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Tunisia

World Social Forum: Where is the Struggle against Capitalism?

[Image from the 2015 World Social Forum in Tunisia. Image by CIDSE - together for global justice/Flickr]

The 2015 World Social Forum (WSF) opened its doors for the second consecutive year in Tunisia. Since 2001, this open space represents an alternative to the World Economic Forum at Davos and declares its anti-globalization approach in the fight against capitalism and neoliberalism. At each session, participants and visitors express ideas and personal experiences to make their voices heard and learn how to improve their capacity for self-governance. This year, participants were quick to voice their criticisms. Disappointed Forum-goers were clearly much greater in number this year than the last. Many including the WSF Steering Committee are perhaps ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (28 March)

[Carthage room, Bardo National Museum in Tunis, Tunisia. Image by Alexandre Moreau.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week.] Palestine-Israel Short Doc Looks for the Palestinians in Israeli Elections, +972 +972  features a documentary from filmmakers Tamar Glezerman and Arianna LaPenne on the role of Operation Protective Edge in Israeli elections. Backtracking on Palestinian Statehood?, Josh Ruebner Ruebner writes for The Hill ...

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New Texts Out Now: Andrea Khalil, Gender, Women, and the Arab Spring

[Cover of Andrea Khalil,

Andrea Khalil, editor, Gender, Women, and the Arab Spring. London and New York: Routledge, 2015. [Editors’ Note: This book was originally published as a special issue of The Journal of North African Studies 19.2 (2014). To mark the publication of this special issue as a book, we are reprinting a NEWTON piece written by the editor, Andrea Khalil, in May 2014.] Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this special issue?  Andrea Khalil (AK): During my fieldwork in Tunisia (2011-13) working on a book, I was sensitized to the profound problems that women in Tunisia were facing since the Revolution, and more generally, the urgency to address gender issues and ...

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Corporatization: Are Public Services still Public?

[Screenshot from

Public water and electricity are back in vogue. Yet, many state-owned utilities are now undergoing “corporatization,” i.e. they have legal autonomy and manage their own finances. Is this a positive development in the struggle for equitable public services or a slippery slope toward privatization? Sometimes driven by neoliberal agendas, there are examples of corporatization that could herald a brighter future for equity-oriented public services. The Municipal Services Project, both a scholarly and activist network based at Kingston University (Ontario, Canada), recently released a book, a blog post and a video, presenting the results of in-depth research dealing with the ...

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Stanford Event: Joel Beinin on Workers and Revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia (21 January 2015)

CDDRL’s Program on Arab Reform and Democracy (ARD), in partnership with the Arab Studies Institute (ASI), presents: Workers and Revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia Featuring: Joel Beinin Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History Stanford University Date and Time: Wednesday, January 21 12PM-1:30PM *Lunch will be served* Location: Goldman Conference Room (4th floor East Wing) Encina Hall Stanford University Abstract Arab workers participated prominently in the popular uprisings of 2011.  They shared the outrage of many of their compatriots over daily abuse by internal security forces, widespread corruption, and foreign policies ...

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Requiem for Tunisia’s Revolution?

[Tunisian man facing Ben Ali’s security forces with a loaf of bread, the use of the baguette is symbolic for the regime's failure to provide public goods and a reminder of the 1984 bread riots in Tunisia. Image from Tixup]

The Arab uprisings seemed to herald a fatal rupture in orientalist narratives, challenging as they did essentialized renderings of the region as one mired by "authoritarian resilience" and failures to democratize. However, four years after the uprisings, familiar forms of reductionist analysis about the regions persist, albeit more subtly. The latest readings of the Tunisian experience have not shied away from condescending tropes regarding the success of its stable, liberal transition as opposed to the volatility and illiberal failings of other “Arab spring” countries. The Economist’s rationale for choosing Tunisia as the magazine’s “country of the year” ...

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New Texts Out Now: Isabelle Werenfels, Beyond Authoritarian Upgrading: The Re-Emergence of Sufi Orders in Maghrebi Politics

[Cover of

Isabelle Werenfels, "Beyond Authoritarian Upgrading: The Re-Emergence of Sufi Orders in Maghrebi Politics." The Journal of North African Studies 19.3 (2014). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Isabelle Werenfels (IW): It is a mélange of reasons. First and foremost, I was struck by how little research has been done by political scientists on the contemporary relationship between Sufi orders, the state, and politics in Algeria and Tunisia. Even in Morocco, this relationship has not received the scholarly attention it deserves. There is some excellent work by anthropologists touching upon the political dimension of Sufism, but very little by ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (December 4)

[Screenshot from a video of a home getting destroyed in Guelmim, Morocco due to major recent flooding. Image from video uploaded by Ali Bedar on Facebook]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week] Algeria Are There Lessons to be Learnt From Algeria’s Past? Dalia Ghanem-Yazbeck examines similarities and differences between Algeria’s struggle with the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in the 1990s and the rise of the Islamic State.  الجزائر: مقتل اثنين في أعمال شغب Two people were killed last Friday in clashes between ...

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Tunisia: The Victory of Secularism over Islamism?

[Image of Rashid al-Ghannoushi and Beji Caid-Essebsi. Image from MosaiqueFM]

To the layman’s eye, the recent results of Tunisia’s legislative elections read like the triumph of progressive secularism over backward Islamism. Champions of modernization and secularization theory, in Arab and Western media alike, have hailed the victory of Nidaa Tounes  (the Call of Tunisia), a conservative patchwork movement composed of ancien régime figures, technocrats, and leftists, united under the vague banners of Bourguibism and anti-Islamism. The Islamist movement of Ennahda, the incumbent, had been in power since October 2011. I argue that teleological understandings of history and triumphalist narratives of secularism’s victory over Islamism obscure ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (October 23)

[Image of election lists in Tunisia during the 2011 elections. Image by Tarek/Flickr]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week]  Algeria En Algérie, le régime est à bout de souffle Algerian police protested in front of the Presidential Palace for twenty-four hours last week calling for an end to “hogra, or humiliation. This unprecedented demonstration comes at a time when many are questioning who is running the country as President Bouteflika has ...

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New Texts Out Now: Linda Herrera, Revolution in the Age of Social Media: The Egyptian Popular Insurrection and the Internet

[Cover of Linda Herrera,

Linda Herrera, Revolution in the Age of Social Media: The Egyptian Popular Insurrection and the Internet. London and New York: Verso, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Linda Herrera (LH): In the months prior to the Arab uprisings, I had been conducing research on Egypt’s “wired generation”—their social media habits, ways of doing politics, and networks. When it became known that Egypt’s popular mobilization on 25 January 2011 was launched from a Facebook page, I literally found myself pulled by the astonishing force of events, as if lifted by a political tornado. I did not know where this force would take me—indeed I could not have imagined—but I knew ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (July 26)

[Image of the border between Mauritania and the Western Sahara. Image by David Holt/Flickr.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week.]  Algeria Algeria Plane Crash Site Found in Mali With No Survivors After an extensive search effort, the crash site of Air Algerie Flight 5017, which went missing on Thursday with 118 passengers on board, was found near the border between Mali and Burkina Faso. France Confirms No Survivors in Air Algerie Plane ...

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Those Who Want To Build, Those Who Want To Fight: The World Social Forum with a North African Twist

Holding the World Social Forum (WSF) in Tunisia, for the second time, is doubly significant. It is right on target, since Tunisians have toppled a neoliberal dictator. It is also a painful reminder of capitalism’s power, as Tunisian neoliberalism (along with the dictator’s entourage) is still intact. Not only are the main contours of Ben Ali’s policies still in place, his top bureaucrats are in command. Moreover, they have come back through elections. Voters replaced them for a secular liberal-Islamic ...

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New Texts Out Now: David McDonald, Rethinking Corporatization and Public Services in the Global South

David McDonald, editor, Rethinking Corporatization and Public Services in the Global South. London: Zed Books, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? David McDonald (DMD): After three decades of privatization, we observe a growing worldwide trend of governments taking back control of services, or creating new forms of public services, with the overall number of public enterprises globally on the increase. Corporatization is one of the most popular forms of this renewed interest in ...

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Who Are the People? A Conversation on the Assemblages and the Archives of the People

Scholars of the Middle East have grappled for several decades with what seemed to be the death of “formal” or “official” politics in their attempt to explain the seemingly impenetrable force of authoritarianism and the pacification of Arab politics. Some work reified older understandings of the idea of agency and the centrality of state institutions. Others broke new ground on the idea of the individual, critically deconstructing the seemingly self-evident meaning and universal values of “freedom” and ...

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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 ...

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‘I Can’t Breathe’: Are You Aware of the Uprising?

It is official. The world system is in deep crisis. Corruption really does start at the top. The United States, the leader of this system, first wavered in 2011. Yet another wave of protests shook the US from July to December 2014. At the “Occupy” protests three years ago, the system’s inequitable economic dimensions came to the fore. At the end of last year, its political-racial dimensions drew attention. Almost simultaneously, Europe witnessed the rise of anti-Muslim mass sentiment. Right-wing street ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (December 21)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week] Algeria   Appel au meurtre contre Kamel Daoud A Salafi imam called for the assassination of Kamel Daoud, an award winning journalist and novelist ...

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'Nefes alamiyorum': Baskaldirinin farkinda misiniz?

'Nefes alamıyorum': Başkaldırının farkında mısınız? Artık tescillendi. Dünya sistemi derin bir krizde. Balık baştan kokarmış. Sistemin önderi Amerika Birleşik Devletleri ilk olarak 2011’de sallanmıştı. Şimdi ayaklanmalar yine hayatı kilitlemeye doğru gidiyor. Temmuz’dan Aralık’a radikal sokak eylemleri durulmadı. Üç yıl önceki “İşgal Et” eylemlerinde sistemin ekonomik, eşitsizlikçi boyutu ön plana çıkmıştı. Bugün siyasi boyutu dikkat çekiyor. Neresinden tutsanız, devam ettirilemeyecek bir neoliberal ...

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The Quest for a Way Out of Tunisia’s Constitutional Quagmire

Successfully passing the tests of democracy while the whole region seems to be doomed to a chronic state of turmoil, Tunisia is considered to have set a good example for the “Arab Spring” countries and is expected to prove that a happy ending is actually possible. In fact, Tunisia has come a long way from the shadows of the police state to the perspective of a sustainable democracy. And it is Tunisian political life that has witnessed the biggest shift from a vegetative state to an interesting and ...

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Beyond Uncritical Optimism: The Challenges for Transitional Tunisia

Tunisia will go to the polls on 26 October in order to decide the composition of the new parliament and the new political balance that will determine the next phases of political transition. Since the uprising, there have been many and important steps toward real political and institutional change. Indeed, Tunisia has undergone a process of policy change involving the liberalization of political landscape, the subsequent participation of new political forces in the electoral process, the marginalization ...

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New Texts Out Now: Andrea Khalil, Crowds and Politics in North Africa: Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya

Andrea Khalil, Crowds and Politics in North Africa: Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya. London: Routledge, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book?             Andrea Khalil (AK): In the fall of 2010, I was researching a book on the 5 October 1988 riots in Algeria. I was in France and Algeria from July-December 2010 looking for documents, archives, photos, testimonies, and literature about the riots. The events in Tunisia in the middle of ...

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Djerba, Tunisia: Garbage Disposal, the Environmental Crisis, and the Awakening of Ecoconsciousness

Djerba is an island in the south of Tunisia, often referred to as “the island of dreams.” In Homer’s Odyssey, Djerba is the enchanting land of the lotus-eaters; the land whose flowers charmed the companions of Odysseus and made them forget all thoughts of return. Today Djerba is one of Tunisia’s top tourist destinations. Home to al-Ghriba, Africa’s oldest synagogue, the island annually attracts hundreds of Jewish pilgrims from all over the world. Djerba also boasts fifteen centers of thalassotherapy and ...

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Mohamed Bouazizi, l'ouvrier agricole : Relire la « révolution » depuis les campagnes tunisiennes

Bouazizi, l'autre histoire On pourrait commencer l'histoire au début des années 2000. Mohamed, orphelin de son père, devient responsable de sa fratrie et doit subvenir aux besoins de sa famille. Lorsque son oncle maternel, Salah, achète une terre agricole de 18 hectares dans la région de Regueb (gouvernorat de Sidi Bouzid, Tunisie), Mohamed commence à travailler sur l'exploitation. Lui, Salah et d'autres membres de la famille ainsi que des ouvriers saisonniers s'occupent des oliviers et des cultures ...

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