Category Archives: Class Struggle

ATTAC Lubnan Event

I know this is on short notice, but here we go:

paris3.jpg

For more on ATTAC Lubnan, click here.

ملاحظة مهمّة اتمنى ان تصل الى المعنيين بالأمر في “اتاك”: إنّ تيار “8 آذار” لا يضمّ القوى السياسية التي تشيرون اليها هنا. اذا ممكن، وحفاظاً على الـ”شفافية” والمصداقية، صحّحوا الخطأ. شكراً

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البرنامج الإقتصادي لحزب الله

هل من برنامج اقتصادي لحزب الله؟

منشور صادر عن التجمّع اليساري من أجل التغيير

يمثل حزب الله طائفة كبيرة، كانت وما زالت تشكل إطار الحرمان الأكبر، وأماكن تواجدها وخصوصاً في ضاحية بيروت الجنوبية تشكل حزام البؤس الأكبر في لبنان. وبالرغم من هذا الواقع الاقتصادي السيّئ الذي يعاني منه أغلب مناصري “حزب الله”، نراه بعيداً كل البعد عن قضاياهم.
فهو لا يبدي ولا يظهر أبداً إلى العلن رأيه بالمشاريع الاقتصادية وبالقضايا الاقتصادية التي تطرح على النقاش في البلد. ولكن ما يبدو جلياً من خلال الأداء السياسي ومن خلال المطالب التي يحملها أنه موافق على السياسة العامة الاقتصادية التي تتجه لها الحكومات المتتالية، ولم نراه يوماً ممانعاً لأي قرار حكومي، فهو في غالب الأحيان محايد أقرب إلى الموافقة.
مثلاً، ما هو موقف “حزب الله” من الخصخصة (الضمان الاجتماعي، الجامعة اللبنانية، القطاعات الصحية)؟ لم نرى في أي يوم أنه أعلن موقفاً صريحاً بهذا الخصوص… إذاً، الموافقة! وما هو موقف حزب الله من موضوع الاتحادات العمالية والمطالب العمالية بالإجمال؟
مثلاً، ففي خضم المظاهرات التي دعا إليها الاتحاد العمالي والعديد من النقابات بعد العام 2000 أمام مجلس الوزراء في المتحف وفي العديد من المناطق اللبنانية، وخصوصاً في حي السلم التي وقعت فيها مجزرة بحق المتظاهرين وقع على أثرها خمسة شهداء ومجموعة كبيرة من الجرحى ومن المعروف إن هذه المنطقة تعتبر منطقة أساسية لجماهير حزب الله، فإن ما ظهر جلياً هو أن الحزب لم يؤازر المظاهرات ولم يعلن أبداً تأييده لهذه الفئات الشعبية، وهو لم يحل دون وقوع المجزرة. كانت مؤازرته للجيش في وجه المتظاهرين واضحة، وقد ظهر ذلك من خلال إعطاء المظاهرات الطابع السياسي وإبعاد عنها كل طابع مطلبي في محاولة لإخفاء الواقع المر التي تعيشه هذه المناطق، وزيارة بسيطة لهذه المنطقة تظهر حجم المعاناة والبؤس الذي تعانيه، إلا أننا رأينا أن حزب الله اتخذ موقف الرافض للمظاهرة وذلك لحماية اعتبارات سياسية وتحالفية تخصه.
لم يتغير المشهد اليوم… فبعد ست سنوات من التحرير وبعد حرب دامية على لبنان تحقق فيها انتصاراً مهماً للمقاومة، وبعد أن كان الشعب باختلاف ألوانه مسانداً لهذه المقاومة وله الدور الأساسي في انتصارها، شاهدنا حي السلم جديد في منطقة الرمل العالي حيث ترك حزب الله مناصريه وجماهيره فريسة للقوى الأمنية التي أطلقت النار، مجددا، على المتظاهرين بحجة وقف مخالفات البناء وقتلت طفلين لم يكن ذنبهما سوى أنهم كانوا “في الطريق“. مرة أخرى لم نرى حزب الله إلا مرافقاً لقوى الأمن بعد حصول ما لم تعرف تفاصيله بعد وكانت نتيجته إخماد النيران على جثة الطفلين.
ولعل النزاع الحالي الذي تشهده الساحة اللبنانية هو أبرز مثل على غياب الخطة الاقتصادية لدى حزب الله. فهو قد أثار أزمة على الصعيد المحلي، مضمونها مقاعد في مجلس الوزراء لحلفائه. دعا الناس إلى إسقاط الحكومة، من أجل مقاعد وزارية لحلفاء ساندوه خلال فترة الحرب.
لا نرى أبداً خطة اقتصادية بديلة لسياسة الحكومة. لا نرى أبداً حلاً لمشكلة الفساد الإداري المستشري في البلاد. لا نرى حلاً للأزمات الاقتصادية المتفاقمة يوماً بعد يوم. إسقاط الحكومة وفقط… سياسة اقتصادية ذاتها، بعيدة عن المشاكل الاقتصادية والهموم التي تعاني منه الفئات الشعبية اللبنانية.
هل سيستمر حزب الله بتقديم هذا الطرح الاقتصادي غير المبالي بالمشاكل الاقتصادية والمحايد الذي لا يعلن الرفض. ما هو يا ترى المشروع الذي سيقدّمه إلى مناصريه بعد انتهاء الاحتلال الإسرائيلي أو بعد نزع السلاح؟ هل سيتحول إلى حزب سياسي حاكم بعيد كل البعد عن مشاكل مناصريه أم أنه سيطرح مشروعاً اقتصادياً يتناسب مع أوضاع مناصريه وحالتهم الاقتصادية؟
سؤال ينتظر الإجابة ليس من حزب الله بل من جميع الذين يتبعون أحزاباً فقط لأنها “حزب الطايفة”!

**

بعض الملاحظات:

* حزب الله كان يشكّل جزءاً من “المعارضة” (اذا صحّ التعبير) ضدّ البرامج الإقتصادية التي تبنّاها رفيق الحريري سنة 1992. وفي انتخابات 1996 كان لدى الحزب “برنامجاً” اقتصادياً وصحياً وتعليمياً. أمّا في انتخابات الـ2000 فقد شدّد الحزب الناحية الإقتصادية، وقدّم العديد من النقاط حول المشاكل الإقتصادية وكيفية معالجتها خصوصاً في البقاع وعكّار… جميع هذه المنشورات الإنتخابية تتحدّث عن المشاكل والأمور الأكثر أهمية، مثل الضمان الإجتماعي، الزراعة، القطاع الصحي والتعليمي (والجامعة اللبنانية)، الخ.. اذاً، إدّعاءات التجمّع اليساري من أجل التغيير عن عدم اتخاذ الحزب موقفاً (لا أعلم ما اللذي تعنون بـ”صريح”) حول هذه الأمور ليست دقيقة.

* تتحدّثون عن “خطة اقتصادية بديلة لسياسة الحكومة” وكأنّ الحكومة لديها خطة اقتصادية. أين هذه الخطة التي تشيرون اليها؟ لأنني لا أرى أي خطة، كل ما أرى هي كارثة انسانية لا توصف. أمّا حل مشكلة الفساد، فهذا أيضاً يقع ضمن البرامج الإنتخابية.

* هل كلّ من لا يقدّم نسخة طبق الأصل لبرامجكم ( هذا اذا كان لديكم خطط او برامج) يصبح غير مبالياً بالمشاكل الإقتصادية؟؟

* عملوا معروف، المرّة الجايي اقرأوا حول الموضوع قبل ما تتفلسفوا!!!

A response to critics

A few people have criticized me lately for not looking “anarchist” enough in my blogging. This is a response to them. When I launched this blog, I did not intend it to focus on economic-political-philosophical aspects, or solely on leftist or anarchist movements. My analyses – though definitely impacted by my personal beliefs – are objective dissections of real events [in the Middle East, though occasionally going beyond it]. I do not feel obliged to provide a class reading (as an anarchist I am more concerned with the idea of statehood, authority, and power) of these events. In fact, such a reading would be extremely limited and not exactly accurate. The core of the struggle is power, questions of authority and freedom that go beyond a proletarian “revolution” and the ability of such a “revolution” to fix it, so to speak. I must take this opportunity to criticize those who think that they ought to find class struggle in everything. They twist and turn things to find an aspect that would give their class analysis some form of validity. Often, not finding it, they simply insert it. For example, there never was a (real or imagined) class awareness or class struggle in Lebanon, or in fact in Palestine (despite the presence of the Palestine Communist Party and its attraction of both Jews and Arabs), yet there are people who think a class analysis explains everything in the struggle that led to the establishment of the state of Israel. There are also those who think joint class struggle would eliminate power struggle, suffering, and oppression. This is outrageous. And it is yet another point on which I have continuously criticized Marx and Marxists.

To conclude this entry, I will post a number of links to posts I have made in the past on the topic of class struggle and leftism, hoping that it will satisfy, at least temporarily, those who are of the opinion that you can’t be leftist if you don’t find elements of leftism in everything:

Hello again, world!

So I am back; and many apologies for the long absence and mysterious silence. I have been busy lately with work (sigh!) and school, but I am finally done with both, at least for the time being (i.e. until next week). My vacation was supposed to be 2 weeks long but some people are rude enough to demand extra work when it is outside the contract agreement signed… And being a “can’t say no” (naive? stupid?) person, I stupidly took on the task that I did not have to, which meant that there will be further demands (for Monday), because the more you spoil them the more they demand… But, I am determined to ignore, ignore, and ignore, because it is my vacation, and I owe that much to myself.

Having said all that, part of the reason for my silence (since more than one person has inquired so far) has been the fact that I have been really at a loss for words because I feel that whatever I write is merely a repetition of the previous entry – because, as I have told those who asked, we Middle Easterners simply like going in circles (reminds me of the bus song… “the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round…”). I have tried to avoid falling into the trap of paraphrasing news reports on developments (developments? since when did that apply to the Middle East?) in the region, because there are all too many websites and blogs that do that. I like to adhere to analysis and observation on my blog as much as possible. Speaking of observation, I have been observing a unique phenomenon in Lebanon lately. Well, it happens every 4 years, but it is a sight to see… By the end of May, flags of different countries (mostly Brazil, Germany, and Italy) have decorated streets, balconies, store fronts, cars, motorcycles, and so on. A foreigner visiting the country would be amazed at how many “foreign nationals” live in the country… but to the locals, it’s a way of life, a uniquely Lebanese phenomenon, something to be celebrated rather than “overanalyzed” and shunned… I understand that there is some excitement due to World Cup, I understand (ok, maybe not so much) that people might like the way one national team or another plays, but to hang flags (and I mean, not just small car flags, I mean flags that cover entire buildings) and go out to the streets in the middle of the night honking because some country’s team (and if you’re one of those typical flag-wavers, you probably don’t even know where that country is located) won a game, is a little bit too much. In fact, this is not surprising at all… The Lebanese are good at celebrating others’ victories and losses instead of strengthening themselves so that they themselves can achieve such victories. Now the discussion is no longer just about the World Cup, but also about politics, and the Lebanese people’s reaction to their surroundings. This is why Lebanon has never been and will never be independent, or free of the cancerous tumours called elites (zu’ama). There is a fable in Armenian that goes something like, “the fox couldn’t get to the grape, so it said, ‘it’s unripe anyway’ “… the Lebanese, when they can’t get the grape, say, “let me cheer for the lion to get it.” Such is the peculiar world that the Lebanese live in… As for the World Cup, I am rooting for the underdogs (no particular one), as long as it will mean that the Lebanese will bitterly remove their flags. Although, come to think of it, so long as such mentality is there, things will continue to move … in circles.

Moving on, I mentioned I have been busy with school; those of you who also check out my other blog have probably noticed that about 10 days ago I posted my paper for my ethnic conflict class (on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict). I have decided to also post my paper for my Palestine class. The paper is in PDF format, is downloadable (right click & “save link as”) and printable, but not editable.

Zionism’s Socialist Dilemma: Nationalism, Colonization, and Class Struggle

The paper is 24 pages (plus 2 for bibliography). Please do report any factual or technical mistakes; I started writing the paper 5 days (if you count the long breaks, I did less than 2 day’s work on the paper – minus the reference collection part, which was done a month ago) before its due date, and have not read it over…

Well, enjoy! And I am off to play Call of Duty.

For my Cuban readers

Dreaming in Cuban: The Cuban and Cuban-American Palimpsest

Many questions arise from the story of Cuban “exile.” The most significant are the issues of ethnic and cultural identity and nationalism, and their subsequent position in the Cuban experience both inside and outside of Cuba. While cultural identity most often represents unity, nationalism and the political aspirations of various groups that share a certain cultural identity represent a break in this unity, often resulting in, as is the case with the Cuban revolution, the exile, either voluntary or forced, of the anti-revolutionary factions. In this manner, the unity between national and ethnic identities is shattered, and new identities arise, such as the one adopted by Lourdes Puente in Cristina García’s Dreaming in Cuban – a novel of Cuban memory and Foucaldian “counter-memory” – the “transformation of history into a totally different form of time” (Foucault 160).

In analyzing García’s characters, their pasts, and the complex web of interactions between them, we must take into account the role of history, both collective and individual, in the shaping of beliefs as well as relations, thereby defining a palimpsest – not just of Cubans living in Cuba, but also of Cubans with alternative identities: “Cuban-American” such as Lourdes, and non-opinionated Cubans, mostly of the third generation that remembers little of the anti-revolutionary exodus, such as Pilar. It is important to note, however, that Pilar, despite being of the third generation of a Cuban family in exile and having been only two years old when her parents decided they would leave Cuba, claims that she “remember[s] everything that’s happened to [her] since [she] was a baby, even word-for-word conversations” (García 26). In fact, Pilar never mentions any of the “word-for-word” conversations that she claims to “remember.” It is not unusual, given the amount of existing Cuban revolutionary propaganda calling the “exiled” Cubans “traitors”, to consider her recollections of that day as the products of “collective memory” and “collective feelings” of those who lost a part of themselves to the revolution, only to replace it with a new identity upon arrival on the opposite shore.

The parts that the exiled characters in García’s novel have lost in Cuba to the Cuban revolution are, albeit being replaced by a new identity that might perhaps provide some closure, part of their existence even as Cuban-Americans. For Lourdes, it is a sense of loss that is coupled with feelings of insecurity that leads her to follow her daughter’s each and every thought and moves. She has given up a logical support of the possibility of differing views in favor of absolute truths, of a false dichotomy, or as her daughter says, “[her] views are strictly black-and-white. It’s how she survives” (26). Thus, for many of the characters in the novel, the past occupies a primary position in the interpretation of the present and the hopes of the future. For Lourdes, it is that moment in her past when she was sexually violated by the soldiers of the revolution that defines her political stance and possibly her identity as a “Cuban-American” and not just a Cuban national of the United States. One pointer to the significant role her past plays in her adoption of the Cuban-American identity is her insistence on the American “ideals” of capitalism, when not even Pilar, who has been brought up in America has adopted that radical an attitude. For Lourdes, however, the Cuban identity is not as immediately and directly important as is her American identity, for it is the latter that has allowed her to escape from the images and scents of oppression in her past.

By drawing a family tree and introducing to readers members of a family split across borders, García is essentially attempting to deal with the intergenerational and intragenerational past and conflicts. The past, however, is not restricted to Celia del Pino and her children, but extends to include her grandchildren, who are also separated due to the political conflict, albeit in a manner different from the separation of their parents, for Pilar had never met Ivanito or his sisters, whereas Lourdes had spent a significant portion of her life in the presence of her sister Felicia. This separation of family members is symbolic of the separation and finally the breaking apart of the community that had previously been held together by the cultural “glue.” The breaking up of the “national fantasy” as David Mitchell calls it in his essay “National Families and Familial Nations: Communista Americans in Cristina García’s Dreaming in Cuban” (55) has therefore signaled the end of a cultural unity within the context of nationalism – for the two factions, one represented by Celia and the other by Lourdes are the complete antitheses of each other and share the ethnic identity only at face value, as that identity is no longer put into practice for the unity of the nation that would in turn represent it.

García focuses her novel of cultural, political, and personal awakening thematically on the representatives of the three generations of the Del Pino family: Celia del Pino the revolutionary grandmother, Lourdes Puente the capitalist mother, and Pilar Puente the aspiring punk artist. While the character of Felicia is central to the theme of spirituality and “magic” and might occupy a significant amount of physical space in the novel, her existence is not central to the revolutionary and counter-revolutionary movements, although she is an anti-nationalist in her own right. In addition, her character has more personal and cultural implications than political, and while her death leaves behind questions of closure, it does not have a significant consequence on the other characters’ perspectives in terms of their familial struggles the borders of which are defined by national conflicts. In the same manner, Ivanito plays a minor role, although not insignificant if we are to make a futuristic interpretation of the novel, for he is the hope of a future that is defined by an identity that is attached to the mother – the mother being Felicia, and the symbolism being the “mother country.” Ironically, Felicia’s death is coupled with Ivanito’s separation from the motherland, and he is no longer the future hope for reconciliation between the “two” families and the two communities in the larger political sense, as the cycle of blaming “the other” continues with Pilar’s “betrayal” of her grandmother.

It is significant that Pilar is the one who has the power to decide Ivanito’s future and consequently the future of the split between the two parts of the family, as his exile would have many consequences on the relationships between these four characters. Ivanito here then makes his entrance into the central circle of characters; but his presence there only lasts for a split second during the suspense of Pilar’s confusion as to who she owes her loyalty to – her grandmother who has sacrificed so much to and for the revolution or her mother who has often bullied her in order to assert her ultra-capitalistic views. Celia’s inability or refusal to understand Lourdes’ radical anti-revolutionary stance might be attributed to her lack of knowledge of the past that is haunting her daughter. This inability to speak of the unspeakable and the confinement to the expression of past injustices in the form of radicalism in the present has had a destructive effect on the understanding between mother and daughter in the familial context, and between the Cubans who remained on the island and those who left for the safety and promises that the other shore allegedly offered.

Lourdes “wants no part of Cuba, no part of its wretched carnival floats creaking with lies, no part of Cuba at all, which [she] claims never possessed her” (73) and in refusing Cuba, she is rejecting that which she claims is an amalgamation of lies presented in the form of carnival floats that are designed to distract the masses and prevent them from looking behind and seeing the suffering of the people and their pasts haunted by the loss of not only loved ones but also of a membership in a community that was based on cultural traditions rather than economic policies.

In Lourdes’ refusal to accept that Cuba ever had a place in her heart lay a renunciation of that which she has decided was responsible for the traumatic experience, the country rather than the soldiers, reconciliation rather than bitterness. In reconciliation she sees no hope, and she circumvents it by attempting to force Ivanito into exile. The question then remains, does Lourdes find closure and reconciliation in that act? García notes in a conversation with Professor Scott Shibuya Brown, that “each of [her characters] needs to be a heroine, to believe she is doing the right thing, choosing the only path to a kind of personal redemption” (255); thus, Lourdes believes that her personal redemption is in saving someone else from the brutality that she was subjected to. In doing so, she does not appear to be concerned with the effects of such an action on her mother; she is solely concerned with the future that Ivanito represents, both for himself and for her. However, she fails to take into account the fact that in escaping from the ghosts of the past by exiling the present from the possibilities of a future in Cuba, she is opening the way for new ghosts and fresh hauntings for actions that shattered the hopes of the present to destroy the ghosts of the past. Lourdes has chosen “counter-memory” over memory – her sense of history has been transformed from a factual account of events that have transpired and identification with the history of “her people”, into a dissociative movement that seeks to destroy historical identity and establish in its place personal narratives that speak for past injustices.

While there is no pointer as to whether or not the cycle of haunting has been broken, in the end we are left with the knowledge of a sense of closure that Celia experiences, symbolized by the act of dropping her drop-pearl earrings into the sea in a gesture of personal awakening and reconciliation with the dreams, longings, and yearnings of the past and the reality of the present. The lack of insight into the thoughts and feelings of the remaining characters does not act as a limitation, but as a powerful message that aims at highlighting the gesture of letting go in order to regain oneself, in the process adding another history to the palimpsest of Cuban struggle and identity.

References

Foucault, Michel. Language, Counter-Memory, Practice. New York: Cornell UP, 1977.

García, Cristina. Dreaming in Cuban. New York: Ballantine Books, 2004.

Mitchell, David T. “National Families and Familial Nations: Communista Americans in Cristina García’s Dreaming in Cuban.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature. 15.1 (1996): 51-60.

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?

Aren’t you bored, already?

I don't know about you, but I am quite sick of hearing the same thing over and over again (under different headings/titles). No, I am not talking about Lebanese newspapers. I am talking about leftists' redundancy and the attempt to paint the movement as an intellectual one (as if that means that one knows one's facts). Moreover, I feel that such strict adherence to intellectualism is the result of the inability (or unwillingness) to address issues that should be or should've been addressed. That is not to say that intellectualism should be abandoned altogether. All I'm saying is that there is a place and time for everything. But it seems that some people and groups in Lebanon are in love with the concept of idolizing "intellectuals" and think that activism is all about bringing "renowned" speakers for talks at this or that university. What pushed me to write this entry? Well, for starters, there is a talk at AUB tomorrow, and the guest speaker will be talking about "U.S Oil Corporations in Iraq". Like we've never heard of that 10 billion times. You know, even the local shepherd Mkha'il (believe it or not, his sheep still graze here in Qornet Shahwan) knows about U.S oil corporations in Iraq. Come to think of it, I suppose I suffer from bias against shepherds or something.

And then of course there are the Chomskyites (did I say some people have Chomsky patches on their jackets?) who seem more keen on turning leftist groups into Chomsky fan clubs (in addition to March 14 fan clubs). Well, I never liked the guy to be honest. I think he's a boring speaker and in fact a boring writer (except for his excellently-documented book The Fateful Triangle) and a very classical thinker. I have been reading Class Warfare, a collection of his interviews with David Barsamian, and ironically he struggles most with the question of feminism. I quote:

DB When you were in Chicago in October, a woman in the audience asked you, in a pretty straight-ahead question, how come you don't factor gender into your analysis? You pretty much agreed with her, but you really didn't answer her question.

In fact, I've been writing about it quite a bit in recent books in connection with structural adjustment, globalization of production, and imposition of industrialized export-oriented agriculture. In all cases, women are the worst victims. Also in some of these latest articles. What we discussed the other day about the effect on families is essentially gender war. The very fact that women's work is not considered work is an ideological attack. As I pointed out, it's somewhere between lunacy and idiocy. The whole welfare "debate," as it's called, is based on the assumption that raising children isn't work. It's not like speculating on stock markets. That's real work. So if a woman is taking care o a kid, she's not doing anything. Domestic work altogether is not considered work because women do it. That gives an extraordinary distortion to the nature of the economy. It amounts to transfer payments rom working women, from women altogether and working women in particular, to others. They don't get social security for raising a child. You do get social security for other things. The same with every other benefit. I maybe haven't written as much about such material as I should have, probably not. But it's a major phenomenon, very dramatic now.

All of this is a major phenomenon in contemporary American affairs and in fact in the history of capitalism. Part of the reason why capitalism looks successful is it's always had a lot of slave labor, half the population. What women are doing isn't counted.

DB I've never heard you, for example, use the term "patriarchy." While not wanting to hold you to the fire with particular terms, is it a concept that you're comfortable with?

I don't know if I use the term, but I certainly use the concept. If I'm asked about what I mean by anarchism, I always point out that what it means is an effort to undermine any form of illegitimate authority, whether it's in the home or between men and women or parents and children or corporations and workers or the state and its people. It's all forms of authority that have to justify themselves and almost never can. But it's true, I haven't emphasized it (Class Warfare, p. 53-54)

Now, I had a mini-debate with a Marxist (or a communist or a Trotskyist or a Leninist, who knows, depends on the day, I guess) on feminism, and he insisted that patriarchy not only was not responsible for the prevalent class structure, but also that it did not factor into class relations. I challenged him to respond to my points but so far he has not. He seems to be one of those "here, read this, so and so [a woman] says that patriarchy has nothing to do with this". So I ask, "how does that prove that patriarchy has nothing to do with it?" I get the following reply: "I'm telling you, she's a woman, and if a woman said that about patriarchy [and feminism] then it must be true". Umm, I guess that would have many implications. Just imagine a Palestinian on Israeli government payroll claiming to be a "moderate Arab" and saying that Israeli policies do not play a negative role in the conflict. Just imagine and compare. Will my beloved progressive Marxist communist Trotskyist Leninist [or some other-ist]ever come out and say, "he's a Palestinian, and if a Palestinian said that about Israel then it must be true". Now I am counting on the Chomskyites to come out and say that "Chomsky is a man, and if a man said that about patriarchy then it must be true."

I shan't bore you more with boring themes. I believe that patriarchy has been talked about too much and done nothing about – at all. This is actually the problem with feminism and feminists. Besides, can't you men-hating feminists hear, some men (Marxists communists Trotskyists Leninists [or some other-ists]) are actually complaining that feminism is "reverse sexism". They insist they are not indoctrinated with patriarchal values but are, ironically, concerned with "reverse sexism" and "reverse sexism" only. I am not sure how a Marxist communist Trotskyist Leninist [or some other-ist] who does not acknowledge the sexist nature of class relations would know what "reverse sexism" is about. Pulling a rabbit out of a hat is not that difficult a trick, I suppose.

It's a shame that I will be unable to attend this ever-creative talk tomorrow. Instead I will be enjoying a day-long trip to Jbeil (Byblos) with some company. Seriously though, I am in a very cynical mood, so it's actually good that I will be unable to make it. After all, I wouldn't want to spoil it for some of our "progressive comrades" who would be listening attentively and taking down notes so that they would go around and say "I was there when so and so said this!"

Now if you'll excuse me, I will go and mark some papers. Did I say undergrads here at LAU don't know how to put two words of English together properly? But what am I saying? This is heresy! I am insulting those prestigious Lebanese schools (I must be pro-Syrian?), International College, Saint Joseph, Jesus & Mary, among others. Shame on me. I will get lost now.