Towards a collective alternative economy: Self-administration and cooperatives in Egypt

Posted: 2 فبراير 2017 in كتابات مترجمة

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Ayman Abdel Moati

Alternative Economy in the Arab region: Concepts and Issues

These papers are the outcome of a conference that was held in Tunis, Tunisia (16-17 September 2016)

Publishers: Arab Forum for Alternatives and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung North Africa office

Introduction:

The idea of establishing an economy that works on serving the interests of the community rather than a few individuals who only seek profit is not really new. Starting from primitive communism, human communities have for successive eras divided labor and shared resources. That was long before the emergence of private property and all the economic patterns associated with it such as the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the minority at the expense of the working majority. Family economies, which still exist in both urban and rural areas, are based on collective management of production processes and the distribution of products through cooperation among members of the same family or at times the same networks of interests. Such kind of cooperation meets the demands of the producers themselves as well as the local community in which they live.

For more than 100 years, Egypt has seen a number of experiences in cooperative work that extended to different production and service sectors for the purpose of establishing a parallel economy that allows for collective management, product, and distribution of revenue. Cooperatives in Egypt managed to strike a relative balance at times of economic crises in order to provide a considerable portion of the impoverished class with their needs in a direct manner. In the early 2000s, a different kind of experience emerged as workers would in many cases run debt-laden factories whose corrupt owners left and would actually manage to pay the debts and get their delayed wages as well as create a surplus that allows the start of new production cycles.

This paper examines two experiences from Egypt: first, workers’ self-administration in the Nubaria Seed Production Company (NubaSeed) in the Beheira governorate (150 kilometers north of Cairo) from October 2011 till November 2013 and second, the women’s cooperative partly established by the National Initiative to Support Cooperatives in Fayoum governorate (90 kilometers southwest of Cairo) starting 2014. The two experiences offer examples of citizens’ economy that focuses on meeting the needs that are usually discarded or marginalized by the mainstream economy. The two examples were specifically chosen for two reasons: first, they are quite recent since both of them took place after the January 2011 revolution and second, they both happened outside Cairo which proves that such initiatives are not necessarily linked to the capital which is seen as the center of all change. The success of the two experiences does not mean they did not have their points of weakness and these too will be examined in the paper so that mistakes are not repeated in future initiatives.

Egypt: Impoverishment and resistance:

Workers and farmers and members of other marginalized classes started managing their collective interests following the failure of traditional capitalist solutions in providing basic needs and decent living conditions. This shift can be understood in the light of two major factors: first, the nature of economic crises caused by production relations within a society ruled by capitalism and second, the role of protest movements in effecting real changes in social and economic relations.

Regarding the first factor, the Egyptian society has for dozens of years been subjected to impoverishment attempts. For example, 80% of amounts allotted to wages go to only 30% of workers while the remaining 20% go to 70% of workers[1]. Before the January 2011 revolution, unemployment rates in Egypt reached 10% and poverty rate 22%, but now have risen to 13% and 26%, respectively[2] while some official sources estimate poverty at 27.08%[3]. Minimum monthly spending for the highest echelon, which does not exceed 15.7% of the population, is estimated at 4,160 Egyptian pounds, that is 50,000 annually, whereas individuals in the poorest 10% spend 3,332 annually, that is 277 per month[4]. Egypt’s ranking dropped to 137, out of 140 countries, in the 2015 Global Competitiveness Index[5].

A recent report by the Egyptian Central Bank stated that internal debt reached in late March 2016 around 2.5 trillion, compared to 2 trillion in March 2015 while external debt reached USD 53.4 billion, compared to 40 billion in March 2015. This means that the total debt constitutes 92% of gross domestic product[6]. Added to this are other loans the government is trying to obtain such as the USD 25 billion from Russia to fund the construction of the Dabaa nuclear facility and the IMF loan that requires increasing the prices of fuel, electricity, drinking water, and public transportation within three months at most[7]. The IMF loan increased from 4.7 billion in 2012 to 7.11 in mid-July 2016 then 12 billion by the end of July as part of a USD 21 billion bundle that reportedly aims at solving the country’s financial crisis[8].

The crisis through which Egypt is going is manifested in the budget deficit exceeding 11%, the balance of trade deficit estimated at 8%, and inflation rate reaching 4%. Loan interests became one of the most important items on the budget as it constituted 7.6% of the budget, compared to 7.4% for wages and 5.1% for subsidies. The deficit is covered through loans and printing more money (the amount of money increased by 16% in the past year)[9]. This coincided with the pound floatation policies as 1 USD equaled LE 5.62 in 2010, but reached LE 8.82 in early May 2016, that is a 36% increase[10] while at the same time it reached LE 11.5 in the black market. This led to a 27% increase in prices between 2014 and 2016[11].

What aggravates the situation is that in the midst of such conditions where basic needs are not met, military spending has remarkably increased. Military imports reached in 2015 USD 2,226 billion, making Egypt the world’s fourth in arms imports, according to a report published by the global analysis firm IHS Markit. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which measures spending through production costs rather than purchase price, Egypt’s arms imports reached USD 1,475 billion in 2015, compared to USD 686 million in 2010 and 368 million in 2014. The military’s budget in Egypt is kept secret, but Transparency International estimated it at USD 4.4 billion annually while industry intelligence firm BMI Research estimated the 2015 budget to have reached 5.1 billion and expected it to increase to 5.4 billion in 2016. On the other hand, the budget allocated for health care is LE 49.2 billion[12].

As for the second factor, protests had been spreading before the January 2011 revolution, particularly starting 2007 with 617 protests followed by 2008 with 609 protests, 2009 with 700 protests, and less in 2010 with 530[13]. Protests increased significantly in 2011 to reach 1,400 as both workers and revolutionaries joined forces and this continued after Mubarak’s ouster so that protests reached 1,969 in 2012 and an unprecedented 2,239 in 2013. The numbers decreased in 2014 to reach 1,600 followed by 1,117 in 2015 as a result of the protest law and the general restriction of public sphere activities[14].

Social justice was the main demand in the protests staged in the past 10 years, yet those demands were not confined to the economic aspect as they used to be before, but they still did not reach the point of possessing the tools of political struggle to resolve the conflict between the people and the state. It is for this reason that many entities formed during and after the revolution did not survive for long and this includes professional, labor, and farmers’ unions, popular committees, cooperatives, and political parties and movements. Most of those whether totally disappeared or have come to play a minor role in the political scene and all of them failed to subvert state policies against which the protests were staged. This does not, however, underestimate the significance of sending ripples across stagnant waters and which was the cause for the success of several initiatives that would not have been possible otherwise.

Towards an alternative economy: Two experiences from Egypt

There is a difference between cooperatives and self-administration. The first, which is the oldest and the most wide-spread, is based on the initiation of small and medium sized projects that yield profit for a specific community whose members also take part in administrating and managing the cooperative in what resembles a family business. Products of cooperatives can be released in the market, yet usually do not have the competitive edge that enables them to influence production policies or market rules. Cooperatives are supposed to be independent, but in many cases are not since they can be controlled by the state so that they are eventually marginalized and their existence becomes a sheer formality. The second involves the management and operation of companies or factories by workers through a court ruling as a means of dealing with a financial crisis. Unlike cooperatives, self-administration undermines the core of capitalist accumulation in which business owners make the maximum profit at the expense of the wages and living conditions of workers. The exact opposite happens when workers are in charge of running a factory since management becomes communal, thus prioritizes the welfare of all those involved in the production process and challenges the conventional division between the management and the labor force. At the same time, factories managed by workers keep their competitive power in the market and yield enough profit to cater to the demands of workers as well as deal with debts and financial problems[15].

First: Workers’ self-administration:

Beginnings:

Following its participation in the First Gulf War, Egypt signed a restructuring agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1991, followed by another one with the World Bank three months later. The two agreements were followed by the issuing of law no. 203 for the year 1991 on turning public sector companies into business sector companies that encompasses production and service sectors under the supervision of holding companies assigned the task of liquidating those companies then selling them to become private companies. This marked the onset of privatization.

The total number of privatized companies from 1991 till 2009, when the privatization program was temporarily paused, reached 382 sold for LE 57.353 billion[16] despite the fact that senior experts estimated that 314 companies would be sold for LE 320 billion[17]. This means that an additional 68 companies were sold with a loss of LE 262.647 billion. Privatization also increased early retirement cases from 384,000 in June 2004 to 403,000 in June 2005, with a 40% increase in the number of cases during that interval[18].

These policies played a major role in undermining the components of the economy and the deterioration of workers’ conditions. The difference between the market price of the companies and the actual price at which they were sold was the result of a series of corrupt agreements, which led a number of workers to file lawsuits to reclaim some of the sold companies and manage them on their own, especially after the failure of the new post-privatization administrations. Many of the new owners also fled leaving the companies in a deplorable condition.

The experiences:

According to Hector Palomino, poverty and unemployment are the two major factors that delegitimize the current economic system since market economy is incapable of finding solutions to those two problems within its normal process. Social movements, on the other hand, acquire legitimacy through their attempts to tackle these problems in an innovative manner that departs from institutional economy and this is when an alternative economy is created. Alternative economy not only aims at catering to the needs of a given community, but also tackles the two problems state institutions are unable to solve through providing job opportunities[19].

Workers’ self-administration is one of the most innovative solutions brought forward by social movements to solve the problems of companies whose owners could not pay their debts. Self-administration is a system through which an organization is run by its workforce, which means that workers determine production policies such as wages, working hours, labor division, and working regulations in a democratic manner whether through consensus or majority votes. It is, therefore, unlike the conventional hierarchy in which orders are given from the top down across the organizational pyramid and which is seen in state institutions and the capitalist system. Workers’ self-administration usually takes place in companies shut down by their capitalist owners or sold by the state to investors, causing the dismissal of their workers. In such cases, workers reclaim the company and run it in through a communal organizational structure that eventually turns this company to some form of cooperative[20].

Such experiences demonstrate that the workers’ need to interact with market economy enabled them to be well-versed in several commercial transactions since they became responsible for selling their own goods and finding new markets for them as well as dealing with suppliers, customers and banks, promoting their products, and handling their accounts. In Argentina, self-managed factories made two innovative additions to management. First, they paid the same salary to all workers and employees in one third of the reclaimed factories without distinguishing between manual and mental work. Second, they considered the workers’ board, which included all the workers at the factory, the main decision-making body and the podium through which workers can freely express their views. Through the workers board, an executive committee is elected to run the factory on daily basis and is in charge of commercial duties, legal representation, and other executive jobs[21].

Egypt witnessed a number of self-administration cases in several factories years before the January 2011 revolution as well as after it.

  • The beginning was with the Electric Lambs Factory when the owner Rami Lakah decided to sell it in 2004, but the workers managed to run it and within two years were capable of solving its problems and making profit.
  • Workers at the Industrial Company for Paper Products and Packaging Materials (IncoPapp) managed to obtain the self-administration ruling but were not able to implement it since the Ministry of Interior placed riot police troops around the factory and prevented workers from entering.
  • Workers at the Nubaria Seed Production Company (NubaSeed) decided in 2011 to run the factory after the owner decided to liquidate it and they succeeded in doing this and started making profits.
  • The Kouta Steel Company experience became in 2012 a self-administration model where the workers elected a board and gave up half their salaries in order to buy raw material and pay the factory’s debts to the gas and electricity companies and which amounted to LE 23 million.
  • Workers’ self-administration at the Tanta Flax and Oil Company started in 2013 when the government did not put into effect a court ruling that returned the factory to state ownership and stipulated the return of laid off workers. Electricity was cut off from the factory and workers staged a 35-day sit-in inside the factory. The sit-in was dispersed by force by the security personnel of the Egyptian Labor Union[22].

It is important to distinguish between two types of workers’ self-administration: first, self-administration as a quick fix that takes place under specific circumstances when workers attempt to save the factory where they work from a financial crisis and save themselves from dismissal and second, self-administration as predetermined, long-term plan that aims at breaking away from the hegemony of the state and/or the capitalist system and giving precedence to workers’ interests[23]. The second type did not apply to any of the cases that took place in Egypt. However, this does not in any way underplay the significance of those experiences which marked a substantial victory for workers and endowed them with expertise and confidence they could not have acquired otherwise. These experiences are also expected to play a role in changing the balances of power in future struggles for workers’ rights.

NubaSeed: The investor, the state and the workers:

NubaSeed was established as a state company 40 years ago by ministerial decree no. 489 for the year 1976. The company was affiliated to the Ministry of Agriculture and for years controlled 60% of the seed market in Egypt. This percentage started declining after the company was bought by Saudi investor Abdel Ellah al-Kahki in 1998 and until October 2011 when it was managed by its workers. However, the self-administration experience ended in November 2003 when the company went back to the Saudi owner.

The story started when the General Authority for Reconstruction Projects and Agricultural Development submitted a memo to the Illicit Gains Authority giving a detailed account of violations in the selling process including the Saudi investor taking hold of a plot of land that did not belong to the company through forgery. This drove the ministry to issue confiscation decree no. 1833 for the year 2011[24]. Kahki asked the workers to stay at home and get their salaries so that he would invalidate the confiscation decree, but the workers staged a sit-in in front of the administration’s building and kicked Kahki’s team out and called for running the factory through a committee that includes representatives from amongst them and representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture. For two years, the workers managed to pay wages and profit share as well as make profits. In fact, the workers took a bankrupt company and left it with LE 6 million after paying all its debts and workers dues[25].

Workers filed a lawsuit to annul the selling contract and have the investor out of the equation for good, but while they were making progress, the government was making a deal with the investor so that it would give him the company back if he drops an international arbitration lawsuit he had filed. So, Kahki got the company back and on the same day he did, November 25, 2013, he fired 20 workers out of 200, most of whom were union members and leaders of the self-administration initiative. Only 50 workers remained in the company that kept deteriorating ever since.

How workers ran the factory:

  • Dues: The problem started when the investor stopped paying annual profit share to workers. This coincided with the issuing of the confiscation decree by the Ministry of Agriculture for financial violations that amounted to LE 1.5 billion. In addition to the workers’ profit share, it was also important to pay the company’s debts, electricity and irrigation bills, and insurance as well as the money due to contractors and suppliers of pesticides.
  • Liquidity: Workers sold the corn, peanuts, and orange crops, which enabled them to generate cash that in turn allowed them to start the production of new seeds and get more cash selling them. A portion of this cash was used to pay some of the dues and workers negotiated with several creditors such as the electricity company to pay in installments.
  • Daily management: The company was managed through meetings between representatives of workers within each department as well as monthly public meetings for all workers. Workers were always updated on company conditions and took part in solving arising problems.
  • Security groups: In order to face any threats by the investor and to make up for the police’s reluctance to provide proper security, workers formed groups amongst themselves and their families and took shifts to guard the company.

Why the experience failed:

NubaSeed workers faced a number of obstacles, some of which are related to the general context and others to the level of awareness and expertise and organizational skills among workers. Those obstacles can be summarized as follows:

  • The state’s bias towards investors and its constant keenness on striking deals with businessmen at the expense of workers’ interests
  • The state’s realization that the success of the workers’ initiative would pose a serious threat to its economic policies that were already proving a failure
  • The challenges workers faced in marketing their products and making enough profit to cover production cost in the context of regulations that do not prioritize their interests, which was mainly demonstrated in traders’ attempts at decreasing the prices of NubaSeed crops
  • The time and effort invested to make the initiative succeed eventually drained the workers and this was aggravated by the fact that they needed to provide security for the 2,000-acre property
  • Difficulties in permanently legalizing the workers’ status as they got permission to run the company for a limited time, which made the entire project unstable[26]
  • Discrepancy between workers’ decisions and their ability to implement them on the ground whether because they are not yet ready to take major collective steps or because the circumstances under which they take them did not help
  • Lack of popular support for this project and its likes, which makes it harder for it to effect a large scale impact against the state’s capitalist policies, and lack of coordination between projects of the same type in order to form a solid front
  • The Success of self-administration initiatives is not only contingent upon the workers involved in them, but also the support of popular movements and political factions as was the case in Brazil, but this did not happen in Egypt[27]

Despite all the challenges, the NubaSeed experience marked a substantial shift from conventional management and offered a model of an alternative economy in which the interests of a given community are given precedence over profit making.

 “The company is now ours and no one can lay their hands on one single corner of it,” said one of the NubaSeed workers. Similar statements were repeated by other workers in the company to express their liberation of the oppression of a capitalist owner who only cares about making money. It is this feeling of liberation that motivated them to work extra hours in order to safeguard the property.  Throughout the two years this experience took, workers were struggling against a number of powers that aimed at undermining their project. These included the state, the police, the investor, traders, and everyone whose interests can be harmed by such an example. Those powers may have possibly won this time, but the initiative remains a model that can be emulated later on and maybe manage to effect a real change on the long run.

Second: Cooperatives:

Background:

The cooperatives system is almost as old as human existence, for tribes and communities organized in networks that divided labor, distributed resources, and traded and exchanged goods. Reformist socialist theories that emerged in the 19th century played a major role in the success of the cooperative experience and its spread across the world. This was particularly the result of the efforts of Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, William King, Louis Blanc, and Ferdinand Lassalle then in the 20th century the German School and cooperative profit theories as well as Miller’s cooperative theories[28].

Cooperatives are based on voluntary, unconditional membership and democratic, participatory management. They offer job and training opportunities for their members, focus on the local interests of the community in which they are established, and interact with other cooperatives. Cooperatives are not established for profit, but for catering to the needs of the community through the efficient utilization of available resources. Members of cooperatives, who contribute to its capital, do not receive top down orders or instructions as is the case with the capitalist entities[29].

The development of cooperatives in Egypt can be divided into two main stages: creation and legalization. The first started in 1908 when the first cooperative in Egypt was created by cooperatives pioneer Omar Lotfi and ended in mid-1952 while the second, known as the dark age of cooperatives, starts after the July 23 uprising in 1952 with the shift in the relationship between the state on one hand and cooperatives and different types of civil society organizations on the other hand[30].

Recent statistics show that the number of active cooperative members in Egypt reached 18 million within 13,000 cooperatives that work in the fields of production, consumption, agriculture, fishing, and housing[31]. The condition of cooperatives in Egypt relatively improved following the January 2011 revolution as more activists started expressing interest in serving their local communities and as calls for independence from the state started resonating. However, the state has for years taken hold of cooperatives and undermined their communal nature in favor of profitable projects, thus rendering the existence of cooperatives a sheer formality. That is why a lot of time and effort are needed to achieve an actual reform that would tackle of the effect of 60 years of laws, legislations, and policies that stripped cooperatives of their independence and rendered them affiliated to the state.

The Bread Winning Women Cooperative:

In 2014, a number of activists in the Fayoum governorate started encouraging girls and women from different villages to engage in collective working projects that would secure them a regular income and help them battle rising unemployment rates. It all started with the establishment of the National Association for Economic Development and Project Support after the eruption of the January 2011 revolution. From this association another initiative came into being under the name the National Initiative for the Support of Cooperatives[32].

Challenges:

The projects involved in this experience started with 13 women. After more women joined the project was divided into three groups: the first for manufacturing clothes in the village of Sanhour and this included 23 women, the second also for clothes and this included 16 trainees, and the third for pottery in al-Ealam village and this included 18 women. The project faced a number of challenges pertaining to funding, legalization, and relation with the state. The main challenges were as follows:

  • Establishment: The circumstances under which the project was established were quite challenging. Even though the Egyptian countryside is run through a system that resembles that of the cooperatives, it was still not easy to bring together a group of women who have not previously worked together and to make them both the workers and the managers of a project in which there is no boss and where the capital comes from the members and supporters of the project.
  • Legalization: Laws and regulations obstruct in many ways the establishment of cooperatives. For example, a cooperative has to have a 10-year lease contract for its headquarters and a bank deposit of LE 50,000. However, the National Initiative for the Support of Cooperatives decided to bypass these conditions and declare the establishment of the cooperative anyway as a means of asserting the independence of cooperatives and their importance as an alternative economic system[33].
  • Technical obstacles: Women who took part in the project lacked the technical skills and the expertise required for starting the production process. Supporters of the project and students at the School of Fine Arts volunteered to teach them about pottery, especially using the kiln and dealing with raw material, and gave them advice on the types of clothes the local market would need. It was, however, difficult for women in the project to get proper training on modern sewing and knitting techniques due to the small size of the project and the limited chances it had in terms of competition.
  • State institutions: Despite the fact that the countryside is not generally a priority for the Egyptian state, the project was still subjected to several intrusions on the part of the state. For example, production was obstructed on regular basis because of power cuts and legalization was conditioned upon the cooperative consent to operate under the auspices of the Long Live Egypt Fund that supports the policies of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Why it worked:

Several factors saved this project from failure and enabled it to continue:

  • Fear of state bullying started gradually dissipating and even though the state did interfere in many ways to abort the project, the support of activists and locals was strong enough to make it succeed.
  • Funding and technical obstacles were overcome through the support of activists, students, and specialists.
  • The awareness of women in the cooperative was developed through training sessions given by experts in cooperatives and hosted by civil society organizations.
  • Work in the cooperative progressed remarkably as women started gaining more expertise in the production process and division of labor and started getting regular incomes.
  • Women in the cooperative focused on products that are on demand in the local market which made it easier for them to sell them without having to compete in a larger market where they would have a lesser chance.
  • The women avoided competing with traders who sold products similar to theirs, therefore not entering into struggles that might obstruct their work and not allowing detractors of their project to distract them.
  • Products of the cooperative were sold at lower prices which allowed the women to make a profit that, though modest, managed to pay their salaries since no money is taken by employers or mediators.
  • The National Initiative for the Support of Cooperatives facilitated the establishment of the cooperative and mobilized activists, students of the Faculty of economics and politica science in Beni-Suief [34], and locals through a series of lectures and seminars to explain the importance of cooperatives as an alternative economic system.

In the late 1990s, a friend from Fayoum said that some youths work 12 hours a day for LE 40 per month. Even I, a government employee, was shocked since my salary at the time was 10 times this amount and I considered myself a low-income citizen. Things have not changed a lot ever since not only in Fayoum, but also in southern governorates. In fact, Fayoum and those governorates have for years been amongst the 10 poorest across the country. Looking for a job and securing a stable income is extremely challenging under the current economic system and that is why cooperatives are necessary not only because they offer job opportunities, but also because they are based on equality while other regular working spaces still discriminate between men and women. This equality was also demonstrated in the division of labor among women in the cooperative as they basically performed all the duties alternately and they equally divided the profits. This, in fact, is the essence of a democratic, participatory economy.

Conclusion:

It is quite unfair to compare between the success of the women’s cooperative in Fayoum and the failure of the NubaSeed initiative since the circumstances are totally different and so are the foundations upon which self-administration and cooperatives are based. Self-administration can succeed in the beginning, but this initial success does not guarantee sustainability since it is a system that is linked on the long run with social movements and political factions whose support is much needed for the continuation of this form of management. Self-administration is also more of a threat than cooperatives since its success undermines the economic system that the state adopts and that is why the state would always work on aborting similar initiatives.

In all cases, regardless of success and failure, those two experiences and similar ones underline two major points:

  • It is always possible to initiate independent projects that attempt to assuage the repercussions of social disparities and unfair state policies through catering to the needs of the local community and allowing members of the community to participate in the production process.
  • Projects that aim at establishing an alternative economic system will always be faced with resistance on the part of the state that would always attempt to abort such projects. The only way to overcome this challenge is proper organization, exchange of information and expertise among members of the same projects and across projects, raising awareness on the importance of alternative economy, and devising innovative means of countering exploitation.   

[1]  Hussein Abdel Razeq. “The Future of Social Justice in Egypt [Arabic].” Al-Ahali, February 12, 2013: http://is.gd/3bB6B1

[2] Abdel Hafiz al-Sawy. “Privatization in Egypt have no Developmental Purpose [Arabic].” AlJazeera.net: http://goo.gl/HIHq2H

[3]  Central Agency for General Mobilization and Statistics. Press statement on income, spending, and consumption in 20016, July 26, 2016: http://goo.gl/RVuEHl

[4]  Mohamed Abul Gheit. “The 15% Society [Arabic].” Al-Masry al-Youm, September 28, 2016: https://is.gd/CpfevS

[5] Abdel Hafiz al-Sawy.

[6] Official statement by the Socialist Popular Alliance Party entitled “No to Loans that Threaten Citizens’ Lives and National Independence [Arabic].” June 14, 2016: http://goo.gl/WvXhtd

[7]  Dina Ezzat. “Egypt Working on USD 7.11 billion from the IMF [Arabic].” Al-Shorouk, July 15, 2016.

[8]  “Egypt on the Verge of Obtaining IMF Loan [Arabic].” Aswat Masriya, July 27, 2016: http://goo.gl/IxBehf

[9] “Dr. Gouda Abdel Khaleq proposes a national program to replace the IMF loan [Arabic].” Al-Ahali, August 9, 2016: http://goo.gl/rX36yO

[10]  The Ministry of Finance’s financial statement on the draft budget for the financial year 2016/2017: http://goo.gl/db20it

[11] “Video: Prices Rise by 27% Two years after Sisi Comes to Power [Arabic].” Al-Tareeq: https://goo.gl/lPAVRw

[12]  “Egypt Ranks 4th in Arms Imports [Arabic].” Mada Masr, June 15, 2016: http://goo.gl/lMuZ4e

[13] Joel Beninin. “Struggling for Workers’ Rights in Egypt [Arabic].” Report issued by the Solidarity Center in 2010: http://is.gd/0nLcKS

[14] Reports by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights on protests in 2012, 2013, and 2014: http://ecesr.org/

[15] Anton Penacook distinguishes between two types of alternatives to capitalist economy. The first deals with the issue of ownership only in the sense that private ownership should be abolished while the second delves into the core of this issue which is that modes of production should be controlled by workers and not the capitalist class. Non-private ownership can be public or communal. In the first, property is owned by the state and therefore run by a number of officials, politicians, and civil servants who give orders to workers. In the second, on the other hand, workers become managers and the word “workers” is used to mean every single active participant in the production process, thus includes scientists, teachers…etc.: http://goo.gl/YHcgdz

[16]  “Ganzouri and Privatization [Arabic].” The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, December 7, 2011: http://goo.gl/wG6W15

[17] Abdel Wahab Khedr. “Egypt’s Workers’ from Hard Labor to Privatization and Layoff [Arabic].” Al-Tagamoa Party, December 8, 2015: http://goo.gl/BmeBU8

[18]  Mahmoud Shehata. “Privatization and it’s Economic and Social Impacts in Egypt [Arabic].” A paper presented at a workshop entitled “Workers from Protests to Organization” by the Arab Reform Initiative, publication in process.

[19]  Hector Palomino. “Social Movements in Argentina.” Center for Socialist Studies. Socialist Papers Magazine, issue no. 15, October 2006.

[20]  Sameh Aboud. “Workers’ Self-administration of Shut Down Facilities and the Struggle against Unemployment [Arabic]. Al-Tareeq, April 18, 2016: http://goo.gl/6TgkTY

[21]Frederic Mathias Rossi. “Workers’ Self-administration in Argentina and the Movement for Reclaiming Factories.” Introduction and translation by Amr Adli, The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, June 2014: http://goo.gl/XNTrDA

[22]  Amira Ahmed and Ahmed Ouf. “Factories’ Self-administration: Egyptian and Tunisian Labor Unions [Arabic].” Al-Tareeq, March 20, 2016: http://goo.gl/eAEHQM

[23] Haitham Gabr. “Tanta Flax Once More: Is Self-administration the Way Out? [Arabic].” September 7, 2009: https://goo.gl/JNRjqu

[24]  Wael Gamal. “NubaSeed Workers Know Better [Arabic].” Al-Shorouk, January 2, 2014: http://goo.gl/qnPkkY

[25]Information available in this experience was obtained by the researcher through interviews conducted with Massoud Farag, an agricultural supervisor at the greenhouse sector in the company, and Sameh Abdel Salam, former member of the independent union committee in the company and a supervisor at the pest control department in the company.

[26] Hisham Fouad. “Self-administration from IncoPapp to Kouta [Arabic].” Revolutionary Socialists Gateway, March 6, 2013: http://goo.gl/XNviDr

[27]  Interview conducted by the author with Fatma Ramadan, head of the Independent Public Sector Workers Union in the Giza governorate, June 19, 2016.

[28]  Sameh Saeid Abboud. “The Emergence and Development of the Cooperative Movement [Arabic].” Al-Fasail, June 4, 2015: https://goo.gl/4dzE3G

[29]  Nashwa Zein al-Abedin. “Major Differences between Cooperatives and Companies [Arabic].” Al-Hewar al-Motamaden, June 14, 2015: http://goo.gl/iaE3Aw

[30] Magdi Saeid. “Towards the Reformation of the Cooperative Movement in Egypt [Arabic].” The First Egyptian Conference for Progress and Development (June 16-17, 2012), Moheet, August 7, 2012: http://goo.gl/JnXYgo

[31]  Ahmed Sabah. “Towards a New Concept of Egyptian Cooperative Economy [Arabic].” Alfa Beta, October 31, 2013: http://goo.gl/jBZ81n

[32] Information about this experience was obtained from an interview conducted with Mohamed Abdel Hakim, the coordinator of the National Initiative for the Support of Cooperatives in Fayoum on July 23, 2016.

[33] Mohamed Abdel Hakim. “The Legal Status of Cooperatives under the Constitution [Arabic].” An unpublished paper.

[34] The southeast of Fayoum governorate related Beni Suef governorate, follow the Faculty of Economics and Political Science University of Beni Sueif, And There is no like it in Fayoum University.

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