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Koenraad Bogaert


Imider vs. COP22: Understanding Climate Justice from Morocco’s Peripheries

All eyes are on Marrakesh where the 22nd Conference of the Parties on climate change takes place (COP22). The city has been cleaned up, Skype and Whatsapp are back online and the media pull out all the stops to put across a message of an environmentally friendly and politically moderate Morocco. COP22 has to become the next event contributing to the image of a Moroccan exception in the Arab region. But, if we scratch the surface of this façade and look away from the media ...

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Breaking the Myths of Power: The Struggles of the Haitians, Algerians, and Greeks


What do the struggles of the Greek people have in common with those of the Haitian slaves at the end of the eighteenth century or those of the Algerians in the middle of the twentieth century? Of course, these struggles are incomparable in many ways, but there is one important parallel that can be drawn. Both moments of anticolonial resistance compelled ruling power to show its true face and managed to shatter the myths informing that power’s universal claims and its ...

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Paradigms Lost in Morocco: How Urban Mega-Projects Should Disturb our Understanding of Arab Politics

[A picture of the Casablanca Marina project under construction (2013), and the slums right across it. Image by author.]

When you enter Casablanca by train along the coastal track, you can see the new high-rises of Casablanca Marina appear in the distance. Although still under construction, it has already radically transformed the skyline of Casablanca. The Mrina project is situated just in front of the old medina between the harbor and the magnificent Hassan II Mosque. The medina, the traditional part of the city, with its robust stone walls, its narrow streets, and its numerous small shops, ...

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From Carbon Democracy to the Right to the City: On the Struggle Against Neoliberalism

[Anarchist demonstration in Barcelona, 1 May 2013. Image by Koenraad Bogaert.]

In his book Carbon Democracy, Timothy Mitchell analyses the interrelation between, on the one hand, the historical development of energy from fossil fuels and, on the other hand, the rise of democratic mass politics. The rise of coal in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries made especially the industrial revolution and the development of the modern capitalist city possible. The socio-technical world built around these industrial flows of energy also provided the means ...

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A Reflection on Violence and Democracy

[Buses burn following clashes between supporters and opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood from 23 March 2013. Photo by Khalil Hamra/AP]

On the morning of 30 June, BBC reporter Aleem Maqbool reports from Cairo, “what is today going to be remembered for? What is the 30th June going to be remembered for? Is it going to be the turning point in Egyptian politics or is it going to be remembered for violence?” But what if violence constitutes an integral, even inevitable, component of a democratic struggle? Considering the radical political transformations of the Arab world in the past two years, we cannot ...

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Global Dimensions of the Arab Spring and the Potential for Anti-Hegemonic Politics

[Image from OWS action in New York. Photo by Koenraad Bogaert.]

I remember a journalist asking a few weeks ago: has the world become a better place because of the Arab spring? I think what he meant was: are we living today in a better world because the Arab peoples have gotten rid of, or are getting rid of, some of the worst authoritarian leaders in the world? The question implicitly referred to the matter of democratization. Of course, the issue of democratization has dominated the study of political change in the Arab world over the ...

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Koenraad Bogaert


Koenraad Bogaert is a lecturer at Ghent University, in the Department of Conflict and Development Studies (Belgium), and a member of the Middle East and North Africa Research Group (MENARG). His research is on the interlinkage between urban politics, capitalist globalization, and social protest in Morocco. Some of his recent publications are: “Luxemburg on Tahrir Square: Reading the Arab Revolutions with Rosa Luxemburg’s The Mass Strike”, (co-authored with Sami Zemni and Brecht De Smet), Antipode 45(4): 888-907 (2013); and “Contextualizing the Arab Revolts: The Politics behind Three Decades of Neoliberalism in the Arab World” Middle East Critique 22(3): 213-234 (2013); as well as “The Revolt of Small Towns:  The Meaning of Morocco's History and the Geography of Social Protests” (ROAPE, 42(143): 124-140). He's also one of the co-editors of Jadaliyya's Cities Page.