Bazaar and Mosque in Iran's Revolution

by
published in MER113

Ahmad Ashraf is a sociologist who studied and later taught at Tehran University and the New School in New York City. Ashraf is the author of “Historical Obstacles to the Development of the Bourgeoisie in Iran,” Iranian Studies 2/1-2 (Spring and Summer 1969). Ervand Abrahamian spoke with him in New York City in February 1983.

Of the many classes and groups that participated in the Iranian revolution, which have won the fruits of victory?

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The Reconstruction Crusade and Class Conflict in Iran

by Emad Ferdows
published in MER113

The Islamic Republic’s revolutionary credentials are, apart from foreign policy, largely based on the activities of the so-called revolutionary organizations created shortly after the February 1979 uprising. Operating through these popular organizations, the regime signaled a new beginning for millions of Iranians, especially the young, who had been deprived of meaningful social and political activity. In the last three years, these organizations have been the main channel of upward social mobility for clergy and lay people alike. Much of the course of the Iranian revolution and the social basis of the present regime can be discerned in the records of these new institutions.

International Finance and the Third World

by Jeff Frieden
published in MER117

The foreign debt of the less developed countries (LDCs) of the Third World now stands at around $600 billion. More than half of this—about $350 billion—is owed to private international banks. Events like the strikes and demonstrations in Brazil this summer, or the labor unrest that triggered the military coup in Turkey in 1980, demonstrate the critical relationship of the foreign bank debt to political developments within the LDCs themselves. The crisis, however, is not confined to the debtor countries alone.

Two Economic Histories

by James A. Reilly
published in MER123

Charles Issawi, An Economic History of the Middle East and North Africa (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982).

Roger Owen, The Middle East in the World Economy, 1800-1914 (New York: Methuen, 1981).

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Gran, Development by People

by Karen Pfeifer
published in MER123

Guy Gran, Development by People: Citizen Construction of a Just World (New York: Praeger, 1983).

This ambitious book seeks to serve as a guide to building new societies in the Third World (and ultimately everywhere else) based on grassroots participatory development and the democratic empowerment of non-elites. Gran follows the tradition of Branko Horvat, Ivan Illich and E. F. Schumacher in his dual critique of both capitalism and state socialism and his advocacy of the “planned market economy.” Local self-reliance and the rejection of specialization in production will be key to making Gran’s new forms of social organization work.

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Tuma and Darin-Drabkin, The Economic Case for Palestine

by
published in MER80

Elias H. Tuma and Haim Darin-Drabkin, The Economic Case for Palestine (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1978).

This book does not seem destined to become a classic in the literature concerning a future Palestinian state. Its intent is both polemical and practical but because of its narrow economic scope it is addressed, to a small audience: those who oppose a West Bank-Gaza Strip state on economic grounds, and the future economic planners of such a mini-state. People who fall outside either category are likely to find The Economic Case for Palestine dry reading.

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Rebels, Reformers and Empire

Alternative Economic Programs for Egypt and Tunisia

by Karen Pfeifer
published in MER274

For 20 years leading up to the uprisings of 2010-2011, Egypt and Tunisia suffered the ill effects of neoliberal economic reform, even as the international financial institutions and most economists hailed them as beacons of progress in the Arab world. For ten years preceding the revolts, workers and civil society organizations led a burgeoning protest movement against the liberalizing and privatizing trajectories of the Mubarak and Ben Ali regimes. Then came the uprisings, which brokered the possibility of not only new political beginnings but also alternative economic programs that would put the needs of the struggling middle, working and poorer classes first and at least constrain, if not abolish, the privileges of a deposed ruling class.

Seltzer Colonialism

by Michael Fin , Callie Maidhof | published April 18, 2014

Early each morning, dozens of workers from Jaba’ walk up a narrow set of stairs with trash strewn on either side to reach a bus stop on Highway 60, which bisects the West Bank on its way from Nazareth to Beersheva. As they climb the stairs, the workers pass a tunnel that once allowed villagers convenient access to the highway, but which has been blocked by limestone boulders, dirt and rubble since the intifada of the early 2000s. At this bend in the road, nine miles northwest of Jerusalem, much of the horizon is defined by the 20-foot high concrete separation wall.

Capitalism in Rural Iran

by Parvin Ghorayshi , Fred Halliday
published in MER98

Parvin Ghorayshi: Fred Halliday has suggested in the chapter on agricultural development in the first edition of his book, Iran: Dictatorship and Development, that the Iranian state successfully imposed capitalist relations on the rural areas by means of a land reform. While I agree that rural Iran experienced a growth of capitalist relations as a result of land reform, I cannot agree that these relations became predominant, as Halliday claims: “In general, one can say that the Iranian countryside is now a capitalist one. Pre-capitalist features must certainly survive: Old cultivation methods, old attitudes and old unreformed ownership patterns do not disappear at once.

Economic Sanctions and Iranian Trade

by Philip Shehadi
published in MER98

Former President Jimmy Carter’s announcement of economic sanctions against Iran on April 7, 1980 aroused little enthusiasm except in Tehran, where crowds roared their approval of a formal break in ties with the “great Satan.” At home, hadn’t the freeze of Iranian assets, the longshoremen’s refusal to load Iran-bound goods, and the November ban on Iranian oil imports already reduced trade between the two countries to a trickle? In Europe, foreign ministers meeting in Lisbon on April 10 declined to heed Carter’s call. The Europeans, and the Japanese, had a stake in maintaining economic ties to the new regime. Western Europe as a whole was importing 650,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day.

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