Germany today boasts the fastest growing population of Jews in Europe. The streets of Berlin abound with signs of a revival of Jewish culture, ranging from bagel shops to the sight of worshipers leaving synagogue on Saturday. With the new energy infused by Jewish immigration from Russia and changes in immigration and naturalization laws in general, Jeffrey M. Peck argues that we must now begin considering how Jews live in Germany rather than merely asking why they would choose to do so.
In Being Jewish in the New Germany, Peck explores the diversity of contemporary Jewish life and the complex struggles within the community-and among Germans in general-over history, responsibility, culture, and identity. He provides a glimpse of an emerging, if conflicted, multicultural country and examines how the development of the European Community, globalization, and the post-9/11 political climate play out in this context. With sensitive, yet critical, insight into the nation's political and social life, chapters explore issues such as the shifting ethnic/national makeup of the population, changes in political leadership, and the renaissance of Jewish art and literature. Peck also explores new forms of anti-Semitism and relations between Jews and Turks-the country's other prominent minority population.
In this surprising description of the rebirth of a community, Peck argues that there is, indeed, a vibrant and significant future for Jews in Germany. Written in clear and compelling language, this book will be of interest to the general public and scholars alike.
Throughout the 1980s, Barricada, the official daily newspaper of the ruling Sandinista Front, played the standard role of a party organ, seeking the mobilize the Nicaraguan public to support the revolutionary agenda. Beyond the Barricades, however, reveals a story that is both more intriguing and much more complex. Even during this period of sweeping transformation and outside military siege, another, more professional agenda also motivated Barricada’s journalists and editors.
When the Sandinistas unexpectedly fell from power in the 1990 elections, Barricada gained a substantial degree of autonomy that allowed it to explore a more balanced and nuanced journalism “in the national interest.” This new orientation, however, ran afoul of more orthodox party leaders, who gradually gained the upper hand in the bitter internal struggle that wracked the Sandinista Front in the early 1990s. The paper closed its doors in January 1998.
Adam Jones’s outstanding study offers an unprecedented behin-the-scenes looks at Barricada’s two decades of evolution and dissolution. It also presents an intimate portrait of a key revolutionary institution and the memorable individuals who were a part of it.
Gérard Duménil Harvard University Press, 2004 Library of Congress HC59.15.D8613 2004 | Dewey Decimal 330.122
The advent of economic neoliberalism in the 1980s triggered a shift in the world economy. In the three decades following World War II, now considered a golden age of capitalism, economic growth was high and income inequality decreasing. But in the mid-1970s this social compact was broken as the world economy entered the stagflation crisis, following a decline in the profitability of capital. This crisis opened a new phase of stagnating growth and wages, and unemployment. Interest rates as well as dividend flows rose, and income inequality widened.
The sequence of events initiated by neoliberalism was not unprecedented. In the late nineteenth century, when economic conditions were similar to those of the 1970s, a structural crisis led to the first financial hegemony culminating in the speculative boom of the late 1920s. The authors argue persuasively for stabilizing the world economy before we run headlong into another economic disaster.
Table of Contents:
Part I. Crisis and Neoliberalism 1. The Strange Dynamics of Change 2. Economic Crises and Social Orders
Part II. Crisis and Unemployment 3. The Structural Crisis of the 1970s and 1980s 4. Technical Progress: Accelerating or Slowing? 5. America and Europe: The Creator of Jobs and the Creator of Unemployment 6. Controlling Labor Costs and Reining in the Welfare State 7. Unemployment: Historical Fate? 8. The End of the Crisis?
Part III. The Law of Finance 9. The Interest Rate Shock and the Weight of Dividends 10. Keynesian State Indebtedness and Household Indebtedness 11. An Epidemic of Financial Crises 12. Globalization under Hegemony 13. Financialization: Myth or Reality? 14. Does Finance Feed the Economy? 15. Who Benefits from the Crime?
Part IV. The Lessons of History 16. Historical Precedent: The Crisis at the End of the Nineteenth Century 17. The End of the Structural Crises: Does the Twentieth Century Resemble the Nineteenth? 18. Two Periods of Financial Hegemony: The Beginning and the End of the Twentieth Century 19. Inherent Risks: The 1929 Precedent 20. Capital Mobility and Stock Market Fever 21. Between Two Periods of Financial Hegemony: Thirty Years of Prosperity
Part V. History on the March 22. A Keynesian Interpretation 23. The Dynamics of Capital
Appendix A. Other Studies by the Authors Appendix B. Sources and Calculations Notes Index
This remarkable book offers a closely argued and persuasive interpretation of the political economy of Europe and the U.S. from 1970 to the present, based on a much wider discussion ranging in time from the late 19th century, and touching on the history of the industrializing countries of Asia and Latin America. The interpretation of contemporary political economy offers fresh and challenging perspectives to the ongoing debate about world economic policy. --Duncan K. Foley, The New School for Social Research
Contradiction and Conflict explores the rich history, ideology, and development of the popular church in Nicaragua. From careful assessments within the context of Nicaragua's revolutionary period (1970s-1990), this book explains the historical conditions that worked to unify members of the Christian faith and the subsequent factors that fragmented the Christian community into at least four identifiable groups with religious and political differences, contradictions, and conflicts.
Debra Sabia describes and analyzes the rise, growth, and fragmentation of the popular church and assesses the effect of the Christian base communities on religion, politics, and the nation's social revolutionary experiment.
Cuba After the Cold War
Carmelo Mesa-Lago University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993 Library of Congress HC152.5.C797 1993 | Dewey Decimal 338.97291009049
Ten original essays by an international team of scholars specializing in Cuba, the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and Latin America focus on the fall of communism in Europe and the transition to a market economy. Major themes of this study are the impact of the USSR's collapse on Cuba, how the historic events in Europe have affected the Central and South American Left, their implications to Cuba, Cuba's policies for confronting the crisis, and potential scenarios for the political and economic transformation of Cuba.
The recent retirement of Fidel Castro turned the world’s attention toward the tiny but prominent island nation of Cuba and the question of what its future holds. Amid all of the talk and hypothesizing, it is worth taking a moment to consider how Cuba reached this point, which is what Antoni Kapcia provides with his incisive history of Cuba since 1959.
Cuba In Revolution takes the Cuban Revolution as its starting point, analyzing social change, its benefits and disadvantages, popular participation in the revolution, and the development of its ideology. Kapcia probes into Castro’s rapid rise to national leader, exploring his politics of defense and dissent as well as his contentious relationship with the United States from the beginning of his reign. The book also considers the evolution of the revolution’s international profile and Cuba’s foreign relations over the years, investigating issues and events such as the Bay of Pigs crisis, Cuban relations with Communist nations like Russia and China, and the flight of asylum-seeking Cubans to Florida over the decades. The collapse of the Soviet Union between 1989 and 1991 catalyzed a severe economic and political crisis in Cuba, but Cuba was surprisingly resilient in the face of the catastrophe, Kapcia notes, and he examines the strategies adopted by Cuba over the last two decades in order to survive America’s longstanding trade embargo.
A fascinating and much-needed examination of a country that has served as an important political symbol and diplomatic enigma for the twentieth century, Cuba In Revolution is a critical primer for all those interested in Cuba’s past—or concerned with its future.
the Cuban Economy
Archibald R.M. Ritter University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004 Library of Congress HC152.5.R57 2004 | Dewey Decimal 330.97291
Cuba faced an economic meltdown of catastrophic proportions in the early 1990s when covert subsidies from the former Soviet Union disappeared. Policies instituted by the island republic's government to handle the worst problems have had inconsistent results.
Opening the economy to foreign enterprise has resulted in positive growth in tourism and nickel and cigar exports. However, remnants of the older economy, including the sugar and biotechnological industries, have only experienced a decrease in capital and importance. Basic educational and health services have been maintained surprisingly well, but the standard of living is still far below the highs of the 1980s. With contributions from many leading Cuba scholars, The Cuban Economy offers not only an analysis of the economy since 1990, but also a look towards future prospects.
The contentious debate in Cuba over Internet use and digital media primarily focuses on three issuesùmaximizing the potential for economic and cultural development, establishing stronger ties to the outside world, and changing the hierarchy of control. A growing number of users decry censorship and insist on personal freedom in accessing the web, while the centrally managed system benefits the government in circumventing U.S. sanctions against the country and in controlling what limited capacity exists.
Digital Dilemmas views Cuba from the Soviet Union's demise to the present, to assess how conflicts over media access play out in their both liberating and repressive potential. Drawing on extensive scholarship and interviews, Cristina Venegas questions myths of how Internet use necessarily fosters global democracy and reveals the impact of new technologies on the country's governance and culture. She includes film in the context of broader media history, as well as artistic practices such as digital art and networks of diasporic communities connected by the Web. This book is a model for understanding the geopolitic location of power relations in the age of digital information sharing.
If we are moving toward one global financial market, will all national financial systems that determine how businesses raise money look the same? Richard Deeg argues that, despite financial market integration and considerable harmonization in the regulation of financial markets, the traditional structure and economic functions of national financial systems are not inevitably undermined. Using the case of Germany--a country with a strong and distinctive financial sector that is at the center of the pressures of economic integration--the author shows how the unique aspects of the German financial sector and its relationship to the German economy have persisted notwithstanding powerful pressures to change. Posing the German model of coordinated capitalism in which banks play an important role in shaping both firm behavior and the possibilities for state intervention in the economy against the liberal model of the United States and Britain in which the securities markets play a much greater role than banks, Deeg shows how the German model has survived competitive pressures in the international economic system that have pushed Germany--and other countries--toward the liberal model.
This book will appeal to political scientists and economists interested in international financial markets, globalization, and the comparative study of domestic financial markets, as well as in German politics and the German economy.
Richard Deeg is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Temple University.
Germany serves as a case study of when and how members of intersectional groups—individuals belonging to two or more disadvantaged social categories—capture the attention of policymakers, and what happens when they do. This edited volume identifies three venues through which intersectional groups are able to form alliances and generate policy discussions regarding their concerns. Original empirical case studies focus on a wide range of timely subjects, including the intersexed, gender and disability rights, lesbian parenting, women working in STEM fields, workers’ rights in feminized sectors, women in combat, and Muslim women and girls.
Does the new, more powerful Germany pose a threat to its neighbors? Does the new German Problem resemble the old? The German Problem Transformed addresses these questions fifty years after the founding of the Federal Republic and ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Many observers have underscored the reemergence of Germany as Europe's central power. After four decades of division, they contend, Germany is once again fully sovereign; without the strictures of bipolarity, its leaders are free to define and pursue national interests in East and West. From this perspective, the reunified Germany faces challenges not unlike those of its unified predecessor a century earlier.
The German Problem Transformed rejects this formulation. Thomas Banchoff acknowledges post-reunification challenges, but argues that postwar changes, not prewar analogies, best illuminate them. The book explains the transformation of German foreign policy through a structured analysis of four critical postwar junctures: the cold war of the 1950s, the détente of the 1960s and 1970s, the new cold war of the early 1980s, and the post-cold war 1990s. Each chapter examines the interaction of four factors--international structure and institutions, foreign policy ideas, and domestic politics--in driving the direction of German foreign policy at a key turning point.
This book will be of interest to scholars and students of German history, German politics, and European international relations, as well as policymakers and the interested public.
Thomas Banchoff is Assistant Professor of Government, Georgetown University.
Hezbollah’s revolutionary role in global politics has invited lionization and vilification, rather than a clear-eyed view of its place in history. Now that the party is in power, how will Hezbollah reconcile its regional obligations with its religious beliefs? This nonpartisan account offers insights that Western media have missed or misunderstood.
Despite the controversial reputation of Hizbullah in the West, and the significant role this powerful Islamist organization plays in Lebanese politics, there are few reliable, published English translations of the party’s primary documents. With this extensive work, Joseph Alagha seeks to remedy this problem and rectify the distortions and misrepresentations that have resulted from inaccurate translations.
Through privileged access to the party, Alagha was able to compile and meticulously translate a host of original primary documents, from the party’s 1985 Open Letter; through its eight clandestine conclaves from 1989 to 2009; to all of its election programs from 1992 to 2010, as well as all of the agreements, understandings, and pacts the party has ratified over the years; ending with the 2009 Political Manifesto. This firsthand portrait of Hizbullah’s metamorphosis, especially in the past decade, is complete with thorough footnotes, commentary, background information, chronology, and a detailed introductory chapter that maps the party’s transformation by analytically comparing the Open Letter with the 2009 Manifesto. This volume will be an invaluable companion for both scholars and policy makers.
As the dominant political force in Lebanon and one of the most powerful post-Islamist organizations in the world, Hizbullah is a source of great controversy and uncertainty in the West. Despite the significant attention paid to this group by the media, the details of Hizbullah’s evolution have frequently confounded politicians—and even scholars. In this important study, Joseph Alagha, a scholar with unprecedented access to the organization, exhaustively and objectively analyzes Hizbullah’s historical evolution and offers a revolutionary new perspective on the political phenomenon of the organization.
Hizbullah’s Identity Construction is a timely examination of one of the world’s most turbulent regions; a major contribution to the study of contemporary Islamic political movements in the Middle East; and a refreshing departure from the bland hagiographies and ad hominem attacks that are all too common in studies of Hizbullah’s murky history. Superbly documented and argued, and rooted in broad knowledge of contemporary Islamist political thought, this study brings much-needed clarity to a hot-button subject.
“Joseph Alagha remains one of the most thorough and careful analysts of Hizbullah’s political ideology and practice. Scholars, analysts, and policy makers will find in this work a veritable treasure trove of research and insights into this complex organization.”—Michaelle Browers, Wake Forest University
Intimate Activism tells the story of Nicaraguan sexual-rights activists who helped to overturn the most repressive antisodomy law in the Americas. The law was passed shortly after the Sandinistas lost power in 1990 and, to the surprise of many, was repealed in 2007. In this vivid ethnography, Cymene Howe analyzes how local activists balanced global discourses regarding human rights and identity politics with the contingencies of daily life in Nicaragua. Though they were initially spurred by the antisodomy measure, activists sought to change not only the law but also culture. Howe emphasizes the different levels of intervention where activism occurs, from mass-media outlets and public protests to meetings of clandestine consciousness-raising groups. She follows the travails of queer characters in a hugely successful telenovela, traces the ideological tensions within the struggle for sexual rights, and conveys the voices of those engaged in "becoming" lesbianas and homosexuales in contemporary Nicaragua.
Scholarly, objective, insightful, and analytical, Jews, Turks, and Other Strangers studies the causes of prejudice against Jews, foreign workers, refugees, and emigrant Germans in contemporary Germany. Using survey material and quantitative analyses, Legge convincingly challenges the notion that German xenophobia is rooted in economic causes. Instead, he sees a more complex foundation for German prejudice, particularly in a reunified Germany where perceptions of the "other" sometimes vary widely between east and west, a product of a traditional racism rooted in the German past. By clarifying the foundations of xenophobia in a new German state, Legge offers a clear and disturbing picture of a conflicted country and a prejudice that not only affects Jews but also fuels a larger, anti-foreign sentiment.
In this compelling study of labor and nationalism during and after Namibia's struggle for liberation, Gretchen Bauer addresses the very difficult task of consolidating democracy in an independent Namibia. Labor and Democracy in Namibia, 1971-1996 argues that a vibrant and autonomous civil society is crucial to the consolidation of new democracies, and it identifies trade unions, in particular, as especially important organizations of civil society. In Namibia, however, trade unions have emerged from the liberation struggle and the first years of independence in a weakened state. Dr. Bauer gives a lucid explanation for this phenomenon by tracing the origins and evolution of the trade unions in Namibia and discusses the implications thereof for the future of democracy in Namibia.
Based on material not widely available before independence in 1990, this study takes a critical look at the nationalist movement in Namibia. Through the use of dozens of interviews with political leaders, trade unionists, community activists, and others, Bauer offers the controversial suggestion that there are many within the nationalist movement (now the ruling party in government) who would rather not see a strong trade union movement (or any other potential rival) emerge in independent Namibia.
Leadership has long been an important subject in the study of international economic relations. Many scholars give American leadership credit for strong economic growth in western Europe and Japan after World War II. Other scholars have accused leading nations of using their power to the detriment of foreign countries. For example, it is often argued that a failure of both British and American leadership was a cause of the Great Depression of the 1930s.
In Leading Questions, Robert Pahre develops a series of formal models to determine under what conditions leadership will be beneficial or harmful for the international political economy. He begins with a simple model of collective action and then adds leadership, security concerns, cooperation, and multilateral regimes to this basic model. He tests each model against a different historical period between 1815 and 1967.
Pahre's findings challenge conventional wisdom on international leadership. He finds that a leading state harms others when it has many allies but is good for the international political economy when it lacks allies. Leaders are less likely to engage in international cooperation than are other states, but having a leader in the system makes cooperation among follower states more likely. Cooperation by others may cause the leader to join a system of multilateral cooperation.
Pahre presents the technical material in an accessible style. By challenging the conventional interpretations of political economy in several historical periods, Leading Questions will be of interest not only to political scientists but also to economists and historians.
Robert Pahre is Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Historically, Nicaragua has been mired in poverty and political conflict, yet the country has become a model for the successful emergence of democracy in a developing nation. Learning Democracy tells the story of how Nicaragua overcame an authoritarian government and American interventionism by engaging in an electoral revolution that solidified its democratic self-governance.
By analyzing nationwide surveys conducted during the 1990, 1996, and 2001 Nicaraguan presidential elections, Leslie E. Anderson and Lawrence C. Dodd provide insight into one of the most unexpected and intriguing recent advancements in third world politics. They offer a balanced account of the voting patterns and forward-thinking decisions that led Nicaraguans to first support the reformist Sandinista revolutionaries only to replace them with a conservative democratic regime a few years later. Addressing issues largely unexamined in Latin American studies, Learning Democracy is a unique and probing look at how the country's mass electorate moved beyond revolutionary struggle to establish a more stable democratic government by realizing the vital role of citizens in democratization processes.
In Living Ideology in Cuba, Katherine Gordy demonstrates how the Cuban state and its people engage in an ongoing negotiation that produces a “living ideology.” In contrast to official slogans and fiats, Cuba’s living ideology is a decentralized phenomenon, continually adapting, informing, and responding to daily life, without losing sight of the fundamental national principles of socioeconomic equality, unified leadership, and inclusive nationalism.
Tracing Cuba’s ideological history, Gordy first looks at the ways in which the 19th century wars of independence and the 1959 revolution were used as the basis for both challenging and legitimizing Cuban socialism. Following the embrace of a pure socialist ideology in the 1960s, state policies of the 1970s became more accommodating of market imperatives, while still holding on to the principles articulated by Che Guevara and Karl Marx. In the 1990s, the Cuban people themselves pushed back against further economic reforms, reasserting the value of socioeconomic equality. Gordy also examines ideological debates among intellectuals, from the controversy sparked by Fidel Castro’s “Words to the Intellectuals” speech to the demand in the 1990s for a separation between academia and the state—not to safeguard academia from politics, but to ensure that academics as such could contribute to the political dialogue.
Singapore's success story has increasingly been recognised but few have told it from the perspective of an insider. As a senior civil servant and "mandarin" from 1959 to 1999, Ngiam Tong Dow served with the founding generation of political leaders and contributed to the country's economic growth. In this book, he reflects on these experiences, sharing personal anecdotes and perceptive insights of Singapore's early decades. He also boldly questions some of the policies of government and emerging trends in the country to suggest how Singapore must change to survive and thrive in the future.
Taking power in Nicaragua in 1979 as a revolutionary party, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) was willing to put its fate in the hands of the Nicaraguan people twice, in 1984 and 1990. The party wrote a democratic constitution and then, remarkably, accepted the decision of the majority by relinquishing power upon its defeat in the 1990 election.
The Many Faces of Sandinista Democracy explores the conflicts involving different visions of political and economic democracy, as well as new radical thought on participatory democracy. The latter addresses the problems popular organizations encountered as they moved from subservience to the FSLN in the 1980s to the liberating but disorientating electoral defeat of 1990. Up until the moment of defeat, the Sandinistas saw themselves as the true vanguard of the Nicaraguan people, able to submit themselves to free elections, because they felt they truly represented the general will of the people.
Dr. Hoyt brings to an international audience for the first time a study of the ideas of several Nicaraguan thinkers. She examines the conflicts surrounding the development of ideas within the FSLN, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of its rare combination of democratic and vanguard principles.
In 1989 news broadcasts all over the world were dominated for weeks by images of East Germans crossing the Berlin Wall to West Germany. But what did the East Germans expect to find when they excitedly broke through the Wall? And what did they actually find when they made it over to the other side? This study draws on fifteen months of research into both the lives of East Germans before the fall of communism and their fast-changing world after they embraced capitalism. Grounded in powerful anthropological insights, Milena Veenis argues persuasively that national identifications and the bond between state and citizenry in both East and West Germany over the past twenty years has been shaped by the far-fetched, socialist and capitalist promises of consumption as the road to ultimate well-being. These promises also functioned as a way to cover up the more shameful and dirty aspects of both countries’ history and social life.
“The New Berlin is a notable contribution to human geography and to the interdisciplinary literature on social memory and place making. Till’s methods and scholarship have provided the conceptual groundwork for the exploration and development of place making, social memory, and spatial haunting through the particular practices and politics of the new Berlin. Her readable style is marked by a narrative economy in which every word and sentence serves the larger purposes of the book. I recommend this book to anyone—student, scholar, or practitioner—who is interested in the social dynamics of memory formation and place making.” —The Professional Geographer
“This book is a well-written ‘first-hand’ account, though it also thoroughly covers academic literature, contemporary news accounts, and archival records.” —German Studies Review
“Karen E. Till's The New Berlin describes the modern metropolis and the ghosts of the past that it has to deal with.” —German World
“Well illustrated and copiously footnoted, this is a cutting-edge study of the power of identity-construction/analysis. Highly recommended.” —CHOICE
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the countries of East-Central Europe embarked on a journey to transform themselves into democratic capitalist societies. Their governments searched for strategies that would allow them to pursue radical market reforms within the context of nascent democratic politics. Poland adopted a neoliberal strategy that attempted to push through as much reform as possible before an antireform backlash could occur. In the Czech Republic, a social liberal strategy for transformation attempted to combine neoliberal macro-economic policies with social democratic measures designed to avert such a backlash.
A detailed analysis of Poland and the Czech Republic suggests that alternation between strategies has been the secret to the success of East-Central European countries.
This comparative case analysis identifies the significance of reform mistakes during transition and the corrective benefits of policy alternation, its claims illustrated with an in-depth study of privatization policy in the two countries.
Mitchell A. Orenstein delves into the historic struggle to build capitalism and democracy during a decade of post- communist transition in East-Central Europe and develops a model that explains why democratic policy alternation may accelerate policy learning under conditions of uncertainty and constraint.
Out of the Red is accessible to a general audience and as such is suitable for both graduate and undergraduate courses on political economy. It will be of particular interest to economists, political scientists, sociologists, students of postcommunism, and anyone interested in the relations between capitalism and democracy in the contemporary world.
Mitchell A. Orenstein is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Syracuse University.
The Cuban model of communism has been an inspiration—from both a positive and negative perspective—for social movements, political leaders, and cultural expressionists around the world. With changes in leadership, the pace of change has accelerated following decades of economic struggles. The death of Fidel Castro and the reduced role of Raúl Castro seem likely to create further changes, though what these changes look like is still unknown. For now, Cuba is opening in important ways. Cubans can establish businesses, travel abroad, access the internet, and make private purchases. Paths for Cuba examines Cuba’s internal reforms and external influences within a comparative framework. The collection includes an interdisciplinary group of scholars from around the world to explore reforms away from communism.
Drawing on testimonies from contra collaborators and ex-combatants, as well as pro-Sandinista peasants, this book presents a dynamic account of the growing divisions between peasants from the area of Quilalí who took up arms in defense of revolutionary programs and ideals such as land reform and equality and those who opposed the FSLN.
Peasants in Arms details the role of local elites in organizing the first anti-Sandinista uprising in 1980 and their subsequent rise to positions of field command in the contras. Lynn Horton explores the internal factors that led a majority of peasants to turn against the revolution and the ways in which the military draft, and family and community pressures reinforced conflict and undermined mid-decade FSLN policy shifts that attempted to win back peasant support.
Seventy-five years after the Holocaust, 100,000 Jews live in Germany. Their community is diverse and vibrant, and their mere presence in Germany is symbolically important. In Rebuilding Jewish Life in Germany, scholars of German-Jewish history, literature, film, television, and sociology illuminate important aspects of Jewish life in Germany from 1949 to the present day. In West Germany, the development of representative bodies and research institutions reflected a desire to set down roots, despite criticism from Jewish leaders in Israel and the Diaspora. In communist East Germany, some leftist Jewish intellectuals played a prominent role in society, and their experience reflected the regime’s fraught relationship with Jewry. Since 1990, the growth of the Jewish community through immigration from the former Soviet Union and Israel have both brought heightened visibility in society and challenged preexisting notions of Jewish identity in the former “land of the perpetrators.”
Michael Meng Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress DS134.26M46 2011 | Dewey Decimal 305.892404309045
After the Holocaust, the empty, silent spaces of bombed-out synagogues, cemeteries, and Jewish districts were all that was left of Jewish life in many German and Polish cities. What happened to this scarred landscape after the war, and how Germans, Poles, and Jews encountered these ruins over the past sixty years, is the story this book tells.
Poland in the 1980s was filled with shuttered restaurants and shops that bore such imaginative names as “bread,” “shoes,” and “milk products,” from which lines could stretch for days on the mere rumor there was something worth buying. But you’d be hard-pressed to recognize the same squares—buzzing with bars and cafés—today. In the years since the collapse of communism, Poland’s GDP has almost tripled, making it the eighth-largest economy in the European Union, with a wealth of well-educated and highly skilled workers and a buoyant private sector that competes in international markets. Many consider it one of the only European countries to have truly weathered the financial crisis.
As the Warsaw bureau chief for the Financial Times, Jan Cienski spent more than a decade talking with the people who did something that had never been done before: recreating a market economy out of a socialist one. Poland had always lagged behind wealthier Western Europe, but in the 1980s the gap had grown to its widest in centuries. But the corrupt Polish version of communism also created the conditions for its eventual revitalization, bringing forth a remarkably resilient and entrepreneurial people prepared to brave red tape and limited access to capital. In the 1990s, more than a million Polish people opened their own businesses, selling everything from bicycles to leather jackets, Japanese VCRs, and romance novels. The most business-savvy turned those primitive operations into complex corporations that now have global reach.
Well researched and accessibly and entertainingly written, Start-Up Poland tells the story of the opening bell in the East, painting lively portraits of the men and women who built successful businesses there, what their lives were like, and what they did to catapult their ideas to incredible success. At a time when Poland’s new right-wing government plays on past grievances and forms part of the populist and nationalist revolution sweeping the Western world, Cienski’s book also serves as a reminder that the past century has been the most successful in Poland’s history.
Katherine Isbester University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001 Library of Congress HQ1236.5.N5I83 2001 | Dewey Decimal 305.42097285
The story of the women’s movement in Nicaragua is a fascinating tale of resistance, strategy, and faith. From its birth in 1977 under the Somoza dictatorship through the Sandinista revolution to the fall of the Chamorro government, the Nicaraguan women’s movement has navigated revolutionary upheaval, profound changes in government, and rapidly shifting definitions of women’s roles in society. Through it all, the movement has surged, regressed, and persevered, entering the twenty-first century a powerful and influential force, stretching from the grassroots to the national level.
How did women in an economically underdeveloped Central American country, with little history of organizing, feminism, or democracy, succeed in creating networks, organizations, and campaigns that carved out a gender identity and challenged dominant ideologies (both revolutionary and conservative)? In Still Fighting, Katherine Isbester seeks to understand. She analyzes the complex and rich case of Nicaragua in order to learn more about the dynamics of social movements in general and women’s organizing in particular.
Social movement theory offers Isbester an analytic tool to explain the extraordinary evolution of the Nicaraguan movement. She theorizes that a sustainable movement is composed of three elements: a focused goal, a mobilization of resources, and an identity. The lack of any one of these weakens a social movement. Isbester shows how this theory is borne out by the experience of the Nicaraguan women’s movement over the past thirty years. She demonstrates, for example, how the revolutionary government of the 1980s co-opted the women’s movement, crippling its ability to create an autonomous identity, choose it own goals, and mobilize resources independent of the state. Hence, it lost legitimacy, membership, and influence. She traces the movement’s resurgence in the 1990s, the result of its redefinition as an autonomous movement organized around an identity of care.
Still Fighting combines social theory with field research, leading a new wave of scholarship on women in Latin America. Isbester interviewed more than a hundred key participants in the women’s movement, in addition to members of the National Assembly, male leaders of other social movements, and women outside the movement. In Nicaragua, she was witness to much political organizing, enabling her to reveal the organic intricacy, as well as the historical path, of a social movement.
Still Fighting will be an important book for a broad range of students and professionals in the areas of social movements, social change, gender, politics, and Latin America.
Even in the period following the electoral defeat of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in 1990, the revolution of 1979 continues to have a profound effect on the political economy of Nicaragua. Wright’s study, which is based on interviews with people from all walks of life—from government and party officials to academics and campesinos—as well as on the large volume of literature in both English and Spanish, focuses on the FSLN understanding of the relationships between the state, the party, and mass actors, and the nature of social classes. Wright considers the topics of agrarian reform, the development of mass organizations, the role of labor, and other aspects of the Nicaraguan political economy in order to assess their significance in theoretical as well as practical terms.
Since the early 1960s, few other countries have endured more acts of terrorism against civilian targets than Cuba, and the US has had its hand in much of it. This book gives a voice to the victims.
Keith Bolender brings to bear the enormous impact that terrorism has had on Cuba’s civilian population, with over 1,000 documented incidents resulting in more than 3,000 deaths and 2,000 injuries. Bolender allows the victims to articulate the atrocities the Cuban people have suffered - which largely originate from Cuban counter-revolutionaries based in the US, often with the active help of the CIA.
Voices From The Other Side includes first-person interviews with more than 75 Cuban citizens who have been victims of these terrorist acts, or have had family members or close friends die from the attacks. It is a unique resource for activists, journalists and students interested in Cuba's torrid relationship with the US.
More than one million Cubans, representing thirty percent of the country’s labor force, currently make up the nonstate sector. These include self-employed workers and micro-entrepreneurs, sharecropping farmers, members of new cooperatives, and buyers and sellers of private dwellings. This development represents a crucial structural reform implemented by Raúl Castro since becoming Cuba’s leader in 2006, and may become the most dynamic economic force for the country’s future. Despite this phenomenon, little has been published about the demographic makeup of this group (age, gender, race, and education), as well as their economic conditions and aspirations.
Based on eighty in-depth interviews recently conducted in Cuba, this book captures actual voices from this evolving economic sector. It details workers’ level of satisfaction with what they do and earn, profits (and how they are allocated between consumption and investment), plans to expand their activities, receiving foreign remittances and microcredit, competition, forms of advertising, and payment of taxes. Perhaps most revealing are the speakers’ views on the obstacles they face and their desires for change and improvement. As such, the book offers fascinating insights into today’s Cuban economy from the nonstate sector, while also reflecting on its potential for development and the obstacles it faces.