“Do You Know Who Governs Us? The Damned Monetary Fund”

Jordan’s June 2018 Rising

by Sara Ababneh | published June 30, 2018

From May 30 to June 7, 2018 Jordanian protesters took the world by surprise. What had started as protests over a taxation draft law and an increase in gas prices quickly led to a popular rising against the neoliberal path on which the state has embarked. The rejection of neoliberal economic policy and the privatization of key national industries are not new to Jordan. But the centrality in which this analysis featured in the events of June’s rising (habbit [1] huzayran) is unprecedented. In the past, protests against the government’s economic nahj (path) were most strongly felt in workers’ circles, the governorates outside Amman and a few impoverished quarters inside the capital.

The Fiscal Politics of Rebellious Jordan

by Pete Moore | published June 21, 2018

Over the first weeks of summer, a surge of popular protest reminded the world that political contestation is alive and well in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a country often described as a haven of tranquility in the strife-torn Arab world. It started with a call for a June 6 general strike by a coalition of professional associations and labor unions in opposition to the regime’s proposed amendments to the income tax law. But when the moment arrived a range of groups, formal and ad hoc, transformed it into days-long nationwide demonstrations demanding repeal of the tax law, reversal of price hikes on fuel and electricity, and dismissal of the prime minister.

Divergent Histories and Converging Inequalities in the Middle East and Latin America

by Kevan Harris
published in MER284

The field of Middle East studies likes to tell itself that the region is an anomaly within the global South. One peculiarity attributed to the region is a relatively low level of income inequality, purportedly due to a combination of redistributive traditions within Islam, large public sectors and welfare systems, cross-border remittances from Arab labor migration and official aid by oil-rich countries.

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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