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.

Breaking Even, Breaking Down or Going for Broke?

by Karen Pfeifer | published May 22, 2015 - 7:25am

As of mid-May 2015, crude oil prices had fallen to the lowest level in recent years, under $60 a barrel for US domestic benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and about $66 a barrel for the international Brent benchmark. These market prices are compared to several types of “break-even” prices and affect decision-making by oil producers at several levels: whether price covers just production costs or incorporates a satisfactory level of profit, whether budgets balance and whether long-term capital investment is attractive.

Discrete Forms of the Petty Bourgeoisie

by Karen Pfeifer
published in MER117

Çağlar Keyder, The Definition of a Peripheral Economy: Turkey, 1923-1929 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981).

Gavin Kitching, Class and Economic Change in Kenya (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1980.

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Warren's Revision of the Marxist Critique

by Gary Nigel Howe
published in MER117

The theory of imperialism is in profound disarray. Many have recognized that dependency theory is inadequate to the task of analyzing the international capitalist economy, [1] while the touchstone of all Marxist analysis of imperialism—Lenin’s Imperialism: Highest Stage of Capitalism—has been questioned as the authentic expression of the Marxist theory of international production and distribution. [2] No fully developed alternative has gained currency in the English-speaking Marxist community.

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Imperialism and the Middle East

by Fred Halliday
published in MER117

Bill Warren, Imperialism: Pioneer of Capitalism (London: Verso, 1980).

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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.

Berberoglu, Turkey in Crisis

by Karen Pfeifer
published in MER121

Berch Berberoglu, Turkey in Crisis, From State Capitalism to Neocolonialism (London: Zed Press, 1982).

This is a useful, concise rendition of Turkish political history and economic development. It is rich in facts and easy-to-use economic data. Its best conceptual contribution is the portrayal of the contradictions of the “state capitalist” development path. The analysis is presented chronologically rather than thematically. There is a strong sense of inevitability in this method: of Turkish history marching inexorably toward the pitched “class” battles of the 1970s and the implicitly fascist coup of 1980.

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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.

Fuel Subsidy Policy and Popular Mobilization in Syria

by Zachary Cuyler | published March 16, 2015 - 12:17pm

On February 17, Syrian Minister of Oil Muhammad al-Lahham warned Parliament that the price of fuel would have to increase. This announcement came just one month after the government raised the official price of diesel by more than 50 percent to 125 Syrian pounds (70 cents) per liter, the largest single hike since the uprising of 2011 and an eightfold increase since May of that year.

A New International Division of Labor?

by James Petras
published in MER94

A number of theorists have recently put forth the notion of a “new international division of labor” in which the old colonial division of labor involving Third World exports of raw materials and imports of finished goods has been transcended. [1] According to this thesis, Third World countries have been industrialized to produce cheap labor-intensive manufacturing goods for export to the core capitalist countries in exchange for more advanced capital-intensive imports. The proponents of the new division of labor argue that this process reflects the new world capitalist rationality and logic.

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