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Brecht De Smet and Seppe Malfait

Trade Unions and Dictatorship in Egypt

Egyptian workers march to Shura Council at on May Day 2013. Photo by Gigi Ibrahim]

Between 6 and 14 July 2015 Brecht De Smet and Seppe Malfait organized an intensive summer school in the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (NVIC), which took “Bread, Freedom and Social Justice” as its central theme. Some twenty-five Egyptian and foreign students from different disciplines and walks of life attended. Three of the summer school speakers agreed to a brief interview for Jadaliyya on the current state of the labor struggle and trade unionism in Egypt. Heba ...

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Brecht De Smet and Seppe Malfait


Brecht De Smet is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Middle East and North Africa Research Group and a lecturer in Conflict and Development Studies at Ghent University, Belgium. His research focuses on collective learning processes and hegemony in social movements; class formation; passive revolution; and independent trade unionism in Egypt. His major publications are A Dialectical Pedagogy of Revolt: Gramsci, Vygotsky, and the Egyptian Revolution (Brill, 2015) and Gramsci on Tahrir: Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Egypt (Pluto Press, 2016).


Seppe Malfait holds a Master Degree in Arabic and Islamic studies and is a postgraduate in Conflict and Development studies (Ghent University). In both his master’s dissertations he applied Discourse Theory to analyze the hegemonic struggle under Morsi’s presidency. His main research interests are social movements and the construction and dislocation of hegemony and counter-hegemony in Egypt.