work in spite of it, and the type of changes this created in the PLO’s politics.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)690-707
    Number of pages18
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019


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