‘The people want …’: the first part of the slogan chanted by millions of Arab protestors since 2011 revealed a long-repressed craving for democracy. But huge social and economic problems were also laid bare by the protesters’ demands. Although Islamist parties did not initiate the protest movement, they have benefitted the most from the power vacuum that followed the ousting of the rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.
In this landmark work, Gilbert Achcar sheds light on the social, economic, historical and political background to the on-going Arab Uprising and assesses its future prospects. With incisive and invaluable insight, Achcar investigates why the liberals and the Left failed to capitalise on the initial momentum and assesses whether the Islamist parties will be able to steer their countries out of their present crisis.
About the Author(s)
Gilbert Achcar is Professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His other works include The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab–Israeli War of Narratives and Perilous Power: The Middle East and US Foreign Policy, with Noam Chomsky.
‘An incisive analysis of the Arab revolts’ CIDOB
‘The People Want provides great insight into the current situation in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain and Syria … [It] offers a valuable, in-depth and original perspective for evaluating the popular revolts which continue to determine events in the Arab region.’ Jordan Times
‘A thoughtful and acute analysis … Insightful, thought-provoking and compelling … Any reader who would like a clear-eyed, theoretically grounded and lucid assessment of what the Arab uprisings have wrought so far would benefit from Gilbert Achcar’s The People Want.’
The Middle East in London
‘Achcar steers away from oversimplification... [His] analysis of the impact of workers’ and women’s movements is extremely valuable, as these have been largely overlooked by other commentators ... Achcar’s ideas are certainly deserving of debate. His insights offer a reasoned practical hope, whereas other analysts on the left offer doom and gloom. Moreover, Achcar’s chapter providing a “balance sheet” of what has been achieved so far in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and Syria, as well as an assessment of future prospects in each country, is indispensable.’
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs