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Bread, Freedom, Social Justice: Workers and the Egyptian Revolutionby Anne Alexander
Synopses & Reviews
Accounts of the 'Arab Spring' have often focused on the role of youth coalitions, the use of social media, and the tactics of the Tahrir Square occupation. This authoritative and original book argues that collective action by organised workers played a fundamental role in the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions; which were themselves the inevitable consequence to several years of strikes, including localised revolts in Tunisia's phosphate mines and Egypt's textile mills, dress rehearsals for the 2011 revolutions. Strikes in the last few days of the Ben Ali and Mubarak regimes were a crucial factor in their removal from power and the lack of organised workers in Syria, the authors argue, explains why regime change has taken so much longer and the continuation of these unprecedented workers movements pose a serious challenge to a neo-liberal version of post-revolutionary stability, which will have repercussions across the region.
Accounts of the Arab Spring often focus on the role of youth coalitions, the use of social media, and the tactics of the Tahrir Square occupation. This authoritative and original book argues that collective action by organised workers played a fundamental role in the Egyptian revolution, which erupted after years of strikes and social protests.
Drawing on the authors' decade-long experience of reporting on and researching the Egyptian labour movement, the book provides the first in-depth account of the emergence of independent trade unions and workers' militancy during Mubarak's last years in power, and and their destabilising impact on the post-revolutionary regimes.
About the Author
Dr Anne Alexander is Buckley Fellow, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge, UK.
Mostafa Bassiouny is one of the best-known labour journalists in Egypt with close political and personal relationships with union activists.
Table of Contents
1. From Nasserism to Neoliberalism
2. The Changing Structure of the Egyptian Working Class in the Neo-liberal Era
3. Strikes, Protests and the Development of a Revolutionary Crisis
4. Organisation in the Workplace Before the Revolution: the Nasserist Model in Crisis
5. From Strike Committee to Independent Union
6. The Revolution's Social Soul: Workers and the January Revolution
7. Workers' Organisations Since the Revolution
Conclusion: the Limits of Trade-unionism and the Search for a Political Voice
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