The Communists and the Kadro Movement. Shaping Ideology in Ataturk's Turkey

Article excerpt

The Communists and the Kadro Movement. Shaping Ideology in Ataturk's Turkey, by George S. Harris. Istanbul: The Isis Press, 2002. 172 pages. Appends, to p. 226. Bibl. to p. 235. Index to p. 241. $25 paper.

The journal Kadro, published in the Turkey of the early 1930s by mostly ex-communists intellectuals, has been a focus of continuous interest by contemporary intellectuals and academicians. This is perhaps because the Kadro (Cadre) movement offers a consistent and systematic ideological perspective in Turkish political life whereas ideological inconsistencies and eclecticism prevail even today. George Harris's book explores the Kadro movement within the development of the communist movement in the 1920s and 1930s. However, from the outset it should be noted that the discussion of the Kadro movement forms only a small part of the book, contrary to what readers might expect from the title. As the author points out, this book is more about the communist underground movement - its political history, relations with the ruling Kemalist regime, factional problems (such as the role of the Nazim Hikmet), and changing political and intellectual attitudes over time - than about the Kadro movement itself. Accordingly, Harris examines the communist critique of the Kadro, rather than the views of the Kadro circle.1

Harris uses extensive primary sources, such as the underground Communist Party publications (some of which are available in the appendix) of the 1920s and 1930s, the related Comintern documents and memoirs, as well as interviews that he himself conducted with some of the Kadro participants in the late 1960s. …