From the Editors
The Role of Workers and Labor Unions in the Egyptian Revolution: Video Interview with Hossam Hamalawy (Part 1)
Jadaliyya is hereby presenting the first (deliberately belated) installment in a series called "A Portrait of a Revolutionary," featuring interviews with an Egyptian journalist and activist who was at the forefront of the Egyptian protest movement, Hossam Hamalawy.
Below is the first part of the interview, recorded in Arabic prior to Part 2 (on the role of the Egyptian army) and Part 3 (on the role of the Egyptial political and economic elite. The first part below deals with the role of the Egyptian Labor Unions in tipping the scale during the last days before Mubrak's resignation. This video was recorded on February 23rd. I opted for featuring the English language parts first. If any of our readers would like to volunteer to translate this video into English, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hossam addresses herein several themes including what the revolution was about and by whom. He also addresses the split between the more advantaged social groups/classes who are somewhat satisfied with the post-revolution status-quo. This separates them from the less privileged social groups/classes. The principal demands of workers are to end corruption and institute full-time (as opposed to temporary) employment. Hossam also addresses the history of labor unions and their role in both the Egyptian context and in the revolution, including how they differ from the Tunisian labor unions. Finally, he also discusses the views of Egyptian protesters on the spread of demonstrations across the Arab world, as well as the impact of this on the United State and Israel.
I would like to make this a somewhat interactive interview by asking readers to pose their own questions to Hossam after watching the interview. Hossam already answered the readers' questions from the past interview. I will relay the most productive questions, so please feel free to post your (clear/concise) questions under the comments, below.
The upcoming fourth part will be about the role and prospects of the Muslim Brotherhood, during and after the revolution. We will also address the question of "Islamists" and the fear of an "Islamist" take-over that is dinner-table discussion in mainstream circles in the United States (and perhaps in some circles in the Arab world).
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