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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Beirut explosion: When capitalism abuses state institutions

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by Red Oak Club

The explosion that shook Lebanon and destroyed a quarter of Beirut on August 4 will now be added to the massacres and abuses committed by capitalism.

More than 5000 injured, 10s of missing and over 140 dead, 3 completely destroyed hospitals, the state’s medicine storage and the port of Beirut demolished. This is not the result of negligence, but the consequences of conscious and planned clientelist relations which hoped to turn the stored explosive material into millions of dollars.

While the state – which has not put up emergency strategies, plans, or committees for any kind of natural or man-made disasters – is trying to find ways to make money out of the catastrophe, people have built support, aid and relief campaigns since the moment of the explosion.

From removing people from under the rubble with their bare hands, to carrying the injured on one another’s backs to the hospitals, to medical staff volunteering in the streets, parking lots and waiting rooms of the hospitals, to forming groups to collect funds and medical equipment, to cleaning the rubble, to mental health staff offering free consultation for the traumatized, to engineers volunteering to survey the destruction and to save heritage building: the city is rebuilding itself with its people’s hands, it is the people who have built this place once and are rebuilding it now, while the ruling oligarchy searches for ways to get richer.

Solidarity is what makes this place livable. And politicizing this solidarity and the explosion is what makes us understand that it is them against us.  

The only way to stop this explosion from happening again, the only way for us to feel safe in our cities, villages, towns, is to push the ruling oligarchy out of its position of power. Those who are in power – since before the civil war – have to pay for their crimes.

β€œThe nation is for the workers, may the authority of capital fall,” as the Intifada in Lebanon has been repeating since the 17thΒ of October. May the rage of the disenfranchised be heard.#

Red Oak Club is a political organization of students, workers, and teachers based in the American University of Beirut. They stand for social justice against any form of oppression, and fights for people’s struggles. The Red Oak Club is also a member of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles.

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