Lebanon:Hezbollah-led opposition takes majority in government

For the building of a mass workers alternative against sectarianism, war and poverty

Yesterday, Najib Mikati was appointed new prime minister by the Hezbollah-led opposition which has taken majority in parliament.

Meanwhile Sunni-sectarian protests are being held by thousands of supporters of outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Tripoli, Beirut and elsewhere.

The opposition led by the Iran-backed Shia Islamist Resistance Hezbollah had pulled out of the pro-Western government earlier in January. This followed a row over a UN tribunal investigating the 2005 murder of Rafik Hariri, the father of Western-backed caretaker Saad Hariri.

Hezbollah gained support from parliamentary deputies to allow Mikati, a billionaire Sunni businessman, to form the next government. Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt and six members of his party went over to the opposition parties, allowing Hezbollah to form the core of a future government.

While a power-struggle takes place amongst sectarian-based parties, many Lebanese workers and youth are disenchanted with politics while some look to the inspiring developments in Tunisia as a way forward.

Aysha Zaki, in Beirut, looks at the background to the latest governmental crisis and power struggle and also how the revolutionary movement in Tunisia is affecting working people and youth in Lebanon and in the region.

Socialistworld.net

In the aftermath of the toppling of the Saad Hariri government by the opposition, which pulled out its ministers from the governing cabinet, the crisis has been renewed with tensions building up daily in society. The opposition and pro-government bloc have each been flexing their muscles, by threatening to take to the streets in an attempt to re-mobilize mass support around the same issues which crippled the country after the assassination of Saad Hariri’s father, Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister, in 2005. Working people will pay the price, just as they did for the political stalemate over the past few months, for the sectarian strife that may result. The Lebanese ruling class presides over a society polarised along sectarian, political and especially class lines, as a result of the brutal poverty conditions faced by workers and the unemployed.

The following sorts of statements were heard by journalists in the streets in the days after the resignations: "We are disgusted and fed up, for five years we have been living in fear”, "With or without it [the government] – the same thing – I didn’t feel its existence anyway", "After today, I will not follow anyone, they will not feed my children, and will not pay their school fees ". The phrase most commonly used today is: "No one knows what will happen …"

Saudi Arabia washes its hands

The Turkish Foreign Minister and the Qatar Prime Minister visited Beirut, last week, and on leaving issued a statement, based on their meeting with the Syrian president, that they were stopping their efforts in Lebanon, for now, and would consult with their national leaders. Linking Lebanon with the situation in Sudan, the Saudi Foreign Minister warned that Lebanon could face partition, ending the co-existence of religious, nationalities and other groups.

While the movement behind Hariri has accused the opposition of disrupting the state and threatening the fate of the country, the opposition declares its goals to be a process of change towards a state not governed by corruption and theft. They also claim that their ministers are interested in changing economic policies that have so far led to corruption, huge debt and taxes. Opposition leaders also claim that they are preventing clashes in the streets, contrary to the accusations directed against them, and that a change from the policies of Hariri, which have been dominant since the early nineties, are "looming on the horizon".

One of the opposition leaders said that "the experience of the President of Tunisia is the best evidence" of this impending change in Lebanon. This parallel is drawn by the opposition with the intention of exploiting the anger of the working masses and poor in Lebanon who have paying the price for the policies of Hariri, the father and son. However, while they also stated that the opposition is more "classy" than the masses of Tunisia, the leaders are trying to control the street around everyday class issues. Class issues and the struggle against the Tunisian regime of Ben Ali generated the heroic revolutionary movement by workers and youth in Tunisia. But burning class issues can also move workers and youth in Lebanon into mass action. This could lead to the struggle to change the existing regime and even the entire system, as we can see by the inspiring intifada (uprising) of Tunisian workers and youth.

The Lebanese media is buzzing with reports of US Marine officers, and belonging to an arm of the C.I.A, specializing in kidnapping arriving in Lebanon, of citizens leaving the country, of security forces detaining people they do not like etc. There are also leaks from the international tribunal revealing new information about Hariri meeting and having suspicious conversations with ‘false witnesses’, in addition to press conferences with government and opposition parties each accusing the other major of being backed by powerful states interfering and taking the country to the “unknown."

The opposition has been refusing to accept the re-instatement of Hariri as prime minister and has been inquiring into how this can be done with a person accused of corruption and of being in contact with false witnesses. The pro-Hariri bloc, on the other hand, has been insisting on re-nominating him in the consultation meeting which was postponed till this week.

Hariri supporters protest against the nomination of new Prime Minister, the Hezbollah-backed Najib Mikati, 25/1/2011

Political deadlock

Most observers do not see the possibility of forming a new government before reaching a solution on the indictment of the International Tribunal, which is expected to bring charges against Hezbollah, accusing it of being behind the assassination of Rafik Hariri in 2005. The pre-trial judge is allowed between six and ten weeks to look into the indictment evidence material, to establish whether it is acceptable or not.

If ratified and consequently turned into a formal decision, the draft resolution will be declared as the ‘decision’ on the matter. The Lebanese state will be asked to notify the accused and to hand them over to the court. So, the recent decision by the opposition to resign from government was designed to disable the Hariri government ahead of a possible political charge against Hezbollah. It was also intended to subvert an attempt by the Western imperialist powers and the Israeli to use the court to target the Shiite resistance movement, which could also further divide Lebanon and taking it down the road of internal conflict.

Recent intense attention has been directed towards members of parliament that have not yet sided with any party, to determine their final decision and to calculate which side takes the majority and can claim to form a government. The Druze leader Walid Jumblatt’s position was most uncomfortable since the failure of the Syrian/Saudi Arabia endeavor. Developments over the last 24 hours or so have seen a majority of Jumblatt’s MPs go over to the Hezbollah-dominated opposition. This has altered the balance of forces and means that the Hezbollah-led opposition is now the majority in parliament and formally can form a government.

As this became clear yesterday, it provoked street protests by pro-Hariri youth supporters, most of whom come from very poor areas devastated with poverty and unemployment. The struggle for power is ongoing, with a possible large-scale return to street protests. Even bombings and political assassinations, as we saw in immediate post-2005 period, cannot be ruled out.

Last week, President Suleiman had asked that Hariri’s government, which has become resigned, continues to conduct business. But the pro-Hariri Finance Minister Al-Hassan responded that she hopes that the political crisis does not prolong because "the economic situation would deteriorate". This was an alert from a ministry which has more than 11 billion US dollars in accumulated spending as a result of the policy of the Governments of Hariri father and son! The pro-Western forces led by Hariri have been accusing Hezbollah of exercising pressure with the aim of pushing Hariri’s government to collapse and for attempting to establish another government which can quickly cut all ties with the International Tribunal and reject its findings.

Hariri supporters know that Hezbollah forces are the strongest in Lebanon. Despite the general atmosphere being calm in the last few days, there are fears that the security situation could quickly deteriorate and that during a conflict the Lebanese army would begin to disintegrate into sectarian elements. Currently, the Lebanese ruling class is divided and the major world powers have a common interest in Lebanon being stable. But they are unable to resolve the crisis between the conflicting interests. The pro- Hariri government is backed by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, at the regional level, and the US and France, at the international level. The opposition is led by Hezbollah and backed by Syria and Iran, regarded as regional powers resisting Israel and the West.

What is most important is that the working masses in Lebanon do not want to go back to the horrors of civil war and are concerned that developments may risk the fate of the country. The streets have been empty and there is little movement during late hours. Now pro-Hariri forces have set up road blockades in anger at the change of the balance of forces in parliament. Many Lebanese workers are also looking closely at what is happening outside of Lebanon. Israel says that it does not rule out the possibility of "heating the northern border" – it is clearly sending a message to the opposition that it is monitoring what is happening. There are reports that the Israeli army is ready to engage in possible escalations on its northern border in the wake of what is happening in Lebanon. This is leading to concerns of the risk of a new war if the opposition succeeds in taking power, leading to foreign intervention and a regional conflict.

While the opposition accuse Israel of assassinating Hariri’s father, it is asking questions about the fabrications of ‘false witnesses’ in the International Tribunal investigations. The divided masses in Lebanon have, for over a week now, been following recordings leaked from the International Tribunal, and disseminated through New TV, revealing a meeting between Hariri and a ‘false witness’. These include statements by Hariri indicating that he is hiding evidence from his own supporters. Hariri’s prompt response has been an apology to all those who may have been ‘hurt’ by the leaks. Other reports say that discussions had been taking place within Hariri’s party, the Future Movement, about whether to mobilize supporters to their annual rally on the anniversary of the assassination of Rafik al-Hariri, on 14 February. Some believed it would be appropriate to highlight issues around the Hariri assassination case, but others were deeply concerned about the reduced number of supporters that might go to the streets.

For the first time since 2005, the opposition has been behaving as if they were inevitably bound to take power. In the words of its leaders, a divorce with Hariri has been announced. Summarizing its plan for the next period, the opposition stated it will: “Erase traces of the coup which the country witnessed in 2005 [i.e. the coming to power of Hariri’s Future Movement-led government]. The next government will have as the top priority the abolition of all Lebanon’s obligations with the International Tribunal, and will ask the UN to review the Agreement annexed to resolution 1757, before moving on to take internal decisions that will provide a serious…judicial, administrative, security, economic reform".

Exploitation of class despair and economic issues

Wahhab, a prominent Druze leader of the opposition, said to the Saudi Foreign Minister and "his likes” that they need “to worry about the hidden lasting conflict over power and the hundreds of thousands of poor, in front of whom the country’s money is being looted while they go hungry”.

It is clear that while the opposition leaders feel powerful because their main ally, Hezbollah, is armed, financed and backed by Syria and Iran, they are also worried about their own supporting masses, which face continual crises, most importantly economic crisis that increasingly affects their daily lives. So the opposition uses populist language to maintain popular mass support. They lean on public anger that has been present since the nineties, as a result of Hariri’s economic and social policies of attacks on working conditions and the de-investment of the public sector in preparation for privatization.

It has to be recalled that most of the opposition political parties today were part of the government, participated in these policies and in the sectarian division of trade unions, while backed by Syria which ruled over Lebanon’s political class for almost 30 years. The pro-Hariri bloc also uses this history to remind its supporters that ‘they’ kicked Syria out of Lebanon in 2005, and that they are the ones trying to "improve" the country economically, and that opposition is disrupting this process with the support of Syria, and by the arming of Hezbollah in the name of the ‘resistance’.

The danger of war

Hariri was on a visit to meet US President Obama during the recent resignation of opposition government ministers. Al-Jazeera TV quoted Hilary Clinton telling Hariri and the Saudi King, Abdul Aziz, that the United States would not accept any new Lebanese settlement before the indictment decision is issued. In the context of mobilizing pro-US Gulf States against Iran, Secretary of State Clinton went on a diplomatic round trip in the region, in tandem with a militarization deal with Saudi Arabia that is worth $60 billion. Clinton expressed concern about the stability of Lebanon and warned that Iran is beating the drums of war. She called for joint action by Arabs and Americans to confront "extremism".

While the Israeli government continues to threaten and violate the airspace of Lebanon, the refusal of potential conscripts to serve for the Israeli army continues to be a problem for the Israeli ruling class. This is not limited to those who refuse service for religious reasons, but also includes those from a more secular background. Israeli media reports that the proportion of those committed to serve in the army during the past year amounted to about 66%, while the percentage of those who refuse service on religious grounds was 13%, joined by almost 21% of those who invoked psychological and other health arguments to avoid the service.

Mood of despair and economic demands

The mood of the Lebanese masses can change according to events in the country and the region, and the Lebanese street is tenser since the resignation of the government on Wednesday, 12 January. But a relatively calm situation until now does not conceal widespread disgust at developments and fear of renewed sectarian violence. The expressions most commonly used today on the streets, as published in the Al Akhbar, on Thursday 13 January, were: "We are disgusted, 5 years living in fear, we cannot even move one step forward "…"Notice how the high price of gasoline and diesel is the only thing politicians agree upon"… "no longer do the politics of the opposition or pro-government forces concern me – even though I was a strict supporter of the opposition at the beginning, and I went on the 5-month sit-in, but after today I will not follow anyone, they will not feed my children, and will not pay their school fees"…"I am tired of them and their lies”…“The opposition and pro-government [were] partners in government and we did not benefit from them in anyway. On the contrary, they made a pact against us. Tomorrow, when it returns to normal they will share the cake, and we will pay the price"… "With or without it [the government], same thing"…

And on the risk of a new ‘7 May’ (the 10-day conflict in 2007) there is currently skepticism: “I do not think so, by the way, there is no one left to shoot against, because they have all learned", and "I was involved in May 7, I will not participate in a May 7 again, because this time the battle is in the state institutions. We shot, and young men died from our side and from theirs, and then what? They reconciled, God have mercy on those who died, what else can we say?”

While a struggle has developed in the ranks of the ruling elite, the masses in Lebanon have been looking at the mass struggle in Tunisia and Algeria, where dozens of people have been killed for demanding the right to work and for food. Young people and Arab workers demand jobs and reduced prices, in Egypt, Jordan, Algeria and even Saudi Arabia. In Egypt, at least two men have resorted to burning themselves as a symbol of despair and anger against the ruling class and to protest against the injustice and their ignored social and economic demands.

Corruption and budget spending with no accountability

As 2011 budget has been delayed, and questions are posed about the legitimacy of spending in 2006- 2010, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), the main Christian ally of Hezbollah, reveals that the last budget certified by parliament dates back to 2005, and was ratified in early 2006, after the end of the budget year. The draft budgets of 2006, 2007 and 2008 were not even submitted and the second term Siniora government implemented the 2009 draft budget without presenting it to parliament. It overspent public money by more than $11 billion during the years 2006 to 2009. Moreover, this trend in dealing with the budget is continuing under the Hariri government, which has been spending in advance, and has only submitted a draft budget in July 2010.

It is clear that the opposition has been receiving information that refers to corruption since governments formed after the end of the civil war in 1991. The opposition is trying to make a populist appeal against corruption, poverty and theft. The opposition Energy and Water Minister, Basil, expressed support for the call for strike action by the public transport workers against the high tax on gasoline. He also negotiated with workers from the electricity company during their strike which demanded better working conditions and opposed privatisation.

The war waged on another minister of the opposition, Nehhas, by pro-government ministers, escalated when Nehhas described the situation in the Telecommunication Company as ‘mafia-like’. He accused the Hariri bloc of being greedy and wanting to rob the company, at a later stage, to fill the pockets of some of their allies. The Ministry of Communications did not see any change, despite rumors of a ‘coup’ by the Minister Nahas. Rumors about the storming of the company by the FPM and Hezbollah militia were made in the pro-Hariri media.

The Internal Affairs and pro-Hariri Minister, Al Sayegh, tried to use similar populism as the opposition and expressed support for planned office sit-ins by center workers. After the strike, however, he issued a circular calling for the strikers’ details to be collected because they had "violated the law by leaving their stations."

Poverty and unemployment

The regime in Lebanon, with its successive governments since 1992, has become a symbol of the “slasher” approach towards the national economy. They have pledged to carry out the policies of the IMF and the World Bank. This entails the hollowing out of services and corruption of departments, cutting back industrial and agricultural production, and strengthening imports. The main export is the country’s youth, who represent 41% of the workforce and who face mass unemployment. Young people hang-out in front of the doors of embassies in search of a livelihood, despite the difficulties in getting approval for migration. Workers and youth witnessed 12% inflation in 2010, fewer jobs and rising unemployment rates to more than 30%. Lebanon has the most expensive electricity in the world, and high taxes on gasoline in a country with gas reserves. In addition, there has been a fall in the productive sectors of industry and agriculture, the increased dominance of monopolies, widespread financial speculation and the development of a property speculative market.

The despair felt by working class youth is exploited. As the opportunity to work abroad and to migrate is no longer an option for the majority, a number of young people feel that it is necessary to start working on changing their situation, including making the corrupt government and the big thieves accountable for the situation facing workers and the poor. They want to change those ruling the country and who live in mansions. However, since the ruling class is largely pro-Hariri and pro-neo-liberal, and is symbolised by the Sunni elite in Lebanon and the Sunni elite in the region (Saudi Arabia), it whips up religious sectarianism to try to divide working class youth, re-enforcing the Sunni and Shiite camps of Hariri supporters and Hezbollah supporters.

The General Workers’ Union (GWU) previously issued a statement demanding the provision of a financial balance in the Social Security Fund, an increase in the proportion of users to maintain the benefits of the Fund to enable it to perform its role as the most important social umbrella for workers and users. The GWU also threatened action against high charges of gasoline, with the participation of Basil – Minister of Energy and Water – from the opposition. The trade unions affected by the gasoline taxation said they would announce their planned strike in the middle of January. Basil acted in a populist manner, trying to reflect developing class anger in Lebanese society. He said he supported the demands and movements in the street and that he will participate, accusing Hariri’s government as imposing an indirect tax on gasoline. The trade unions announced 10 February as a date for action on, calling on all Lebanese to participate, and noting that gasoline prices are an indication of high living costs.

Basil expressed solidarity with this action and demands to reduce duties on petrol. Basil stressed that the fee imposed by the government for gasoline is against the law. He said that it is not normal in Lebanon to have taxation on taxation. He castigated those in the treasury rejoicing about the rise in fuel prices, to become billion of dollars annually. A few days later, issues began to revolve around the International Tribunal and led to new sectarian tensions in the country. The political crisis between the parties in power dominated over class issues, which were to fore in the past couple of months as a result of the economic situation and worsening living conditions.

In the recent elections in the General Workers’ Union, between candidates linked to the parliament’s opposition and the pro-government parties, the opposition candidates were re-elected to the leadership. This meant the unions were the scene of political conflict over who controls the (fairly empty) federation and divided the (non-active) unions into opposition and pro-government unions. The GWU leaders warned that it is not acceptable to continue with this government, describing it as incapable of processing economic policies and that it is "taxing the citizens into a fatigue, especially the employee and the worker". This fed into the union elections and saw political collusion between union figures and sectarian-based politicians, both doing so on the backs of workers and at the cost of the general class interests of working people.

The GWU leadership announced in 2010 that it was preparing for a series of street actions to protest against the government’s economic and social policies. After a meeting of the GWU Bureau, on 4 January, the GWU President, Ghosn, explained that the meeting had agreed on the decisions of the Executive Board, particularly the preparation of a mechanism to move into action in the second half of January. This includes strikes, demonstrations and workplace sit-ins, and will move comprehensively into all areas, in addition to a “central sit-in” held in protest at government policies. Asked if all unions are in solidarity with the resolution, Ghosn said: "Of course, I am sure that no worker or trade unionist would be against the union’s demand for decent pay and to combat the wave of price rises, the main demand for the move." But the GWU relies on the parliamentary linked opposition leadership and the union’s empty branches and bureaucratic structures.

No voice for working class unless mass workers’ party built

The working class in Lebanon, living in difficult political, economic and social conditions, with the repetitive governmental and political crises, sky-high taxation, and ignored rights to employment, wages and compensation, housing, medical care and education. The same policies behind increasing taxes and fees are also behind the prices of fuel and food, even the increase in the price of the loaf of bread. These policies have also swept the country into the relatively largest national debt in the world, in addition to the tax policy based on indirect tax which affects only workers and the poor, while exempting large capitalists and Hariri’s own big companies, such as Solidere. All this occurs under the rampant corruption in all government departments and public sector institutions, and is used to justify the intention to sell the off to private companies. They aim to delude the working class into accepting that services need ‘reform’.

These policies of savage capitalism have been implemented in all the countries in the region. The resulting conditions, along with the fight for democratic rights, were the main factors behind the engine of the revolution in Tunisia. There we saw the unemployed, the poor, and Left and democracy activists, force president Ben Ali out of power and by doing so inspired the masses of the region. It was also broadly on these issues that the working class in Egypt moved into mass action since 2007, establishing three independent trade unions. It is because of the common conditions facing working people in the region that protests have spread from Tunisia to Algeria, Jordan and Morocco, and inspired the struggles at the Arab and international levels. The Tunisian revolution has frightened the unstable regimes in the Arab countries, and planted feelings of solidarity among the poor masses. The revolutionary workers and youth in Tunisia are showing the way forward for the working class in the region.

The "Tunisian infection"

While the mass movement in Tunisia continues, Arab governments are forced to make concessions related to the living and economic policies, out of fear of protests spreading to their countries. They had no choice but to refuse to give Bin Ali asylum, the former Tunisian president removed by the revolution of the youth, the unemployed, workers and trade unionists. The Algerian government at first raised taxes and tariffs on imports of basic foodstuffs but the events in Tunisia and growing discontent saw the regime forced to make concessions and introduce a monthly grant of 2500 dinars (US $32) to a section university graduates, to be paid until they get work!

In Libya, it was decided to exempt food commodities locally manufactured, and food imported, from taxes and customs duties, to the face off rising global food prices. The Libyan government’s decision included commodities such as wheat products, rice, vegetable oils, sugar and milk for children. Although government officials in Tripoli declined to comment on this decision, the Libyan Price Balance Source Fund hastened to emphasize that the market will not suffer from any negative repercussions of rising global prices. The Libyan Prime Minister, al-Mahmoudi, told specializing banks to grant housing and productivity loans to Libyans, with concessionary terms and procedures for the purpose of housing construction, and the establishment of productive projects and services and trade in all fields.

The Jordanian government announced the allocation of 120 million Jordanian dinars (US $169 million), in a series of measures aimed at reducing the prices of basic commodities and oil derivatives. This was done in an attempt to calm growing mass discontent, days before a protest march took place on Friday, 14 January, which was advertised on the internet as the "Day of Jordanian Rage". Deputy Prime Minister Safadi said that "the implementation of the directives of King Abdullah II, Council of Ministers adopted a package of decisions that will mitigate the effects of the economic crisis on the standard of living of citizens and their ability to meet their basic needs in the face of the wave of high world prices, which have had repercussions on the level prices in the Kingdom”. He added: “The Council of Ministers authorized the Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Industry and Trade to monitor the situation in the vegetable market and the prices of key commodities, and to take decisions to stop the export, and to open the door for import if any imbalance in prices take place due to supply and demand". It is clear that the government is very concerned about the mood of working people in Jordan, 80% of who are of Palestinian origin, and who, like other workers and the poor masses across the Arab world, were inspired the revolution of Tunisia.

In Yemen, the president suspended the tasks of the Oil Minister and the Director-General of Yemen’s oil industry, due to the lack of fuel. It was reported in an official statement that the reason is due to "the crisis of oil derivatives, and lack of oil in the market, which led to crowds in front of gas stations and protests among the citizens." The shortage of fuel was causing long lines in front of petrol stations in Yemen, which does not belong to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and which produces about 300 thousand barrels of oil, per day. The petrol stations operators held protests and some threatened to organize demonstrations if the fuel supplies arrived late.

Regional regimes forced to make concessions

What is clear is that the workers, the poor and the oppressed in Lebanon, as in other countries, need a mass party willing to struggle on their behalf and to confront big capital. Such a party would call for massive state investment into the public sector, financed by the billions in the banks and the huge wealth of big businesses, which needs to be nationalized under the democratic management and control of workers.

Governments of the so-called "national unity" in Lebanon, as they are called in Palestine, or as expressed by Ben Ali before fleeing Tunisia, represent only the unity of the rich elite against the poor. Workers and the poor, in all parts of the region, are the ones who have to pay the highest price for the conflicts and economic crises. We need a united workers’ movement of all nationalities, races and religious backgrounds, raising banners calling for an end to capitalism and war and poverty.

In the past few years, the only union that has fought and forced the Lebanese government to back down has been the Teachers’ Association. The teacher trade unionists were united in their struggle and recently won four out of their seven demands from the government. This was an example of the genuine unity of workers, which is capable of stopping the political and economic neo-liberal attacks. Such united action by unions, in a divided country, can defend the public sector and resist cuts and privatisation. The struggle of the teachers has become an inspiring concrete example, as has the revolution in Tunisia, where we saw militant mass action in the face of attacks on workers’ rights and in the face of state repression and murder. The strength of workers, with their weapons of mass struggle, such as strikes and mass protests, can force the capitalist class, and all its parties, to back off. These struggles will prove to be increasingly militant and will see the development of the workers’ movement in the region.

There is no alternative to war and poverty in the Middle East other than through building a workers’ movement linking class issues with the resolution of national question, which is currently trapped in the struggle between major capitalist powers. The workers’ movement in the Middle East and Arab world, as a whole, will be forced to confront and challenge capitalism nationally, regionally and globally, including opposing Western imperialism. By building independent unions to spread the struggle, and gaining confidence as a united working class, the necessity to build workers’ mass parties will be raised. This will go alongside the need to transform society, which is motivated by profit for the tiny rich minority, to a society based on meeting the needs of all and on everyone enjoying life to the full free of exploitation, poverty and violence.

The CWI calls for and supports building a mass workers’ movement around a workers’ programme that fights neo-liberalism and cuts and which challenges capitalism. We struggle to build socialist internationalist political organizations that fight for a society that meets the needs of all, rather than the private interests of a rich few. We call for the development of public services and the public sector, through massive investment, and jobs for all. We strive to unite the trade union struggles and for unions to be fighting, democratic organizations, and instead of linked to sectarian parties and interests, representing the class needs of all workers and youth. The CWI in Lebanon campaigns against the continuation of high prices and for massive public funding into social institutions and public sector organizations, such as the Electricity Company, education, medical care and public transport. These sectors should be controlled and managed by working people. The development of democratic committees that are representative of working people and under their control running the public sector, big banks, big industries and financial institutions, will hugely benefit the mass of people rather than profits going to private pockets.

No to sectarianism and sectarian conflict – For the unity of workers in Lebanon

No to imperialist interventions – political and economic

For mass workers’ struggles against neo-liberal policies

For an escalation of workers’ action around class unity demands

No to privatization, for massive investment to transform the public sector

For the nationalization of big industry, banks and financial institutions, under democratic workers’ control and management

For the building of a political workers’ alternative that can unite against war, poverty and capitalism

For a struggle for socialism and internationalism

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