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Democracy

New Texts Out Now: Gary Wilder, Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World

[Cover of Gary Wilder,

Gary Wilder, Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Gary Wilder (GW): This book grew unexpectedly out of a lecture I tried to write on Aimé Césaire’s understanding of decolonization that would extend one thread of my first book, The French Imperial Nation-State, which had focused in the interwar period. But in the process I became fascinated by the complex and often counter-intuitive ways that Césaire, from Martinique, and Léopold Senghor, from Senegal, were reflecting on colonial emancipation, human freedom, global politics, planetary ...

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Will the Greferendum Bring A Rupture?: Answers from the European Left

Image courtesy of the author

If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it; for it is hard to be sought out and difficult. Heraclitus, Fragments Having participated in the international anti-EU forum just days before Syriza government called for a bailout referendum, Athens was seminal in inciting all smatters to indulge in the day-to-day developments of Greek politics. During the three-day forum, participants were involved in deep discussions about political and economic crises within the European Economic Area, with particular emphasis on the southern countries along with the crises’ impact on left- and right-wing realignments in several member countries, including the ...

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The Right to Democratic Dissent: A View from Greece

[100,000 people protest against IMF austerity measures in front of parliament building in Athens (29 May 2011). Image by Wikimedia Commons User Kotsolis.]

One of the normative impulses of Eurozone orthodoxy has been to forestall the element of dissent, and to establish an uncritical and authoritarian doctrine: namely, that neoliberal austerity is the only possible “game in town”.  For five years, the peoples of Greece and other countries of the European South have been experiencing the implications of a compulsory economization of the political terrain: rampant inequalities, dispossession of public space, dismissal of social rights. The role of EU and Eurozone bureaucracies, but also of the states and state institutions, has been reduced to safeguarding the pervasive functions of the market. The antagonistic spirit ...

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ما هي النكبة؟

[أطلال كفر عنان، فلسطين. الصور من موقع

[ تعيد "جدلية" نشر هذه المادة ضمن ملف خاص بعنوان "كبرت النكبة". وهو ملف متنوّع حول نكبة فلسطين تنشره "جدلية" على مدار الأسبوعين القادمين.] ما هي النكبة؟ تستدعي مفردة النكبة (أو الكارثة) إلى الذاكرة تأسيس دولة إسرائيل على أرض فلسطين عام 1948 عن طريق طرد أكثر من نصف سكان فلسطين التاريخية، وتدمير التراث الفلسطيني، والمؤسسات الاجتماعية والسياسية في الاراضي المحتلة. إن الاجابة الممكنة عن سؤال حول معنى النكبة في الزمن الحاضر يمكن أن نجدها في حوارات الذاكرة الجمعية الفلسطينية، خصوصاً تلك الموجودة في مخيمات اللاجئين الذين تم طردهم خارج حدود فلسطين التاريخية عام 1948. في حوارات الذاكرة الجمعية هذه، لا نجد النكبة كمؤشر واضح على الكارثة التي حاقت ...

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In the Service of the Whole Community? Civic Engagement in Saudi Arabia (1950s-1960s)

[Dammam, Saudi Arabia. Photo by Dorothy Miller, Saudi Aramco World, SAWDIA. Image used with permission]

Civic engagement in Saudi Arabia has been viewed mostly from the angle of labor, nationalist, or sectarian activism that evolves in phases of political or social tension.[1] In this essay, I examine civic engagement in the 1950s and 1960s through the lens of the city. I argue that the above stated categories are too rigid,[2] and furthermore that civic engagement in the 1950s and 1960s appears as a "practice of the everyday." In the Saudi oil towns of Dammam and al-Khobar, actors with different social and sectarian backgrounds (re-)appropriated their life space through multiple forms of activism, and even cooperation on a daily basis. These actors repeatedly ...

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Reflections on Public Spaces in Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary Tunis

[Cover of Chiara Sebastiani,

Chiara Sebastiani, Una città, una rivoluzione. Tunisi e la riconquista dello spazio pubblico. Cosenza: Luigi Pellegrini Editore, 2014. Collective, Au centre de Tunis: Géographies de l’espace public après une Révolution, available online here. The question of public space has been among the most discussed ones during the short and often tragic season of the so-called "Arab Spring." From Cairo’s Tahrir Square to the streets of Damascus, researchers and commentators have examined the logics of mobilization, occupation, transformation, and re-appropriation of the symbolic meaning of space and resistance to repression. These logics are indicators of a possible ...

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What Brings them There? Reflections on the Persisting Symbolism of Tahrir Square

Cairo’s Tahrir Square presents a riddle. This irregular expanse of land and surrounding building surfaces has acquired a central symbolic place in Egyptians’ collective memory, demonstrated by its recurrent use for decades as the primary site for voicing people’s grievances and proclamations. To its romantics and its detractors, what happens in or around Tahrir Square remains crucial as an index to some perceived collectivity. Despite being a twentieth-century addition to a city with a much longer history, and despite the presence of older squares with central locations and considerable sizes (including Maydan Ramsis and Maydan Abdin), Maydan al-Tahrir now sits ...

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دور المجتمع المدني في الثورة التونسية. محادثة لـ"الوضع" بين فاتح عزام وعبد الباسط بن حسن

عبد الباسط بن حسن هو رئيس المعهد العربي لحقوق الإنسان. يعمل المعهد على تعزيز تعليم حقوق الإنسان في المنطقة العربية من خلال بناء المقدرات وبرامج التدريب. و هو أيضا رئيس اللجنة الوطنية التونسية لدعم اللاجئين. شغل منصب عضو في اللجنة العليا لتحقيق أهداف الثورة والإصلاح السياسي والانتقال الديمقراطي. في هذه اللجنة، شارك بن حسن في صياغة تشريعات ما بعد الثورة حول حرية تكوين الجمعيات و حرية التعبير والتجمع والانتخابات. انتخب رئيسا للمعهد العربي لحقوق الإنسان في مارس 2011.  مع خبرة عقدين من الزمن في مجال حقوق الإنسان في المنطقة العربية، شغل بن حسن منصب مدير برنامج حقوق الإنسان في مؤسسة فورد (2005-2011). درّس بن حسن حقوق الإنسان في كلية ...

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Is the Center for Jewish Life Stifling Free Speech on Campus?

[Nassau Hall, Princeton University. Image by Wikimedia Commons user Inabluenm.]

I have never met Slav Leibin. Nonetheless, it recently came to my attention that he vetoed, with the approval of the Center for Jewish Life, my right to participate in a proposed panel on the recent hostilities in Gaza. Apparently this preemptive act of exclusion was carried out on entirely political grounds. This strikes me as an attempt to stifle the exchange of views on an important, if contentious, issue of concern to many in the Princeton University community — an egregious violation of our community’s values. Slav Leibin is the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at the Center for Jewish Life, which is home to Hillel at Princeton. Founded in 1923, Hillel is the world’s ...

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MESA Pre-Program Discussion: The Salaita Case and the New Assaults on Academic Freedom (22 November 2014)

[Steven Salaita]

MESA Panel: The Salaita Case and the New Assaults on Academic Freedom Panel Logistics 3:30pm Saturday, 22 November 2014 Marriot Wardman Park Hotel Washington DC Panel Description After a brief introduction by Laurie Brand (Chair of the Committee on Academic Freedom) and Paul Sedra, the discussion will begin with four 15-minute presentations. We will hear: Steven Salaita will speak about the implications of the attack on his constitutionally-protected speech and academic freedom. Lisa Hajjar will speak on the chilling effects of the new discourse of ‘civility’ adopted by university administrators on various campuses. General counsel ...

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Keynote Address: Some Reflections on the Role of Media in Egypt’s January 25th Revolution

[Tahrir Square during the January 25 Revolution. Image from Wikimedia Commons]

  [Walter Armbrust delivering the Keynote Address at the Westminster Conference] This lecture delves into the situational and historic dynamics that undergirded the media practices surrounding the January 25 revolution in Egypt. The notion of social revolution is unpacked to evaluate its application to the Egyptian revolutionary context. By looking at the cultural production of revolution–from rap songs against Mubarak to online memes against the Morsi government–the social mobilization is seen as more than just bodies in the street. Confrontations against the architecture of the state, particularly the attacks on police stations across the country, are addressed ...

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Antisemitism and Salaita

[

[The following letter was originally published on the author, the Head of the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Director of the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, on his website.]  17 August 2014 Dear Chancellor Wise, I am sorry that I cannot join my colleagues in their meeting with you on 18 August. I truly appreciate your making yourself available for dialogue with faculty members concerned about the university’s handling of the Steven Salaita case. Dialogue between the administration and the faculty is precisely what has been missing thus far. I already wrote to you over a week ago to ...

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Quick Thoughts: April Longley Alley on the Yemen Conflict

[In late March 2015, a coalition of states led by Saudi Arabia initiated a military campaign against Yemen consisting of intensive air raids, the arming of local allies and a de facto naval and air blockade of the country. Initially termed Operation Decisive Storm but since renamed Operation Restore Hope, it continues to this day. Riyadh identified the recent territorial gains of Yemen’s Houthi movement, and the ouster of President Abd-Rabbu Mansur Hadi and his government, as the reasons for its campaign ...

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New Texts Out Now: Marc Morjé Howard and Meir R. Walters, “Mass Mobilization and the Democracy Bias”

Marc Morjé Howard and Meir R. Walters, “Mass Mobilization and the Democracy Bias,” Middle East Policy 22.2 (2015): 145-155. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article?           Marc Morjé Howard and Meir R. Walters (MMH & MRW): We wrote this article in response to problematic-seeming reactions to recent uprisings in places such as the Arab world and Ukraine. We saw journalists, policy commentators, and some academics echoing popular ...

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Nidaa Tounès et Ennahda, l’alliance entre « deux forces d’ancien régime » en Tunisie. Retour sur l'histoire de la révolution avec Aziz Krichen

Aziz Krichen est une figure historique de la gauche tunisienne. Son opposition frontale aux régimes de Habib Bourguiba et de Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali le conduit en prison puis à l’exil. Ministre conseiller du président Moncef Marzouki depuis janvier 2012, il a démissionné de ses fonctions en mai 2014 pour ne pas avoir à cautionner une stratégie consistant à attiser les clivages identitaires du pays pour mobiliser l’électorat islamiste en prévision de l’élection présidentielle. Il répond ici à ...

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The Falah School in Jeddah: Civic Engagement for Future Generations?

Beginning in 1869, the Ottoman state attempted to build a state education system, largely in reaction to the establishment of foreign missionary schools throughout the empire. During this period, education also became a prominent field of civic engagement, understood as ways in which citizens participate in shaping community life.[1] Local initiatives like the Falah school in Jeddah—largely financed through the time-honored tradition of religious endowment or waqf, itself a form civic ...

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AAUP Findings on the Steven Salaita Case

[The following announcement and referenced investigative report on the case of Steven Salaita was issued by the American Association of University Proffessors (AAUP) in April 2015] Today, we are releasing the report of a committee that investigated the case of Steven Salaita (http://www.aaup.org/report/UIUC). The report finds that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) administration and the board of trustees of the University of Illinois violated principles of academic freedom when they ...

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The Joint List: The Fetishism of Representation and the Illusion of Influence

In the recent Israeli elections, the parties representing the Palestinian citizens united in one list: the Joint List. It has attracted more external enthusiasm than internal. Authors like Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury praised the list, endorsed it, and even suggested it as a model for elsewhere in the Arab world. Yet, Arab voters—Netanyahu’s alarmism notwithstanding—did not go to the polls in droves. Lacking any element of fierce inter-party competition, the movement of voters on election day was slow. ...

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Becoming a 'Media Intellectual': The Platitudes and Partisanships of Etyen Mahçupyan

As politics in contemporary Turkey is gradually steered towards a de facto Imperial Presidency shrouded in regurgitated myths of Ottoman revivalism and defended against ostentatious conspiracies, it is easy to be sucked into the extreme polarization between the pro- and anti-government positions. It is also easy to take for granted the operation of a complex world of opinion production behind all the fuss. Those of us following political news in Turkey are always exposed to written, spoken, or gestured ...

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Press Release: Announcing the Website of Watch/Raqeb -- An Arab Regional Project on Information Access

 [The following press release was issued on 22 October 2014 by Watch/Raqeb] -Watch/Raqeb- is pleased to announce the launch of its website www.watchinfo.org. Led by a community of youth from several Arab countries, including Egypt, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia, -Watch/Raqeb- is a multi-layered effort to offer Arab citizens a nuanced perspective on how international politics are playing out in the Middle East. It seeks to enhance and nuance public knowledge and to support greater popular ...

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Civil Society Call for the Protection of Libya's Democratic Transition

[The following statement was issued by members of Libya's civil society.]  Libya’s transition since 2011 has been a difficult path to follow; riddled with instability and violence. Libyans and the international community alike did not anticipate much of what has come to pass, rendering the country in constant flux and continual deterioration putting democracy, freedom, human rights at stake.  Nearly four years since the uprising, Libya’s trajectory may still be rectified. If not motivated by ...

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حروب الردة أو اغتيال المستقبل

  ما من شك في أن المنطقة شهدت في الآونة الاخيرة تقدماً لافتاً لقوى الردّة المضادة للثورات، وهي ليست «ثورات مضادة»، حسب التعبير الدارج، لأن لا شيء فيها من التغيير أو الثورة، إنما هي ردة ضد هذا وتلك. يتمثل المشهد بإعادة انتاج عدد من الأنظمة العربية، بعد التضحية بالحاكم الفرد فيها، يقابل ذلك تعزيز طابعها الاستبدادي والتسلطي، وتمكين مرتكزاتها العسكرية والامنية، وتنمية توجهاتها النيولبرالية، وهي أحد الأسباب الرئيسة للبطالة والفساد والفروق المناطقية والطبقية. تحقق ذلك بمزيج من التدخل الإقليمي (الأنظمة ...

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حوار مع القيادية اليسارية المغربية نعيمة الكلاف

جدلية: مرحبا بك أستاذة نعيمة. شكراً على قبولك دعوتنا لهذا الحوار. هل يمكن أن تقدمي نفسك لقرائنا بشكل موجز؟ نعيمة: مرحبا شكراً على الاستضافة. اسمي نعيمة الكلاف. أنا محامية وفاعلة حقوقية وعضوة المكتب السياسي للحزب الاشتراكي الموحد. جدلية: سؤالي الأول يتعلق بالوضع الحقوقي بالمغرب بعد تمرير دستور سنة 2011 وتشكيل حكومة يتزعمها حزب العدالة والتنمية الذي فاز بأغلبية المقاعد في الانتخابات المباشرة. كيف هي وضعية حقوق الانسان والممارسة السياسية بالمغرب اليوم؟ ن.ك: بالنسبة للشق الأول من السؤال والمتعلق بالوضع ...

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من كتاب "العالمية الأوروبية: خطاب السلطة" للمفكر وعالم الاجتماع إمانويل ولورستين

مقدمة: لا يغيب عن أي باحث في هذه المعمورة - لدى حديثه عن النظام الرأسمالي العالمي وعلائقه المركبة مع السلطة والإمبريالية وفكرة المركز <

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