This article was co-written with John Clarke Former Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) Organizer.
The global pandemic that we are living through, in its origins and defining features, is very much a product of the capitalist system. Moreover, it has developed along lines that corresponded to the particular stage of capitalist development that we can refer to as the neoliberal period. There are several key elements to be considered in this regard.
Firstly, attempts to present the pandemic as an unanticipated ‘black swan event’ don’t stand up to any serious examination. The conditions that generated this pandemic were understood and…
The situation in Lebanon is continuously worsening with no end in sight. The everyday depreciation of the currency has forced shops to close and reduced the minimum wage in Lebanon, something barely adhered to in the best of times, to 60 USD a month. Government subsidies on essential foodstuffs and fuel are being slowly removed, leading to scuffles at supermarkets as people fight over limited supply and opportunism among sellers who are repackaging subsidized goods to sell at market rates. Bakeries are threatening to close, and blackouts, a norm in the country, are getting longer and longer. This is barely…
For those of you who have been keeping track of my news, you would already know that I recently published a new book called A Region in Revolt.
The book brings together writers from North Africa and West Asia to write on the latest uprisings in the region including Sudan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran.
Last week, we had an online launch event which included writers from each of our five chapters, each chapter dedicated to one of the above countries. The event was chaired by Firoze Manji from Daraja Press who published the book. You can watch the event in full on the below link.
Anyone who has been keeping track of my writing has probably noticed that it’s been dominated by Lebanon. This is because, since October 17, 2019, Lebanon has been experiencing a popular uprising against the government.
Lebanon was not the only country in the region experiencing an uprising. In the same month, Iraq and Iran also witnessed mass protests and violent government suppression. Well before that, Algeria and Sudan also experienced mass protests that were able to unseat those in power.
Many have called this wave of protests a “second Arab spring” although it has received much less news coverage. Since…
The discussion aimed at shedding light on the mood in Lebanon after the explosion that rocked Beirut on August 4 which I have written about briefly here. The conversation built on a previous one I had on the podcast in December, where we discussed the dynamics of the uprising which had started that October and how it might unfold. The explosion was discussed as being another layer in the uprising which will see its first anniversary this weekend.
A few weeks after the explosion that shook Beirut on August 4, 2020, I was asked to speak at an online event hosted by the Workers International Network. I was joined by Nadim Haidar, a socialist activist in Lebanon who could present a clearer picture of the mood on the ground.
The discussion tied the explosion to the ongoing uprising which started back in October 2019. Through that lens, we talked about the threat posed by the new “state of emergency” law which gives the military sweeping powers. We also touch on the important tasks ahead for socialists as well as the danger of confining discussion about Lebanon to corruption without tackling the sectarian system that it’s built on.
On August 4, 2020 an explosion at the Beirut port, in Lebanon, devastated the capital city. As of today, the death toll has reached 137 with more than 6,000 injured, 60 missing, and about 300,000 people have lost their homes due to damage from the explosion. Each one of those numbers represents a family and group of friends in shock and loss who were not as lucky as my friends and family, who were either far enough away from the blast or escaped with some cuts and bruises and slight damage to their homes.
Revolution is one of those words that gets thrown around more than it should. Everything these days is a revolution, from the release of a new iPhone to a candidate running for president. With such lax use of the term, it also becomes easy to proclaim the death of a revolution.
Two articles recently published in The Atlantic toe this line. The first by Shadi Hamid tells us that “The Coronavirus Killed the Revolution”. The second, by Rebecca L. Spang not only reanimates the possibility of a revolution but assures us that “The Revolution is Underway Already”!
The way these…
It’s been more than three weeks since the UK, like many other places, has entered a state of lockdown. “Non-essential” workplaces have been closed. Workplaces that can, have shifted to remote conditions. Those who can’t, lay off their staff who are either left to fend for themselves, seek assistance from the government directly, or go on a government-supported furlough scheme that covers a percentage of their salary — if an employer feels like it.
Jordan Peterson is back in the news, this time for being admitted to a Russian hospital by his daughter to get help kicking his anti-depressant addiction which he developed after his wife was diagnosed with Cancer. Many have pointed out the irony in how the self-help guru, who bases most of his arguments around the concepts of agency against the ‘chaos’ of life, was himself unable to overcome it. Others have expressed relief at Peterson’s breakdown as well deserved due to his outspoken sexist and transphobic remarks.
Obviously, those reactions have been condemned by many who see this as taking…