[Marxism] Autonomist review of book on Iraqi CP

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Aug 29 07:25:48 MDT 2006


My review of:
A People's History of Iraq: The Iraqi Communist Party, Workers'
Movements, and the Left 1924-2004
Ilario Salucci, Anthony Arnove (Preface by), and Tariq Ali (Introduction by)

Haymarket Books, 208 pgs. April 2005

reviewed by: Stephen "Flint" Arthur (Baltimore NEFAC)

his 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 ICP has generally argued that it needed to support a bourgeois
revolution against the monarchy and feudal interests in Iraq, that
would then set up a bourgeois government which would develop Iraq on
an industrial basis. The problem with this strategy* is that the
bourgeoisie as a class in Iraq has always been weak and small, tied
first to the interests of land-owning sheikhs. It was never able to
seize the state or industrially develop Iraq.

full: https://lists.resist.ca/pipermail/aut-op-sy/2006-August/005596.html

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