Silenced Class Struggle in Egypt and Tunisia

by Project Censored
Published: Last Updated on

According to Professor Viçent Navarro (John Hopkins University, Universidad Pompeu Fabra), the media coverage of the Egyptian revolution has focused on the mobilization of young people, most professionals and middle class university graduates, and their successful use of new communication technologies (Facebook, Twitter…), while it has largely ignored the workers’ mobilizations along the Egyptian territory, which, in fact, have been key actors in ousting the dictator Hosni Mubarak.

According to Navarro, the media’s explanation of the revolt is highly incomplete. In fact, it was not initiated by students and young professionals. Egypt’s recent past is characterized by brutally repressed workers’ struggles, which have increased in recent years. According to Egypt’s Center of Economic and Labor Studies, in 2009 alone there were 478 strikes clearly political and not authorized, which caused the dismissal of 126,000 workers, 58 of whom committed suicide.

The workers mobilization was generally omitted by the major media. Needless to say, the young professionals who made use of new communication technologies (only 22% of the population has Internet access) played an important role, but it is wrong to present these demonstrations as a result of technological determinism that considers the use of technology as the determining factor.

The same happened in Tunisia, where, incidentally, the resistance of the working class also played a key role in the fall of the dictator. According to Alma Allende, who regularly reported from Tunisia during the uprising, the roots of the rebellion can be traced to workers struggle.

Lo que no se conoce sobre Egipto. Vicenç Navarro, 17 February 2011
Entrevista a Vicenç Navarro sobre “Las revoluciones democráticas en el mundo árabe, Vicenç Navarro, 22 February.

Redeyef y Moulares, vecinos y extremos. Alma Allende, Rebelión, 9 February 2011
‘The Arab World Is on Fire’. Noam Chomsky, In These Times, 2 February
Egypt: Tariq Ramadan & Slavoj Zizek, Al Jazeera, 3 February

Student Researchers: Joan Pedro, Luis Luján
Faculty Evaluator: Dra. Ana I. Segovia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Madrid (Spain)