All stripes of socialists and the communist party in Lebanon only talk about economic remediation here and there. I don’t mention the socialist party of Lebanon because, in an Orwellian fashion, that has been taken over by a sectarian, feudal, billionaire, capitalist, warlord and his party has nothing to do with socialism except its name. Meanwhile, a large percentage of the Lebanese population are going hungry and we’re still talking about very modest monetary aid to the worst off through money cards and for only a small group of the extremely poor families. It’s like the whole building is falling down and the few empathic people in it are calling for placing a few buttresses in the broom closet. This is totally crazy!
Enough! We need to change the system. All huge wealth and fortunes, including those held by nefarious religious institutions such as the various churches must be immediately nationalized. A reorganization of all workplaces must be done. Every workplace must become a cooperative. To begin with, no more owners of electric generation motors. Those must be nationalized and placed under the administration of a co-op of all who live within its supply area. Every factory and every business must be run by a cooperative of all its workers. Every bank must become a cooperative of the town they reside in with consolidations or new branches if needed. There will be no more profit or rent income. Incomes will be set based on a minimum for each person plus some additions based on the number of essential and productive cooperatives that the person contributes to, but up to a certain income ceiling. No person shall have income exceeding four times any other. If you want to be a medical doctor, high-level business manager, engineer or professor then you do it because you care, because you love that profession and because you want to serve. Banks, run by their communities, will pay all incomes and town people vote on which cooperatives in the town, region or country will receive a fixed set of loans and other financial support. The pool of loans will be identified by a cascade of coalition of cooperatives all the way to the national level.
Based on Lebanon’s current national income, it is true that under such a system, no one will be rich in Lebanon, but we will have no poverty. In addition:
- Concerning food, everyone will have good, healthy food produced by people who care rather than by people who want to make a profit. Haven’t we all have had enough of rotten chicken ground into nuggets by criminal companies to feed our children? Haven’t we had enough of poisons or arbitrary additives like sawdust in our food for the sake of profits? Haven’t we had enough of unaffordable or unavailable foods such as the recent artificial absence of milk for infants because of owners speculating on rising prices and then seeing large amounts of it thrown away because of expiry dates? Must people go hungry because of greed?
- Concerning education, every person will have access to affordable education at every level. Schools will be controlled by cooperatives of parents and teachers instead of greedy profit-hungry churches, foreign institutions or individuals. Parents, teachers and staff will administer schools instead of power hungry, often idiotic, emotionally-stunted, obsequious people catering to their neurosis and exploitative masters. Based on recent findings, “non-profit” schools make profits to the tune of 70% or more. Avoiding this can make all schools easily affordable to our communities.
- Concerning health, people will have access to free healthcare by people who care rather than by millionaire hospital owners, exploitative insurance companies and business-oriented doctors who will take out your spleen instead of prescribing a healthy diet because there’s more profit in it. Medicine will be available to those who need it because it will not be hoarded by greedy merchants speculating on increasing prices. As a bonus, everyone will be more healthy because the stress of worrying about the nourishment, education and health of our families will be much reduced.
There are other concerns but I leave it for future discussions or for others to elaborate…
Best of all, we will be a community again with everyone connected, with everyone knowing that we all care and with everyone proving it by gladly working in our cooperatives, by not being greedy even if we thought that we’re doing more than our share, which is impossible if we viewed work correctly, and by respecting that the vote and needs of our neighbors at work is just as important as ours. Democracy is even more important in the workplace than in government because that is where we spend most of our time and most of our effort. We have to see work as joy in giving to our communities rather the means to snatch our share or more from a limited pie.
For my Lebanese compatriots, wouldn’t it be heavenly not to be shamed by the sight of barefoot children and sometimes toddlers walking among our cars and begging us for scraps while we’re stuck in traffic and while Ferraris, Limos and Hummers would plough their way through traffic with the help of their goon’s cars and sometimes police cars? Wouldn’t it be nice to have dignity in our workplaces rather the prevalent obsequiousness towards unworthy, underhanded and disrespectful people who often get to their positions through the mediation of the most corrupt of politicians or businessmen (often one and the same)? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a real say in our children’s education, to really partner with those who teach our children and to remove the obnoxious, power-hungry, emotionally-stunted managers, clergymen or elitists who so often control our schools? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a meal at a restaurant where the workers really want you to enjoy your meal because they are proud of their contribution without the intermediary of an owner who treats those workers with condescension and disdain and who may easily poison you if it meant more profit?
The current system has failed us and, indeed, has failed all of humanity. We must change the system or this system will lead us into an apocalyptic ending whose gates are wide open in Lebanon and with some of us already consumed and others sliding towards its maw. We’ve seen many people in Lebanon commit suicide in the face of unbearable hopelessness. Those suicides shame every one of us. Those were fathers who cannot support their children and mothers who see their infants die because they cannot support them. Enough! We must be brave, bold and above all empathic for the future of our children and for the future of most living things on this planet.
Let’s form these democratic cooperatives for a brighter future instead of suffocating in this capitalist deathbed.