Dina El Sharnouby

A Radical Exploration of the Egyptian Revolution: Ideological interventions of the Revolutionary Socialists

Only big coalitions have a chance to challenge authoritarian regimes. The Egyptian revolutionary uprising was no exception in this. One of the interesting traits of the uprising was the unlikely coalition between Islamists and the left which started to shape a decade before the 2011 event. After years of stagnation and fragmentation across the political opposition in Egypt, the beginning to the millennium marks the revival of political and social mobilization. As a new generation came of age, frustrated with lack of economic prosperity and excluded from political engagement, important strategic changes across the opposition’s mobilization strategies took shape. One such unlikely coalition between the Islamists and the left was advanced by the leftist Revolutionary Socialists (RS) in reconceptualizing Islamism changing their political practices. Instead of submitting to the authoritarian strategy of divide and rule, the RS played an important role in theorizing and organizing across political groups, particularly with the Muslim Brotherhood, making them an interesting group to research. How did the RS conceptualize their new ideological stance? When and how did they cooperate with the Islamists while remaining loyal to their ideological position? Can this coalition between unlikely partners be a model for future contestations of authoritarian rule in Egypt? are some of the questions this study aims at researching. Through conducting interviews with members of the RS and reviewing their archive, this research aims at highlighting political thought and mobilization strategies in contesting authoritarian rule before and after the 2011 uprising.

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