In April 1931, boycotts of foreign-owned electricity companies were launched across multiple cities of the Arab Levant under French Mandate. This article argues that the boycotts drew on an established local culture of boycotting that was shaped by the social relations formed under the system of “concessionary imperialism.” These “electric boycotts” took on increased potency in the context of the constrained opportunities for anti-imperial protest under the interwar system. They were part of an oft-forgotten history of nonviolent civil disobedience, overshadowed by more violent expressions of opposition to colonial rule. It is argued that the 1931 and 1936 boycotts were novel for the threat of regional conflagration that they posed, as well as the increased “internationalization” in the framing of their meanings. Gandhism, Communism, and later, Fascism, provided competing poles of reference for anti-imperial activists in French Mandate Syria across the decade of the 1930s.

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