Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Professor Joel Beinin, who teaches at both the American University of Cairo and Stanford University, specializes in the history of labor movements. He says most people, when measuring whether Egypt is democratizing or not, are looking at the wrong things. "There is nothing whatsoever in the formal political arena, or even in the arena of the NGOs, which would support the notion that this is a society which is becoming more democratic in any meaningful way whatsoever," he noted. "In fact, the opposite. It's becoming more repressive as we speak." But, he says, if one adopts the view that democracy comes from the people, and that rights are won and not given, then the massive labor strikes are a sign of real potential for democratic change. "That's huge! There hasn't been anything like this in Egypt since before 1952," he added. "So it's the future of that movement which is the possibility of democracy in Egypt.""" (thanks Joel)