Why has the Egyptian state, which is more repressive and authoritarian than its Mexican counterpart been unable to overcome the opposition of a labor movement, that is smaller, less organized, and more repressed than the Mexican labor movement? Through agitation or the threat of agitation, Egyptian workers have been able to hinder the reform process, while the Mexican labor movement, which is larger and better organized was unable to resist privatization. The Egyptian state's low capacity and isolation is best understood by looking at the founding moment -- or incorporation period of each regime. The critical distinction between Mexican and Egyptian incorporation is that in Egypt, the labor movement was depoliticized and attached to the state bureaucracy, while in Mexico, workers were electorally mobilized into a political party. This difference would prove crucial during the reform process, because, social control in Mexico, exercised through the PRI, was more effective in coopting opponents and mobilizing urban constituencies for privatization than the control mechanisms of the Egyptian state bureaucracy.
Focus areas: Sub-Saharan migration and transnationalism, African migration into Europe and racial politics in North Africa
Hisham Aidi's research interests include cultural globalization and the political economy of race and social movements. He received his PhD in political science from Columbia University, and has taught at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, and at the Driskell Center for the Study of the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Redeploying the State (Palgrave, 2008) a comparative study of neo-liberalism and labor movements in Latin America; and co-editor, with Manning Marable, of Black Routes to Islam (Palgrave, 2009).
In 2002–2003, Aidi was a consultant for UNDP's Human Development Report. From 2000 to 2003, he was part of Harvard University's Encarta Africana project, and worked as a cultural reporter, covering youth culture and immigration in Harlem and the Bronx, for Africana, The New African and ColorLines. More recently, his work has appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, The New Yorker and Salon. Since 2007, he has been a contributing editor of Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Culture, Politics and Society. Aidi is the author most recently of Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture (Pantheon, 2014), a study of American cultural diplomacy.
Aidi teaches the SIPA MIA survey course Conceptual Foundations of International Politics, and seminars in SIPA's summer program.