Crisis and Class War in Egypt

Social Reproduction, Factional Realignments and the Global Political Economy

Sean F. McMahon


An examination of the resurgence of military dictatorship in Egypt, exploring where the revolution went wrong and how it can be saved

In 2011, capital’s crisis erupted in Egyptian society. This eruption, and subsequent politics, have been misrepresented as revolutionary, as the working class was – and is increasingly so – devalued and disempowered.

In Crisis and Class War in Egypt, Sean F. McMahon critically analyses Egypt's recent political history. He argues that the so-called 'revolution' was the appearance of capital's destruction of the value of the Egyptian working class and an existential crisis for capital. In response, productive capital in the form of the military used, disposed of and replaced its junior partners in governing; first the predatory capital of the Mubarak state with the commodity capital of the Muslim Brotherhood, and then commodity capital with the finance capital of the Gulf Cooperation Council. These reconfigurations have been expressed in all manner of reactionary governmental arrangements including constitutions, legislation and currency reform.

Extending today's analysis into the near future, McMahon sees the war of Egyptian society intensifying, and increasingly violent lives for Egyptian workers.

Author Bio

Sean F. McMahon is assistant professor of political science. He is editor, with Dan Tschirgi and Walid Kazziha, of Egypt's Tahrir Revolution (2013) and the author of The Discourse of Palestinian–Israeli Relations: Persistent Analytics and Practices (2010).

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Dialectical Development of Egypt’s Crisis Moment
  • 3. Fetishisms and Faction
  • 4. Realignments and Reform
  • 5. The Coming Eruption of Crisis


'Delves into the underlying causes of the continuing crisis in Egypt. The analysis stands in stark contrast to the shallowness of Orientalist and neoliberal explanations of events.’
Ibrahim Aoude, editor, Arab Studies Quarterly

‘Provides a remarkably detailed analysis of the neoliberal policies – both within Egypt and at a global level – that undermined the well-being of Egyptian workers and produced the desperation behind the uprising in 2011.’
Harry Cleaver, University of Texas at Austin (Emeritus)

'Offers an insightful perspective that is not often found in studies of Egyptian politics … Crisis and Class War in Egypt is a thought-provoking read that raises critical questions about Egypt’s recent past and carries important implications for its future.'
Muslim World Book Review


Publication Date: 15 October 2016
240 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781783605026
Hardback: 9781783605033
eBook ePub: 9781783605057
eBook PDF: 9781783605040
eBook Kindle: 9781783605064

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