Volume 4, Number 2 (2011)

“The Hard Hit is Still to Come”: An Intifada Imaginary

Philip Rizk

On 11 February 2011, Egyptian protestors from across the country forced their long-time president, Hosni Mubarak, out of power. A revolution does not happen in a vacuum. Thus I want to challenge two widespread notions regarding the events in Egypt. First, toppling ar dictator, does not constitute a revolution until political and economic structures are transformed. Thus, I claim that the Egyptian uprising in early 2011is more akin to the Palestinian Intifada than to a revolution – that is, an uprising against an occupation — though in this case a local one. Second, the demonstrations that started 25 January 2011 did not simply emulate the nearby Tunisian protest movement, but came from attempts, especially by workers in the past few years, to demonstrate against economic exploitation and corruption. By focusing on this earlier history I argue that, in Egypt, a revolutionary uprising is still in the making.

Keywords: Egypt, intifada, labor, neoliberalism, protest, revolution, uprising