If 2011 saw a monumental change in the governments of the Middle East, 2012 has demonstrated that revolution takes some time, that conflict is sustained and that some of the same challenges are not consigned to history.
Protests continue in Egypt’s capital Cairo, as over one hundred thousand demonstrators have recently taken to the streets and gathered once again in Tahrir Square in opposition to dictatorial decrees by President Mohammed Morsi. With only one hundred days in power, Morsi’s fledgling tenure as president has resulted in examples of sweeping authority, transferring all executive and legislative powers from the military council to his offices.
Such actions are reminiscent of the power exercised by former President Hosni Mubarak. The on-going distrust of Morsi’s presidency returns the chant of the 2011 revolution: "The people want to bring down the regime".
These are Verso’s key titles on the challenges facing Egypt and the Middle East, where uprising continues from the hopefulness of the Arab Spring to the challenges ahead.
The Journey to Tahrir: Revolution, Protest, and Social Change in Egypt
Edited by Jeannie Sowers and Chris Toensing
The account of how it all began, this collection of reports from the region details the causes that underpinned the revolution before it amassed in scale. Starting with the eighteen days of protest in the lead up to Mubarak’s resignation, it is a first hand account of the collective dissent of workers, anti-war activists and campaigners for social change.
Soldiers, Spies and Statesmen: Egypt's Road to Revolt
by Hazem Kandil
When the military turned against Mubarak, so too did the revolt, from outbursts of protest to full on revolution. Hazem Kandil challenges the siding of the military with the people, instead documenting the power struggle between the three components of Egypt’s authoritarian regime: the military, the security services, and the political apparatus. Analysing what it means for Egypt to transition from military to police state, Kandil looks toward future revolution.
In an article in the Guardian on the recent events in Egypt, Kandil explains why liberal western critics can't simply say: "I told you so."
You can also read an interview with Kandil in New Left Review on the Egyptian revoution.
Paul Mason’s tempered account of global revolution, from Athens to Cairo, Wall Street and Westminster. A blend of historical insight and first person reportage, Mason goes in search of the changes in society, of technology and ways of activism that led so many disenfranchised people onto the streets demanding change. From cyberprotest to culture wars, the events detailed have not been consigned to history, as on-going protest show the sustained need for action. Now fully udpated in the new 2013 edition.
The Year of Dreaming Dangerously
by Slavoj Žižek
Žižek's take on tumultuous 2011, the year showed us glimpses of distorted—sometimes even perverted—fragments of a utopian future lying dormant in the present. The year of the Arab Spring, Žižek's writing epitomises his own unique take on uprising. His engaging observations into the future of the Arab world are original and unique.
by Timothy Mitchell
Conflict in the Middle East is never too far removed from conflicts and disputes over oil. As with the expolitation of the fuel itself, the politics of these oil-based democracies have proved unsustainable. This book not only theorises the future of fuel, but democracy itself.
The Rebirth of History: Times of Riots and Uprisings
by Alain Badiou
Following the Arab Spring, an analysis of how riots move from spontaneous uprisings to historical events with dramatic consequences. Also includes a fascinating discussion of the relationship of localised struggles to the wider discourse of democracy and representation.