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George, Nathaniel (2020) 'Travelling Theorist: Mehdi Ben Barka and Morocco from Anti-Colonial Nationalism to the Tricontinental.' In: Guirguis, Laure, (ed.), The Arab Lefts: Histories and Legacies, 1950s–1970s. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 127-147.

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It is hard to imagine language more alarming to European and American imperialists and their allies than the terms Mehdi Ben Barka used to describe the conference he was organising. In May 1965, the Afro-Asian People‘s Solidarity Organisation elected the exiled Moroccan dissident to chair the preparatory committee for the upcoming ‘First Conference of Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia, and Latin America’. Better known simply as ‘the Tricontinental’, the conference was the first that was set to bring Latin America into the framework of Afro-Asian anti-colonial summitry. In conversation with the Havana press on 30 September 1965, Ben Barka pinpointed the forces that converged to make the 1960s a moment pregnant with global revolutionary possibilities: Less than one month after making this link between the traditions of socialist and anti-colonial revolutions, Ben Barka was abducted from the streets of Paris, never to be seen again. His disappearance sparked an international scandal, leading to a highly publicised trial and a break in diplomatic relations between France and Morocco. While the question of who was behind the ‘Ben Barka Affair’ has been an international mystery leading to intense speculation for decades, a recent confession by an Israeli Mossad agent involved in his assassination has shed light on many uncertainties. On 29 October 1965, French police kidnapped Ben Barka off the streets of Paris, Moroccan intelligence officers tortured him to death, and agents of Mossad doused his body with acid and buried him in a forest on the outskirts of Paris.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Morocco, Tricontinentalism, 1960s, Communism, History of the Arab Left, History of the New Left, Middle Eastern Politics, Nationalism, New Left, Revolution, Transnational History, Development
SOAS Departments & Centres: Regional Centres and Institutes > Centre for Palestine Studies
Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
D History General and Old World > DT Africa
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions (Asia, Africa, Australia)
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
J Political Science > JZ International relations
ISBN: 9781474454230
Copyright Statement: This is the version of the chapter accepted for publication in The Arab Lefts: Histories and Legacies, 1950s–1970s. Edinburgh University Press (2020), pp. 127-147. Re-use is subject to the publisher’s terms and conditions
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2023 09:57
Related URLs: https://edinbur ... arab-lefts.html (Publisher URL)

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