“Egypt’s revolutionary turmoil has been misunderstood, and a great deal of that misunderstanding has been deliberate.”
Five years on from the start of Egypt’s revolution, and counter-revolution, ‘The Egyptians: A Radical Story’ interrogates the country’s turmoil from below – and argues that its struggles are intimately enmeshed with global patterns of oppression and resistance which stretch well beyond Egypt’s borders.
Published by Allen Lane and Penguin Books, ‘The Egyptians’ looks past the presidential palace and explores more important faultlines: the far-flung communities waging war against transnational corporations, the men and women fighting to subvert long-established gender norms, the workers dramatically seizing control of their own factories, and the cultural producers (novelists, graffiti artists and illicit bedroom DJs) appropriating public space in defiance of their repressive and violent western-backed regime.
Released on January 28th 2016, ‘The Egyptians’ is available to pre-order now from Amazon
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Advance praise for ‘The Egyptians’…
This superbly written book documents the great victories – and terrible setbacks – of a people thirsting for democracy and social justice. A courageous writer who gives voice to the hopes and fears of the people of Egypt – Owen Jones
I started reading this and couldn’t stop. It’s a remarkable piece of work, and very revealing. A stirring rendition of a people’s revolution as the popular forces that Shenker vividly depicts carry forward their many and varied struggles, with radical potential that extends far beyond Egypt – Noam Chomsky
Shenker’s book understands the Egyptian Spring, and the counter-strikes against it, as a deeper social process that, far from being over, will continue driving revolutionary upheaval in the years to come. He reframes political events as the products of social and technological change. And, above all, he refuses to give up hope. This is the deepest and most comprehensive account of Egypt’s revolution in the English language, and it will set the agenda for debate throughout the Arab world – Paul Mason, author of PostCapitalism
Jack Shenker cuts through the complacent clichés and self-flattering illusions of foreign correspondents and experts to produce an intimate and comprehensive portrait of contemporary Egypt, which is as historically informed as it is politically shrewd – Pankaj Mishra, author of From the Ruins of Empire
Essential reading for those who want to go beyond the conventional wisdom and understand the real causes of upheaval in the Arab world – Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4 News and author of Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution
[The following is an edited extract from the book’s prologue]
“Egypt’s revolutionary turmoil has been misunderstood, and a great deal of that misunderstanding has been deliberate. A process that began on January 25th, 2011, and which will continue yet for many more years to come, has been framed deceptively by elites both within Egypt and beyond. The aim of this deception has been to sanitise the revolution and divest it of its radical potential.
The revolution, and counter-revolution, has never just been about Mubarak, or his successors, or elections. It is not merely a civil war between Islamists and secularists, nor a fight between oriental backwardness and western liberal modernity, nor an ‘event’ that can be fixed and constrained in place or time. In reality, the past half-decade’s unrest is about marginalized citizens muscling their way on to the political stage and practicing collective sovereignty over domains that were previously closed to them. The national presidency is one such domain, but there are many others: factories, fields and urban streets, the mineral resources that lie under the desert sand and beneath the seabed, the houses people live in, the food they eat and the water they drink.
These struggles cannot be isolated; they are intimately entwined with forms of exclusion and resistance which impact upon and implicate us all. The political momentum which accompanied the anti-Mubarak uprising five years ago has been violently stalled, but the underlying faultlines which animated it remain urgent and unresolved. These faultlines stretch across many borders. Therein lies the revolution’s threat, and its living, giddying possibilities.”