Sovereignty in the Street: Popular Committees, Revolutionary Ambivalence, and Unrealized Power
2023. "Sovereignty in the Street: Popular Committees, Revolutionary Ambivalence, and Unrealized Power", Revolution Squared: Tahrir, Political Possibilities, and Counterrevolution in Egypt, Atef Shahat Said
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Atef Shahat Said starts with a vignette about participating in one of the popular committees that existed in Egypt to police neighborhoods during the uprising. He then situates this within the larger problem of policing Egypt during the revolution. He provides an anatomy of the popular committees and analyzes the triangle of power that existed in Egypt at the time: the military, the Tahrir revolutionaries, and the popular committees. He briefly compares how this triangle of power differs from Leon Trotsky's famous thesis on dual power. Importantly, Said examines some of the efforts Tahrir revolutionaries did to connect with popular committees in Cairo and examines how Tahrir revolutionaries made sense of—in 2012—the disconnection between the Tahrir camp and popular committees during the uprising in 2011. Said concludes the chapter with a call for the need to expand how we think of the degrees of sovereignty on the ground during revolutions.