Leader of the Pack?

Guest Star Week on TBBKA”DP?” continues: up today is Greg Hoadley, a doctoral candidate in political science at UC Berkeley. Like me, Greg took some time off in the middle of the program, and is in the final stages of writing his dissertation, which is about the emergence of professional official statistics in Egypt and Lebanon. The ability of the state to “read” society and turn that knowledge into action is actually one of the key indicators of state capacity, the basis for so much of public policy, and something we really take for granted in the U.S. (um, who do you think measures the unemployment rate?).

Greg did his fieldwork in Egypt and Lebanon last year, and we talked about the origins of the uprising, what this might be a transition to, and who might step up to lead the process of negotiation with the regime. I’ll have more to share from my conversations with Greg and with Molly Schultz Hafid next week, but here’s a first look.

Chris: One of the memes floating around about what’s going on in Egypt is that this is a “leaderless” movement. Do you buy that?

Greg: There was an opposition made up of small parties licensed by the regime, which were to a degree complicit with the regime. They weren’t part of the January 25th demonstration [which started the uprising], but they quickly hopped on board. The same thing with the Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned but tolerated. They also weren’t involved at the outset, but they didn’t claim credit either. It seems that the nexus that got it rolling on the 25th was a collaboration between these young online activists and independent labor unions. But after the 26th or 27th, I don’t know that you can say who was in charge because there was a massive popular response from all segments of Egyptian society.

Chris: So who are the interlocutors during a transition?

Greg: That’s a wide open question. The established parties didn’t get the job done over the last 30 years; they don’t have a lot of credibility with the public. The Muslim Brotherhood has announced that they’ll form a political party and we can expect other new parties to form. There is also an ongoing struggle for control of the Egyptian labor movement, and some young activists are starting to voice frustration with the pace of change. Who wins the revolution is an open question.

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2 Responses to “Leader of the Pack?”

  1. The Blog Briefly Known as "Democratizing Philanthropy?" » Blog Archive » Come Together, Right Now Says:

    […] The Blog Briefly Known as "Democratizing Philanthropy?" BETA version, new title in the works. New post each Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (for now). « Leader of the Pack? […]

  2. The Blog Briefly Known as "Democratizing Philanthropy?" » Blog Archive » Tea in the Sahara Says:

    […] Egypt, all the time continues here on DPQ. More from my interview with Greg Hoadley, doctoral candidate in political science at UC Berkeley who spent last year in Egypt and Lebanon […]

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