Monthly Archives: October 2001

Is there a propaganda war on?

By Zubeida Mustafa

AS the American war  in Afghanistan moves  from one phase to the  next, a significant parallel  development is taking  place on the media front.  This is the propaganda  war, which has been  unleashed. For the western  television and radio  channels as well as the  press,  the crisis which has  emerged since September  11 has come as the  opportunity of the century  to make news. Continue reading Is there a propaganda war on?

Hamza Alavi: The activist academic


By Zubeida Mustafa

Thirty-six years ago Hamza Alavi shot into fame in the academia when he wrote an article in the newly-founded The Socialist Register. He propounded the thesis that the middle peasants were initially the most militant elements of the peasantry and could therefore be a powerful ally of the proletariat movement in the countryside. Since this hypothesis reversed the sequence suggested in Marxist texts — that poor peasants are the main force of the peasant revolution — Alavi became quite controversial.

That is how he has always been — controversial. His thesis labelled the Alavi-Wolf thesis (as it was reiterated by Eric Wolf four years later) is “still alive and kicking and refuses to die”, to use Alavi’s own words. It was still being debated in 1995. “I made a distinction between the Marxist theory and the practical Mao,” Alavi says reminiscently today. Continue reading Hamza Alavi: The activist academic