Lebanon: From government vacuum to presidential vacuum

By Ali Hammoud

The forces of the system renamed Najib Mikati, the most notorious of the corrupt and thieves of public money, to lead the Lebanese government in a stage considered one of the most difficult that the country is going through. The economic and financial collapse in Lebanon is the third largest in the last 150 years worldwide. Mikati’s appointment came as a continuation of the state of stagnation and the interruption of all plans and attempts to start the process to get out of the crisis. All the parties that appointed him were aware in advance of the impossibility of forming a new government in light of the results of the parliamentary elections.

Najib Mikati failed to form the government and is continuing the work of his previous government, pending an agreement on the division of ministries.
If this is not possible, the government emptiness in Lebanon will continue until after the end of the mandate of the current President of the Republic, who will leave the Baabda Palace without choosing a replacement for him due to internal and external difficulties.
The election of a president in Lebanon requires an American, Iranian, Saudi, Syrian agreement… This agreement is linked to the conflicts in the region, from the Iranian nuclear dossier to the Syrian war and the demarcation of maritime borders with the Israeli enemy.

The current government emptiness and the expected presidential emptiness may continue for several months, until the end of the mandate of the Governor of the “Banque du Liban”, who is entrusted by the ruling system to follow up and make decisions on all financial matters and economic. The emptiness in the position of ruler is the end of an era in which Riad Salameh ruled the Lebanese economy through Ponzi operations, waste and theft, and the distribution of public money to sects and their managers, the end of a stage in the that the government of the Banque du Liban was the guarantor of the interests of the leaders of the system and the protector of their wealth.

The expected emptiness will affect all major institutions, and is an example of the disintegration of the Lebanese state in the face of the growing strength of sectarian parties and their armed militias, which opens the country to new sectarian clashes and a further collapse of the national currency in front of the US dollar.

Demarcation of borders with the enemy is a new betrayal.

The sectarian political system has always neglected the interests of the Lebanese people in favor of the outside world and has always made concessions at the expense of the dreams and ambitions of the workers and poor of Lebanon. From dependence on the French and the Americans, the Syrians, the Saudis and the Iranians, and today the biggest concession is being made in favor of the Zionist enemy, who still occupies the Shebaa farms, the Kfar Shuba hills and the Seven Villages . . This enemy that occupies our land is now a few steps away from stealing our gas and oil wealth with the complicity and acquiescence of the prevailing system.
The enemy began to explore for gas in the Karish field on line 29, which represents the last point of the Lebanese maritime border, which is located on the mentioned field.
The President, Government and Parliament have refused to recognize Line 29 as part of the Lebanese maritime border, and have rejected all the studies presented by the Lebanese Army and experts confirming Lebanon’s right to it. System deputies also abandoned a bill in Parliament that would test Lebanon’s right to Line 29. The President of the Lebanese Republic deliberately stalled and refused to sign a constitutional decree that considers Point 29 as part of the borders. Lebanese maritime authorities, to be deposited with the United Nations to establish Lebanon’s right to its wealth. He continued to adhere to Line 23, which decided the results of the indirect negotiations (with the presence of the non-neutral American sponsor) in the interest of the Zionist enemy, thus wasting hundreds of kilometers of Lebanese economic waters.

The regime in power waited for months for the American negotiator to sympathize with them with a few more kilometers to come out in front of the Lebanese with a “great achievement”, but everyone knows the truth of what has been happening in the last 20 months, which is the fear of this affiliated authority of US sanctions and their attempt to provide obedience to remove the names of key politicians from the ruling system.
On the list of sanctions, such as: Gebran Bassil, the son-in-law of the President of the Republic, and Ali Hassan Khalil, the second man in the Amal movement, the party of the President of Parliament.

We have previously stated that the political authority, lacking the slightest sense of responsibility in social and economic affairs, could not be sharper in national affairs. We now say that whoever has given up his role in protecting his land and his people cannot be trusted to negotiate with the Americans and Israelis, and that the result of indirect negotiations was a national treason practiced by the ruling regime. .

From the bottom of the crisis, we continue to fight.

The Lebanese are paying the price of the crisis produced by the political authority in poverty, unemployment and loss of the necessities of life. From queues for fuel to queues for bread, and from the black market for USdollars to the black market for medicines and even bread, the purchasing power of the Lebanese has deteriorated, while the minimum wage is equivalent to 23 dollars a month.
The decrease in the Lebanese’s income, his inability to ensure his daily strength, depriving him of his minimum rights, and the seizure of his deposits in the banks exhausted him and made him lose his resistance. In addition, the crisis in the health sector has become a threat to the lives of hundreds of patients who cannot get the medicines they need, especially those related to chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and serious diseases such as cancer.
The education sector has also suffered a large part of the crisis and its negative repercussions. With rising poverty rates, a large number of parents are no longer able to enroll their children in colleges or schools.

The workers and the poor in Lebanon are paying the price of the collapse as poverty expands horizontally, encompassing new social groups and segments of the middle classes descending into the ranks of the poor. At the same time, poverty deepens vertically, this means that the livelihood of families deteriorates to lower levels than before.
The transformations that Lebanon has undergone go beyond the issue of impoverishment and inequality in the technical sense, in terms of breadth and depth, and in terms of the correlation between the financial, economic, social, political and institutional dimensions. It is a stage of comprehensive crisis for the State and for the system as a whole. Overcoming this crisis requires a path that starts from the social dimension to the political dimension, after the failure of the October 17 uprising to achieve its objectives.

Lenin wrote after the 1905 revolution that the most dangerous thing we could fall into was the denial of defeat. In Lebanon, we must be aware that the uprising did not achieve its goals and that our role as Marxists is not to try to revive it, but to dismantle and understand the causes of defeat and failure and address them. There have been many articles that talk about the withdrawal of the masses from the streets and that try to predict the date of their return without discussing the conditions of the revolution: the objective and subjective circumstances. We must be aware that economic crises alone are not enough to trigger a revolution, especially in light of the intertwining of crises in the region with those from within. Trotsky had already pointed out that if poverty were the cause of revolutions, the masses would always be in revolution.

Change in Lebanon does not require millions of daily or weekly manifestations. We differ with the organizations and leftist groups that put all their efforts into inviting people to manifest. Change in Lebanon needs an organized force, a force that organizes workers, youth, women, homosexuals and refugees and helps create their frameworks for democratic struggle and defends their rights and interests, an organized political force that raises the correct political slogan from your urgency. The absence of the revolutionary party had a great impact on the failure of the popular uprising, since the working class and the poorer popular groups were unable to express their interests.

Marx wrote in his letters that the most dangerous thing we can fall into is the conviction of defeat. We have to be aware that every defeat is a temporary defeat, and that continuing the fight will be enough to overcome all crises.
The uprising of October 17 is part of a revolutionary path that began in 2011 and then in 2015 and lasted until 2019, and at each stage of the revolutionary tide and convulsion the frameworks of struggle develop and their discourse radicalizes.
Our main task in Lebanon at this stage is to build the frameworks of the struggle that will lead to the establishment of the revolutionary party. A party full of militant, ideological, political and organizational elements. A party capable of building the historical bloc, a party that has an internationalist horizon that integrates with it in the fight against imperialism and global capitalism