Hezbollah and the Lebanese Popular Movement, Reactions and Challenges13 February 2020. From 18:30 | Workshop | English | IEMed, Barcelona
The origins of the protests in Lebanon can be summed up in two words: neoliberalism and sectarianism. The Hezbollah party has been accusing the protest movement of being controlled by foreign interests.
The protests that have shaken Lebanon since October 2019 have their origins in the announcement of new taxes and privatization policies in the context of a deep economic crisis. Joseph Daher, Professor of Political Science at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), explains the roots of this protest movement and how the Shiite Hezbollah party, traditionally accustomed to widespread popular support, has reacted to it, after being converted into a target of criticism.
Daher claims that although in the past Hezbollah had criticized “savage capitalism” and the dominant sectarian system, it has gradually incorporated in it through parliamentary activity and support for successive Lebanese governments. And in a line very similar to the rest of the country’s political parties, Hezbollah has accused the current protest movement of being manipulated from the outside and trying to destroy the country.
Hezbollah’s strategy, according to Daher, is to continue targeting outside interference to explain the protest in the streets and to hinder the construction of a political alternative that could arise from the protest movement.