By Dyab Abou Jahjah
“Are you going to politics? Is activism behind you?” this is the second most asked question that I received since I spoke about my plans to launch a political list in order to contest the elections of 2019. The most asked question was why only Brussels, why not in Flanders too?
I always thought that the expression “going into politics” was a bit odd. I mean where is politics? Is it another place, another country? Should I take a train there, or an airplane? Do I need visa? Is there a wall? Politics was always part of my life since I was 4 years old. Politics determined where I live, where I go to school, the friends I have, the ones I leave behind and the new ones I make. I never went into politics, and yet politics always came to me and intruded into my life, forcing its repercussions on it.
This is true for me, and it is true for every one among us. You can claim that you are not interested in politics, and you can actually even mean that, but that will not change the fact that politics is interested in you. Above all, whatever you claim on this matter will not change the fact that you are very interested in the outcome of political dynamics. At the end of the day, these dynamics do draw the boundaries of your life, and that of your children and loved ones.
It is true that being political and politicised does not necessary have to mean being active in a political party or movement, and even less so, participating in elections. You can be passively interested, low profile, low intensity, but no matter how, you better keep an eye on what is going on politically around you, and if you do not, you better not whine about the consequences.
So let us get one thing straight, I am not going into politics, all my life I have been into politics, actively, intensively and in a very persistent manner. Activism is always political, it is always about the balance of power, and change. You may chose for a strategy of influencing politicians and political parties, and if you lose that hope, and if you do not feel represented by any politician or political party, you then either make a choice for the lesser evil, or you take on the challenge of producing a new form of politics that is in tune with your own convictions and aspirations. Me personally, I was never big on choices out of poverty and need, I feel I deserve better, and that my fellow citizens deserve better. So when the last grain of hope in the existing political parties evaporated, the logical choice for me was to start talking with likeminded people on how to launch a new political alternative. This is not going into politics, this is adding an extra dimension to more than 30 years of political activism and commitment. Since I was elected the first time to be in the regional council of the national union of Lebanese students at the University of Saida in 1989, until 2019 when I will be elected to represent the people of Brussels in Parliament: one line, and one journey.
So I am not becoming a politician, not in the sense of these carrier seeking, Armani wearing, fake smiling, slick political-marketers who try to sell us baked air in jars. I was and I am remaining a political activist, true to my ideas, to my constructive egalitarian radicalism, to my decolonial commitment. My base will remain the grassroots of the city where I live and work. I will not become someone else, and I will not do things any differently. I will not have communication strategies, I will keep thinking deeply and writing frankly. I will not accommodate anybody, what you see is what you get.
My intention is to federate the struggles and the aspirations of people seeking a true equality, and a just, healthy and sustainable way to organise our lives. I want to be part of an egalitarian radical renaissance that will conquer Brussels, Belgium, Europe and the whole world, with new politics of radical equality and balance between justice, freedom and sustainability.
In order to achieve that, we must defeat the forces of supremacy, the forces of sustained privileges, and the forces of the status-quo. We must defeat them in every possible arena, and electoral politics is one of these arenas. This is not about signals, and messages, and symbolism. This is about the balance of power, and about the cause of human emancipation and equality, a cause that I will always be committed to, in every possible way.