The man was Muhammad Snayd, the leader and spokesperson of the Day-Waged Labor Movement. His movement had organized a sleep-in outside Jordan’s Royal Court to protest for a living wage and better labor rights.
Most of those who had participated in the sleep-in were poor, working class women from hyper-conservative areas of Jordan. They braved the danger and stigma attached to their radical demonstration in the hopes of pressuring for a better life and a future for their children.
“These are women from the governorates. Where were you? Why didn’t you support them?” Snayd asked them.
Nobody responded, and Snayd eventually sat down.
The Day-Wage Labor Movement was utterly ignored by Jordan’s middle and upper middle class, and risks being forgotten entirely by the rest of the world, despite it being one of the most momentous achievements for the region’s working women and working class.
It was one of the most profound and effective rights movements in the 21st century and can be used as a global blueprint on how to effectively organize vulnerable populations into powerful movements.
But you’ve likely never heard of it.
This is one of the biggest achievements, in my opinion, in the history of women’s rights in Jordan, and it happened outside the women’s movement,” Ababneh says.
The intellectual community of Jordan’s dismissive attitude towards Snayd and his cause, Ababneh claims, is emblematic of the larger failure to recognize the structural problems creating a global class of precarious people.
Ababneh pins this failure on the NGO-ization of development and discourse related to oppression and precarity, which blinds advocates from seeing grassroots movements framed in terms of labor rights rather than women’s empowerment.
the case under discussion was a low paid precarious worker protest, that happened to be dominated by women (who had the worst paid and most precarious jobs). It was also an outright political movement.
NGO's avoid that kind of thing normally. For a small NGO, it can swallow your mission, for a lrger one, it means that other countries may not let you come back. It's one of those trade off to do most good, bandaging people up vs trying to take away the knives.
I disagree with part of the article - I don't think this movement changed the jordan arab spring, too many other countries had simialr protests without the primer.
I agree with overall thrust, that breaking and fixing the system is more important then symnpton addressing, but I think the prisoner's dilemma is not solved by knowing the win condition. Any one ngo with a humanitarian mission is not going to mortgage themselves on political protest.