Art, Architecture and Visual Culture

Power on hold
Author: Lea Bou Khater

The labour movement in Lebanon narrates the history of the Lebanese labour movement from the early twentieth century to today. Trade unionism has largely been a failure, because of state interference, tactical co-optation and the strategic use of sectarianism by an oligarchic elite, together with the structural weakness of a service-based laissez-faire economy. The Lebanese case study holds wider significance for the Arab world and for comparative studies of labour. Bou Khater’s conclusions are significant not only for trade unionism, but also for new forms of workers’ organisations and social movements. The failure of trade unions reveals a great deal about Lebanon’s current political moment and how it got there, but also how events are set to affect future movements. The book challenges the perceived wisdom on the rise of the labour movement in the 1950s and 1960s and its subsequent fall during the post-war period from the 1990s onwards. What is perceived as a fall after the end of the civil war was merely the intensification of liberal economic policies and escalating political intervention, which had already been in place since independence in 1943. Hiding under the guise of preserving sectarian balances, the post-war elite incorporated the labour movement into the state to guarantee their command of the hollowed-out state. Beyond controlling the labour movement to avoid a challenge to the system, the post-war period was characterised by political forces, using the General Confederation of Workers in Lebanon (GCWL) as an instrument in their disputes over power, rents and benefits.

Lea Bou Khater

Amid the protracted paralysis of the GCWL, the labour movement in Lebanon showed signs of revival in 2011 with a ground-breaking mobilisation of public-sector employees who rallied under the Union Coordination Committee (UCC) to demand a wage adjustment. In light of the poor results of the private-sector trade unions, how can the public sector’s resilience and effective mobilisation be explained? And to what extent did sectarian affiliations impact the functioning and performance of the UCC? This chapter first examines the obstacles to public-sector mobilisation plus the UCC’s structural resilience to help better understand its actions and extensive mobilisation. The second part of the chapter focuses on the main features of the UCC’s mobilisation, notably the relationship between the UCC and the Government.

in The labour movement in Lebanon
Lea Bou Khater

This first chapter documents state–labour relations throughout key periods between independence in 1943 and the end of the civil war in 1990. This chapter starts with the birth of the workers' movement and the first associations under the Ottoman Empire and reviews the restrictions under the French mandate. It examines the labour movement after independence, including the struggle for the Labour Code, the emergence of union federations and the establishment of the General Confederation of Workers in Lebanon (GWCL), and discusses its main demands before the outbreak of the civil war in 1975. The chapter also considers the mobilisation and protests of the labour movement during the civil war and its role advocating for peace.

in The labour movement in Lebanon
Abstract only

"The conclusion confirms that it is possible to speak of international law in the period 700 to 1200. By exploring the content of treaties and by comparing this to domestic law and customary practices, a framework of international rules emerges that reflects the interactions and issues arising from those interactions across centuries of practice. Peaceful relations between entities was a goal that could be pursued in many different ways, and rulers frequently did so using well-known institutions (e.g., arbitration, expulsion, and redress), a plethora of customs and legal practices (e.g. amnesty, reprisal, and consent), and a combination of domestic and international legal instruments and diplomatic documents (e.g. treaties, laws, and letters). Rulers, their supporters, and whole communities not only considered themselves bound by this ‘system’, such as it was, but they also bear testament to its success, however small, as evidenced by its frequent and sustained use throughout the medieval period. By exploring the specific customary practice of safe conduct in a global perspective, the chapter further highlight the difficulties of tracing changes to the international rules across space and time, even where the details were adapted to individual circumstances. Ultimately, the chapter highlights that significant further research on the history of international law, treaties, and customary practice, offering both global and chronological perspectives, is needed to determine what might be truly specific to Europe and to the medieval period.

in International law in Europe, 700–1200
Author: Jenny Benham

"It is the contention of this book that there was a notion of international law in the medieval period, and more specifically in the period 700 to 1200. It examines and analyses the ways and the extent to which such as system of rules was known and followed in the Middle Ages by exploring treaties as the main source of international law, and by following a known framework of evidencing it: that it was practised on a daily basis; that there was a reliance upon justification of action; that the majority of international legal rules were consistently obeyed; and finally, that it had the function to resolve disputed questions of fact and law.

This monograph further considers problems such as enforcement, deterrence, authority, and jurisdiction, considering carefully how they can be observed in the medieval evidence, and challenging traditional ideas over their role and function in the history of international law. This monograph then, attempts to make a leap forward in thinking about how rulers, communities, and political entities conducted diplomacy and regulated their interactions with each other in a period before fully fledged nation states.

Abstract only

The introduction explains the outline of the monograph, its methodology, the usage of some of the terminology, and further sets the topic into its historiographical context. In addition, it explores the possibilities and problems of approaching the medieval period and its primary sources through the methodology adopted in this book.

in International law in Europe, 700–1200
Abstract only
Law, responsibility, and deterrence

In the modern period, no states claim to be above the law or that international law does not bind them. This chapter argues likewise that, in the medieval period, rulers and political entities justified their actions in legal terms when they departed from a legal norm. In the later medieval period, the issue of justification has been explored mainly through the development of the ‘just war’ doctrine and canon law. The chapter builds on that historiography by examining how in the period before 1200, treaties, diplomatic documents and narratives often give evidence of such justifications, thereby providing strong indications that rulers followed the rules of international law as a matter of obligation and not only as a matter of choice or on moral grounds. To explore this fully, the chapter returns to familiar questions about violence and peace, e.g., how and in what circumstances violent action was justified, and who had the authority to carry out such violence. It further identifies what constituted breaches of international law and how parties dealt with such breaches, thereby revealing medieval conceptions of responsibility and liability. Examining justifications hence demonstrates something of how deterrence worked in the medieval period and the effectiveness of this.

in International law in Europe, 700–1200
Abstract only
"Arbitration, mediation, and third- party intervention"

"This chapter investigates how medieval entities and rulers resolved disputed questions of fact and law through one particular method: arbitration. It was, and continues to be, one of the most common ways to resolve conflict, secure peace and deter future violence. Its frequent and sustained use as a method to settle disputes at lower levels of society during the whole of the medieval period and across most geographical areas has often been acknowledged by scholars, but, in an international context, it has been seen primarily as a late-medieval phenomenon, involving the papacy or merchant towns, e.g., those of the Hanseatic League.

The chapter argues that in the period before 1200, arbitration was a relatively rare method for determining disputes between rulers, yet it was one that had a clear process with specific terminology, procedure, and expectations. More commonly, the evidence show that parties used arbitration panels, drawing an equal number of men from each side, to discuss, determine, and decide disputes over individual stipulations in treaties. This chapter hence demonstrates the involvement of both individuals and communities in conflict resolution, their authority and ability to make decisions on matters in dispute, and how they encouraged, coerced, or reinforced obligations and responsibilities agreed in treaties. In short, there were well-developed strategies for resolving international disputes, employing judicial institutions that were widely used and known to all parties.

in International law in Europe, 700–1200
"Redress, amnesty, and transitional justice"

The extent to which the international legal rules may have been consistently obeyed is the most difficult part to assess, both in the medieval period and in the contemporary world, and it is a notion that goes right to the heart of the question about effectiveness or enforcement. This chapter argues that the effectiveness or enforcement of international law in the medieval period can be best seen through an exploration of the use of compensation, sanctions and mechanisms of transitional justice (e.g., international shaming) in treaties, their link to domestic laws and institutions, and how they functioned in different situations. By perceiving of enforcement as something exercised through and linked to cultural values, e.g., honour, loyalty, masculinity, it is possible to point to certain enforcement procedures in the medieval period.

in International law in Europe, 700–1200
Treaties

"In the modern period, treaties are not only one of the main sources of international law but also the only way in which states can consciously create international law. Medieval treaties have not previously been considered in this particular way and this chapter aims to do this. It explores a full range of different treaties from medieval Europe, drawing out similarities and dissimilarities in purpose, form, and terminology, while at the same time considering issues of provenance and categorisation. The chapter further explores the extent to which medieval treaties were intended to be legally binding in the sense of creating rights and duties that were enforceable.

In short, this chapter considers treaties as a corpus of primary sources, drawing out the problems and possibilities of this for international law, and explores the extent to which some treaties can be described as contracts and others as law-making."

in International law in Europe, 700–1200