For the past three weeks, our "friends" or currently known as "Defenders of the WTO" have reached a new level of blunders. MP Elias Attallah's machinary have been advocating the imposement of the Quota on the Parlaiment which, in case the proposal is implemented, should have potentially 50% women in the parliament as a minimum quota to represent not only the lebanese, but also gender. Their second arguement is that it imposes empowerment on women to be active in the domain of politics and will create a domino effect of empowering women against oppression in the arab Lebanon.
There are plenty of problems with such an idea, and these problems are multi-layered, even though their logic is "better to have this rather than nothing" is totally illogical, but that is what to expect from someone who believes in the principal of "Emancipation From Above" (elitest way) rather mass-oriented. These are the following flaws starting from the general and going down to the specific:
1) Non-Existence of Leftism in the Movement itself except by name:
The Democratic Leftist Movement does not believe in mass-orientation. Their executive committee members clearly expressed that there is no change by mass oriented, or what they call as "living in a dream" syndrome. Their concept is to pledge allegiance to the right-wing, win a chair in the parliament, and change from the top. I do believe Karl Liebnekht's experience when he was a syndicate marxist revealed democracy in its reality when he spent his time in a cell, during the war. The problem with the DLM's logic is that mass-orientation is outdated, and "unleftist". I totally recall that every left-wing doctrine aims towards the masses and towards their emancipation, otherwise it is not leftist at all. The question goes to them: "How can you achieve leftist goals in the parliament when the majority, including your direct allies, are right-wing." In defecto, seeking left-wing goals damages the interest of the bourgeoisie, who currently is MP. Saad Harriri, the person who opened vacancy to our coffee-barriers within "14th of March" to run with them. The "why" he allowed them to participate would require another post.
DLM's proposals such as the quotas are proposed by them occasionally, and they know they would be refuted, but their followers would brag, we bring leftist goals to the parliament. Totally contradictory. Going a bit detailed, they propose such proposals because they are ideologically bankrupt. One of their leaders was celebrating the beauty of DLM of not having any ideology, and to such a claim we reply: "On what basis you are leftist if you lack the ideology?" Setting goals does not make a person leftist, for that, the Democratic Party in the United States can be labeled as leftist. Such proposals divert attentions to the real problem, the existent capitalist system with all its glitches, + its interaction with its surroundings brings forth such discrimination. Those discriminations toward women (already did a post on that issue) are due to residues of interaction with envirement and capitalism that oppressed women (primarily labor value theory + the rise of private ownership). Tackling the system from above is totally wrong, if they think they are doing any serious change to Lebanon's drastic bourgeoisie society merged with residues from the feudal times.
2) Ditching the point of being Leftist
Since those "leftists" lack the means or even as far as the intention to enter the class war (which they celebrate as non-existent), they tend to pay lip service in an attempt to even propose something. MP Elias Attallah went to S. Harriri's in a flick of a second couple of days ago, because it is not "strategic alliance" because it is S. Harriri who keeps Elias's puny movement alive.
Since they refute to emancipate women workers into awareness of the class struggle, (and as well as defending the WTO which made women even more oppressed than before with wages worse than the wages during Karl Marx's times), they think that such a proposal will really do a change. My assumption is if they are successful, nothing would have changed. Women from bourgeoisie traditional families would run into elections against each other and based on their region and sect (after all the Sectarian system presides), so it would be funny to see Ms. Beik Jumblatt going against Ms. Sheikha Irslain. The women in parliament are not emancipated, but rather they would be voted based on what their husbands/allegiance represent. Hence the sectarian electoral system would still stand, so would the regional divisions, and so would the capitalists who would make money on the expense of the proletariat.
3) What to do about that Quota?
Nothing wrong with that if you are right-wing like our friends over here, the merry DLMers sitting above Hawa Chicken woods. To a leftist, it is 100% wrong. For starters, the concept of merit has been annhilated, since the system has been already not functioning correctly. Only now, they want the system to remain non-functional, but with the wives/women maximizing profit as well in this bureaucratic muck. What if for instance 70% of the female candidates (or vice versa) running deserve to be in the parliament? Only 50% to be accepted, while let us assume that the male candidates have zero worth running for.
The concept of inequality has also been breached, other than encouraging bourgeoisie women to be in control along with their party blocks and maximize profits on the expense tax payers (which already going to the ones sitting on their chairs), they refute the concept of mass orientation, ie, emancipation of the real women toiling and being oppressed by the capitalist system and its values. The only logical thing then (simple to say it but very hard ... not impossible) is to achieve emancipation of the workers (of course women included). Afterall, as a Marxist I believe all people are equal despite race, gender, nationality, color, and religion. We as Marxists do not think about those barriers, unlike the ultra-nationalist DLM.
What ought to be done
Well, for starters, we should be part of the emancipatory project that has been ignited since 19th century, and is escalating to new dimensions special thanks to the WTO. We need to be organized for not that goal only, but the "gender" issue is part of something bigger. As Trotsky said: ""To alter the position of woman at the root is possible only if all the conditions of social, family, and domestic existence are altered." (Trotsky, Women and the Family, p. 45.)
PS: IF you reconcile 1% of your goals, you would have reconciled all your goals