Still fighting for social justice…
How workers in the Middle East are resisting neo-liberalism, austerity and privatisation
By Jonathan Maunder and Anne Alexander
In 2011, when revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt toppled dictators, British government ministers rushed to congratulate the Tunisian and Egyptian people on their democratic achievements. Two years later, they are forcing an agenda of ‘economic reforms’ on the Arab world offering more of the failed neoliberal policies of privatisation and austerity which are wrecking the lives of millions in Europe. Institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the backing of Western governments, are demanding that Tunisia and Egypt deepen the same policies which helped to trigger the Arab revolutions in the first place. They found willing partners in the Islamists governments which were elected in Tunisia and Egypt after the fall of Ben Ali and Mubarak.
Yet the huge street protests and strikes which pushed the Egyptian military to remove the president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, from power in July 2013, have shown the difficulty in implementing this agenda. The backdrop to the demonstrations called by the ‘Rebel’ campaign, which gathered more than 20 million signatures on a statement calling for Morsi to resign, was a huge wave of strikes and protests over rising prices, power and water cuts, job cuts and factory closures.
A new background briefing by MENA Solidarity gives an introduction to the social struggles which lie at the heart of the Arab Revolutions.