Since the Egyptian revolution of January, 2011, the democratic process has been working in fits and starts. The international press has focused its attention on the machinations of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose political party won the first round of elections handily and then forced its vision of the new constitution through the constitutional referendum of December, 2012. However, other movements and parties have also been organizing and working to proliferate political forces beyond the pre-revolutionary establishment and the typical big business interests and crony networks of neoliberal governance.
April 29, 2013
April 10, 2013
With IMF officials visiting Egypt this week, negotiations have resumed on the terms of a bailout loan to address the Morsi government’s plummeting credit profile and foreign reserves. The IMF loan, if the agreement is successful, will come only with terms that demand reductions in social support spending following the classic lines of neoliberal economic policy demands. The IMF’s technical assistance to Egypt has repeatedly advised the government to trim energy subsidies and implement broader tax reforms, and investor tax reforms were also announced this week. Yet the investor-friendly policies and social support reductions are only part of the picture.
Egypt's subsidies are long-standing, many begun during the Nasser period but becoming essential when global commodity prices rose dramatically in the 1970s, and are now particularly urgent given Mubarak’s neoliberal policies and their impoverishment of a substantial portion of the population. Egypt spends close to 10 percent of its GDP on subsidies, and almost everyone agrees that the subsidies are not effective at reaching the poorest of the poor.
March 30, 2013
The Guardian reports that "Tunisian revolutionaries, globalization activists and civil society groups were in carnival mood ahead of the five-day event."
Representatives from D2C are attending the World Social Forum in Tunisa after stopping en route in Cairo to meet with pro-democracy advocates.
(Thank you to Barbara Parker for the link).
March 15, 2013
Two debates over justice that threaten to destabilize the neoliberal state have broken out in recent days. In the United States, legislators have objected to the threatened federal government use of drones to kill U.S. citizens while on U.S. territory. In Egypt, a court verdict contested by various participants in the Arab Spring revolution was issued in the midst of a police strike. For both debates a central question remains: whether legislative and court systems will be able to limit the reach of the President, a time-honored defense against abuse of power by sovereign authorities and strategy promoting justice in the exercise of government power.
January 23, 2013
After the December, 2012 constitutional referendum in Egypt we find that electoral success may not translate into popular support. So how do democracies come to diverge from populism?
Democratic governments claim that the will of the populace is represented in government decision-making and policy. Yet historically democracy has had two broad variants. One variation, widespread until the early 19th century, was where ordinary people by force of numbers govern, so that democracy (sometimes known as popular democracy) is shaped by a relation between all the people and a form of government. A second now more commonly accepted form is where carefully selected representatives govern. The claim of electoral democracies to full democracy is based on the second form, which unfortunately is now widely associated with democracy to the exclusion of the earlier and still popular sense.