Political classifications in Lebanon: What’s in a name?!
Posted by worriedlebanese on 21/07/2008
My apologies to the readers (am I over-blowing it with the plural?). Terminology surely is an occupational obsession in most academic circles, but in the real world, it’s seems like a rather tedious and ineffectual business.
In politics, I believe, terminology is very important, especially in a logocracy. A logocracy is a system of government based on words (i.e. political discourse). The system is fundamentally ideologic and is governed by the official discourse (the official truth) made up of slogans and political prophecies. Language is no longer a simple tool aimed at naming things and giving their meaning, but rather an instrument of power and the means of domination. Logocracy is usually equated with authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. But Lebanon is in no way authoritarian or totalitarian. Politics like everything else is fragmented. So unsurprisingly, its logocracy is fragmented.
Interestingly enough, the political actors in this fragmented logocracy spend a lot of time labelling themselves and labelling others. These labels serve to guard each fragment’s borders and obscure the most descriptive label (the confessional label) that is actually taboo.
This is equally true for today’s labels as they were true for yesterday’s.
In the 1970s: Rightist or conservative parties/leftist or progressive parties: even though most would have been classified in Europe as centre parties supporting either limited liberal or social policies, and upholding a conservative view on moral affairs).
Today we have the Anti-Syrian vs Pro-Syrian: even though most of the political groups concerned by the first category are simply hostile to Bachar el-Assad’s regime. And the latter category includes people who are close to the Syrian regime, and many others who are simply hostile to the “anti-syrian” groups.
Opposition vs Loyalists (pro-government, or governing parties). Withstanding the fact we now have a national coalition government, some analysts still insist on dividing the political parties into two categories, the opposition and the loyalists.