In order to broaden our frameworks for thinking critically about the new round of uprisings, MERIP editorial committee member Jillian Schwedler asked a number of critical scholars for their perspectives on how we should be thinking about regional protests and what is often overlooked or misunderstood.
But protesters have not gone home, and many have vowed to stay until the underlying structure of rule in Algeria changes and its ruling elite–known as Le Pouvoir (the power)–are expelled from power. The protesters are demanding that an entirely new system–which some call a new revolution–be put in place.
Chanting “We want a country,” the youth-led protesters of Iraq are demanding nothing less than a new country as the uprising goes beyond narrowly defined political demands concerning electoral politics and legal reforms.
Eight years ago, residents of Imider in Morocco’s rural southeast shut down a silver mining company’s water pipe on a nearby mountain to protest the damages to their health and livelihoods. This direct action turned into the longest sit-in protest encampment in Moroccan history. Perched on a rugged mountain top, the camp has become a living archive of decades of struggle manifested in documents, drawings, poetry and songs.
Early in the 2011 Egyptian revolution, activists and protesters battled their way into state security archives around the country. But the revolutionaries handed over the documents to the army, who later took power. Inside the state security archives were the blueprints for uprooting the police state and making lasting structural change.
The decision by the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy’s (IARPP) to hold their annual conference in Tel Aviv, Israel cannot be written off as simply a misunderstanding, ignorance of global issues or unconscious enactment: it’s a disavowal of current reality.
Over the past three years, striking and demonstrating teachers have mobilized against their new precarious status as contract-labor under government privatization reforms implemented in 2016. The teachers’ struggle is bound up in the broader fight by Moroccan unions against the government’s neoliberal reforms targeting the public sector as a whole. Whether these protests will renew the momentum of the 2011 February 20 movement will depend upon the government’s response and the ability of the protesters to sustain and broaden the scope of their mobilization.
Since February 22, 2019, Algerians have mounted massive protests in cities across Algeria. While calling for President Bouteflika’s resignation has been a focal point of demonstrations, the protests are more broadly a political contestation against a byzantine, status-quo politics upheld by an elite that is out of touch with the worsening realities in the country.
The Jordanian citizenry remain unwilling to pay more taxes. The old system no longer works, but the way forward demands that Jordan’s leaders address the need for substantive reforms in both the economic and political systems that currently govern Jordanian lives. Any new social contract between the ruler and ruled cannot function by raising taxes while withdrawing services to struggling lower and middle classes.
The firestorm that greeted newly elected Congresswoman (D-MN) Ilhan Omar’s tweets about the Israel lobby’s clout in Congress reveals as much about her critics as it does about the rising tide of progressive politicians who no longer show deference to establishment prohibitions on criticizing Israel. Having lost the moral argument about Israel’s brutal occupation of the Palestinian people, Omar’s critics pounced on the allegedly antisemitic tone of her comments rather than address her criticism of the US’s one-sided support for Israel. We asked several commentators to reflect on this largely manufactured controversy and what it tells us about the current limits of debate about Israel in the US today.
Protests in Iran’s holy city of Qom reveal that social fragmentation in Iran runs so deep that even within a community as intimately related to religious learning and the state as Qom, the divisions and boundaries go beyond easy distinctions between regime and opposition, hardliner and reformer or secular and pious. The uneven nature of Iranian society, which is being exacerbated by international sanctions and ever-expanding modes of privatization and deregulation, has worked its way into all sectors of a society that is at once cognizant of this condition and also still divided.