The Unmaking of Arab Socialism
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225 pages

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An examination of the Arab world’s descent from the pinnacle of Arab socialism as it lost the ideology of resistance.

Conditions of malnutrition, conflict, or a combination of both characterize many Arab countries, but this was not always so. As in much of the developing world, the immediate post-independence period was an age of hope and relative prosperity. But imperialism did not sleep while these countries developed, and it soon intervened to destroy these post-independence achievements.

The two principal defeats and losses of territory to Israel in 1967 and 1973, as well as the others that followed, left in their wake more than the destruction of assets and the loss of human lives: the Arab world lost its ideology of resistance. The reversal in economic and social performance between then and now requires an even-handed and theoretically coherent explanation that steers clear of the hallucinatory constructs of individual freedom and choice. Considering such choices is utterly superfluous in a situation where the important choice is often a single one—that is, no choice at all—imposed by the power of history on the unfree majority.

The Unmaking of Arab Socialism is an attempt to understand the perplexing reasons for the Arab world's developmental descent—its de-development—from the pinnacle of Arab socialism to its present desolate condition.Kadri focuses on the concept of Arab socialism in general and its application to Iraq, Syria and Egypt as he explores the deleterious effects of redundant labour expelled by dispossessions in the hinterland and the persistence of permanent war.

Introduction; Chapter 1: Arab socialism in retrospect; Chapter 2: The devastation of peace in Egypt; Chapter 3: The unfeasibility of revolution in Syria; Chapter 4: Iraq then and now; Chapter 5: The perverse transformation; Chapter 6: Permanent war in the Arab world



Publié par
Date de parution 01 octobre 2016
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781783085729
Langue English

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The Unmaking of Arab Socialism
Anthem Frontiers of Global Political Economy
The Anthem Frontiers of Global Political Economy series seeks to trigger and attract new thinking in global political economy, with particular reference to the prospects of emerging markets and developing countries. Written by renowned scholars from different parts of the world, books in this series provide historical, analytical and empirical perspectives on national economic strategies and processes, the implications of global and regional economic integration, the changing nature of the development project and the diverse global-to-local forces that drive change. Scholars featured in the series extend earlier economic insights to provide fresh interpretations that allow new understandings of contemporary economic processes.
Series Editors
Kevin Gallagher – Boston University, USA
Jayati Ghosh – Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
Editorial Board
Stephanie Blankenburg – School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), UK
Ha-Joon Chang – University of Cambridge, UK
Wan-Wen Chu – RCHSS, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
Alica Puyana Mutis – Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLASCO–México), Mexico
Léonce Ndikumana – University of Massachusetts–Amherst, USA
Matías Vernengo – Bucknell University, USA
Robert Wade – London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK
Yu Yongding – Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), China
The Unmaking of Arab Socialism
Ali Kadri
Anthem Press
An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company

This edition first published in UK and USA 2016
75–76 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA, UK
or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK
244 Madison Ave #116, New York, NY 10016, USA

Copyright © Ali Kadri 2016

The moral right of the authors has been asserted.

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Kadri, Ali, author.
Title: The unmaking of Arab socialism / by Ali Kadri.
Other titles: Anthem frontiers of global political economy.
Description: New York : Anthem Press, an imprint of Wimbledon Publishing
Company, 2016. | Series: Anthem Frontiers of global political economy |
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2016029767
Subjects: LCSH: Arab countries–Economic conditions. |
Arab countries–Politics and government–1945– | Socialism–Arab countries. |
Neoliberalism–Arab countries. | Economic development–Arab countries.
Classification: LCC HC498 K335 2016 | DDC 330.9174927–dc23
LC record available at

ISBN-13: 978-1-78308-440-1 (Hbk)
ISBN-10: 1-78308-440-5 (Hbk)

This title is also available as an e-book.
To the memory of Arthur K. Davis
List of Illustrations
Introduction From Arab Socialism to Neo-liberalism: The Politics of Immiseration
1. Arab Socialism in Retrospect
2. The Devastation of Peace in Egypt
3. The Infeasibility of Revolution in Syria
4. Iraq – Then and Now
5. The Perverse Transformation
6. Permanent War in the Arab World
1.1 Yearly average real GDP per capita growth, real GDP growth and output per worker growth rates in constant local currency units for the periods 1960–1979 and 1980–2011
1.2 High and low points for the periods 1960–1979 and 1980–2011 followed by modal range for inflation rates
1.3 Average unemployment rates for the periods 1960–1979 and 1980–2011
1.4 Average total debt service as a percentage of Gross National Income for the periods 1960–1979 and 1980–2011
1.5 Average for the difference between the rate of investment and the rate of saving as a percentage of Gross National Income for the periods 1960–1979 and 1980–2011
4.1 Major economic and social development indicators in the economy over selected years
4.2 Inflation and market exchange rates: 1990–2003
4.3 Gross Domestic Product at 2002 prices by sectors (in millions of US dollars)
4.4 Estimates of GDP and selected components at constant 1990 prices (in millions of US dollars)
5.1 Share of agricultural investment in total investment in Egypt
5.2 Rural and urban populations of Arab countries, 1980–2020 (percentages)
5.3 The agriculture sector’s contribution to employment and as a share of GDP (%), selected countries and years
5.4 Distribution of rural and urban poverty
3.1 General Price Level Index for 1960–2010
3.2 Income inequality index for some available years between 1987 and 1995
Thanks to Adam Cornford for his attentive reading of my manuscript and many helpful suggestions.
At the time of writing this introduction, in early 2016, the richest countries on earth, the Gulf States, were bombarding Yemen, possibly the poorest of all countries. Conditions of malnutrition, conflict, or a combination of both, characterise most Arab countries today. But things were not always as bad. As in much of the developing world, the immediate post-independence period represented an age of hope and relative prosperity. Yet, imperialism does not fall asleep while the Third World develops. No sooner than it could intervene with the assistance of its class allies to destroy Arab post-independence achievements, imperialism did so in a big way. Two principal defeats by, and losses of territory to, Israel in 1967 and 1973, and many others that followed, left behind more than mere destruction of assets and loss of human lives; the Arab World (hereinafter the AW) lost its ideology of resistance, Arabism, and its associated socialism. This book is a modest attempt to understand why Arab development declined from its peak in the heyday of Arab socialism to the present desolate conditions.
Reversing this defeat and ideological defeatism requires a metamorphosis of the multitude into the masses and of the working class into a proletariat. It requires people who espouse an ideology – the actualisation of which, through policy, assigns a greater share of wealth to the security of the working classes. A living security, nonetheless, which obtains from an anti-imperialist struggle because the higher share of wages in the aristocratic nations have for long created the colonial mercenaries who pillaged the developing world. Undoubtedly, all ideologies will represent a system of thought shaped by the conditions of the class struggle. Revolutionary theory regards reigning ideology, even its own, as involving a biased perception of real processes. Capitalistic ideologies, however, are either the prefab social dicta meant to discipline labour or the unexamined assumptions upon which theory is built to strengthen the rule of capital. Deciphering positive from negative ideology requires more than just the Debord (1967) criterion: the true is a moment of the false. In revolutionary praxis, the true is not any moment of the false; the true is its determining moment; the true is its state of becoming in continued anti-imperialist struggle and all-round development.
The consensus on the significance of ideological shifts to policy turnarounds dates back millennia.

The Annunaki of the sky
Made the Igigi (lower-class gods assigned hard work) bear the workload
They were counting the years of loads
For 3,600 years they bore the excess
Hard work, night and day
They groaned and blamed each other
Grumbled over the masses of excavated soil:
Let us confront our Warden
And get him to relieve us of our hard work!
Then Kingu, (a rebellious god) made his voice heard
And spoke to the gods (the Igigis), his brothers:
Now, cry battle! (Atrahasis, eighteenth-century BCE, as compiled by Lambert, 1999)
It has taken the Igigis 3,600 years to rise up, win their war and retire to leisurely activities. However, as production came to depend on higher circulation of exchange value, which entailed an ‘annihilation of space by time’ (Marx [1877] 1973), ideological shifts and revolts became all the more frequent. With the growth of socialising space and communication, people unexpectedly change their views and ‘theory becomes a material force as it grips the masses’ (Marx 1844). The exercise of realising the necessity for change, or of socialising what is socially produced – as opposed to privatising – is also an exercise in individual freedom on the way to emancipation. The ethical connotations of such an ideological process may be summed up in the set of policies that negate private property (Truitt 2005).
In the Marxian sense, it is the experience of the masses in the course of the class stru

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