2014-04-29

A Radical Movement of Change

It's been the tradition of this blog to celebrate the International Labour Day on 1 May (2011, 2012). Despite the long time of inactivity, I decided to follow this tradition this year as well with this entry.

Part of the protest march of the UCC in Beirut on 29 April 2014 (Source: @PaulDamouni)
This year, the May Day memory is highlighted by the recent UCC (Unions Coordinating Committee) protests happening in Lebanon. I see great potential for this movement which, of course, is a righteous movement, following a labourious struggle which started in 1996; not to mention that it's cross-confessional, and doesn't adhere to any authoritarian political agenda.
On the surface, the struggle is for the ranks and salaries scale. But deeply, this struggle affects the whole structure of the Lebanese system of financial and confessional oligarchies.
And it has been proving so with the slogans it has been using recently, using a vocabulary including the concepts of "the 99% vs the 1%", "the whales of money and authority", refusing a "settlement at the expense of the poor classes", and calling for legislatures for punishing the corrupt and for a more balanced taxation scheme.
But where to go from here?
I believe this movement can be the cornerstone for more protests to come. For now, this movement is keeping its strict unionist aspect with specific demands, which I think should not be corrupted but, I also firmly hold the belief that it's time to expand it into a more radical one, including more groups of interest.
As a first step, everyone should support the UCC. We should have interest to do so. The struggle is no longer merely for the demands to approve the scale of ranks and salaries. Achieving this specific endeavour is the gateway to reshuffling the system, to be more fair.
The Leftist movements have been absent (except for a few voices) from the apparent picture of the UCC movement, which I hope is a strategic silence, not a sign of incapacity due to political affiliations. What better time for those movement to hold the causes of the people and the poor to the facade of the political scene?
I really hope this struggle ends up in positive result, despite the major regional and global conflicts affecting Lebanon, and that it won't be transformed into a political settlement card, because for once we have a movement that can lead into real change.

Joseph

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