Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Monday, October 06, 2014

New Book: Bread, Freedom, Social Justice

Bread, Freedom, Social Justice: Workers and the Egyptian Revolution
By Anne Alexander and Mostafa Bassiouny
Published on 9 October by Zed books.

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction: From the Republic of Tahrir to the Republic of Fear? Theorising revolution and counter-revolution in Egypt 2011-2014
1.From Nasserism to Neoliberalism: a new amalgam of state and private capital
2.The changing structure of the Egyptian working class in the neoliberal 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
8.The crisis of representation: workers and elections
9. Tathir: the struggle to cleanse the state
Conclusion: Beyond ‘the Republic of Dreams’: revolutionary organisation, democracy and the question of the state

Book Launch: 28 October @ Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, Russell Square, WC1HOXG
With Gilbert Achcar, Alain Gresh, Mostafa Bassiouny and Anne Alexander

There will be a collection held at this book launch for Bassem Chit, the Lebanese revolutionary socialist who tragically passed away a few days ago.  This is from one of Chit's last articles, How did the sectarian nightmare come true in Iraq and Syria?, discussing the likely consequences of Obama and Cameron's new war:

The US is on the defensive and trying to protect its own interests in Iraq. An intervention will inflame the situation and prolong the conflict.  The Islamic State exists because of a lack of revolutionary politics. A movement from below which fends off the regime and fills the vacuum the Islamic State is currently filling could win people away from it. You can point to Isis as being part of the counter-revolutionary forces which criminalise revolution. The line of struggle against both the regime and against these reactionaries becomes clearer. But when imperialists intervene it gives structures like Isis more favourable conditions.It galvanises regional rivalries which allows the further spreading of factional conflicts. This fragments the masses and besieges the working class in a war-driven economy. And it limits the possibility of building political movements and mass mobilisations which offer the only real alternative against these sectarian forces.

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