The Muslim Brotherhood Takes to the Streets (pt. 2)

This post is the second in a two-part series attempting to explain the massive crowds we see in Tahrir Square today in Egypt. In part one I tried to lay out the political-legal wrangling that has led to the dissolution of Parliament, the seizure of certain aspects of executive authority by the military, and the delay of the announcement of the winner of Egypt’s Presidential elections held last week. Continue reading

The Muslim Brotherhood Takes to the Streets (pt. 1)

In massive demonstrations of roughly 100,000 over each of the past three nights, Egyptians took to the streets. Demonstrations have become a regular feature of political life since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, but most of them these days number around 1-2,000. When numbers like this take to the streets, emotionally-loaded developments are usually a key cause.

So what caused this latest round of demonstrations? In the next two posts, I will try to answer this question by looking at two sides of the story. In Part One (today), I will try to summarize the political-legal wrangling taking place between Parliament, Army, Judiciary, and the (as of yet unnamed) President. In Part Two (tomorrow) we will look at the coalition-building taking place between the Muslim Brotherhood, young liberals, and supporters of a more radical fundamentalist interpretation of Islam in politics. Both sides together account for the story of these stunning developments. Continue reading

On the History of Egypt’s Constitutional Transition

The big news coming out of Egypt today is that secular liberals have walked out of  the latest meeting of the Constituent Assembly (CA). This comes after a similar boycott of the last meeting of the CA in March 2012, and thus cast serious doubt on the ability of the Egyptian parliament as it is currently configured to write a new constitution. Continue reading

JPMorgan’s $2 Billion blow-up

For the better part of the past four years, Jamie Dimon has been known as the “King of Wall Street.” The company he leads, JPMorgan Chase, emerged from the carnage of the 2008 financial crisis with two new acquisitions: Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual. It is the largest bank holding company by total assets in the world. According to Ezra Klein, Dimon has been using the political capital he built up during the crisis to fight against the Volcker Rule, part of recent financial regulation efforts:  “Paul Volcker by his own admission has said he doesn’t understand capital markets,” Dimon told Fox Business earlier this year. “He has proven that to me.”

And then, last night, Dimon announced that JPMorgan Chase had lost $2 Billion so far this quarter on some very big hedges. I find this story to be a very illuminating case-study in the volatility of the American economy at the present moment, so I want to highlight some important aspects of it in this post. Continue reading

Tragedy in Port Said: A Failure of the Police

The soccer riots which saw the death of at least 70 in Port Said this past Wednesday sparked protests in Cairo and Port Said in which at least 4 more have been killed and 700 injured. This senseless violence is difficult to comprehend, but taking a closer look at the long and complicated relationship between Egypt’s soccer clubs and the government can help to provide some context. James M. Dorsey, a Senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, has been keeping up with a very excellent blog on the Turbulent World of Mideast Soccer that is a great resource if you really want to dive into this subject. Continue reading

Women in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and the Concept of Plural Modernities

Last week I wrote a post on the many different ways that people in the Middle East and throughout the formerly-colonized world understand and experience “modernity.” Today, I want to build on that concept by looking at three very different examples of women getting involved in the 2011 Egyptian revolution. Hopefully this exercise will not only help to expand our understanding of the plurality of modernities, but will also introduce some important issues about the Egyptian revolution and feminist consciousness in the Middle East. Continue reading