During the launch of the Unions and Expatriates sectors, Pierre Issa, Secretary General of the Lebanese National Bloc Party, stressed that the party "began today the real work to restore Lebanon "from the hands of the corrupt and criminals," calling for "the liberation of unions from sectarian parties" to be "key players again." During the meeting, he presented the Bloc’s political, social and development program, which will be launched on June 24, and a briefing to the member of the "Executive Committee", Salam Yamout, about the new party bylaws, and addressed the coordinators of the two sectors' committees.
The following are the proceedings of the meeting:
Secretary General Pierre Issa explained “a union is an organization that acts as an intermediary between its members, the business that employs them and the state. In Lebanon, the influence of traditional and sectarian political parties on professional and trade unions forced them to gradually submit to the ruling class and became one of its pawns, rather than taking on a crucial role in advocating for workers’ rights.”
He added “the General Labor Union has vanished since the October 17 Uprising against the ruling elite and mainstream parties. These traditional and sectarian political parties hinge on a rentier economy that contradicts the principle of a free economy, and which is in reality a form of dictatorship that prevents the achievement of free competition.”
Issa warned that “the abolition of the role of unions and free professions is a type of dictatorship practiced by sectarian parties, but this dictatorship has today lost popular legitimacy and its clientelist practices after the bankruptcy of the state and its ability to intimidate citizens”.
According to Issa, the crimes committed by these parties were not limited to destroying the economy, but rather embezzled the funds of the National Social Security Fund with the aim of financing the deficit, while the remaining funds lost its purchasing power due to the deterioration of the value of the national currency as result of these parties’ heinous crimes. Within the same context we cannot overlook the pensions for employees and professionals, as is the case with the money of all Lebanese”
Issa said fervently “It's all over now, we will take back the initiative, restore the unions, and if necessary, establish new independent professional associations capable of playing pivotal roles.”
He continued: without the power of a union, workers are helpless. We want the unions to make a comeback. We want modern unions that embrace socialization and changes in workers vs. employers’ relationship and participate in the economy growth and wealth sharing. we want to free professional unions from their affiliations with the traditional ruling parties so that they could reclaim their fundamental function”.
Issa pointed out “we’d like to see a genuine partnership between unions and civil society, reform political parties and governments in implementing economic policies. But above all, let us free ourselves from sectarian parties that are the enemy of workers, employees and liberal professions, and are ready to destroy the country, its economy and its vital forces to remain in power”.
Issa concluded “Our battle for the unions has begun and we will not stop because in the National Bloc we believe in the vital role of unions, and because we have a project for the entire homeland not for the party.”
During the launch of the Expatriates sector, Issa considered, the tragedy that is happening alongside the country's historic economic meltdown is the exodus of its best and brightest. Lebanon's "brain drain" is due to a corrupt regime that forced its citizens to establish themselves in a country where they live in dignity.”
He stated “no matter how much time passes, and distances widen you will always remain Lebanese in heart. You will never forget your country, your identity and belonging, and your country needs your help now more than ever, especially in these difficult circumstances we are going through.”
Issa added “you are the most tangible proof that Lebanon has potential and talents, but what is needed is a system that provides you with a window of opportunities for innovation and excellence in all areas.”
He explained “expatriates are often regarded as a source of money, especially cash, or what is known today as “fresh”, but you are much more important than that. Lebanon needs your dynamicity and skills in remote work. There is an urgent need to secure remote jobs for Lebanese residents through your networks and connections. This will secure them a monthly income, and at the same time, allow them to stay in their homeland."
He stressed the right of the Lebanese diaspora to participate in political decision-making, whether through elections or development projects, adding: “Our role is to assist you in the struggle to restore your rights: the right of women to grant their nationality to their children, the right to regain the Lebanese citizenship, and the right to organize and activate the participation of expatriates in Political life”.
Issa concluded by saying “we are using all our might to counter this restrictive sectarian system to pave the way for electing representatives from among the Lebanese expatriates, and the “bloc” will launch its political and development program on the twenty-fourth of this month... today the real work begins until we restore Lebanon from the corrupt and criminals’ hands”.