You are here

Algeria

, Successes and Shortcomings: How Algeria's Hirak can inform Lebanon's Protest Movement, Vol. 03/06/2020, Middle East Institute, 2020

The author summarizes the beginning  of the two movements, but notesthat despite significant victories, given the political power structure has not been overthrown the goals of regime change 'remain elusive'. She considers the successes in Algeria - the wide range of social groups involved and 'ethos of peacefulness' - and the shortcomings of lack of leadership and of a clear strategy to achieve change. Using the Algerian example she suggests lessons for Lebanon, such as maintaining nonviolence and avoiding political partisanship and sectarianism. 

Achcar, Gilbert, 'From One Arab Spring to Another', Radical Philosophy, 2020

In this article (partially adapted from an interview in Marxist Left Review 19, but rewritten and updated) Achcar begins by situating 2011 within a global crisis of the neoliberal stage of capitalism. He also notes the specific features of the region, and comments on the defeat of the workers' movement and the left in Egypt, and then turns to prospects in Algeria. Sudan, Lebanon and Iraq.

Addi, Lahouari, Algeria's Joyful Revolution, The Nation, 2019

This article by a professor of sociology, written a month after the outbreak of the revolution on 22 February, stresses that the 'gigantic rallies are peaceful and socially mixed'. The article  traces the background of the uprising since 1988, claimed by many Algerians as their 'Arab Spring', since it ended one party rule. Addi explains why this democratic experiment failed and led to a decade of civil war - the context in which Boutifleka came to power in 1999 promising to bring peace

Akrouf, Sanhaja, Yetnahaw Gaa - They All have to Go!, Red Pepper, 2020, pp. 20-21

This article by an Algerian feminist activist explains how the 2019 movement, triggered by rejection of Boutifleka being nominated (despite his physical incapacity) to run for the presidency for a fifth term, began in the city of Kherrata on 16 February. It then spread to other cities, and became a rejection of the whole regime. She sets the movement in its historical context, noting how the success of the movement in forcing Boutifleka's resignation from the presidency was used by the army to take over. She concludes by stressing the resilience of the movement, despite the impact of Covid-19 in 2020 which enabled a 'political lockdown'.  But she also argues that the lack of a political leadership able to draw the ideological strands of the movement together is its chief weakness.

Alpizar, Lydia ; Duran, Anahi ; Garrido, Anali Russo, Building Feminist Movements: Global Perspectives, London, Zed Books, 2006, pp. 288

The chapters cover a wide range of countries and issues, including: The Korean Women’s Trade Union, the feminist movement in Indonesia, the Algerian ‘Twenty Years is Enough’ campaign, widening the base of the feminist movement in Pakistan, advocacy of women’s rights in Nigeria, re-politicizing feminist activity in Argentina, new modes of organizing in Mexico, and two chapters on Israel, one on an Arab women’s organization.

Anser, Rayane, How Algeria's New Regime Won a Referendum but Lost Legitimacy, Open Democracy, 2020

Discusses how Tebboune, the president elected in December 2019, had campaigned during the referendum on an amendment the constitution drafted to increase its democratic content, hoping to shore up his legitimacy. But Anser notes that under 24 per cent of the electorate turned out to vote in 2020, though the amendment passed by 66.8 per cent of those voting. The article also looks at the earlier history of constitutional amendments in Algeria.

Bartkowski, Maciej J., Recovering Nonviolent History: Civil Resistance in Liberation Struggles, ed. Bartkowski, Maciej J., Boulder, CO, Lynne Rienner, 2013, pp. 436

Ambitious volume in historical and geographical range (from 1765 to current struggles, and in every continent). Individual chapters feature in relevant sections of this bibliography.

Darhour, Hanane ; Dahlerup, Drude, Double-Edged Politics on Women’s Rights in the MENA Region. Gender and Politics, Cham, Switzerland, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020, pp. 311

The authors explore women’s activism and political representation, as well as discursive changes, with a particular focus on secular and Islamic feminism. They also examine changes in public opinion on women’s position in society in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Jordan.

Drainville, Andre C., A History of World Order and Resistance: The Making and Unmaking of Global Subjects, ed. Development, , London, Routledge, 2011, pp. 216

Looks at Global Justice Movement in a broad historical framework and relates it to case studies of earlier struggles in the USA, UK, France, South Africa, Algeria, the Philippines and Jamaica.

el-Baghdadi, Iyad, Interview with Jan-Peter Westad, New Internationalist, 2020, pp. 52-54

Palestinian activist el-Baghdadi, based in Oslo, speaks about his role in providing news about the Arab Spring to the international media, and publishing his ideas about securing radical change in the longer term. He also explains why he now seeks to counter disinformation online and to campaign in particular against the autocratic model of Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.

Entelis, John, Algeria: Democracy Denied, and Revived?, Journal of North African Studies, Vol. 16, no. 4, 2011, pp. 653-676

This article (written in 2011) starts from the 1988 achievement of a new democratic constitution, soon subverted by a military take-over leading to a decade of civil war.  Entelis stresses the growing frustration among many sections of Algerian society - the young, workers, women, the middle class, Berbers and Islamists - who were all demanding economic opportunity, political freedom and social justice. He examines how the FLN regime established after 1999 has so far managed to control this growing dissent at a time of revolutionary upsurge in the Arab world.

Fahmi, George, Are We Seeing a Second Wave of the Arab Spring?, Vol. March 2019, London, Chatham House, 2019

Dr Fahmi outlines the early months of protest in both Sudan and Algeria, and discusses parallels with 2011 in terms of being 'nationwide, sustained over time, political in nature and interconnected', with the movements encouraging each other.

Fisk, Robert ; Cockburn, Patrick, Arab Spring Then and Now: From Hope to Despair, London, Mango Media, 2017, pp. 292 pb

This book sponsored by The Independent newspaper is written by its two major Middle East reporters and cover the events of 2010-11 and the aftermath.  Both correspondents have extensive expertise on their area, and have tended to diverge in their assessments from much mainstream western reporting.

Glas, Saskia ; Spierings, Niels, Changing Tides? On How Popular Support for Feminism Increased After the Arab Spring, In Double-Edged Politics on Women’s Rights in the MENA Region. Gender and Politics, Cham, Switzerland, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 131-154

The authors studied the impact of feminism in some Arab countries following the Arab Spring uprising across North Africa in 2011. They assessed the specific forms of the uprisings. They also examined whether pre-existing anti-Western value and gender relations influenced the visibility and resonance of feminist norms. 

Grewal, Sharon ; Kilavuz, Tahir ; Kubinec, Robert, Algeria's Uprising: A Survey of Protesters and the Military, Brookings Foreign Policy Institution, 2019, pp. 41

Report on an online survey of over 9,000 Algerians, including 4,200 who identified as protesters, and 1,700 who stated they were military personnel.  The survey therefore drew out how the military attitudes compare with those of the protesters. The authors found 'very high support' for Boutfileka's resignation and the protest movement, including among those not involved in the protests and among  soldiers and junior officers in the military. Senior officers were much more critical of both democracy and popular revolution.  But even junior officers and soldiers believed there was a role for the military to 'referee the political arena' and were opposed to investigation of military excesses during  the 1990s.

Grimm, Jannis, It's Spring Again, International Politics and Society Journal, 2019

Grimm compares the rising in Sudan, Algeria, Iraq and Lebanon with 2011, whilst also indicating why these countries were not part of the 2011 wave of movements. He also suggests lessons learned from 2011 and considers what the European response should be.

Haleh, Muriam ; Kasmi, Salma, Voices from the Middle East: The Future of the Hirak Movement in Algeria, Middle East Report Online, MERIP (Middle East Research and Information Project), 2020

Discusses the dilemma posed by Covid, which arrived in Algeria in February 2020, for the year-long movement of regular protests against the regime, and the shift by movement networks towards promoting local assistance during the pandemic.  But the authors note that activists are still offering legal help to those arrested and put on trial, and  maintain an online presence for the movement.

See also: Parks, Robert, 'From Protest to Hirak to Algeria's New Revolutionary Moment',  Middle East Report, vol. 292, no.3 (Fall/Winter2019).

Hamouchene, Hamza, The People Want Independence!, New Internationalist, 2020

The author notes that Covid brought a halt in March 2020 to the weekly Friday demonstrations since February 2019, and the parallel student protests every Tuesday. She notes the Hirak's achievements: forcing the Military High Command to distance itself from Boutifleka's political power centre and preventing presidential elections in both April and July 2019, because they were seen as a means to provide legitimacy for military control. The article also comments on the very broad social base of the movement, primarily led by the young, but including 'the working poor', independent trade unions, professional bodies and a prominent role for women.  It then assesses the 'counter-revolution' involving repression of the media and arrests of activists.

Hussein, Eblisam, The 2019 Algerian Protests: A Belated Spring?, Middle East Policy, Vol. 25, no. 4, 2019

Hussein argues that although many aspects of Algerian politics combined to prevent a major uprising in 2011, subsequent developments such as Boutifleka's 2013 stroke and the constitutional amendment of 2016 (lifting again the two term limit on holding the presidency) heightened opposition to the regime by 2019.  The article starts by contrasting 'oil rich Algeria' with 'poor Algerians'.

Jin, Zhixin, How Do Anti-abortion and Abortion Rights Groups Deploy Ideas About Islam in Their Activism Regarding Abortion, Journal of Politics and Law, Vol. 12, no. 1, 2018, pp. 38-47

Abortion is a hotly debated topic among Muslim communities. In this paper, the author examines how both anti-abortion and abortion rights groups deploy ideas about Islam. She analised the language used by these groups when describing Muslim communities and Muslim views and found that a majority of them did not include arguments from both sides. Almost all the Anti-Abortion Websites included generalizations about the Muslim community, and also used the conservative elements in Islamic Religion to persuade more Muslims to join their stance on abortion.

Khamis, Sahar ; Amel, Mili, Arab Women's Activism and Socio-Political Transformation, Cham, Switzerland, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, pp. 288

This book illustrates how Arab women have been engaging in ongoing, parallel struggles before, during, and after the Arab Spring. It focuses on three levels: 1) the political struggle to pave the way to democracy, freedom, and reform; 2) the social struggle to achieve gender equality and combat all forms of injustice and discrimination against women; and 3) the legal struggle to chart new laws which can safeguard both the political and the social gains. The contributors argue that while the political upheavals often had a more dramatic impact, they should not overshadow the parallel social and legal revolutions, which are equally important, due to their long-term impacts on the region. The chapters shed light on the intersections, overlaps and divergences between these gendered struggles and unpacks their complexities and multiple implications, locally, regionally, and internationally.

Ottaway, Marina ; Ottaway, David, The New Arab Uprisings: Lessons from the Past, Middle East Policy Council, Vol. 27, no. 1, 2020

The authors look back to 2011 and the varied outcomes in four different contexts which shaped the possibility of and the reactions to mass protest. These are: the Maghreb (Tunisia and Morocco); Egypt; the Levant (Syria and Iraq) - states created out of  the Ottoman Empire and then dominated by the colonial powers Britain and France; and the Gulf Arab monarchies. They then discuss 'whither the second wave?' in relation to Sudan, Algeria, Labanon and Iraq and draw some provisional conclusions.

Porter, David, Eyes to the South: French Anarchists and Algeria, Oakland CA, A.K. Press, 2011, pp. 550

Examines range of anarchist approaches in both France and Algeria and also covers period after independence.

Ridriguez, Samuel, Global Resistance to Fracking: Communities Rise Up to Fight Climate Crisis and Democratic Deficit, Madrid, Libros en Accion, 2015, pp. 153

This book, edited by the international coordinator of Ecologistas en Accion, covers 15 varied struggles against fracking around the world, and is intended to be a source of inspiration for continued resistance. Many are first person accounts, by those involved. Chapters cover personal opposition fracking in the courts or at the municipal level, resistance by local farmers to corporations backed by the government, as in Poland and Romania and the campaign for 'frack free' municipalities in the Basque territory of Spain. There are also accounts of resistance from Argentina, Algeria, South Africa, Australia, the UK (against drilling in Sussex) and Northern Ireland, and on the role of ATTA C in France. Includes a timeline and 'some snapshots' of the resistance, as well as some conclusions drawn by the editor.  

Saab, Jade, A Region in Revolt, Daraja Press, 2020, pp. 179

An early book on the second wave of  popular rebellions  in North Africa and the Middle East, with chapters on Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq, bringing out similarities and differences between the movements.

Serres, Thomas, Understanding Algeria's 2019 Revolutionary Movement, Middle East Brief, Brandeis University, no. 129, 2019

The article argues that the Hirak is a revolutionary movement that connects with the 1954-62 independence struggle, uniting diverse social groups in a movement seen as 'the People' versus 'the System'. It also combines nationalist themes with the strategy of nonviolent resistance. The analysis draws parallels with 2011 in Tunisia, and notes the attempts to launch a similar nonviolent resistance movement in Algeria in January 2011 were successfully deflected by the regime. It then examines the record of the Boutifleka government over 20 years, which led to the Hirak.

Smith, Ashley, The Long Arab Spring, An interview with Achcar, Gilbert, Jacobin Magazine, 2019

Achcar comments on the Algerian and Sudan uprisings, lessons learned from 2011-13, the role of regional and  imperial powers, and the role of  the international left in relation to Sudan.

Spierings, Niels, Democratic Disillusionment? Desire for Democracy after the Arab Spring, International Political Science Review, 2019

This article examines the impact of the uprisings on popular attitudes, using 45 public opinion surveys across the region to test his theoretical framework of a consequence-based approach that includes the concept of deprivation. When the data are combined to provide a country by country analysis they suggest that countries like Egypt and Morocco where initial protest had rapid political results but failed in the longer term, disillusionment was highest. Conversely a lack of major protest (Algeria) or of initial reform (Yemen) maintained desire for democracy.  Results for Lebanon and Tunisia showed very different respomnses from different groups in society: Sunnia in Lebanon and the very poor in Tunisia.

Stephan, Rita ; Charrad, Mounira M., Women Rising: In and Beyond the Arab Spring, New York , New York University Press, 2020, pp. 432 (pb)

This comparative study of 16 countries documents women's political resistance during and since 2011, with essays by both activists and scholars.  The book stresses the diversity of the social groups and attitudes of the women involved, and gives a voice to often marginalized groups such as housewives and rural women. After an introductory chapter 'Advancing Women's Rights in the Arab World', the book is divided into five parts: What They Fight For; What They Believe; How They Express Agency; How They Use Space to Mobilize; and How They Organize.

Thieux, Laurence, Algerian Youth and the Political Struggle for Dignity: Evolution, Trends and New Forms of Mobilisation, Journal of North African Studies, Vol. 26, no. 2, 2021, pp. 294-310

The article explores why young people generally are turning away from political parties, civil society bodies and trade unions as channels for their frustrations and a means of defending human rights. It then examines the new methods and forms of mobilization specifically within the Algerian context.

Volpi, Frederic, Algeria: When Elections Hurt Democracy, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 31, no. 2, 2020, pp. 152-165

Volpi explores the advantages and disadvantages of leaderless mass movements such as the Hirak. Their ability to challenge the 'pseudodemocratic' mechanisms used by authoritarian elites is a strong point, but a key weakness is inability to create alternative institutional approaches.  He also argues that the December 2019 election ensured the ruling elite remained in power, but undermined their legitimacy.

Wolf, Anne, The Myth of Stability in Algeria, The Journal of North African Studies, Vol. 24, no. 5, 2019, pp. 702-712

Notes that the official Algerian claims to be a model of political stability in the region - partly corroborated by the regime's ability to prevent unrest in 2011 turning into a revolution - have been proved illusory by the mass movement that erupted in Algeria in February 2019,and by the breath of its support.

Young, Michael, Are We Seeing a New Wave of Arab Spring Uprisings in 2019?, Carnegie Middle East Centre, 2019

Features brief but interesting comments by three scholarly experts on the Middle East on parallels and differences with 2011 and the implications of Algeria, Sudan, Iraq and the Lebanon  being at the forefront in 2019.