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The People Want

A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising
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Gilbert Achcar
University of California Press
eBook Typ:
Adobe Digital Editions
eBook Format:
2 - DRM Adobe

Figures and TablesAcknowledgmentsPreliminary NotesOn the Arab Countries and "the Middle East and North Africa" (MENA)On Transliteration of ArabicIntroduction: Uprisings and Revolutions1. Fettered DevelopmentThe FactsPoverty, Inequality, PrecarityInformal Sector and Unemployment: The Bouazizi SyndromeYouth UnderemploymentFemale UnderemploymentGraduate UnemploymentFetters on Development2. The Peculiar Modalities of Capitalism in the Arab RegionThe Problem of InvestmentPublic and Private InvestmentA Specific Variant of the Capitalist Mode of Production1. Rentier and Patrimonial States2. A Politically Determined Capitalism: Nepotism and RiskThe Genesis of the Specific Regional Variant of Capitalism: An Overview3. Regional Political FactorsThe Oil CurseFrom "Arab Despotic Exception" to "Democracy Promotion"The Muslim Brothers, Washington, and the SaudisThe Muslim Brothers, Washington, and QatarAl Jazeera and the Upheaval in the Arab Mediascape4. Actors and Parameters of the RevolutionOverdetermination and Subjective ConditionsThe Workers' Movement and Social StrugglesNew Actors and New Information and Communications TechnologiesStates and Revolutions5. A Provisional Balance Sheet of the Arab UprisingCoups d'État and RevolutionsProvisional Balance Sheet No. 1: TunisiaProvisional Balance Sheet No. 2: EgyptProvisional Balance Sheet No. 3: YemenProvisional Balance Sheet No. 4: BahrainProvisional Balance Sheet No. 5: LibyaProvisional Balance Sheet No. 6: Syria6. Co-opting the UprisingWashington and the Muslim Brothers, Take TwoNato, Libya, and SyriaThe "Islamic Tsunami" and the Difference between Khomeini and MorsiConclusion: The Future of the Arab UprisingThe Difference between Erdogan and Ghannouchi . . .. . . And the Difference between Erdogan and MorsiConditions for a Genuine SolutionNotesReferences and SourcesIndex
"The people want . . .": This first half of slogans chanted by millions of Arab protesters since 2011 revealed a long-repressed craving for democracy. But huge social and economic problems were also laid bare by the protestors' demands. Simplistic interpretations of the uprising that has been shaking the Arab world since a young street vendor set himself on fire in Central Tunisia, on 17 December 2010, seek to portray it as purely political, or explain it by culture, age, religion, if not conspiracy theories. Instead, Gilbert Achcar locates the deep roots of the upheaval in the specific economic features that hamper the region's development and lead to dramatic social consequences, including massive youth unemployment. Intertwined with despotism, nepotism, and corruption, these features, produced an explosive situation that was aggravated by post-9/11 U.S. policies. The sponsoring of the Muslim Brotherhood by the Emirate of Qatar and its influential satellite channel, Al Jazeera, contributed to shaping the prelude to the uprising. But the explosion's deep roots, asserts Achcar, mean that what happened until now is but the beginning of a revolutionary process likely to extend for many more years to come.The author identifies the actors and dynamics of the revolutionary process: the role of various social and political movements, the emergence of young actors making intensive use of new information and communication technologies, and the nature of power elites and existing state apparatuses that determine different conditions for regime overthrow in each case. Drawing a balance-sheet of the uprising in the countries that have been most affected by it until now, i.e. Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria, Achcar sheds special light on the nature and role of the movements that use Islam as a political banner. He scrutinizes attempts at co-opting the uprising by these movements and by the oil monarchies that sponsor them, as well as by the protector of these same monarchies: the U.S. government. Underlining the limitations of the "Islamic Tsunami" that some have used as a pretext to denigrate the whole uprising, Gilbert Achcar points to the requirements for a lasting solution to the social crisis and the contours of a progressive political alternative.

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