Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung’s Beirut Office hosted a conference on social and transformative justice in conflict and post-conflict settings from the 13th – 16th of November, 2018.
Bringing together minds and experts on regions like Lebanon, Syria, East-Timor, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Columbia, the conference aimed to address the assumption that most conflicts are rooted in socio-economic causes that usually continue to be relevant during and after the conflict.
Social and transformative justice can be understood as notions of equal, fair, and just opportunities and relationships in a society, and using peacemaking as a response to social conflicts, respectively.
Presentations ranged from a focus on the links between war and capitalism, to local struggles for social and transformative justice in the regions mentioned above. “Shrinking spaces” in civil society were discussed, which relate to the reduction of social rights – for example, freedom of assembly becoming limited or withheld by restrictive states, or rights of self expression being refused by conservative ideologies in government. The economics of war and post-war economies was presented, and the conference was fittingly concluded with a discussion on the different concepts of civil conflict resolution.
An excursion to Tripoli’s International Fairgrounds provided a surreal lesson in the seemingly everlasting effects of conflict on society. The fairgrounds had been developed to host large-scale expositions, highlighting the confidence in Lebanon’s strategic position as a bridge to the Middle East. Although parts of the fairgrounds are used occasionally today, with the onset of Lebanon’s civil war, the vast complex, a concrete wonderland designed by Oscar Niemeyer, never made it to completion.
The Lebanon Pavilion at Tripoli’s International Fairgrounds
Last week, Erik O. Wright passed away after a long battle with illness. We have lost a brilliant Marxist, one of the original thinkers of Democratic Socialism, a friend, and a comrade. But his legacy can allow us to learn more from him.