Sunday, 3 July 2011

Victory To Libya – Down With Gaddafi!

Imperialism's War against Libya was launched on the basis that Gaddafi's regime was about to slaughter thousands of civilians in Benghazi. Organisations such as the AWL, which are part of the Third Camp tradition, which has a history of acting as an apologist for Imperialism, going back to its originators, Burnham and Shachtman, were quick to accept this version of events.
But, of course, as Marxists know, the Imperialists have always used such stories of impending catastrophe to provide cover for their Wars. In WWI, similar stories were put out by the British ruling class about German atrocities in Belgium, to whip up the British people in jingoistic indignation.

Anyone who wants to understand what a Marxist attitude to such Wars is, should read Lenin's - The War In China.
He writes,

“Our government asserts first of all that it is not waging war against China; that it is merely suppressing a rebellion, pacifying rebels; that it is helping the lawful government of China to re-establish law and order. True, war has not been declared, but this does not change the situation a bit, because war is being waged nonetheless.”

Of course, in Libya, it is not rebels that are being attacked, but the Government itself. Yet, the comparison remains valid. The Imperialists from the beginning dealt with this technicality by setting up an “alternative” MORE legitimate government in Benghazi.
It is more legitimate, the Imperialists tell us, and yet this Government has been elected by no one! The real reason this Government has legitimacy is based solely on the fact that the Imperialists themselves have insisted that IT is the legitimate Government, and, thereby, they have deligitimised the Government in Tripoli. It is legitimate only because, having had negotiations with its leaders for months before the rebellion in Benghazi broke out, the Imperialists have now established their own formal relations with it.

The story that Gaddafi was about to slaughter thousands of civilians in Benghazi was part of that process of deligitimising the actual Government, and providing the cover for its intervention to establish its own client regime.
But, what about this story of the threat of thousands of civilians being slaughtered? Well, it doesn't seem to tally with the story carried by news channels last week. ITN, for example carried this story about hundreds of Benghazians, who had been trapped in Tripoli for the last four months, who were transported by Red Cross ship back to Benghazi. The fact that the Gaddafi regime facilitated this transfer, does not at all seem to tally with the idea that it was likely to willy-nilly have killed Benghazians for the hell of it!

But, the other part of the story is also interesting, because we have continually been told that the rebellion was a popular uprising, and not a Civil War. Yet, the same ship also took back hundreds of Tripolitans back from Benghazi. That is hardly something you would expect people opposed to the regime, and only prevented from rising up against it by military force, to have wanted to do! According to the news item the Red Cross expect to repeat the exercise several more times.

Indeed, the experience in Libya is clearly different than that in Syria. In Syria, the Assad regime has repeatedly used massive military force against the people, who are genuinely rising up in a Popular Revolt.
Despite that massive use of force, the people have responded not by submission, as we are told is the situation in Libya, but by mobilising in even greater numbers across the whole country. At no time has that been the case in Libya. From the beginning what we have had is more like a Civil War in a country which has a history of tribal conflicts, and originating in an area with itself a history of opposition to Gaddafi's tribe.
Its interesting, that the Berbers in the West, who have been taking the opportunity to press their own interests, have not been given anything like the military support that the rebels in Benghazi have received. The reason is clearly due to the fact that the Imperialists had made their agreement with the forces in the East, many of whom were ex-Gaddafi regime thugs, with whom those Imperialists had been dealing for years, whereas the Berbers are an unknown quantity as far as Imperialism is concerned. It is quite likely that if Gaddafi goes, those Berbers could find themselves fighting the rebels in Benghazi, indeed, its likely that once the regime in Tripoli goes, a whole series of tribal and other conflicts will erupt. The Imperialists have themselves accepted the possibility of that, and have on that basis argued that they would need to be “invited in” to establish a Protectorate – on a temporary basis, of course.

The background on Libya's tribal and other history is well set out by Mark At The Commune.

Its probably, because the Imperialists have failed to bomb and starve the people of Libya into submission, over the last four months, that they have now decided to try to frighten the people of Tripoli into opposing the regime.
It has warned the people of Tripoli that they now intend toBomb Anywhere, Anytime. In what way can even the apologists of the AWL describe this as humanitarian? The AWL said they would not oppose Imperialism preventing a slaughter in Benghazi, but that is no longer even a possibility. So will they now come out openly and oppose the Imperialist War against Libya? In the past, they have argued that they would not oppose the police intervening to stop them getting the shit kicked out of them by fascists – though its typical of petit-bourgeois that they would have launched such an adventure that put them in that position in the first place – but, that surely wouldn't stop them raising the “No State Bans” demand, as soon as that threat had expired would it?

But, no doubt they would continue to support the Imperialist War, because they would point to the other atrocities being committed by the regime. Atrocities such as the use of rape to intimidate the rebels. Of course, there have been reports of rape, and other such atrocities by the rebels too, as I pointed out in Benghazi Civilians Protest Atrocities By Rebels. Yet, it is only the regime that, the International Criminal Court has issued warrants against. It is another illustration of the fact that these kinds of international State organs, like their national counterparts are nothing more than means of the ruling class exerting its power.

There have been stories in recent weeks of the regime even buying in huge quantities of Viagra to hand out to its soldiers in order that they could commit these rapes. But, rather like the WMD in Iraq, there seems to be no trace of any such orders for it being placed, or any sign of it being distributed. But, more than that. As Channel4 News, has shown there is no evidence that any such campaign of rape has occurred at all, or indeed the other stories the Imperialists put out to justify the War in the first place! They quote Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch,

“Now both Amnesty and Human Rights Watch say they’ve found no evidence in Libya to back up allegations used widely by politicians to justify the war.”

And, they say, when the ICC issued its arrest warrants, it too had been provided with no evidence to support the charges either!!! In fact, Alex Thompson details other lies that have been put out by the Imperialists, and the rebels, some, of which were so ridiculous that journalists did not even bother to report them. But, of course, no one doubts that Gaddafi's regime is a thoroughly nasty, anti-working class regime. The fact, that the Imperialists are liars, who are prepared to fabricate any story to cover their military-strategic adventures does not change our hatred of Gaddafi's regime. Our basic position has to be to oppose the Imperialists' War against Libya, which can only mean that we call for the victory of Libya against the Imperialists, whilst making clear that our opposition to Imperialism in no way means support for Gaddafi.
In fact, just as Trotsky argued for defence of the USSR against the Imperialists, whilst pointing out that the greatest danger to the USSR came from the criminal regime of Stalin, whose policies threatened to undermine the ability of the USSR to oppose the Imperialists, so we have to point out that the policies of Gaddafi, are also a threat to Libya itself. Trotsky was proved right in relation to the USSR. Stalin's criminal policies both turned oppressed nationalities into potential allies for the Nazis, and his purges crippled the Red Army at the very moment when it needed to be preparing its defence against Hitler's hordes. But, the criminal nature of Stalin's regime could be no reason to condemn the Russian workers and peasants to suffer at the hands of Nazi Imperialism, nor to risk the gains of the revolution achieved by the abolition of the old ruling classes, and the tearing up of the property relations that were the soil from which those classes grew.
Opposing Imperialism meant, where possible, and where necessary, forming alliances even with sections of the Stalinist bureaucracy, in order to try to win them away from Stalin, as part of creating the conditions for a Political Revolution.

Lenin was a poor strategist but a brilliant tactician. He argued that Communists have to recognise their innate weakness compared to the power of the bourgeoisie. We have to counter that by adopting flexible tactics, forming temporary alliances with one section of the bourgeoisie, then throwing them off balance by breaking from them, and forming alliances with others. In Libya, opposing Imperialism would require proposing to fight alongside some sections of the Gaddafi regime at times, and where appropriate. But, likewise, opposing Gaddafi, would mean fighting alongside some sections of the “rebels” at others.
In general, Marxists and workers in Libya should have no faith in either of these forces, both represent their class enemies. A tactical alliance does not in any way mean support. Yet, there may be elements within the rebels who are genuinely, progressive. The aim has to be to break them away from the reactionary leaders represented by the Transitional National Council, and certainly from the Islamists who seem to be well represented amongst the actual fighters, having previously been the main source of jihadists in Iraq. But, likewise, there will be workers and sections of the urban poor in Tripoli, who whilst opposed to Imperialism, and fearful of what might befall them should the rebels enter the City, are also opposed to the oppression of Gaddafi. Marxists have to orient to these sections too.
Whilst demonstrating to the progressive elements within the rebels that they are being used as tools of Imperialism, it is necessary to demonstrate to the workers in Tripoli, and to sections of the armed forces, where possible, that Gaddafi's regime is incapable of fighting Imperialism. Indeed, in the last few years it has been working hand in glove with them to ensure the exploitation of Libya's wealth.

As Trotsky pointed out, in relation to a hypothetical war between a fascist Brazil and democratic Britain, he would be on the side of Brazil, because a victory for Britain would only see it impose its own dictator upon them. Imperialism has already indicated its intention to impose a Protectorate in Libya. But, to support a State in such a war is not at all the same as to support the political regime in that country. In a way this is a reverse of the logic of Revolutionary Defeatism. Revolutionary Defeatism does not mean working for the Military Victory of the enemy, but only a determination to continue to oppose the political regime of your own country, even if that means risking military defeat. Here the principle is to work for military victory without giving any political legitimacy to the regime, and indeed, insisting on the need to overthrow it to ensure victory.

Cracks are already opening up within the ranks of the Imperialists. The US took a back seat because it gets very little oil from Libya.
France has been the main protagonist, whilst Italy has dragged its feet, because currently Italy is the main beneficiary of Libyan Oil, whilst France is seeking to take its place in that regard. Meanwhile, Britain also has a vested interest because Libyan Light Sweet Crude is a close competitor to Brent North Sea oil, which is in the highest backwardation on futures markets for three years.
The hypocrisy of Imperialism is being exposed daily. It claimed to have intervened in Libya for humanitarian purposes, but the basis of that has been undermined by Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. With more than 10,000 bombing runs in Libya, and countless Cruise Missile attacks – Britain alone has already spent more than £250 million on the War – the use of depleted Uranium munitions which will leave a legacy of illness, deformed babies, and destruction of the country's infrastructure, this can hardly be described as humanitarian.
They no doubt hoped that their Fifth Column within the country would do the job for them, preparing the basis for them to be invited in to form their Protectorate. Yet, despite massive military support from Imperialism, despite having been provided with the latest military equipment, the Eastern rebels have been able to make no real headway.

And, not only do the Imperialists continue to support other butchers in the region, such as those in Bahrain, and their supporters in Saudi Arabia, and the other Gulf States, but they call on these feudal regimes to intervene in Libya too.
The Libyan workers and urban poor, just like the workers in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Syria, and every other Arab State cannot be helped by Imperialism or its lackeys. They can only help themselves. The saviours of the Libyan workers, and of the Syrian workers will be the workers of Egypt and other Arab States. Our job as Marxists is to help in whatever way we can to build those independent workers movements, and as part of that our first responsibility is to oppose the intervention of our own Imperialist governments in their affairs. For workers in the Imperialist states, the main enemy is at home.


jaza said...

Gaddafi won the moral and material defeat soon))
Shame on the countries of the coalition of criminal! Shame on NATO-hired killer imperialism!
God, Libya, Muammar!

Boffy said...

To say that Gaddafi could win anything on a moral basis is I think to make a travesty of any sense of morality! Whilst, I would argue in favour of a Victory for Libya, and the defeat of Imperialism, and argue that it is the job of Marxists in those countries to oppose their own Governments intervention, I think it is rather stretching the realms of credulity to say that Gaddafi is about to inflict a defeat on those countries. On the contrary, for the reasons set out, Gaddafi is an obstacle to the Libyan people defeating Imperialism.