Free Popular University (Egypt)

From Anarchy In Action

Egyptian anarchists, with leadership from the visiting Italian insurrectionist Luigi Galleani, established the Free Popular University (UPL) in 1901 in Alexandria. It hosted political lectures and offered classes in science and the humanities. Classes were taught in Italian, French, Arabic and other languages. According to scholar Anthony Gorman, "bourgeois elements" seized control of the university within a year. However, Gorman writes, "the UPL marks an important moment for anarchism in Egypt and almost certainly served as an inspiration to Egyptian nationalists who would establish the Higher Social Clubs (Nadi al-madaris al-'ulya) in 1905 which similarly put educational means to political purpose."[1]

Egypt's Anarchist movement, pioneered by Italian immigrants in the 1860s, attracted significant participation from native Egyptians after 1900. The movement became prominent in labor struggles and struggled against British occupation alongside the nationalist movement.[2]

  1. Anthony Gorman, "'Diverse in Race, Religion and Nationality...But United in Aspirations of Civil Progress': The Anarchist Movement in Egypt 1860-1940" in ed. Steven Hirsch and Lucien Van der Walt, Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Post-Colonial World 1870-1940: The Praxis of National Liberation, Internationalism, and Social Revolution (Boston: Brill, 2010), 18-19.
  2. Gorman, "Diverse in Race, Religion and Nationality," 3-31.