[P4724] Labor, Capitalism and Mobilization after the Arab Spring

Created by Zep Kalb
Tuesday, 11/21/17 10:30am


This panel seeks to provide comparative perspectives on the dynamics of labor mobilization, class formation and capitalist development in the post-Arab Spring Middle East.
Labor plays an important but complex role in socio-political change in the Middle East and North Africa. On the one hand, workers were central to the downfall of Egypt's Mubarak and Tunisia' Ben Ali through their capacity to paralyze the economy. On the other hand, both the 2009 Iranian Green Movement and the 2013 Gezi Protests in Turkey failed to extent into workplaces significantly.
The 2009-2013 refo- and revolutionary movements in the region have since faced severe set-backs, including religious violence (Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen), party consolidation (Turkey), return of the old guards (Tunisia and Egypt), and détente with the West (Iran). In different ways, these developments have endangered independent workers' movements and class projects. Simultaneously, they have created new platforms on which future struggles can be waged.
Employing historicizing and contemporary perspectives, panelists look at the processes behind labor's co-option in and resistance to state-building projects in the Middle East since the Arab Spring. Problematizing oft-posited dichotomies like Right Vs Labor and International Liberalism Vs Labor, questions include: How and to what extent have state institutions, elites, foreign powers and counter-revolutionary movements been able to (de-) mobilize workers and co-opt them within their political programs? What have been the long-term materializations of labor's role in the Arab Spring, and to what extent do current social contracts accommodate workers' activism and rights?
By investigating these issues, the panel aspires to provide new perspectives on labor politics and contemporary capitalism, and speculate about the future of workers, democracy and social change in the Middle East and beyond.


Econ; Pol Science; Socio



Joel Beinin

(Stanford University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Discussant;

Zep Kalb

(University of Oxford)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Sahan Savas Karatasli

(Princeton University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Lorenzo Feltrin

(University of Warwick)
My PhD project investigates the role of the trade unions in the 2011 Uprisings in Morocco and Tunisia through a historical perspective. I am particularly interested in the evolution of the relations between the trade unions and the changing class composition...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;