March fourteen, march shmorteen: a response to a response to an alleged response

This entry is a response to a comrade who has a response to March 14-ites, whose March 14-ism is allegedly a response to and a revolution against oppression.

I will divide this post into six sections, each a response to the corresponding section on the original post.

First: In order to develop a worker's revolution, you do need class awareness (among the proletariat, of course). But to begin with, the concept of a "revolution" in itself does not apply to March 14, let alone a worker's revolution. So it is a moot point. March 14 was a stupidity waiting to come to light, much like the continuous stupidities that the Lebanese state and its so-called guardians have been engaged in ever since its founding.

Second: March 14 was never about bettering the conditions of the working class; it was about defending the "honour" of a clan leader and brutal capitalist, the assassination of whom led his clan to arouse the masses in a racist manner against his alleged murderers. March 14 was, more than anything else, a tribal reaction, with rival clans joining the leading clan a la "if you can't beat them, join them". The argument that there were many workers who took part in the protests to better the economic and working conditions, is a big fat outright lie. There weren't "many" workers who did that out of economic concerns; there were probably a few individuals who did, but as I said, it would've been on an individual level not a group level (not even a small one). Had there been such a group of people there would've been hope that one day they would turn the tides against the stupidity rampant in this country. I am afraid such a thing is not possible in Lebanon. 99.9% of the people are simply ignorant and have, as a result, fallen victims to the fallacies of tribal leaders and warlords, who play on their insecurities and perpetuate them in order to perpetuate their hegemony.

Third: Domestic production is not necessarily a rule of the thumb when it comes to improving the proletariat's conditions. Take for example Ghandour. Would you or would you not agree that Ghandour is a chocolate and biscuit production giant, a national (albeit not nationalized) company, which nevertheless has more or less monopolized the local chocolate market? As for foreign labour, to say that it should be ruled out in favour of domestic labour is inherently racist. Instead, foreign labour should be subject to several conditions, to prevent the use of cheap labour. If foreign labour is prefered even after there are equal payment laws, then that would only be fair (from a non-nationalist point of view), after all these people would not be hired for the sinister reason that they are now employed for, i.e. cheap labour… This is a problem that many leftists fail to understand: foreign labour is not the enemy per se, the abuse of foreign labour is. And of course, there is no such thing as "partial racism". Either there is racism or there isn't.

Fourth: On the Syrian economic domination, this is a very thorny issue, and thorny not because it is controversial but because it is complicated. First of all, you have the Syrian government, which has been using and abusing its own labour force (Syrian labourers) as cheap labour. This provides a double fait accompli, in that it gains both from the incomes of these labourers from an outside (non-Syrian) source, as well as through the cheap products that it exports to Lebanon. The problem, I think, is more a Syrian one than a Lebanese one, and here there should be more class solidarity across frontiers between Lebanese and Syrian proletariat. Unfortunately the grievances of the workers are given a nationalistic nature and tone, and this is due to indoctrination and in part also to pressures from elites in both countries. Another and more important issue is the problem of hierarchies, and I say problem because it is a problem. There is nothing to be contested there. And here I would criticize the advocacy of hierarchism by Marxists. A real workers' party would have to be an absolutely horizontal one, for if it is vertical, it does not differ much from other elite-run parties, and in fact ceases to be a workers' party. Workers do not need leaders, they need mass mobilization. That is the essence of a proletariat revolution. A mass-led movement for a mass cause.

Fifth: You hail the Union as an example of a successful implementation of Marxism, but I can assure you that it was far from it. It had, from the beginning (although it gradually occupied a more important place in Soviet policy), an imperialist nature and set out to Russify the subject nations. For example, Russian was actually proclaimed to be the language of the revolutionaries, despite the fact that most of the nations in the Union were not Russian. Furthermore, it is no secret that the Bolsheviks actually forced themselves on many countries. For example, their entry into the Transcaucasus, via Azerbaijan, was facilitated by the Azerbaijani troop mobilization towards Shushi/Shusha (in Nagorno-Karabakh), which left the northern border unguarded, and of course the Bolsheviks did not miss the opportunity and marched on Baku straight away. Their entry to Armenia was a forced capitulation for political reasons, i.e. the inability of Armenia to stand alone against the Turks. So the regional reverberations argument has little practical proof to stand on.

Sixth: I am not sure what you mean by this point; do you mean that the new leaders are not sectarian and more importantly, are drawn from the proletariat??? If so, then I think you need a March 14 101. And we will call the March 8 course 102 (hopefully Sheikh Nasrallah would not call me a zionist for deprioritizing March 8 ).

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3 responses to “March fourteen, march shmorteen: a response to a response to an alleged response

  1. Bold indeed. I have quoted and linked to it. Hope u don’t mind.

  2. Bashir, anything and everything I write may be quoted and linked to, so feel free to do so whenever you want to. 🙂

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