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Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Joel Beinin
The extensive press coverage of the evolving situation in Egypt, though seeming to cover every angle from the use of social media to the nuances of the American administration's approach to the maneuverings of the Muslim Brotherhood, is overlooking one key element — the role of Egyptian workers and labor unions in the uprising.
"I don't think that the key thing in launching the Egyptian movement — or revolution if it's going to be a revolution — was Facebook or the Tunisian example," Stanford University Middle East specialist Joel Beinin told me this week. "There's been 10 years of mobilization around worker and labor issues. I think the mobilization and the breaching of the barrier of fear is probably more significant than Facebook or Tunisia."
The longstanding state of emergency in Egypt had allowed the government to massively violate labor rights, he said.