Publication State / Democracy - Political Parties / Election Analyses - Social Movements / Organizing - Inequality / Social Struggles - North Africa - Middle East Mapping of the Arab Left II

Leftists Movements an Politics in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria. Published in English and Arabic (Kharetet al-Yassar al-Arabi) by the North Africa Office.

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Series

Article

Author

Khalil Kalfat,

Publishers

Ivesa Luebben,

Published

April 2015

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Only available online

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The Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS) is concerned with a number of topics relevant for progressive political life in and outside of parliament. As an organization affiliated with the German Left Party, we function as a think tank for the wider spectrum of German groups, organizations, and movements that struggle for social justice and direct democracy.

Although the contexts of relevant developments within the political left may vary, the effects are similar: Efforts are not unified and, thus, weakened. Moreover, although leftist policies may address important social issues, they are not necessarily attractive for relevant constituencies. The questions therefore are: What are the appropriate ways to organize for political parties? How can parties advance social movements and vice versa? How can the social justice we are fighting for be achieved in a globalized world? Who could be our partners in this struggle? In general, there seem to be more questions than answers.

In Germany, as in many other European countries, we are facing rising disillusionment from (traditional) party and parliamentary politics. The number of party members, let alone active ones, is on the decline. People are finding other ways to organize, often through powerful and socially broad political initiatives. These initiatives, on the other hand, are mostly short-lived, which stresses the need for lasting political parties and other organisations.

In different Arab countries we have been witnessing the same developments. The discrepancies between the different leftist ideologies and practices are evident in many countries. Many parties and movements are marginalized, some miss internal democracy and are, thus, neither attractive for younger activists nor promising pillars in the fight for a democratic society. And in the search for practical ways to achieve social justice, the obstacles seem overwhelming: Foreign debt and its repercussions, draining or exploitation of local labour and resources by foreign investments, or free trade agreements, of which only the stronger economy benefits in the long term.

This study adds to previous ones by the RLS. “From Revolution to Coalition – Radical Left Parties in Europe” analyses the situation of leftist parties in Europe (Available in English and Arabic) and can be accessed online. A study about leftist parties in the Arab East (Arabic and English) can be downloaded as well.

We want this material to be used as a basis for a process of sharing analyses and learning from each other’s practices and experiences. We hope for it to be a small contribution to improving the understanding of political processes in different contexts and to the advancement of networks between progressive parties and circles across borders and continents. The aim is to refill progressive values and political practices with life on the basis of social justice and equality.

 (Introduction by Peter Schäfer, Head of the RLS North Africa office)

Contributors:

  • On Arab Left and Arab Revolutions: Khalil Kalfat
  • Mapping of the Tunisian Left: Mouldi Guessoumi
  • Leftists Movements in Egypt: Habiba Mohsen and Ahmed AbdelHamid
  • The Contemporary Yemeni Left Scene: Boshra Maqtary
  • The Left in Sudan: Resources and Contemporary Challenges: Magdi El-Gizouli 
  • The Moroccan Left: Crisis reality and the throes of change: Imad Stitou
  • The Leftist movement in Algeria: a legend to glorify hope: Mehdi Larbi

Editing of the Arabic edition: Khalil Kalfat
Translation: Ubab Murad
English Copyediting: Rachel Aspden

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Khalil Kalfat is an Egyptian writer and translator who wrote a number of articles and books on politics in the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s he worked in the field of preparing dictionaries and translation from English and French. He has published numerous political, cultural and linguistic articles and studies. His linguistic writings include Towards a New Arabic Grammar, and his translated works include The Old Regime and the French Revolution, by Alexis de Tocqueville. His writings about the January revolution are collected in five books that will be published successively.