Once again, the horror. We will fight it with every breath, with every heartbeat. We will fight it.
Al-Manshour editorial committee
The counter-revolution has triumphed in the region. In Egypt, the Sisi regime is reasserting itself through what it calls a war on terror, arbitrarily arresting members of the working classes, the LGBT community, union leaders and banning all protests and strikes for the foreseeable future. In Syria, the regime and its allies are gaining ground by reoccupying the land they lost over the course of the revolution and waging war against the other side(s) of the counterrevolution – islamist extremists – killing, kidnapping, torturing and forcibly displacing many in the process, ignoring the catastrophic human crisis that has condemned millions of syrians to a life of precarity in countries near and far.
In Lebanon, the ruling class is trying to reassert its hegemony and solidify itself in the face of attempts at identifying cracks in the system, especially after the experience of the municipal elections in 2016 and the social movements that emerged in response to the garbage crisis in 2015. The ruling class is using empty slogans about national unity in order to justify the most vicious austerity policies against the most precarious segments of the population. And despite all the promises recently peddled by traditional political parties, the garbage crisis hasn't been resolved, and neither have chronic water shortages and electricity cuts, unemployment and violence against women, and issues related to traffic safety, education, access to health and unregulated weapons (guns).
These issues are only adopted discursively by politicians when they are facing re-election, or in order to further demonize refugees for all the ails the country is suffering from by using them as scapegoats. The same refugees whose experiences in lebanon, from violence to socio-economic and physical insecurity, leave us at a loss for words.
At the same time, the state of lebanese workers is further disintegrating and becoming more precarious in the hands of an exploitative state as more neoliberal policies are adopted and implemented. And here we must ask, who is standing in solidarity with them? The parties of the ruling class that have been hellbent throughout the years on destroying any form of unionization and organizing? Who will defend this segment of the population, that has been exploited for so long? The same ruling class parties that destroyed its ability to organize? Our solidarity with migrant workers and refugees emanates from the fact that they are doubly exploited. This does not conflict with our solidarity with Lebanese workers because the exploiter is the same in both cases – the capitalist system. To counter this system we will not shy away from inciting a class war against it that includes all of the oppressed and exploited. This should the basic platform of any left that considers itself to be universalist.
History dislikes stability and the revolutionary momentum of the last couple of years has proved that. Our experiences over the last couple of years are not the only driving force behind our desire to fight the authoritarian regimes and the global capitalist system plaguing the region. We are also driven by our ideological and political understanding of the world. We will not say to the refugees that their regime is not authoritarian. Nor will we say that there isn’t an occupation. On the contrary, the refugee crisis will only be solved when these regimes and this occupation disintegrate through a class struggle that brings together sects and nationalities – one that doesn’t bind itself to other authoritarian regimes, and respects the right of people to decide their own fate.
5 october 2017
Translated by: Elia El Khazen, Edited by: Sophie Chams