This is a hard book to find, and difficult to read. It literally is just Marx's notes; some of it is quotations from the authors Marx is reading, some...moreThis is a hard book to find, and difficult to read. It literally is just Marx's notes; some of it is quotations from the authors Marx is reading, some of it is lists. The language switches between English, German and ancient Greek... as well as terms in Seneca and Aztec.
Krader's commentary is helpful in making sense of it.
For those who are up to the challenge, this can give a lot of insight into Marx's thinking on cultural evolution as well as his concept of a stateless communist utopia. It's clear how Lewis Henry Morgan's historical materialist determinism had such influence on Marx and Engels.(less)
Quinn's breakdown on the politics of Ishmael without all the fiction. As "primitivists" go, this makes him one of the most practical; but it begs the...moreQuinn's breakdown on the politics of Ishmael without all the fiction. As "primitivists" go, this makes him one of the most practical; but it begs the question of why he uses language and terminology that is so alienating. While being "beyond civilization" certainly makes for some romantic (even Rousseauian) prose, most folks who value feeding the majority of the worlds population through agriculture, having access to modern medicine and indoor plumbing (all things that most readers associate the term "civilization") will be so turned off by the book that they'll never get to rather modest conclusion. His writing is so hyperbolic that you almost can't believe that his solution is one of "occupational tribes" which are self-managed worker cooperatives by another name; hardly a new idea in the left.
Instead of using "civilization" as a code word for "hierarchy"; how about just using the word "hierarchy"?
His understanding of the Maya is hardly up to any anthropological an archaeological standard. (less)
This slim volume focuses almost exclusively on the activities of the Iraq Communist Party (ICP) and is a powerful antidote to the patronizing oriental...moreThis slim volume focuses almost exclusively on the activities of the Iraq Communist Party (ICP) and is a powerful antidote to the patronizing orientalism many leftists and anti-war activists have towards Iraq. Through the lens of the ICP, Salucci shatters the illusion that Iraq is a backward, undeveloped society dominated exclusively by a reactionary political Islam without any substantial leftist history. Revealed is a society that grows from a British-installed monarchy with an agrarian economy, through a period of communist resistance to the monarchy and colonial exploitation that was interwoven with tribal and peasant uprisings, to the labor struggles of an emerging industrial proletariat centered on the oil industry. Salucci illuminates this with a very useful chronology of events, many statistics regarding land distribution, domestic production, and occupational employment, and a historical narrative of the many strikes and uprisings during the twentieth century. Even with these other details, the text will not serve well as a general history of Iraq, as it is focused almost exclusively on the politics and fluctuations of the ICP. This is both a strength and a weakness of the book.
The book's inclusion of a speech by Qasim Hasan (Nazim) to the Comintern in 1935 alongside a 2003 statement by the Central Committee of the ICP shows how far the ICP has drifted in its revolutionary commitments. This drift has included opportunistically joining the U.S.-propped-up governing council, a collaborationist gambit which has not led to any sort of gains for the ICP in the most recent elections.
Salucci also more sympathetically describes the Workers Communist Party of Iraq (WCPI) which has always rejected the U.S. occupation, and primarily focuses on social mobilization, mass protest and organizing among the Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI), the Union of the Unemployed of Iraq (UUI), and the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) as a way of building towards revolution. The WCPI has rejected both the collaborationist route of the ICP and the armed struggle being waged by "Islamic fascism".
With the exception of a passing paragraph reference to the shora uprisings in 1991 and inclusion of a "Statement of the Sulaimaniya Shora," there is little in Salucci's book about one of the most recent significant events in Iraq's left history. With the defeat of the Iraqi army in Kuwait, troops deserted and mutinied as they returned to southern Iraq. Simultaneously in the north, workers' councils (shoras) were setup in Sulaimaniya, Hawlir, Kirkuk, Rania and Nasro Bareeka. For more information about the Shoras in 1991, readers may want to review "The Kurdish Uprising..." pamphlet, as well as "10 Days that Shook Iraq" by Wildcat UK.
Given the lack of discussion in this book, it would not appear that women exist in Iraq. Women's organizations in Iraq are at least as old as the ICP. Considering the degree of organization of women in Iraq, the gains in equality made and lost, the massive involvement and then removal of women in the workforce, and the involvement of the left in women's struggles, Salucci's avoidance of women and feminism is a glaring fault with this book.
Even though this short book does not sufficiently address the politics of the Ba'ath, pan-Arab socialism, the left wing of Kurdish nationalism, the shoras, or feminism, it is still a very useful reference and introduction to a history of the left in Iraq, and is highly recommended for those who would like a brief introduction. With no sign of an end to the occupation by the U.S. in sight, developments in Iraq will continue to dominate our attention.
This book changed my whole world view when it came to politics. It had a profound effect on me, giving me a better idea of who I was, where I came fro...moreThis book changed my whole world view when it came to politics. It had a profound effect on me, giving me a better idea of who I was, where I came from and what created the situation of the community around me. In addition to giving me tools to understand what had happened and was happening, it gave me the first suggestions of the kind of things needed to do to change things. Most importantly, that understanding also gave me something very important... hope.(less)