Libya, Getting it Right: A Revolutionary Pan-African Perspective

The following article by Gerald A. Perreira is being reposted here from Pan-African News Wire. It was originally posted at Dissident Voice:

Thousands of Indians, Egyptians, Chinese, Filipinos, Turks, Germans, English, Italians, Malaysians, Koreans and a host of other nationalities are lining up at the borders and the airport to leave Libya. It begs the question: What were they doing in Libya in the first place? Unemployment figures, according to the Western media and Al Jazeera, are at 30%. If this is so, then why all these foreign workers?

For those of us who have lived and worked in Libya, there are many complexities to the current situation that have been completely overlooked by the Western media and ‘Westoxicated’ analysts, who have nothing other than a Eurocentric perspective to draw on. Let us be clear – there is no possibility of understanding what is happening in Libya within a Eurocentric framework. Westerners are incapable of understanding a system unless the system emanates from or is attached in some way to the West. Libya’s system and the battle now taking place on its soil, stands completely outside of the Western imagination.

News coverage by the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera has been oversimplified and misleading. An array of anti-Qaddafi spokespersons, most living outside Libya, have been paraded in front of us – each one clearly a counter-revolutionary and less credible than the last. Despite the clear and irrefutable evidence from the beginning of these protests that Muammar Qaddafi had considerable support both inside Libya and internationally, not one pro-Qaddafi voice has been allowed to air. The media and their selected commentators have done their best to manufacture an opinion that Libya is essentially the same as Egypt and Tunisia and that Qaddafi is just another tyrant amassing large sums of money in Swiss bank accounts. But no matter how hard they try, they cannot make Qaddafi into a Mubarak or Libya into Egypt.

The first question is: Is the revolt taking place in Libya fuelled by a concern over economic issues such as poverty and unemployment as the media would have us believe? Let us examine the facts.

Under the revolutionary leadership of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya has attained the highest standard of living in Africa. In 2007, in an article which appeared in the African Executive Magazine, Norah Owaraga noted that Libya, “unlike other oil producing countries such as Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, utilized the revenue from its oil to develop its country. The standard of living of the people of Libya is one of the highest in Africa, falling in the category of countries with a GNP per capita of between USD 2,200 and 6,000.”

This is all the more remarkable when we consider that in 1951 Libya was officially the poorest country in the world. According to the World Bank, the per capita income was less than $50 a year – even lower than India. Today, all Libyans own their own homes and cars. Two Fleet Street journalists, David Blundy and Andrew Lycett, who are by no means supporters of the Libyan revolution, had this to say:

“The young people are well dressed, well fed and well educated. Libyans now earn more per capita than the British. The disparity in annual incomes… is smaller than in most countries. Libya’s wealth has been fairly spread throughout society. Every Libyan gets free, and often excellent, education, medical and health services. New colleges and hospitals are impressive by any international standard. All Libyans have a house or a flat, a car and most have televisions, video recorders and telephones. Compared with most citizens of the Third World countries, and with many in the First World, Libyans have it very good indeed.”1

Large scale housing construction has taken place right across the country. Every citizen has been given a decent house or apartment to live in rent-free. In Qaddafi’s Green Book it states: “The house is a basic need of both the individual and the family, therefore it should not be owned by others.” This dictum has now become a reality for the Libyan people.

Large scale agricultural projects have been implemented in an effort to “make the desert bloom” and achieve self-sufficiency in food production. Any Libyan who wants to become a farmer is given free use of land, a house, farm equipment, some livestock and seed.

Today, Libya can boast one of the finest health care systems in the Arab and African World. All people have access to doctors, hospitals, clinics and medicines, completely free of all charges. The fact is that the Libyan revolution has achieved such a high standard of living for its people that they import labor from other parts of the world to do the jobs that the unemployed Libyans refuse to do. Libya has been called by many observers inside and out, “a nation of shop keepers.” It is part of the Libyan Arab psyche to own your own small business and this type of small scale private enterprise flourishes in Libya. We can draw on many examples of Libyans with young sons who expressed the idea that it would be shameful for the family if these same young men were to seek menial work and instead preferred for them to remain at home supported by the extended family.

No system is perfect, and Libya is no exception. They suffered nine years of economic sanctions and this caused huge problems for the Libyan economy. Also, there is nowhere on planet earth that has escaped the monumental crisis of neo-liberal capitalism. It has impacted everywhere – even on post revolutionary societies that have rejected “free market” capitalism. However, what we are saying is that severe economic injustice is not at the heart of this conflict. So then, what is?

A Battle for Africa

The battle that is being waged in Libya is fundamentally a battle between Pan-African forces on the one hand, who are dedicated to the realization of Qaddafi’s vision of a united Africa, and reactionary racist Libyan Arab forces who reject Qaddafi’s vision of Libya as part of a united Africa and want to ally themselves instead with the EU and look toward Europe and the Arab World for Libya’s future.

One of Muammar Qaddafi’s most controversial and difficult moves in the eyes of many Libyans was his championing of Africa and his determined drive to unite Africa with one currency, one army and a shared vision regarding the true independence and liberation of the entire continent. He has contributed large amounts of his time and energy and large sums of money to this project and like Kwame Nkrumah, he has paid a high price.

Many of the Libyan people did not approve of this move. They wanted their leader to look towards Europe. Of course, Libya has extensive investments and commercial ties with Europe but the Libyans know that Qaddafi’s heart is in Africa.

Many years ago, Qaddafi told a large gathering, which included Libyans and revolutionaries from many parts of the world, that the Black Africans were the true owners of Libya long before the Arab incursion into North Africa, and that Libyans need to acknowledge and pay tribute to their ancient African roots. He ended by saying, as is proclaimed in his Green Book, that “the Black race shall prevail throughout the world.” This is not what many Libyans wanted to hear. As with all fair skinned Arabs, prejudice against Black Africans is endemic.

Brother Leader, Guide of the Revolution and King of Kings are some of the titles that have been bestowed on Qaddafi by Africans. Only last month Qaddafi called for the creation of a Secretariat of traditional African Chiefs and Kings, with whom he has excellent ties, to co-ordinate efforts to build African unity at the grassroots level throughout the continent, a bottom up approach, as opposed to trying to build unity at the government/state level, an approach which has failed the African unification project since the days of Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Toure. This bottom up approach is widely supported by many Pan Africanists worldwide.

African Mercenaries or Freedom Fighters?

In the past week, the phrase “African mercenaries” has been repeated over and over by the media and the selected Libyan citizens they choose to speak to have, as one commentator put it, “spat the word ‘African’ with a venomous hatred.”

The media has assumed, without any research or understanding of the situation because they are refusing to give any air time to pro-Qaddafi forces, that the many Africans in military uniform fighting alongside the pro-Qaddafi Libyan forces are mercenaries. However, it is a myth that the Africans fighting to defend the Jamahiriya and Muammar Qaddafi are mercenaries being paid a few dollars and this assumption is based solely on the usual racist and contemptuous view of Black Africans.

Actually, in truth, there are people all over Africa and the African Diaspora who support and respect Muammar Qaddafi as a result of his invaluable contribution to the worldwide struggle for African emancipation.

Over the past two decades, thousands of Africans from all over the continent were provided with education, work and military training – many of them coming from liberation movements. As a result of Libya’s support for liberation movements throughout Africa and the world, international battalions were formed. These battalions saw themselves as a part of the Libyan revolution, and took it upon themselves to defend the revolution against attacks from within its borders or outside.

These are the Africans who are fighting to defend Qaddafi and the gains of the Libyan revolution to their death if need be. It is not unlike what happened when internationalist battalions came to the aid of the revolutionary forces against Franco’s fascist forces in Spain.

Malian political analyst, Adam Thiam, notes that “thousands of Tuaregs who were enrolled in the Islamic Legion established by the Libyan revolution remained in Libya and they are enrolled in the Libyan security forces.”

African Migrants under Attack

As African fighters from Chad, Niger, Mali, Ghana, Kenya and Southern Sudan (it should be noted that Libya supported the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army under John Garang in their war of liberation against Arab hegemonists in Khartoum, while all other Arab leaders backed the Khartoum regime) fight to defend this African revolution, a million African refugees and thousands of African migrant workers stand the risk of being murdered as a result of their perceived support for Qaddafi.

One Turkish construction worker described a massacre: “We had 70-80 people from Chad working for our company. They were cut dead with pruning shears and axes, attackers saying: ‘You are providing troops for Qaddafi. The Sudanese were also massacred. We saw it for ourselves.”

This is a far cry from what is being portrayed in the media as “peaceful protesters” being set upon by pro-Qaddafi forces. In fact, footage of the Benghazi revolt shows men with machetes, AK 47s and RPGs. In the Green Book, Qaddafi argues for the transfer of all power, wealth and arms directly into the hands of the people themselves. No one can deny that the Libyan populace is heavily armed. This is part of Qaddafi’s philosophy of arms not being monopolised by any section of the society, including the armed forces. It must be said that it is not usual practice for tyrants and dictators to arm their population.

Qaddafi has also been very vocal regarding the plight of Africans who migrate to Europe, where they are met with racism, more poverty, violence at the hands of extreme right wing groups and in many cases death, when the un-seaworthy boats they travel in sink.

Moved by their plight, a conference was held in Libya in January this year, to address their needs and concerns. More than 500 delegates and speakers from around the world attended the conference titled “A Decent Life in Europe or a Welcome Return to Africa.”

“We should live in Europe with decency and dignity,” Qaddafi told participants. “We need a good relationship with Europe not a relationship of master and slave. There should be a strong relationship between Africa and Europe. Our presence should be strong, tangible and good. It’s up to you as the Africans in the Diaspora. We have to continue more and more until the unity of Africa is achieved.

From now on, by the will of God, I will assign teams to search, investigate and liaise with the Africans in Europe and to check their situations…this is my duty and role towards the sons of Africa; I am a soldier for Africa. I am here for you and I work for you; therefore, I will not leave you and I will follow up on your conditions.”

Joint committees of African migrants, the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and international organizations present at the conference discussed the need to coordinate the implementation of many of the conference’s recommendations.

Statements are appearing all over the internet from Africans who have a different view to that being perpetuated by those intent on discrediting Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution. One African commented:

When I was growing up I first read a comic book of his revolution at the age of ten. Since then, as dictators came and went, Colonel Qaddafi has made an impression on me as a man who truly loves Africa! Libyans could complain that he spent their wealth on other Africans! But those Africans he helped put in power, built schools and mosques and brought in many forms of development showing that Africans can do for themselves. If those Africans would abandon him to be swallowed by Western Imperialism and their lies and just let him go as a dictator in the name of so-called democracy…if they could do that…they should receive the names and fate that the Western press gives our beloved leader. If there is any one person who was half as generous as he is, let them step forward.

And another African comments:

This man has been accused of many things and listening to the West who just recently were happy to accept his generous hospitality, you will think that he is worse than Hitler. The racism and contemptuous attitudes of Arabs towards Black Africans has made me a natural sceptic of any overtures from them to forge a closer link with Black Africa but Qaddafi was an exception.

Opportunistic Revolt

This counter-revolutionary revolt caught everyone, including the Libyan authorities, by surprise. They knew what the media is not reporting: that unlike Egypt and Tunisia and other countries in the region, where there is tremendous poverty, unemployment and repressive pro-Western regimes, the Libyan dynamic was entirely different. However, an array of opportunistic forces, ranging from so-called Islamists, Arab-Supremacists, including some of those who have recently defected from Qaddafi’s inner circle, have used the events in neighbouring countries as a pretext to stage a coup and to advance their own agenda for the Libyan nation. Many of these former officials were the authors of, and covertly fuelled the anti-African pogrom in Libya a few years ago when many Africans lost their lives in street battles between Africans and Arab Libyans. This was a deliberate attempt to embarrass Qaddafi and to undermine his efforts in Africa.

Qaddafi has long been a thorn in the Islamists side. In his recent address to the Libyan people, broadcast from the ruins of the Bab al-Azizia compound bombed by Reagan in 1986, he asked the “bearded ones” in Benghazi and Jabal al Akhdar where they were when Reagan bombed his compound in Tripoli, killing hundreds of Libyans, including his daughter. He said they were hiding in their homes applauding the US and he vowed that he would never allow the country to be returned to the grip of them and their colonial masters.

Al Qaeda is in the Sahara on his borders and the International Union of Muslim Scholars is calling for him to be tried in a court. One asks why are they calling for Qaddafi’s blood? Why not Mubarak who closed the Rafah Border Crossing while the Israeli’s slaughtered the Palestinians in Gaza. Why not Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Blair who are responsible for the murder of millions of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan?

“An array of opportunistic forces, ranging from so-called Islamists, Arab-Supremacists, including some of those who have recently defected from Qaddafi’s inner circle, have used the events in neighbouring countries as a pretext to stage a coup.”

The answer is simple – because Qaddafi committed some “cardinal sins.” He dared to challenge their reactionary and feudal notions of Islam. He has upheld the idea that every Muslim is a ruler (Caliph) and does not need the Ulema to interpret the Quran for them. He has questioned the Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda from a Quranic/theological perspective and is one of the few political leaders equipped to do so. Qaddafi has been called a Mujaddid (this term refers to a person who appears to revive Islam and to purge it of alien elements, restoring it to its authentic form) and he comes in the tradition of Jamaludeen Afghani and the late Iranian revolutionary, Ali Shariati.

Libya is a deeply traditional society, plagued with some outmoded and bankrupt ideas that continue to surface to this day. In many ways, Qaddafi has had to struggle against the same reactionary aspects of Arab culture and tradition that the holy prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was struggling against in 7th century Arabia – Arab supremacy/racism, supremacy of family and tribe, historical feuding tribe against tribe and the marginalisation of women. Benghazi has always been at the heart of counter-revolution in Libya, fostering reactionary Islamic movements such as the Wahhabis and Salafists. It is these people who founded the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group based in Benghazi which allies itself with Al Qaeda and who have, over the years, been responsible for the assassination of leading members of the Libyan revolutionary committees.

These forces hate Qaddafi’s revolutionary reading of the Quran. They foster an Islam concerned with outward trappings and mere religiosity, in the form of rituals, which at the same time is feudal and repressive, while rejecting the liberatory spirituality of Islam. While these so-called Islamists are opposed to Western occupation of Muslim lands, they have no concrete programmatic platform for meaningful socio-economic and political transformation to advance their societies beyond semi-feudal and capitalist systems which reinforce the most backward and reactionary ideas and traditions. Qaddafi’s political philosophy, as outlined in the Green Book, rejects unfettered capitalism in all its manifestations, including the “State capitalism” of the former communist countries and the neo-liberal capitalist model that has been imposed at a global level. The idea that capitalism is not compatible with Islam and the Quran is not palatable to many Arabs and so-called Islamists because they hold onto the fallacious notion that business and trade is synonymous with capitalism.

Getting it Right

Whatever the mistakes made by Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution, its gains and its huge contribution to the struggle of oppressed peoples worldwide cannot and must not be ignored. Saif Qaddafi, when asked about the position of his father and family, said this battle is not about one man and his family, it is about Libya and the direction it will take.

That direction has always been controversial. In 1982, The World Mathaba was established in Libya. Mathaba means a gathering place for people with a common purpose. The World Mathaba brought together revolutionaries and freedom fighters from every corner of the globe to share ideas and develop their revolutionary knowledge. Many liberation groups throughout the world received education, training and support from Muammar Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution including ANC, AZAPO, PAC and BCM of Azania (South Africa), SWAPO of Namibia, MPLA of Angola, The Sandinistas of Nicaragua, The Polisario of the Sahara, the PLO, The Native American Movements throughout the Americas, The Nation of Islam led by Louis Farrakhan to name but a few. Nelson Mandela called Muammar Qaddafi one of this century’s greatest freedom fighters, and insisted that the eventual collapse of the apartheid system owed much to Qaddafi and Libyan support. Mandela said that in the darkest moments of their struggle, when their backs were to the wall, it was Muammar Qaddafi who stood with them. The late African freedom fighter, Kwame Ture, referred to Qaddafi as “a diamond in a cesspool of African misleaders.”

The hideous notion being perpetuated by the media and reactionary forces, inside and outside of Libya, that this is just another story of a bloated dictatorship that has run its course is mis-information and deliberate distortion. Whatever one’s opinions of Qaddafi the man, no one can deny his invaluable contribution to human emancipation and the universal truths outlined in his Green Book.

Progressive scholars in many parts of the world, including the West, have acclaimed The Green Book as an incisive critique of capitalism and the Western Parliamentary model of multi-party democracy. In addition, there is no denying that the system of direct democracy posited by Qaddafi in The Green Book offers an alternative model and solution for Africa and the Third World, where multi-party so-called democracy has been a dismal failure, resulting in poverty, ethnic and tribal conflict and chaos.

Every revolution, since the beginning of time, has defended itself against those who would want to roll back its gains. Europeans should look back into their own bloody history to see that this includes the American, French and Bolshevik revolutions. Marxists speak of Trotsky and Lenin’s brutal suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion by the Red Army as being a “tragic necessity.”

Let’s get it right: The battle in Libya is not about peaceful protestors versus an armed and hostile State. All sides are heavily armed and hostile. The battle being waged in Libya is essentially a battle between those who want to see a united and liberated Libya and Africa, free of neo-colonialism and neo-liberal capitalism and free to construct their own system of governance compatible with the African and Arab personalities and cultures and those who find this entire notion repugnant. And both sides are willing to pay the ultimate price to defend their positions.

Make no mistake, if Qaddafi and the Libyan revolution are defeated by this opportunistic conglomerate of reactionaries and racists, then progressive forces worldwide and the Pan African project will suffer a huge defeat and set back.

Qaddafi and the Libyan Revolution
Gerald A. Perreira has lived in Libya for many years and was an executive member of the World Mathaba. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Gerald.


14 responses to “Libya, Getting it Right: A Revolutionary Pan-African Perspective

  1. Suggest read latest from real revolutionaries like PFLP on Gaddafy

    The Green Book and Gaddafy liked by British Fascists like Nick Griffin of NF and how BNP who visited Libya to meet their fellow nationalist of the third way, I have video on on my site Democracy and Class Struggle concerning this visit.

    No mention of Gaddafy’s co-operation with US War on Terror and extraordinary rendition so well documented by Andy Worthington and the anti Guantanamo Bay Campaign.

    No mention of 1500 prisoners shot dead in Gadaffy’s jail because they demanded better conditions and event who rememberance was a trigger to the current uprising.

    No mention of the virulent anti communism of the Green Book or Gaddafy’s denouncing the of inspiring Tunisian Uprising has Bolshevism with people being killed in their beds.

    Concerning African views of Gaddafy read the article Would Africa miss Gaddafi on my site Democracy and Class Struggle.

    It is not only the political right and the US and British Governments who are complicit in Gadaffy’s crimes but also the Left who have opportunistically turned a blind eye to them – however the people will have their day in Libya and it will be soon.

  2. The notion that the U.S. and Britain are complicit in Gaddafi’s “crimes”, that Gaddafi is backed by these imperialists and has been propped up by them, is the simplest part of the whole picture to discuss:

    It is a damned lie.

    The U.S. and Britain have referred Gaddafi for prosecution in the International Criminal Court, imposed harsh sanctions on him and all of his chief lieutenants and called for him to step down. Six British special forces members have been discovered in Libya, supposedly escorting a diplomat to the rebels — bad enough of if it were true — but also carrying explosives. There is obvious interest in both countries in establishing a “no fly zone” in Libya, which, as U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has pointed out, would mean a campaign of bombing against Libyan military facilities in order to destroy the country’s anti-aircraft capabilities.

    Libya is being protected in the UN Security Council by the Russians and the Chinese. The original draft of the resolution condemning Gaddafi called on member nations to use all necessary means to re-establish humanitarian aid to Libya. The Chinese and Russians refused to accept this language because it might very well have been interpreted by the U.S. and Britain as authorizing an invasion of Libya.

    Otherwise on the international front, Libya’s remaining defenders are such people as Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.

    The rights and wrongs of the situation in Libya are very complicated. The FRSO stance that our main focus must be on resisting foreign intervention is undoubtedly the only correct anti-imperialist stance.

    However, suggestions such as the one made by Nickglais above that Libya is in effect a puppet for the U.S. and Britain are at this point transparent nonsense.

    Perhaps there was some excuse for confusion on this point at the beginning of the conflict, but time has made the matter clear enough. In the diplomatic battle over Libya, the sides are these: Gaddafi, Cuba, Venezuela, Russia and China on one side. The main imperialist powers on the other.

    Of course, in addition to this, Nickglais has lost sight of one very key fact: There is no reason for anybody to be concerned with U.S. and British complicity in whatever errors Gaddafi has committed, since, after all, both the British and the Americans have been involved numerous times in outright genocides on their own account. What mad person would judge the American government for some possible involvement in the deaths of a hundred protesters in Libya, rather than for instigating the Congo War which has cost about 5 million lives?

  3. A Reply to a Lying Toad – British Complicity in Training Gaddafy Military

    A copy of the accord obtained by The Daily Telegraph shows that the two leaders agreed to co-operate on defence matters in a range of areas, including exchanging information about defence structures and technology.

    It was signed during the former Labour prime minister’s “Blair-well” tour of Africa in May 2007, in Gaddafi’s tent in the Libyan desert.

    Included in the document was an agreement on “co-operation in the training of specialised military units, special forces and border security units”. They also signed up to “exchanges of information on Nato and EU military and civil security organisations”. The document was personally signed by Mr Blair and Gaddafi.

    A passing reference to it was contained in a joint communiqué between the
    two countries, which was issued at the time and posted on the Foreign Office website before being removed a few weeks ago.

    The full version of the accord makes clear the extent to which Mr Blair agreed to co-operate with the Gaddafi regime on defence matters.

    Under the terms of the deal, Britain was committed to “exchanges of information and views on defence structures, military and security organisations; exchanges of visits by experts and exchange of printed materials in the field of military education and science; exchanges of information on current and developing military concepts, principles and best practice, and the conduct of joint exercises’’.

    The two countries also agreed to co-operate in “training in operational planning processes, staff training, and command and control; training of personnel in peace support operations; training co-operation relating to software, communications security, technology and the function of equipment and systems; exchanges of information and experience in the laws of armed conflict; and the acquisition of equipment and defence systems’’.

    I notice the participation of Gaddafy in extraordinary rendition and torturing of suspects including torturing suspects delivered by the USA to Libya to death is ignored by the lying Toad.See Articles of Andy Worthington on Internet on US/Libyan complicity in War on Terror.

    Concerning Intervention in Libya the majority of the Libyan Opposition forces do not want intervention and they arrested the British SAS forces found on Libyan Soil – the SAS who until recently were also training Gaddafy’s forces.

    We expect duplicity and lies from the right but on the question of Libya sections of the British and US Left have turned into lying Toads and turned their backs on the heroic Libyan people – but they will also be called to account for their lies has the Toad will for his.

  4. “An eight-strong British diplomatic team who were detained near the rebel stronghold of Benghazi were freed. The team, thought to include six SAS members, was found carrying guns, explosives and passports from four countries. It had reportedly been trying to put UK diplomats in touch with the rebel leadership.”

    Seems fairly clear that the British government wants to aid the rebels. The BBC is now reporting Libyan forces taking towns from the rebels and moving on to bigger towns and then the main eastern city.

  5. Seems convenient that Nickglais disregards the fact that the imperialist forces have laid down economic sanctions against Libya and have ordered for Gaddafi to be prosecuted under the International Criminal Court.

  6. The Libyan military continues to route rebel fighters according to the BBC and other press. Here is an interesting quote from the BBC about mediation to end the rebellion that leaves me questioning what the corporate media ad U.S. and British officials say about Gaddafi and the Libyan government and society.

    “The Libyan leader had not sent anyone himself, but lawyers from Tripoli had volunteered to act as go-betweens, former Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who heads the rebels’ Transitional National Council, told AFP.”

    So the “former JUSTICE MINISTER” heads the rebels formal body? Priceless.

  7. John Hochstedt

    The only thing certain in this situation is that England & the US, in the aftermath of Mubarak’s flight, have recognized that Gaddafi has rapidly become a liability, when it seemed to them that he had become a controllable factor.

    Like any capitalist, imperialists bet on ‘both’ sides, with assets on the ground prepared to pose as the ‘peaceful, democratic’ opposition, to guard against the rapid development of the revolutionary elements. As they have learned many times over, today’s friend of democracy is tomorrow’s intolerable dictator who gases or bombs his own people.

    We are seeing opportunistic demonstrations & uprisings, unco-ordinated ones, which the imperialists are hoping to direct into their own determined ports.

  8. John,

    I don’t buy it.

    The narrative we are getting from the anti-Gaddafi left is this: Gaddafi went over to the imperialist camp in the 1990s, and he did so firmly. Since then, he has become a reliable ally in the “War on Terror” and a proud neoliberal.

    On the other hand, we are supposed to believe that there are significant anti-imperialist forces among the rebels.

    And yet the imperialists switch sides from the sell-out Gaddafi to the anti-imperialist rebels. In other words, in Libya even the imperialists have become anti-imperialists.

    Obviously this does not make very much sense.

    There is really no evidence that the leadership on the rebel side is anti-imperialist. They have sought and obtained recognition from France. They have been calling for weeks for a no fly zone. The press in the imperialist countries is giving a ridiculously unbalanced picture in favor of the rebels. All of the imperialists have called on Gaddafi to step down.

    We were told at one point that the imperialist support was because the imperialists have recognized that Gaddafi could not hold on. But now Gaddafi has the upper hand. Despite extensive foreign diplomatic and propaganda intervention on behalf of the rebels, Gaddafi is driving the rebels back. Barring imperialist — essentially U.S. — military intervention, Gaddafi will hold on.

    A Cuban friend said to me, in his first comment on the subject, “Libya is not Egypt.” Much of the left in the English speaking world has assumed that Libya IS Egypt, that events in Libya are precisely parallel to events in Egypt. The events of the past week, in which the Libyan government gains the upper hand over the rebels and their foreign cheerleaders and the imperialists merely ratchet up the anti-Gaddafi rhetoric, have proven that this analysis was incorrect. The anti-Gaddafi left has no real grasp of the situation in Libya, and its predictions and analysis of the situation have been proven false by events.

    So, the imperialist support for the rebels is plainly not opportunist. The opportunistic move would be to support the side that had the upper hand, namely Gaddafi.

    That doesn’t leave any logical explanation for why the imperialists are supporting the rebels except this: After weeks of study and careful calculation, the imperialists are convinced that a rebel victory in Libya will be good for the economic interests of the imperialist powers.

    This is a consensus among the main imperialist powers. There is no dissent. It is sometimes said in the imperialist press that Silvio Berlusconi is Gaddafi’s friend. In fact, however, the Italian government has been as vicious in its condemnation of Gaddafi as any government. They were among the first to call for foreign intervention in Libya.

    Are all the imperialists wrong? Are they all backing an anti-imperialist movement by mistake? Is the anti-Gaddafi left that much smarter than all the imperialists, plus Castro and Chavez?

  9. The communist party of Venezuela seems to have another view on Kadaffi: “Kadaffi is NOT an anti-imperialist”:

  10. Well, anyway, one person writing on the CP Venezuela website has a different perspective on Libya… One person who sees Libya as having surrendered to the Masons, whoever those are. Or, anyway, one person did think that on February 25. Whether she still thinks that today is anyone’s guess. As I pointed out above, recent events have tended to undercut this analysis.

    That same person also claims that Gaddafi has turned over a list of ETA and IRA members to the security forces. This is slander. Gaddafi has done nothing of the sort. It is true that Gaddafi has turned over the names of known Libyan al Qaeda members to the U.S., but this is hardly a betrayal of anyone: the Islamists have been the main opposition to Gaddafi from the beginning.

    If you read closely the news out of Libya, you may have heard a short interview of a Touareg Lieutenant said to have been serving in the Libyan Army since 1993. You have probably heard the story put out by the government of Mali that a group of Touareg “mercenaries” from Mali have gone to join Gaddafi’s forces.

    Who are these Touareg, exactly, and why are they fighting in Libya? Are they simply mercenaries, as the imperialist press would have you believe? Not at all. The reality is that for decades now the Touareg — who are spread across several African states — have been fighting a war to preserve their livelihoods and gain a fair share of the income from the mineral resources on their land. Their main ally in this just struggle has been Gaddafi. Now they are repaying the debt.

    This gives the lie to the charge that Gaddafi has turned on his old anti-imperialist allies. If he had, why would such anti-imperialist allies as the Touareg still come to his aid in his hour of need?

    There has been talk of opportunism on this thread. I think, though, that the most obvious opportunism involved in this discussion is the opportunism of leftists who are turning against Gaddafi now that he is so firmly in the crosshairs of imperialism.

  11. Actually, the following article, also from the PCV’s website, is one of the better analyses of Libya I have read:

    Some of the key points include these:

    1. The initial anti-imperialist and nationalist nature of the Libyan regime.

    2. Libyan social democracy.

    3. U.S. pressure to conform to neo-liberal policies and the negative effects of this on Libyan society.

    4. The leading role of right-wing, pro-imperialist, and CIA backed organizations in the anti-Gaddafi rebellion.

    5. The ongoing hatred of the imperialists for Gaddafi.

    6. The need to resist imperialist intervention in Libya.

  12. nineteenthdisciple

    God bless this wonderful man. Obviously he’s been demonized in Western Society like Castro and Chavez has. Poor guy, I hope he survives this coup. People find out about these ‘dictators’ through an anti-communistic filter and then so vehemently attack them. I would also venture to say that if Nelson Mandela wasn’t a Black man who fought against apartheid that they would demonize him the same way. He supports a large number of these socialist democracies but that’s just ignored when for instance Mrs. Obama visits.

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