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Centre of Governance & Human Rights (CGHR)


4th November 2014

The workers' movement and Egypt's long revolution: Book Launch

Dr Maha Abdelrahman (Centre of Development Studies, POLIS, Cambridge)

Dr Anne Alexander (CRASSH, Cambridge; CGHR Associate)

Mostafa Bassiouny (Correspondent for Al-Safir, Lebanon)

Chair: Sian Lazar (Department of Anthropology, Cambridge)

CGHR hosted the launch of two new books: Egypt’s Long Revolution by Maha Abdelrahman, and Bread, Freedom, Social Justice: workers and the Egyptian Revolution by Anne Alexander and Mostafa Bassiouny 

About the books:

Bread, Freedom, Social Justice: Workers and the Egyptian Revolution, Anne Alexander and Mostafa Bassiouny

Collective action by organised workers played a fundamental role in the Egyptian revolution, which erupted after years of strikes and social protests. Yet this aspect of the revolutionary process has received little attention from researchers until now. Drawing on the authors’ decade-long experience of reporting on and researching the Egyptian labour movement, Bread, Freedom, Social Justice provides the first in-depth account of the emergence of the independent unions during Mubarak’s last years in power. It also explores the destabilising impact of workers’ mobilisations on the military and Islamist regimes since 2011, including the contradictory political effects of social protests during the crisis which engulfed Mohamed Morsi’s presidency in 2012-2013.

Egypt’s Long Revolution: Protest Movements and Uprisings, Maha Abdelrahman

The book analyses new forms of political mobilisation that arose in response to ever-increasing grievances against authoritarian politics, deteriorating living conditions for the majority of Egyptians as a consequence of neo-liberal policies and the machinery of crony capitalism, and an almost total abandoning by the state of its responsibilities to society at large. It argues that the increasing societal pressures from different quarters such as labour groups, pro-democracy movements and ordinary citizens during this period culminated in an intensifying culture of protest and activism that was vital in the lead up to the dramatic overthrow of Mubarak. It also argues that the features of these new forms of activism and political mobilisation have contributed to shaping the political process since the downfall of Mubarak.