As tumultuous events in Egypt unfold at speed, with former President Morsi currently in custody, we present Verso's updated reading list of key titles and articles addressing the challenges facing Egypt and the Middle East.
Seamus Milne considers the current situation in Egypt in the context of the Arab Spring and its historical precedents in the "Spring of Nations" of 1848 in his latest article for the Guardian. His latest book, The Revenge of History, follows the events of the Arab Spring as they unfold, as well as providing a rich geopolitical context for the uprisings.
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.
The title of the book holds true - indeed, it is still kicking off everywhere. And the question as to why remains. Journalist and author Paul Mason has extended the themes in Why It's Still Kicking Off Everywhere to explain the escalating demonstrations in Brazil and Turkey. As he writes in an article for the BBC:
"As I arrived in Istanbul, some of my contacts in financial markets were mystified: why are they protesting when it is one of the fastest growing places on earth?
Read the article in full here.
"Two years on from the Arab Spring, I’m clearer about what it was that it inaugurated: it is a revolution. In some ways it parallels the revolutions of before – 1848, 1830, 1789 – and there are also echoes of the Prague spring, the US civil rights movement, the Russian ‘mad summer of 1874’ … but in other ways it is unique. Above all, the relationship between the physical and the mental, the political and the cultural, seems to be inverted. There is a change in consciousness, the intuition that something big is possible, that a great change in the world’s priorities is within people’s grasp."
Earlier this month, BBC economics editor and author of Why It’s Still Kicking Off Everywhere Paul Mason, took part in two conversations in New York, which are now available online.
On April 11, Mason talked to NYU students about his journalism. A video of the talk—which includes his film about the neo-fascist party España 2000—can be viewed here.
Last week, Mason spoke to American labor journalists Sarah Jaffe and Josh Eidelson about Margaret Thatcher, austerity resistance in Europe, and the end of the neoliberal era, for the second episode of Dissent magazine’s new podcast, Belabored. To listen, click here and to subscribe, search “Belabored” in iTunes.