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Hezbollah: The Political Economy of Lebanon's Party of God

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Few political parties have been as misunderstood—or as roundly condemned—as Lebanon’s Hezbollah. With this book, Joseph Daher presents a new way of looking at Hezbollah: through the lens of political economy.             By discarding more common approaches to the party that focus on religious discourse or military questions, Daher is freed up to analyze what the party act Few political parties have been as misunderstood—or as roundly condemned—as Lebanon’s Hezbollah. With this book, Joseph Daher presents a new way of looking at Hezbollah: through the lens of political economy.             By discarding more common approaches to the party that focus on religious discourse or military questions, Daher is freed up to analyze what the party actually is: an organization that is operating within a specific political and socio-economic context, one that simultaneously offers it a rich ground of support and limits its range of action. Daher clearly and carefully positions Hezbollah within that context, focusing on its historic ties with its main sponsor, Iran, its media and cultural wings, its relationship with Western economic policies, and the impact of the Shi’a population on the sectarian politics of Lebanon. Offering additional attention to the party’s positions on worker’s rights and women’s issues, this fresh take on Hezbollah will be incredibly useful for understanding the world’s most tumultuous region.  


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Few political parties have been as misunderstood—or as roundly condemned—as Lebanon’s Hezbollah. With this book, Joseph Daher presents a new way of looking at Hezbollah: through the lens of political economy.             By discarding more common approaches to the party that focus on religious discourse or military questions, Daher is freed up to analyze what the party act Few political parties have been as misunderstood—or as roundly condemned—as Lebanon’s Hezbollah. With this book, Joseph Daher presents a new way of looking at Hezbollah: through the lens of political economy.             By discarding more common approaches to the party that focus on religious discourse or military questions, Daher is freed up to analyze what the party actually is: an organization that is operating within a specific political and socio-economic context, one that simultaneously offers it a rich ground of support and limits its range of action. Daher clearly and carefully positions Hezbollah within that context, focusing on its historic ties with its main sponsor, Iran, its media and cultural wings, its relationship with Western economic policies, and the impact of the Shi’a population on the sectarian politics of Lebanon. Offering additional attention to the party’s positions on worker’s rights and women’s issues, this fresh take on Hezbollah will be incredibly useful for understanding the world’s most tumultuous region.  

45 review for Hezbollah: The Political Economy of Lebanon's Party of God

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shireen Rummana

    In "Hezbollah: The Political Economy of Lebanon's Party of God," Joseph Daher dismantles the one-dimensional analyses of Hezbollah that either describe it as an Islamist organization revolving around religious rhetoric, or an anti-imperialist organization furthering resistance against Israel, using Islam as a "third way" to create a non-Western alternative to both capitalism and socialism. Daher argues that Hezbollah must be analyzed in relation to the political economy of Lebanon's sectarian st In "Hezbollah: The Political Economy of Lebanon's Party of God," Joseph Daher dismantles the one-dimensional analyses of Hezbollah that either describe it as an Islamist organization revolving around religious rhetoric, or an anti-imperialist organization furthering resistance against Israel, using Islam as a "third way" to create a non-Western alternative to both capitalism and socialism. Daher argues that Hezbollah must be analyzed in relation to the political economy of Lebanon's sectarian state, its relationship to the Lebanese working class and labor movement, and to the popular uprisings that spread throughout the Middle East in 2011. Through this analysis, Daher reveals the reality that Hezbollah has morphed from a party that challenges the sectarian status quo to one that is entrenched in and benefiting from the Lebanese sectarian system, espousing a rhetoric of defending the oppressed while supporting neoliberal policies that drastically worsen the lives of Lebanese working people. Daher analyzes the ways in which Hezbollah attained hegemony over the Shi'a population of Lebanon, a sect which, as he mentions briefly in his conclusion, "comprised the largest numbers of nationalist and progressive parties that were leading social struggles" before the Lebanese Civil War. But after the civil war, demographic changes and economic liberalization pushed forward by the Ta'if agreement increased the sectarian mapping of the country, a new, wealthier Shi'a bourgeoisie emerged in Lebanon, and Hezbollah, created during the war to act as a pillar of resistance against Israel, began to reflect the interests of the minority Shi'a elite. Since the civil war, each Lebanese government has ushered in neoliberal reforms which cut into the living standards of Lebanese citizens, weakening unions, slashing rent control and threatening to dramatically increase sectarian segregation yet again. Hezbollah has repeatedly refused to stand against these harmful neoliberal measures, proving its rhetorical support for the poor members of society to be disingenuous. At the same time, it has created a hegemonic quasi-state using both coercion and consent, and punishing outliers in their regions--those who digress religiously, selling alcohol in their stores or wearing clothing that does not adhere to their strict standards, as well as anyone who plans a protest or even resists Israeli aggression outside of their own apparatus, and of course severely punishing anyone who protests or speaks against their hegemony. Hezbollah also worked to strategically weaken the Lebanese labor movement, creating a base in cross-sectarian trade unions (namely the CGTL) and shifting their focus to sectarian rather than universal working-class demands, calling for the end of strikes and even crushing them, blaming protestors and calling them provocateurs or agents of Israel. Daher gives an excellent and refreshing overview of the importance of the labor movement in the Lebanese Civil War and against neoliberalism in the 2000s, up to the general abandonment of the CGTL in the attempt to build a truly cross-sectarian and independent labor movement in the country. Finally, Daher examines Hezbollah's highly organized military apparatus, and the organization's changing rhetoric and role in relation to the Arab revolutions that erupted in 2011. Hezbollah's discourse changed from a defense of people's uprising and a rhetoric of combatting Israel to one of protecting Lebanon, the Lebanese state and its Shi'a population. After briefly expressing support of the uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, and Bahrain, Hezbollah reversed its position on the Arab uprisings when the Syrian revolution began to fully emerge. It chose to prioritize its allies, Assad and Iran, rather than support the Syrian masses, and sent thousands of Lebanese Shi'a to assist in the Syrian regime's butchery, including in the destruction of Aleppo. Although earlier in the uprising some Shi'a expressed upset and disagreement with Hezbollah sending their sons to die fighting for Assad, not against Israel, Hezbollah crushed opposition to its decisions using increased religious rhetoric and symbolism, insisting on the need to protect Shi'a from Sunni Jihadists, and of course repressing those who protested against them. Hezbollah's increasing hegemony may seem impenetrable. A cross-sectarian left joined with an independent labor movement must grow to create an alternative for Shi'a who currently have none other than Hezbollah to look to for services, protection, and the like....

  2. 5 out of 5

    Pavlo Atlas

    A comprehensive materialist approach to the Hezbollah's development. With an academic style, Daher defends a very clear statement: Hezbollah's political actions are understood better if analyzed as part of the neoliberal environment in which they operate. The Hezbollah has become part and defender of this economic and sectarian political system. Daher sees a contradiction between their 'support for the oppressed' rhetoric and their orientation towards supporting the Shia bourgeoisie and Lebanese A comprehensive materialist approach to the Hezbollah's development. With an academic style, Daher defends a very clear statement: Hezbollah's political actions are understood better if analyzed as part of the neoliberal environment in which they operate. The Hezbollah has become part and defender of this economic and sectarian political system. Daher sees a contradiction between their 'support for the oppressed' rhetoric and their orientation towards supporting the Shia bourgeoisie and Lebanese Neoliberalism. The book develops and defends this argument, first, with a historical analysis of the party, the country and the society to later touch upon different parcels of this economic reality, such as Labour movements, the military and the Arab Uprisings.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    This book looks at the history of Lebanon, with its many religious sects, and Hizballah's place in it, with a concentration on political economy. The author examines the development of the middle class in the different sects, and how that impacted Lebanese politics. I thought the title was a bit of a misnomer, since the book deals with politics as well as economics and the Sunni and Christian populations of Lebanon as well as the Shia. But, the author's approach is to show how Hizballah was inst This book looks at the history of Lebanon, with its many religious sects, and Hizballah's place in it, with a concentration on political economy. The author examines the development of the middle class in the different sects, and how that impacted Lebanese politics. I thought the title was a bit of a misnomer, since the book deals with politics as well as economics and the Sunni and Christian populations of Lebanon as well as the Shia. But, the author's approach is to show how Hizballah was instrumental in the development of a Shia middle class. Some of the writing in the book, particularly in the earlier chapters, is somewhat stilted, but the book is full of useful information and the writing style becomes more compelling as it goes along.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mano Chil

    I respect the author's approach in analyzing the defining what the party was and is today.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brian Bean

  6. 4 out of 5

    Romain Tronc

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rizwan Raiyan

  8. 5 out of 5

    Camille Mroue

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    324.25692 D129 2016

  10. 5 out of 5

    Youmna Mroue

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rohan Advani

  13. 4 out of 5

    Yngve Skogstad

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bill Crane

  15. 5 out of 5

    Toon

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jess

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maria

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mostafa Seblani

  19. 5 out of 5

    لميا

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Mackin

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alex Shams

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stefan Hölzl

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ali Ismail

  24. 5 out of 5

    Martin

  25. 4 out of 5

    Isaac Rauch

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mahwish

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rohith

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ed

  29. 4 out of 5

    Justin

  30. 4 out of 5

    David

  31. 4 out of 5

    Dana

  32. 5 out of 5

    Matěj Schneider

  33. 4 out of 5

    Maha Akkeh

  34. 4 out of 5

    Wickstrom

  35. 5 out of 5

    Blake

  36. 5 out of 5

    Mohamed Farah

  37. 4 out of 5

    Tristan Sloughter

  38. 4 out of 5

    Neil

  39. 5 out of 5

    Markie

  40. 4 out of 5

    Miles Curtis

  41. 5 out of 5

    Bushra A.

  42. 4 out of 5

    pplofgod

  43. 5 out of 5

    Dеnnis

  44. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  45. 4 out of 5

    Tony

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