The Short Lived 2012 Mini-Uprising in Jordan: State Corporatism and Class Capacities

nada matta, Drexel University

The question that motivates this research originates in contrasts between the Egyptian experience in 2011 and the mini uprising in Jordan in 2012. I ask why the movement in Egypt was sustained for 18 days until Egyptian president Mubarak was ousted after 30 years in power, while the 2012 mini-uprising in Jordan lasted only 4 days and accomplished little, if anything. While scholarship on Jordan focuses on monarchic legitimacy, the changing spatial geography of Jordan, and the Palestinian/Transjordanian internal divide to explain the lack of sustained mass mobilizations, I will show how differences in state co-optation policies and class capacities mattered the most. Based on in depth interviews, newspaper research, and macro level state data, I show that in Egypt, protests among labor groups from growing crucial sectors in the economy, gave steam to the mobilizations, and put pressure on elites. In addition, the decline in state corporatism in Egypt, pushed state employees to protest against the regime until Mubarak left. I show that unlike those in Egypt, Jordanian corporatist arrangements were not completely dismantled, and the regime was able to utilize these arrangements to undermine protesters. For example, state employees in Jordan still enjoy significant state benefits, and though, like their Egyptian counterparts, they initially took part in protests, they quickly retreated and refused the call for overthrowing the regime. As for class capacities, in spite of the initial wide participation, Jordanian mobilizations lacked labor groups with leverage to continually fill the squares, give steam to the mobilizations, and put pressure on elites. By conducting an analysis of how neoliberal capitalism impacts the capacities of agents to mobilize, I contribute to the scholarly work on movements in the Middle East and emphasize the often-neglected role of labor in mass movements.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 180. Assessing Revolutionary Situations and Outcomes