"The interviews [in Against All Odds] are astounding. Their stories are both harrowing and inspirational. They demand that we get down and seek out the roots of peoples' lived resistance. Here we find the brightest rays of light, in very dark times." - Michael Reagan - Truth-out.org
“This timely and important book powerfully challenges the common misconception that post –invasion Iraq simply equates sectarianism, Islamist militancy and political authoritarianism. Finally we hear voices that are usually sidelined or silenced: voices of people who continue to resist nonviolently and refuse simplistic and polarized positions based on ethnic and sectarian divisions.” - Nadje al-Ali, SOAS University of London
“Against All Odds provides an essential corrective to the predominant analyses in Iraq which privilege the forces of oppression and marginalize the voices of hope.” - Dr. Abdel Razzaq Takriti, University of Sheffield
Order now! Co-published by WRL and Tadween Publishing, we are proud to announce "Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq" which is now now available. For over four years, our Field Organizer Ali Issa has been interviewing Iraqi activists and compiling reports from actions: all culminating in this rare collection of cross-movement voices.
Featuring dozens of interviews with and reports from Iraqi feminists, labor organizers, environmentalists, and protest movement leaders, Against All Odds presents unique voices of progressive Iraqi organizing on the ground. Dating back to 2003, with an emphasis on the 2011 upsurge in mobilization, as well as the subsequent embattled years, these voices belong to Iraqis asserting themselves as agents against local, regional and global forces of oppression.
As Vijay Prashad notes in the foreword:
"Other histories had been possible for Iraq, and indeed might yet be possible. The social basis for the Popular Movement to Save Iraq remains, even if in the shadows. It is the only force that could provide an alternative to the history of blood that stands before Iraq, the nest of bones, the sky of death."
Worker's justice, gender liberation, anti-imperialism and global solidarity have been on the agendas of many Iraqi organizations, in contrast to almost all media and scholarly representations--even those sympathetic to popular Iraqi struggles. Media and scholarship instead focus on geopolitics, mass violence and sectarianism to the exclusion of attempts at independent political action and imagination in Iraq. With the legacy of war since 1980, followed by the brutal sanctions of the 1990s and the 2003 US invasion and occupation, not to mention the recent emergence of the threatening forces of the Islamic State, understanding and acting in solidarity with these struggles is more crucial than ever.
Thursday, October 22nd, 2015, Private Home, Brooklyn, NY: "Celebrate Iraq!" RSVP here.
Thursday, October 29th, 2015, Syracuse University: Against All Odds - Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq: An Evening with the Author
To invite Ali Issa to speak in your community or on your campus e-mail: Ali [at] warresisters.org
"The thesis of Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq, should be obvious. But in fact it is revolutionary, at least for people like me, who came up in the U.S. anti-war movement in 2003 and continue to be inundated with media and political images of Iraq as solely a target of death and destruction–and its people hapless victims. [This] is revolutionary because dignity, humanization, and self-determination are the antidotes to militarism and occupation, and the uplifting of Iraqi voices and stories of resistance shines a light towards a better world." Sarah Lazare - Counter Punch
"Focusing on the period after the US invasion, Against All Odds offers the voices of movements of the 'Arab Spring' as manifested in Iraq and all but unrecognized in the USA. It is those movements and their fight for justice that have been undermined not only by the results of the US invasion but also by the rise of right-wing movements and forces that have aimed to inflame religious tensions and usher in a different form of authoritarian rule. Unlike other reporting, Against All Odds presents a picture that is both compelling and informative."--Bill Fletcher, Jr., co-founder, United for Peace & Justice; writer/activist
Reviews and interviews featuring Against All Odds
June 25: The Groundbreakers on CKUT
June 30: War is Crime
July 5: Truthout
July 6: Asia Pacific Forum WBAI
July 13: Tadween Blog - "New Texts Out Now"
July 14: Middle East Monitor
July 23: Lobe Log
August 3: Law and Disorder Radio
August 11: al-Araby al-Jadeed (Arabic)
August 13: Waging Nonviolence
August 14: Ecosocialist Horizons
August 28: Counter Punch
Augsut 31: Rebelion (Spanish)
September 10: Common Dreams
Ali Issa is the National Field Organizer with War Resisters League, where he is co-coordinator of a campaign to end police militarization. He is originally from Iowa and holds a Master's in Arabic Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. His literary translations have appeared in Banipal, the PEN World Atlas Blog, and Jadaliyya where he is a contributor on Iraqi social movements. He is a member of the community funding committee of the North Star Fund, a foundation that provides grants to grassroots community groups. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.