The Role of Workers in the Arab Popular Uprisings of 2011

Arab World in Revolutions
By Joel Beinin

Workers in Morocco, Bahrain, Jordan, and especially Egypt and Tunisia participated prominently in the Arab popular uprisings of 2011 after years of implicitly repudiating the policies of the neoliberal “Washington Consensus”. Their role in these uprisings is best understood by a combination of historical political economy and a modified version of social movement theory appropriate to conditions in authoritarian societies where insurgents have access to few resources or formal networks. Instead they rely on locally strong, but nationally weak informal networks.

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