The Arab Resurgence


J. Dana Schuster heralds a "second Arab Spring":

Despite the constitutional reforms, a new protest movement has taken to the streets in Morocco, motivated increasingly by “quality-of-life questions,” according to Issandr El Amrani. This is not mutually exclusive with the motivations that spurred the political protests of early 2011, but the economic component of recent protests seems more and more evident. It is also happening in Algeria, where “high unemployment, inadequate housing, and a dearth of social services” have brought protesters (and state security forces) back into the streets. Jordan, which has mostly stayed aloof from the Arab Spring, has noted a marked increase in labor protests. The new revolutionary states are not immune to the second spring.

What's encouraging about this is the focus on the government's provision of goods and services. Democracies should mostly be boring – demanding effective government, criticizing poor administration, forcing accountabilty for specific goods. In the past, Arab politics were, in so far as they existed under dictatorships, largely rhetorical and symbolic and abstract. From the West Bank to Algeria, the rise of this kind of accountability may be in retrospect the Arab Spring's most durable legacy, amid its no doubt chaotic future.

(Photo: Casablanca taxi drivers stage a protest outside the police headquarters in Casablanca on June 11, 2012, against a hike in fuel prices implemented by the government of Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane. By Abdelhak Senna/AFP/Getty Images.)