The Twilight of Globalization: Property, State and Capitalism (Pluto Press, 128 pp.) by Boris Kagarlitsky

(Pluto Press, £17.99)

Hassan’s thorough study of Iraq’s invasion of its small neighbour, the event which provoked a bloody and terrible war whose repercussions will be felt for decades to come, looks behind the surface of conflict in the region to analyse the role of a specific form of identity politics - ‘Arabism’ and its rivals and enemies - in fuelling violent confrontation in the Middle East. If you’ve ever wondered what on Earth possessed Iraq to take a step which seems in retrospect to have led inexorably to the destruction of what had been, if repressive, one of the Middle East’s more successful and egalitarian economies, then read this book. If you’re not satisfied with the mainstream western press’s explanation of Saddam Hussein’s behaviour (‘He’s a violent lunatic’) or why he’s still in power, then read this book. Hassam also provides an interesting account of Iraq itself, its geographic and kinship divisions and alliances, its single legal party, and its recent history. What shines through is the complexity and diversity of the Gulf states’ societies and of Iraq itself, a powerful antidote to the uninformed, prejudging drivel that is the standard western media fare.

The reviewer, Steve McGiffen, is Spectre’s editor.

For further titles from Pluto, send for the current catalogue to Pluto Press, 345 Archway Rd, London N6 5AA, or visit the website at Pluto’s authors include Spectre contributors Edward S.Herman, Laszlo Andor and Noam Chomsky, recent interviewee Susan George, and leading progressive political and cultural figures both contemporary and historic, such as Sheila Rowbotham, Pierre Bourdieu, Jean Baudrillard, Frantz Fanon, Hal Foster, Augusto Boal, Susan George, Israel Shahak, Antonio Gramsci, John Pilger, and Manning Marable.

Monthly Review Press is one of the United States’ impressive array of progressive publishers. Monthly Review itself has been at the cutting edge of North American Marxist thought since its inception in 1949, and the quality of its publishing house’s current list reflects this. Top of the bill is the newly published Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature, by sociologist John Bellamy Foster. At a time when the reconstruction of an effective radical left absolutely requires the fusion of ‘red’ and ‘green’, Foster’s reexamination of Marx’s ecological thought rescues him from the misleading stereotype created by those legions of critics who have never read a word of his work. Marx’s Ecology covers in addition a range of important thinkers including Darwin, Feuerbach and Proudhon. The paperback is £13.95/$18. Foster is in addition one of the co-editors (along with Fred Magdoff and Frederick H. Buttel) of Hungry for Profit, a collection of essays on, as the subtitle puts it, The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers, Food, and the Environment. This, along with what is going on in the pharmaceutical industry, the media, and, of course, in the ongoing theft of public property (aka privatisation, liberalisation etc.) is one of the major battle fronts of the class struggle 21st century style, making this a vital collection. It can be yours in paperback for £13.95/$19, demonstrating that MRP uses a curiously variable exchange rate. Other titles deal with everything from prostitution in colonial Bengal to where capitalism came from (we were wondering about that), to the Latin American city. Send for the full catalogue to Monthly Review Press, 122 West 27th St, New York, NY 10001, USA, or visit