The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising

The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising

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By (author) Gilbert Achcar, Translated by G. M. Goshgarian

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  • Publisher: SAQI BOOKS
  • Format: Paperback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 153mm x 235mm x 25mm | 470g
  • Publication date: 18 July 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0863568998
  • ISBN 13: 9780863568992
  • Sales rank: 304,032

Product description

"The people want - " So began the slogan chanted by millions of protesters across the Arab world in 2011, as their long-suppressed craving for democracy revealed itself. But huge social and economic problems were also laid bare by the protestors' demands. In this landmark work, noted Middle East analyst Gilbert Achcar draws up a balance sheet of the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria, and analyses the specific socio-economic features that hinder the region's development. Achcar also sheds light on the nature and role of the movements that use Islam as a political banner and the oil monarchies that sponsor them. With incisive and invaluable insight, Achcar outlines the requirements for a lasting solution to the social crisis and the contours of a progressive political alternative. What we have witnessed to date is only the beginning of a revolutionary process that is likely to extend for many more years to come.

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Author information

Gilbert Achcar is Professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His other works include Perilous Power: The Middle East and US Foreign Policy, with Noam Chomsky. Author location: London,UK. G.M. Goshgarian was born in the United States and educated at Yale and UCLA, translates fiction and philosophy from French, German and Armenian into English. He is the author of To Kiss the Chastening Rod (Cornell U.P.) and of lengthy introductions to two recent collections of the work of Louis Althusser, The Humanist Controversy and Philosophy of the Encounter.

Review quote

'A thoughtful and acute analysis ... Insightful, thought-provoking and compelling ... Any reader who would like a clear-eyed, theoretically grounded and lucid assessment of what the Arab uprisings have wrought so far would benefit from Gilbert Achcar s The People Want.' The Middle East in London 'An incisive analysis of the Arab revolts...' CIDOB 'The People Want provides great insight into the current situation in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain and Syria ... [It] offers a valuable, in-depth and original perspective for evaluating the popular revolts which continue to determine events in the Arab region.' Jordan Times 'Gilbert Achcar's The People Want offers a new perspective - Achcar steers away from oversimplification by focusing specifically on why the movement took the form of a regional shockwave and how its contagious nature reveals important factors often ignored in mainstream discourse ... Achcar's analysis of the impact of workers' and women's movements is extremely valuable, as these have been largely overlooked by other commentators ... Achcar's ideas are certainly deserving of debate. His insights offer a reasoned practical hope, whereas other analysts on the left offer doom and gloom. Moreover, Achcar's chapter providing a "balance sheet" of what has been achieved so far in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and Syria, as well as an assessment of future prospects in each country, is indispensable.' Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Table of contents

List of Figures 7 List of Tables 8 Acknowledgements 9 Introduction: Uprisings and Revolutions 13 1. Fettered development 19 The Facts 23 Poverty, Inequality, Precarity 29 Informal Sector and Unemployment: The Bouazizi Syndrome 36 Youth Underemployment 40 Female Underemployment 43 Graduate Unemployment 47 Fetters on Development 51 2. The peculiar modalities of capitalism in the arab region 53 The Problem of Investment 55 Public and Private Investment 57 A Specific Variant of the Capitalist Mode of Production 67 1. Rentier and Patrimonial States 72 2. A Politically Determined Capitalism: Nepotism and Risk 80 The Genesis of the Specific Regional Variant of Capitalism: An Overview 88 3. Regional political factors 97 The Oil Curse 98 From "Arab Despotic Exception" to "Democracy Promotion" 108 The Muslim Brothers, Washington and the Saudis 118 The Muslim Brothers, Washington and Qatar 126 Al Jazeera and the Upheaval in the Arab Mediascape 135 4. Actors and parameters of the revolution 142 Overdetermination and Subjective Conditions 142 The Workers' Movement and Social Struggles 152 New Actors and New Information and Communication Technologies 159 States and Revolutions 168 5. A provisional balance sheet of the arab uprising 177 Coups d'Etat and Revolutions 177 Provisional Balance Sheet No. 1: Tunisia 178 Provisional Balance Sheet No. 2: Egypt 181 Provisional Balance Sheet No. 3: Yemen 189 Provisional Balance Sheet No. 4: Bahrain 195 Provisional Balance Sheet No. 5: Libya 199 Provisional Balance Sheet No. 6: Syria 209 6. Co-opting the uprising 228 Washington and the Muslim Brothers, Take Two 228 Nato, Libya, and Syria 237 The "Islamic Tsunami" and the Difference between Khomeini and Morsi 250 Conclusion: The future of the Arab uprising 263 The Difference between Erdogan and Ghannouchi ... 263 - And the Difference between Erdogan and Morsi 271 Conditions for a Genuine Solution 284 Endnotes 295 References and Sources 325 Index 347