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Communist Movement in Lebanon

This document was made possible with support from Youmna and Tony Asseily



Subject:  Communist Movement in Lebanon


The communist movement in Lebanon has gone through five basic stages. They are:


First – The Establishment, from 1919 through 1921.


Second – The Focus Process, from 1921 through 1924.  The organization of this stage lasted through 1936 in secret.


Third – The First Stage of Open Spread in Lebanon, which lasted from 1936 through 1938.


Fourth – The Second Stage of Open Spread in Lebanon, which lasted from 1943 through 1948.


Fifth – The Third Stage of Open Spread in Syria, which lasted from 1954 through 1958.


1919 – The first communist circle in Lebanon was founded by a group of educated Armenians residing there after they were exiled from Cilicia in 1917, most prominent of them is Artin Madoyan.


1921 – Artin Madoyan established with a number of educated Armenians the Spartacus Youth Association in Beirut.  At that time, members of the Association contacted a number of Lebanese youth with leftist tendencies and together they formed the nucleus of the communist cell.

Summary of the Growth of Communism in Lebanon


In 1917, the Communist Revolution was victorious in Russia.  It was known at the time as the Bolshevik Revolution.  Members of the revolution are divided into two sections:


The first under the leadership of Lenin – the Bolsheviks


The second under the leadership of Trotsky – the Mensheviks


The Lenin wing was the winner.  After the end of the World War One, the news of the Russian Revolution spread and Lebanon was rushing to adopt the principles of that revolution thanks to the Armenian immigrants and a bunch of educated Lebanese who shared the praise of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.

The Wandering Reporter Newspaper


This paper, which is published in Zahleh, allowed Armenian and educated Lebanese opinions to be publish on its pages, which spread communist ideas.


The owner of the newspaper, Alexander Al-Rayashi, had himself been under the influence of Russian Revolutionary ideas.


And thanks to the Wondering Reporter, the voice of these Armenians and educated Lebanese had reached abroad all the way to Moscow itself.


The slogan of this newspaper was:


The paper for the worker.


The paper of the needy.


It used to come out twice a month.


This paper is the reason for the advancement of the socialist movement.  It is what introduced its members to each other, coordinated their efforts and helped them grow and expansion.


This paper is credited with the establishment of the communist movement in Lebanon and Syria.



The first issue of the paper came out on Sept 28, 1922 in Zahleh by Alexander Al-Rayashi.  Before that, he was publishing Al-Bardoni newspaper also in Zahleh.


 The first editorial team was put together to spread communist ideas.  This team consisted of:


Artin Madoyan


Alexander Al-Rayashi


Yousef Ibrahim Yezbek


Salah Mahfouz


Nicola Harb


Around that period, the Lebanese Fuad Al-Shimali was the leader of the workers movement in Egypt.  He was elected head of the Labor Syndicates in Cairo.  He had promoted the slogan of independence, withdrawal and participation of Egyptian workers and self-determination.


In 1923, Fuad Al-Shimali was exiled from Egypt to arrive in Beirut by sea.

He was met by:


Artin Madoyan


Alexander Al-Rayashi


Yousef Ibrahim Yezbek


Salah Mahfouz






Account of the communist movement in Lebanon's historical development, from 1919 to 1923.


Document Information


Emir Farid Chehab Collection, GB165-0384, Box 9, File 1/9, Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony’s College, Oxford.


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Youmna and Tony Asseily