On the fifth day of the Ghassan Kanafani Brigade, the Samidoun international delegation in Lebanon, the delegation met with the Popular Democratic Party in Saida, Lebanon, incuding the General Secretary, Mohammed Hashisho and Coordinator, Rita Hamdan.
The Democratic Popular Party is a historic Lebanese Marxist-Leninist political party which was actively involved in the armed Palestinian resistance, both in the south of Lebanon and in organizing in the cities. Being a Palestinian and Lebanese political party, they consider the cause of Palestine their own and central to the communist struggle within Lebanon.
The Party and the delegation engaged in discussions on a wide variety of topics. The Party operates a People’s Kitchen which provides free hot meals to eight hundred people in need each day and health clinic that serve the community in Saida city.
The Democratic Popular Party shared with the delegation their history of active participation in armed struggle against the Zionist state from inside Lebanon. The party recognizes the importance and necessity of encouraging and supporting all forms of struggle aimed at the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea.
Another of the fundamental premises on the basis of which the Party operates is the rejection of any solution that does not seek to decolonize all of Palestine, so they position themselves categorically against the Oslo Accords. They view the Oslo Accords as aiming to close the possibility of confrontation and Palestinian resistance both inside and outside Palestine (Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria) while at the same time opening the door to Zionist and U.S. imperialism, using occupied Palestine as its center of military operations and its neo-liberal experiment in the region.
The role of the Democratic Popular Party was fundamental during the Lebanese “civil war” in the protection of the popular classes and the Palestinian resistance. They have historically worked in coordination with Palestinians inside Palestine, but also with Palestinians in Lebanon, as well as with other internationalist causes struggling for liberation. That is why they are part of other projects, such as the campaign for the release of Cuban prisoners in U.S. jails or the campaign for the release of George Ibrahim Abdallah. In the same way they play a role in the formation of the Alternative Palestinian Path (Masar Badil) and its local committee in Lebanon.
The role of the Palestinian resistance has gone through three different stages (being at this moment centered inside Palestine and especially in Gaza). The Democratic Popular Party focuses its efforts on generating the optimal objective conditions to consolidate the resistance to overthrow Zionism in a coordinated manner.
The Party also mentioned to the delegation as a fundamental point the creation of an international Arab force that breaks with the years of normalization with Zionism and undertakes a social and economic war against imperialism, whose spearhead is Zionism.
In relation to the current state of the Palestinian liberation movement, the Party believes on re-establishing Palestinian armed struggle outside of Palestine in unity with the resistance inside Palestine. It considers this aspect crucial to the success of the project which is the liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea. The Party has unwaveringly stood for this political line.
The Samidoun delegation also presented their political work and perspectives to the Democratic Popular Party organizers, speaking about Samidoun’s history, formation, membership and chapter-building activities in Europe, Palestine, North America and internationally. Each country presented on their work, with members of the Collectif Palestine Vaincra in France speaking about their work to liberate Georges Abdallah and to organize among the left, Palestinian and Arab communities, and other marginalized groups; Samidoun Netherlands spoke about their work to strengthen the ties between the people’s struggle in the Philippines and the Palestine liberation movement as well as to develop resources and study centers for Palestine.
Samidoun Spain spoke about their work with the United Left to push for a broader support for Palestinians’ right to return and right to resist, and for the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea, as well as the work in the European Parliament to stand for Palestine and confront anti-Palestinian repression in Europe, such as the political ban imposed on Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat in Germany. The comrades from Samidoun Stockholm and Malmo in Sweden spoke about their work with antifascist groups and the Kurdish movement as well as their efforts to rebuild an anti-imperialist front, which has been particularly devastated in the past 20 years.
Finally, the delegation discussed with the party the situation of political, social and economic crisis engulfing Lebanon. Their analysis of the Lebanese regime is that it is a fundamentally unproductive economy, without any industry or agriculture, depending mostly on the financial sector. This situation is being maintained by the comprador state, which serves the interests of US imperialism instead of the popular and poor classes in Lebanon. Lebanon’s current economic and political crisis is a clear reflection of this, and the crises will worsen unless there is a revolutionary change.
For our comrades, this crisis is neither sporadic nor accidental, but is part of a concrete form of political organization. The Lebanese political system, direct heir of French colonialism, is fundamentally based on financial speculation and the destruction of the national productive system and, while the neo-liberal economic forces have dragged the country into misery, the hegemonic Lebanese left has not been able to give an adequate alternative to the people.
This crisis especially affects the Palestinians living in the refugee camps in Lebanon, who are under siege both by the Lebanese army, by the Lebanese reactionary forces, and also by some Palestinian parties, notably the Palestinian Authority. Therefore, it is essential that the true Lebanese revolutionary left is able to create a strong alternative that prevents the above mentioned forces from using the situation of misery brought by the crisis to make the Palestinian community dependent on them.
The Party has good relations with all organizations which practice resistance against Zionism and US imperialism, inside and outside of Palestine and Lebanon. While the liberation of Palestine is its central goal, it practices this alongside anti-sectarian revolutionary struggle in Lebanon and proletarian internationalism.
The delegation also visited the memorial for the martyr Maarouf Saad, the assassinated Lebanese political leader in Saida, Nasserist and strong supporter of Palestine. Saad was assassinated in 1975 as he led general strikes in Saida against the attempt of a corporation to monopolize fishing and destroy the union organization among the fishers.
- Read the Day 4 Report: Day 4 of the Samidoun delegation to Lebanon: Ghassan Kanafani Brigade at the Al Naqab Center
- Read the Day 3 Report: Samidoun Delegation to Lebanon Day 3: Generations of struggle for return and liberation
- Read the Day 2 Report: Samidoun Delegation to Lebanon Day 2: Political and cultural discussions at Mar Elias camp
- Read the Day 1 Report: Samidoun delegation to Lebanon begins: Visit to Shatila camp, meeting with boycott campaign
The delegation will proceed throughout the coming days, with ongoing reports of the delegation’s meetings and work throughout Lebanon. You can also follow the progress of the delegation on Samidoun Stockholm’s social media (@samidoun08), Collectif Palestine Vaincra (@collectifpalestinevaincra) and Samidoun Spain (@samidoun.esp).
The delegation is self-funded by Samidoun Network and the participants taking part in the delegation and its meetings. However, the delegation also aims to support organizing and build resources in the Palestinian refugee camps and throughout Lebanon, which is currently experiencing an extreme financial crisis, the greatest burden of which is falling on the most marginalized.
Your contribution can help the delegation to support the work of grassroots organizers in the Palestinian refugee camps to sustain and build their work as well as launching new centers for organizing for liberation and return for Palestine. Make your donation below to support this important initiative.