Lebanon: a camp against austerity

May 11, 2019 | Middle East

For a hundred years, the Middle East has been a hotly contested region, as a result of the colonial division and the existence of the Zionist entity, a platform for all kinds of political and economic interventions by US imperialism. This area has suffered aggressive wars and the confrontation continues at all levels, whether through iron and fire or through interventions and imposition of destructive economic policies.

Lebanon suffered a civil war that lasted 15 years and destroyed the country. The leaders of the sects and the right-wing militias turned into mafia parties, formed a new sectarian political system, protected by regional and international alliances. They created a brutal neo-liberal regime based on rents and services, without industry, characterized by corruption, the looting of the country’s resources and speculative loans that bloated the public debt to more than 85 billion dollars, according to the confessions of the Ministry of Finance, though we know that the real figure reached 100 billion.

Although the government is reluctant to formally declare it, the Lebanese State is bankrupt. It is a consequence of the looting, corruption and mismanagement of the political mafia that controls the country since 1991. Now it has gone bankrupt and is trying to unload the burden of paying the interests of the public debt on the poor and those with limited incomes. Meanwhile, banks accumulate huge financial profits. The private capital of banks in 1992 was approximately US$ 225 million and today is more than US$ 20 billion. They and their political partners have benefited from the system in detriment of the interests of the people.

The Lebanese cabinet is discussing the budget and its agenda is to cut social subsidies and military spending, and increase the tax on aggregate value to reduce the deficit by 1% per year, approximately 900 million dollars. Meanwhile, the price of corruption and tax evasion by the regime’s mafia parties is approximately 6 billion dollars per year. That is to say, the political mafia has in its hands the resources to get out of the crisis.

From May 1 to 3 we held a vigil in Beirut to show the people that there are solutions for the crisis, that the problem is in the affairs of the country and that the solution is a comprehensive political change.

We commit ourselves to fight so that the financing of the treasury of the State is not approved at the expense of the poor, demanding this of the government and the other sectors of power. Progressive taxes should be imposed on businesses and banks and the money should be recovered from the corruption of the port and the airport, instead of punishing the people.

This is our message:

1) The first is for the government: the confrontation will continue, it is going to escalate and the revolutionary forces will not yield or withdraw from the struggle for the rights of the workers and the poor.

2) To all the political forces and groups that present their speech in the opposition: hesitation and fear will only produce regression and the government’s initiative will achieve its objectives.

3) To the people: there are possible solutions and their liberation from exploitation will be achieved only through a real alternative with a new political system based on social justice.

Youth Movement for the Change

الحركة الشبابية للتغيير