Full Text

Arab left and socialist movements, 1861–1930

Steven Isaac

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Asia » Western Asia

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899, 1900-1999

Key-Topics inequality, nationalism, rebellion, revolution, socialism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00115.x


One of the key problems pointed out by scholars in defining Arab socialism resides in the term “socialism” itself. The term has a multivalent history within Arabic more as a symbol than as a label with a clearly attached dogma. The Ottoman world paid little attention to the 1848 revolutions that brought contending visions of socialism to the center of European debates. Nonetheless, socialism, if not a full understanding of its claims and agendas, began to seep into the Middle East as refugees brought treatises and revolutionary pamphlets in their original European languages into Istanbul. In 1861, the neologism ishtirak may have appeared for the first time to describe socialism in an English-Turkish lexicon. The term was apparently built from the root sh-r-k , describing a form of common ownership of water, fire, housing, and other necessities before the Prophet Muhammad's time. This idea of communal property was effectively endorsed in the Constitution of Medina, the agreement under which Muhammad's refugees from Mecca merged their future with that of the “helpers” ( ansar ) who received them in Medina. In 1871, when the Paris Commune broke out, Arab interest in Europe's affairs had grown considerably, matched by a growing Arabic press, particularly in Egypt and Lebanon. As the editors of the leading papers reported on the events of 1871, they invoked ishtirak to describe ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top