WTO ATTACs

Some leftist pseudo-leftist activists have been unable to conceal their excitement about a new campaign on (well, supposedly against) WTO initiated by ATTAC. The latest development on this topic is a release/statement that outlines the goals of a campaign titled "Lebanon is not for sale". First of all, there is something unsettling in the title; the statement basically insists on the national/istic character of the campaign as opposed to its broader class nature. Second, the actual contents of the statement – I will go through this point by point to show that this campaign, and ATTAC in general, is really irrelevant when it comes to the struggle against WTO.

ATTACKING the ATTAC

Long-term goal #1: "If there’s credible evidence that Lebanon is going to suffer from joining the WTO we will work on opposing the accession."

Again this is put in vague terms; which communities and classes in Lebanon does it refer to? Is Lebanon one economic entity? And even if yes (which is not true, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt), is there any doubt that joining the WTO will result in economic imperialism? Why is there even talk about "credible evidence"?

Long-term goal #2: "If Lebanon is going to join anyway, we will try to define and act on the best terms of accession to the WTO."

Yes, that is some campaign against WTO (note that they do define their campaign in terms of opposing the WTO, i.e. "contre l'OMC"). First you doubt that the WTO will harm "Lebanon" (??) and wonder if there is any "credible evidence" on that, then you say that if it's going to happen anyway you will work on the best terms of accession (defeatism extraordinaire). Best terms? Some anti-WTO campaign indeed. Why don't you admit it, your primary aim in launching this campaign was – at best – this point (actually, you are not even passively anti-WTO. I will accuse you [yes, I will] of being actively pro-WTO), and you included the first one with the purpose of attracting activists and media attention.

Concrete (??) demand #1: "Ask for an Impact assessment before joining (Calling for a proof that we have nothing to worry about + See other countries suffering from WTO)"

Idiots. Proof that "we" (assuming again there is one economic entity in Lebanon called "we") have nothing to worry about????

Concrete (??) demands #2 to #8: (see original text)

You have all these demands and you're still waiting for "credible evidence" that joining the WTO is a bad idea? Again, IDIOTS.

Goal-attainment method #1: "Networking locally & Internationally (Link up with International movements)"

You will probably find other anti-WTO WTO groups and campaigners. Your best source of contacts will be: http://www.wto.org/

Goal-attainment methods #2 to #4: (see original text)

Blah blah blah blah blah. Are we there (in the WTO) yet?

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9 responses to “WTO ATTACs

  1. That is the opinion of the Coalition and not ATTAC’s, the way I heard it, they are the ones who are recommending to go full-moon against WTO.

  2. What is the opinion of the Coalition? I am confused.

  3. You IDIOTS obviously can’t read french: it says ” Coalition goals”! it’s NOT attac’s position!

  4. Anonymous, if you have a point to make, do so without name-calling.

    First of all, this position sucks, and whether or not it belongs to ATTAC or the coalition is secondary.

    Second, what IS ATTAC’s position on this? And why is it not made clear on the ATTAC website, and instead only the coalition goals are placed?

    Third, doesn’t the fact that the statement is placed on the ATTAC website without any further qualifications mean that ATTAC endorses the coalition goals?

    And last but not least, does ATTAC Lebanon even know what WTO is all about, to put ANYTHING that has to do with it on its website???

    I suggest that you (if you are part of ATTAC) get some expert advice on WTO, because this is really shameful, and nothing (not even the fact that these are the COALITION’s goals and not ATTAC’s) will convince me otherwise. It’s shameful to put such a thing on such a website. The coalition should launch another website (if it doesn’t have one already), and if not, don’t expect people not to frown upon the appearance of such a document on your website.

  5. First, as leftists, we should all refrain from the name-calling and save it for the
    liberals, reformists, neo-liberals and fascists (yes fascists)
    who will eventually succeed in signing away the labor, environmental, and cultural
    rights of the Lebanese. Likewise, we should not revert disqualify the comments of others
    by invoking classist language (e.g. you’re an “idiot” if you don’t read French).

    Second, I completely agree that the statement on ATTAC’s website doesn’t really
    represent the group’s position towards the WTO and in fact should not be posted.

    As an anarcho or “autonomous marxists” (if not all out maximalist), we have to
    collect as much data as to the eventual impact of the WTO on Lebanon and the region.
    This is not a reformist project. We will never convince the State not to join the WTO.
    Those in the ruling class are the same one’s who will benefit from Lebanon’s accession.
    The portfolio that we must put together is one that will set an empirical and material
    base for the struggle that should be brought to all segments of the working and
    middle classes and should facilitate making international ties with our brothers and
    sisters in neighboring countries and other parts of the South.
    and I believe,

  6. Hello Anonymous #2,

    Regarding name-calling, I am not a big fan of that, but I will always call a spade a spade, and some leftists are hardly leftists (like Walid Junblatt, who claims he is a socialist).

    I was told by a comrade (who reads my blog) the other day that this was not ATTAC's position, and while I believe him (and you), I insist that so long as it is on their website, it is valid and justified to consider them advocating / sponsoring these positions.

    I agree that data on the impact of the WTO on Lebanon should be collected; my problem was not with the idea of compiling data, rather it was with the wording that was used ("credible evidence")…

    I appreciate your comment and agree with everything else you said.

    Do I know you from somewhere (you mentioned anarchism, so I'm just wondering)? Would I be able to get in touch with you in one way or another?

    Thanks.

  7. Brother/Sister Anarchistian (sorry I don’t know your gender)

    Thank you for your generous acknowledgement of my message.

    You are so right about “pseudo” leftists. I wish it were only those like Jumblatt.
    How about those f-holes who call themselves leftists and are obsessed with electoral
    politics, get led around by the worst feudal and neo-liberal sc-m. It’s sick and
    frustrating.

    On the other hand, to be fair, ATTAC has acknowledge, at
    least internally, that you are completely correct in saying that that stance should
    not be posted on their website esp if it is not that of the organization.

    Maybe you could jump on board as well? I don’t think I am empowered to recruit and
    certainly would not be so presumptuous as to do so. HOWEVER, in general, the movement (and –in Lebanon and abroad– always needs righteous activists and thinkers, let alone those
    form a small cadre with spine (if you know what I mean in black and red language)in
    in the eventual confrontation with the relentless hyber-capitalist forces that will
    pull Lebanon into further economic misery.

    If you are a straight-up black-red, I probably have not met you as I don’t know many
    in Beirut. HOWEVER, I’d love to meet you! You can ask anyone in ATTAC and they should
    immediately know who I am through my language.

    DEFINATELY FIND ME and let’s hook up.

    Until then siser/brother,

    much warmth, affection, and solidarity

  8. Hello again!

    Well, I do not mind working with ATTAC; the problem is that I have a very busy schedule and can rarely make it to meetings, etc. Besides the fact that I am not a big fan of organizations (leftist or otherwise) so I try to stay away from them as much as possible. But I am interested in finding out how ATTAC Lebanon “works”. I will get in touch with them soon. I am not sure if I have the time, but I might actually be able to help out with the website re-design and regular updating, if such a thing is needed.

    It is interesting that ATTAC has acknowledged this; I really wish they would clarify their position publicly; of course, they do not have to mention or refer to me (hopefully they would not), that isn’t why I want to see a clarification. I think it should be a matter of principles that a clarification be provided; I do not consider this a “small detail”. I think it was a big mistake, and mistakes should be publicly acknowledged and corrected: something that none of the zu’ama in Lebanon do … ATTAC Lebanon should adopt a transparent line rather than a fishy one..

    I am a black bloc-er. I know only a few anarchists in Lebanon. I haven’t really found the activist scene here in Lebanon anywhere close to being active. Let me just be honest and say that it is pretty much DEAD. I am a radical, and I tend to criticize much of the mainstream left (outside of electoral politics), including a number of my Communist and Marxist friends.

    Speaking of electoral politics, I agree with what you said!!! I have been trying to hammer this into the heads of some “leftists”, but they insist that the group should take a position on March 14!!!! I keep telling them that March 14 is irrelevant, both in the context in which the group functions, as well as in the ideologies it is SUPPOSED to espouse!!! But it seems that our youth are convinced that it’s the “cool” thing to do. After all, March 14, the presidency issue, etc. these are the talk of the town, eh? Hrmmmmmmmmm. Meanwhile, no one talks about economic justice, authoritarianism, class struggle, emancipation, and so on! In fact, positions and statements on these issues are not really adopted and published, for fear of “upsetting” elections “prospects” for the group. I have been dealing with a bunch of spineless, lazy people who only get excited when the issue is March 14!!!!!! I am getting quite sick of “leftist” groups. I have worked with many leftist groups outside Lebanon, of all shapes, colours, and sizes, and while I have been rather frustrated at the bureaucratic and centralized crap there, I have never been as frustrated as I am now, seeing all those people who claim they “think outside the box” but who do not really differ much except in name. As they say, same shit, different name.

    I will get in touch with you soon.

  9. Comrade Anarchistian

    Thanks for taking the time to write the message. Just a few points. First, please
    understand that I do not speak in ATTAC’s name and it is not my place to explain whether they made a mistake or not let alone whether they should make an act of contrition for it. Technically, I would not even articulate their official position regarding the WTO although I know that it will be out, formally, soon if it is not already out.

    That said, PERSONALLY, I suspect that the group will be the most formidable, committed, and radical opponent to the WTO as well as many other social and economic issues (those to do with neo-liberalism and beyond).

    I completely trust their democratic nature. From one radical comrade to another, I might be careful in confusing democratic protocols with “transparency”. That is the language of reform itself! U know as a member of a bloc that transparency can be
    dangerous for radical organizations. Again, I am NOT speaking about/for ATTAC here,
    but as one anarchist to another (or at least one particularly paranoid anarchist who
    is used to provocateurs and federal agents infiltrating groups to another anarchist).

    Also, don’t down play March 14 too much! It was a historic moment for us all-
    the moment when the Lebanese ruling class successfully duped 1,000,000 to wrest
    political and economic power from the Syrian military and hand that power to the class of oligarchs and their cronies that the Syrians propped up if not made over the past 15 yrs.

    Finally, a handful of comrades here in Lebanon, COMPLETELY agree with you and want to focus on economic justice, authoritarianism, class struggle, gender and sexual emancipation, environmental justice, etc. We just have to FIND ONE ANOTHER. Then, might I suggest, when we do, we should make our own AFFINITY groups (closed or open)!

    I do believe sister/brother that the time is coming in this country that the radical left can start to germinate into a meaningful, even if small, force. We have to work on building revolutionary affinity groups that can also form connections with other groups (even mainstream “liberal” or “reformists” groups) to create a network.

    That said, (again NOT speaking in the name of ATTAC but as one comrade to another), I
    think that any contribution to the movement that you’d want to volunteer would
    probably be welcomed, respected, and accepted without strings attached.

    Definitely find me SOON. It’s not hard. Look forward to meeting you. Until then, stay
    focused, lucid and angry.

    Power to the people.

    ma atyab salamati

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