Social Bases for the Hama Revolt

by Fred H. Lawson
published in MER110

During the first week of February 1982, serious fighting broke out in Syria between residents of the north-central city of Hamah and the government’s armed forces. A Syrian army raid on a number of buildings that were suspected of being hideouts for local cells of the Muslim Brothers precipitated the fighting. Brother militants foiled this operation using modern small arms and grenade launchers. They then attacked a variety of government installations, including the Hama headquarters of the police and of the Baath party, and also the airfield on the edge of town. By the second day of the fighting, mosques in some sections of the city broadcast calls for a general uprising against the country’s rulers.

The Yemeni UFW Martyr

by Nadine Naber
published in MER273

In the summer of 2014, director Diego Luna released Cesar Chavez, a feature-length retelling of the story of the 1973 grape pickers’ strike in California that inspired an international grape boycott and made Cesar Chavez a household name. In the film, the first person killed on a farm worker picket line was a Mexican bracero named Juan de la Cruz. In fact, de la Cruz was the third of five “United Farm Worker martyrs” to die violent deaths struggling for social justice in the vast fields of American agribusiness. The first was Nan Freeman, a young Jewish student helping a sugarcane strike in Florida, and the second was a Yemeni migrant called Nagi Daifallah.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER123

One of the great achievements of the capitalist class in the United States has been its ability to enlist the enthusiastic support of the trade union leadership in this country for a foreign policy of intervention and counterrevolution, a policy clearly against the interests of the organized working class here. One recent instance was AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland’s presence on the panel headed by Henry Kissinger which endorsed the Reagan Administration’s war against Central America. The interest of US corporate leaders in a policy supporting rightwing oligarchies and juntas is directly related to the preservation of low-wage, unorganized labor havens for their “runaway” shops and factories. These in turn are used as levers to wrest concessions from workers in this country.

Trade Unions and Moroccan Politics

by Jean-Francois Clement , James Paul
published in MER127

Morocco is unusual in the Middle East for its extensive civil society -- social institutions which are relatively independent of control by the state apparatus. A complex relationship exists between the absolute and repressive monarchy of King Hassan II on the one hand and the powerful opposition institutions on the other. Among these institutions are the press and the political parties, but over the years the most impressive and most notable have been Morocco’s trade unions.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Saudis' Mass Expulsions Putting Somalis in Danger

by Laetitia Bader , Adam Coogle | published March 18, 2014

In 2013, Mohamed, a 22-year old Somali, was making a living washing cars in Saudi Arabia. Late that year, due to increasing government pressure on employers of undocumented workers, he was fired. In December, after several weeks without a job, Mohamed handed himself over to the police. He spent the next 57 days detained in appalling conditions. “In the first detention center in Riyadh, there was so little food, we fought over it,” he said. “So the strongest ate the most. Guards told us to face the wall and then beat our backs with metal rods. In the second place, there were two toilets for 1,200 people, including dozens of children.” Mohamed is now in Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

New Documentary on US Military's Migrant Workers

by Darryl Li | published March 7, 2014 - 9:43am

Starting today, Al Jazeera’s “Fault Lines” will air “America’s War Workers,” a documentary by MERIP editor Anjali Kamat (@anjucomet) on the use of migrant workers by the US military.

New Data on Palestinian Workers in Israel

published in MER114

A survey covering the inhabitants of the territories who work inside Israel, conducted by the manpower planning section of the Department of Employment, reveals that in 1981 some 76,000 of them were working in Israel. In 1971, the equivalent figure had been 21,000 and in 1975 it had been 66,000. According to the survey, financed by the Defense Ministry through the coordinator of activities in the territories, the inhabitants of the territories constitute about 5.5 percent of workers in Israel.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Women and Labor Migration

One Egyptian Village

by Fatma Khafagy
published in MER124

Women are now the heads of between 25 and 35 percent of all households in developing countries. [1] In the Middle East and North Africa, women head about 16 percent of all households. [2] One main reason for the increasing number of households headed by women is male migration to seek work outside their own countries, unaccompanied by their wives and children. When male villagers from Egypt emigrate, they do so without their families. [3] For one thing, a large number emigrate illegally, with neither official work contracts nor legal residence in countries of employment. It is much easier for them to move alone and leave their families behind.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Yemeni Workers Abroad

The Impact on Women

by Cynthia Myntti
published in MER124

In Yemen one often hears the hypothesis that as men migrate abroad in search of work, women move into male economic and political roles, at least within the household. The assumption is that women take over production tasks and decisionmaking which have always been the responsibility of men. While this may well be happening in some communities in Yemen, the evidence in one village of Ta‘izz province, in the southern part of the country, suggests that the domestic effects of migration might not be simply to “fill the vacuum” created by the absence of men. [1]

Egyptian Migration and Peasant Wives

by Elizabeth Taylor
published in MER124

In the 1960s, Egypt supplied the labor markets of the Middle East with professionals and administrators seconded by the government. Carefully regulated and controlled, the export of labor was consistent both with Egypt’s policies in the area and with its own manpower needs. In the 1970s, government-seconded labor was overtaken in volume by a huge and largely unregulated flow of labor at all skill levels. By 1975, Egypt had overtaken Yemen as the major exporter of labor in the area, and its share of the total Arab migrant labor market had reached one third. By 1980, Egypt had at least doubled its migrant stock, an estimated 10 percent of which are women.