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.
His argument about real and formal subsumption doesn't actually contradict anything Chibber argues in his book. What is presented as a criticism of Chibber actually works as an extension (or at most, a small modification) of his argument. Chibber argues, contra Lowe, Roediger, and Esch, that abstract labor does not mean homogenized labor. He also argues that Guha is wrong to say that capital didn't universalize in India, because the things Guha says it failed to do there are also things it failed to do in Europe, where no one would argue it failed to universalize. Taylor responds that Chibber doesn't see the importance of the difference between formal and real subsumption of labor, and that abstract labor is produced only when the latter has been accomplished. He also says in the colonies that formal subsumption tended to predominate, which means that the universalization of capital took place unevenly.