Sunday, 30 October 2011

AWL Apologism Sinks To New Low On Libya

Clive Bradley is a skilled writer, but not even his skills are able to turn the sow's ear that is the AWL's politics on Libya, into any kind of purse, let alone a silk one.
Clive uses an article by Seamus Milne in the Guardian, as the means by which to try to square some of the circles of the AWL's position, in his own article.

Clive begins by saying “... the Libyan revolution has now succeeded and Gaddafi has been overthrown.” This, however, begs the question of exactly what revolution it is that has succeeded! For Marxists, a revolution is something more than just that one figurehead has replaced another. We distinguish between different kinds of revolution, for example. So, a social revolution, is where the fundamental productive relations in society are overturned, and the social relations springing from them are transformed accordingly.
For Marx and Engels, as set out in their writings explaining the basis of their theory of Historical Materialism, it was this revolution that is fundamental, and which explains historical development, and its more visible representation in the political superstructure, that comes about, subsequently, via a Political Revolution, whereby the new ruling class asserts its right to exercise political, as well as social hegemony.

So, Clive should tell us, if the revolution he is speaking of, is this kind of social revolution. Clearly it is not. In fact, one of the things that Gaddafi did achieve was the establishment of a form of State Capitalism in Libya, one of whose functions was to ensure that Libyan Oil resources remained in Libyan hands, rather than coming under the ownership and control of foreign Oil companies.
In fact, all the information we have, is that the leaders of the TNC – though not necessarily the Islamists who have real power in the streets – are neo-Liberals (many from within the ranks of Gaddafi's regime) that European Imperialism has been cultivating for some years. They are openly advocating the privatisation of State owned resources, and that will, almost inevitably, mean them being bought up by foreign multinational Capital. Of course, those kinds of policies are not the kinds of policy that even the AWL would, usually, designate as “revolutionary”. In Britain, they have no problem in identifying the proponents of neo-liberalism, and privatisation policies as reactionaries. But, this is the way in which, the abandonment of dialectics, and adoption of formal logic by the AWL, and other supporters of Third Campism, forces them to continually zig-zag from one position to its opposite, depending upon the lesser-evil it is choosing to back at the particular time, and to make words mean the opposite of what they should mean, to suit their purposes in doing so.

For, a Marxist, as Engels sets out in “Anti-Duhring”, State Capitalism is not Socialism, it is merely a more, perhaps the most, mature form of Capitalism, just as Monopoly is more mature than small scale, free market Capitalism. Marxists do not demand State Capitalism – though the AWL frequently do, by calling upon the British Capitalist State to nationalise everything under the Sun! - any more than we demand the establishment of any other kind of Monopoly.
But, as Lenin set out in “Imperialism”, we do defend State Capitalism and Monopoly against reactionary attempts to turn the clock back, by arguments in favour of a return to small-scale, free market Capitalism. It is, in fact, the same argument that Trotsky used in arguing that had the Kaiser succeeded in establishing a single European State, Marxists would not have argued for it to be broken up into separate states again. It is the same argument, he used in relation to Poland, when he argued against the Stalinist invasion, but argued that after it had overthrown the Landlords and Bourgeoisie, Marxists should defend it against a return of those exploiting classes.

So, if anything, on the facts we know, the coming to power of forces committed to a reactionary overturn of the existing productive and social relations, would have to be described not as a revolution, but as a counter-revolution, and those bringing it about described not as revolutionaries, but as reactionaries or counter-revolutionaries.

But, let us be generous to Clive, and the AWL and assume that no reactionary change in the productive and social relations result from this “revolution”. Could we then describe it as a revolution, on that other basis, that of being a Political Revolution? For Marxists, a Political Revolution occurs when a ruling class becomes strong enough to bring the Political regime into accordance with the actual productive and social relations existing within society. Sometimes Political Revolutions occur, before that has come to fruition e.g. the Peasant War in Germany, the Civil War in England, the Great French Revolution, the October Revolution in Russia.
In all these cases, the revolutionary class is either defeated completely, or else, without the adequate development of the productive and social relations, it is incapable of exercising political power in its own right, and entirely for its own interests. It is forced to cede power to some bureaucracy or elite, from within its own ranks, that exercises power, in society, by its own control of the State. That was the case in relation to Cromwell, to Bonaparte and some subsequent Bonapartist leaders in France up to the establishment of the Third Republic, in numerous other Bonapartist regimes, in developing and industrialising economies, such as in Latin America and the Middle East, Asia and Africa, and was also the case in relation to the Bolsheviks in Russia, and subsequently to the Stalinist bureaucracy that arose out of them, and the State they created.

In parts of Latin America and Asia, Political Revolutions have occurred, which have seen new powerful bourgeois classes able, often with the support of Imperialism, to replace existing Bonapartist regimes that had arisen for the reasons set out above, and be able to create new bourgeois political regimes based upon Bourgeois Democracy.
If, the generals in Egypt are ultimately replaced, and something of this kind transpires, this will be a further example of this kind of Political Revolution. In economies that are industrialising and modernising, this kind of Political Revolution, to establish a more secure bourgeois political rule, based upon bourgeois democracy, is needed by Capital for the reason that Lenin set out in “State and Revolution”, because it is “the best possible political shell for capitalism”.

But, is this the case in Libya? The truth is we do not know yet, but the chances of it being the case are pretty remote, as I set out in my blog Where Now For Libya?. The political regime in Libya under Gaddafi was a Bourgeois Bonapartism. It was a brutal regime, but if we analyse it in Marxist rather than Moralistic terms, then we would have to characterise it as being of that first type described by Trotsky, when he talked about two kinds of Bonapartism.
That is, it is of that type thrown up in order to bring about some kind of industrialisation and modernisation of a previously feudal economy, rather than one whose function is only to prevent the rise of a powerful working-class. On what basis does Clive, and the AWL claim that some new kind of bourgeois political regime has been established in Libya? So far, all that has happened, rather like in Egypt, is that the Bonapartist regime of Gaddafi, has been replaced by a Bonapartist regime of the TNC! The main difference is that 50,000 Libyans have died in the process, and much of Libya's infrastructure has been destroyed by massive Imperialist bombing to bring it about, and without which the “revolutionaries” clearly lacked the support within the country to have succeeded. Indeed, many accounts now talk about the fact that, at any one time, the number of revolutionary fighters only ever amounted to a few hundred people! That, of course is the answer to Clive's question,

"Why do you think it took so long for Tripoli to throw him off?)",

for which there is no reason to beleive Clive's argument that it is because of the military power of Gaddafi, any more than the greater military power of Assad, and his viciousness, is preventing the continued opposition, and unfolding Civil War in Syria.

On what grounds does Clive and the AWL claim that these forces are likely to bring about some kind of stable bourgeois democracy in Libya – not even Clive and the fantasists, moralists, and utopians of the AWL believe that what is likely is any kind of socialist revolution – let alone that it has already been achieved? They can provide absolutely no grounds, let alone the kind of grounds that a Marxist would require, to make such a claim. The material conditions in Egypt and Tunisia are far more conducive to the establishment of bourgeois democracy, yet even there we see the Islamists being dominant in the one, and the Generals continuing to be dominant in the other.
The leaders of the TNC, as even the AWL now concede, are largely ex-members of Gaddafi's regime itself, or else they are reactionary tribal leaders hoping to obtain some boons for their own tribe, region or town, or else they are Jihadists. In fact, many, if not most of the fighters from the East were the same jihadists who had previously been fighting in Iraq, and who the AWL had decried in the most virulent terms as clerical-fascists. Now, the AWL are happy to describe them as “revolutionaries” upon whom we can be happy to place our faith in their bourgeois democratic and progressive credentials!!! Talk about “Newspeak”.

In fact, given the productive and social relations existing in Libya, given the lack of any kind of real support for the more liberal elements of the TNC in the country, given the fact that real power lies in the hands of the jihadists, on the streets, the leader of whom is the military leader in Tripoli, and whose forces murdered the TNC General Younes – no wonder the TNC leaders are staying in Benghazi rather than moving to Tripoli – the only way in which the Jihadists are likely to be prevented from taking power, and establishing some new Islamist, Bonapartism, is if what exists of the Libyan bourgeoisie, and its representatives on the TNC are able to bring in the forces of Imperialism to disarm the militias.
At the least that implies some kind of internal repression such as that used to disarm the Sadrists in Iraq, more likely it would involve a new Civil War, and the regime arising from it would be very far from any kind of genuine bourgeois democracy. Of course, that might NOT happen. Nothing in history is precluded. But, the job of a Marxist is to analyse things as they are, and tell the truth. To assess what is most likely based upon the existing reality, and our understanding of the laws of motion of history based upon our theory of Historical Materialism, and on that basis to plot our course, and advise the workers accordingly.

If we do that, rather than make things up as we go along, to fit our own moral imperatives, our own utopian dreams, and the hopes that other forces might bring them about for us, then we would have to conclude the opposite of what Clive and the AWL want us to accept. That does not in any way cause us to mourn the defeat of Gaddafi and his regime, but it should cause us not to simply assume that what has replaced him is likely to be historically more progressive, or even morally superior.

The AWL, are led to make this argument, because as they have done elsewhere, they have abandoned faith in the working-class, and have hitched their wagon to that of “Democratic Imperialism”, and that means also to those forces, who, in any particular case, are the allies of it. In other words, not just, “My Enemy's Enemy Is My Friend”, but also “My Friend's Friend IS My Friend”. They have adopted that position no matter how reactionary those other friends of that Democratic Imperialism have been.

But, Clive is also led to make this argument for another reason. The AWL's position from the beginning was driven by Moralism rather than Marxism. They justified their decision not to oppose the Imperialist War against Libya, on the basis that we were opposed to the massacre of civilians, and so if the Imperialist intervention achieved that, on what basis would it be rational to oppose it. It is, of course, a crass, formalistic not dialectical argument, of the kind you would expect from Third Campists.
It fails to locate this one event within any kind of wider context, any concept of process. It sees each event as discrete, to be analysed and dealt with by “practical politics” i.e. Opportunism, rather than seeing it as merely a moment within a process of class struggle across the globe, and over time. Within that context, as Lenin pointed out, the interests of the part have to be subordinate to the interests of the whole. As, Marxists our task is to put the interests of the whole working class, and other oppressed masses above the interests of any particular group. On that basis it is inexcusable for any Marxist to fail to oppose the aggression of Imperialism, wherever, and whenever it occurs, and no matter what lying pretext they use to justify it. Our task is to oppose the attempts by Imperialism to assert its right to stride like a Collossus across the globe, and instead to build an independent, working class alternative to it. It is in that original sense spoken of by Lenin and Trotsky that we put forward the concept of the independent “Third Camp” of the Working-Class, opposing our enemies in the camp of the Bourgeoisie, whatever political mask they wear, be it democratic, fascist, clerical, or authoritarian. But, in every instance, the AWL do not propose such a Third Camp.
Instead, they adopt the position that Trotsky correctly said all such “Third Campists” are led into, a Third Camp of Petit-Bourgeois Moralists, who are inevitably drawn into support for the Camp of Imperialism.

The extent of this is shown in Clive's comment,

“But neither we - nor the Seamas Milnes of the world - do see the world simply in those humanitarian terms. It's also about sides in a revolution.” So much for the Third Camp of the independent working-class then! And, of course, in justifying the intervention of Imperialism, the AWL HAD originally spoken solely in humanitarian terms!

Clive has to adopt this position now in order to justify the AWL's position after the event, given the atrocities being committed in the name of the “revolution”, he claims to have occurred. How else can you go from justifying Imperialist intervention to prevent a potential massacre in Benghazi, to explaining your tacit acceptance of the actual massacre in Sirte, by those you claim to be “revolutionaries”, with the assistance of their allies within NATO??? On what basis could you justify misusing Trotsky's quote,

“An individual, a group, a party, or a class that ‘objectively’ picks its nose while it watches men drunk with blood massacring defenceless people is condemned by history to rot and become worm-eaten while it is still alive”.

To justify Imperialism's intervention in the one case, whilst not recognising that, at least some of, your more alert supporters might notice the contradiction of saying nothing when those you have supported do exactly the same thing! Of course, as usual, the AWL could only use this quote in the first place by misrepresenting what Trotsky was saying, by chopping off the rest of what he says,

“On the other hand, a party or the class that rises up against every abominable action wherever it has occurred, as vigorously and unhesitatingly as a living organism reacts to protect its eyes when they are threatened with external injury – such a party or class is sound of heart. Protest against the outrages in the Balkans cleanses the social atmosphere in our own country, heightens the level of moral awareness among our own people… Therefore an uncompromising protest against atrocities serves not only the purpose of moral self-defence on the personal and party level but also the purpose of politically safeguarding the people against adventurism concealed under the flag of ‘liberation’.”

Had they included this part of his quote the nature of their support for the particular “adventurism” under the flag of “liberation” in Libya, would have taken on a significantly different hue. But, then the AWL have made a profession, even writing a book, Bowdlerising Trotsky's Writings in relation to the Third Camp positions. Epigones in the full sense of the word.

Now instead, Clive “comes to praise” such atrocities “not to bury them” under a heap of righteous condemnation, “for after all” these are now “honourable” deeds, carried out by revolutionaries (See Shakespeare's Julius Caesar). The only reason that the civilians were massacred you see, in Sirte, was because, Gaddafi refused to give up power!

“The fundamental reason there have been so many deaths in Sirte - and elsewhere - is that a brutal dictator hung on to power. Assessing the humanitarian consequences of a revolutionary movement finally defeating him simply is not - except on terms too woolly for most woolly liberals - the same thing as assessing those consequences if the dictator enters a city with the expressed intention of massacring his opponents.”

Has anyone spotted the obvious mistake here??? The reason Gaddafi was hiding in Sirte was because he had already LOST power!!!!

Two months before, massive Imperialist bombing of the country, including the devastation of much of its infrastructure, the repeated heavy bombing of Tripoli, and attempts by Imperialism to kill Gaddafi and his family, along with the intervention of Special Forces from Britain, France and elsewhere, on the ground, eventually dislodged Gaddafi from power, enabling rebel forces to move into Tripoli. At that point, Gaddafi had already lost power, so on what basis can you claim that two months later, he still had it, and was refusing to give it up? At that point, he was in a much weaker position than were the rebels at the time of the potential attack on Benghazi. In Benghazi, not only did the rebels have their own military forces, that had defected from the Army, including some of their own aircraft, but they had the overwhelming might of Imperialism standing behind them. When Imperialism massacred the people of Sirte, with its two month long bombing campaign, and when the forces of the new Libyan State assisted them using the high-tech weapons Imperialsm had provided them with, Gaddafi's forces had little, in comparison, to defend themselves with, and the civilians of Sirte, less still. Yet, still the AWL remained silent whilst this massacre continued!

If they truly believed what they were saying when they used that quote from Trotsky, rather than using it cynically, as they use all the other misquotes they employ, to justify their latest piece of opportunism, then they would be deeply ashamed. Instead, they simply perform another piece of logical and verbal acrobatics to try to cover their inadequacies.

That is further illustrated in the extent to which they are prepared to justify the crimes and claims of the rebels, and of Imperialism.
Clive accepts at face value the claims of the rebels and of Imperialism that a massacre was about to occur in Benghazi. He has no more proof that it was than anyone else has that it wasn't. Given the brutal nature of Gaddafi's regime, we might well believe it to be a possibility, but the chances of it happening also depend upon the extent to which he would have been capable of carrying it out. In fact, much of the military had already gone over to the rebels in Benghazi. It is not as though they were defenceless themselves. In fact, as far as I am aware, the only aircraft actually shot down during the “No Fly Zone”, was not one of Gaddafi's, but was one belonging to the rebels themselves, in Benghazi, that they shot down by mistake!!!!

Moreover, RT in this video challenged the claims made by Imperialism and by the rebels, which were used to justify the establishment of the “No Fly Zone”.

And, as Channel 4 News have reported,

“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.”

It was not the only lies told by the rebels and by Imperialism as Alex Thompson set out, and as I described in my blog Victory To Libya, Down With Gaddafi.
In fact, if we look at the decision of Gaddafi to allow the families of Benghazians to leave Tripoli to return to Benghazi, we have reason to question some of the claims about the likelihood of a massacre that the rebels were portraying, just as Alex Thompson's reports from Misrata give us reason to question what Clive has to say about that. Thompson reported,

“It’s war, people lie. In Benghazi Libyan rebels will tell you beseiged Misrata is running short of food. You go there. The shops are open, reasonably well-stocked. The butchers’ stalls hung with freshly-slaughtered goats.

The Misratan rebels will tell you government forces have been issued with gas masks because they’re preparing to use chemical weapons. Again – lies, propaganda and rumour. No journalist in Misrata bothered to report this junk, even with appropriate attribition and caveats. We could see it for the paranoia it was.”

Of course, during such Civil Wars lies are told on all sides. I have no doubt that Lenin and Trotsky told many such during the Civil War in Russia. As Marxists, we have to be aware of that likelihood in making our judgements, and we have to be more prepared to accept the need for them when used by proletarian revolutionaries under such conditions. But, the rebels in Libya, were NOT proletarian revolutionaries, they were as much our class enemies as Gaddafi!!!! The whole basis of an independent, working-class position should have been to expose them as much as to expose Gaddafi, and Imperialism as our enemies, and to have maintained as strict a political, organisational and ideological separation from them as possible.
In fact, what the AWL's position amounted to was a Popular Front with Imperialism and its Libyan allies. They claimed previously to have learned that lesson from the disastrous failure of Workers Action to distance itself from the "Revolution" undertaken by Khomeini in Iran in 1979. Clearly, they have not!

That is the nature of the AWL's “Third Campism”. It is not the Third Camp of an independent working-class in revolutionary opposition to its class enemies. It is the Third Campism that Trotsky described, speaking of Burnham and Shachtman and their gang, when he wrote,

“And so, a new great slogan: Muddlers and pacifists of the world, all ye suffering from the pin-pricks of fate, rally to the “third” camp!”

It is the Third Camp of the petit-bourgeois moralists, who inevitably as the AWL have done, end up in the Camp of Imperialism. Not even the skilful fiction writing of Clive can change that reality.

P.S. I just read this comment by Paul Hampton on the AWL's site on this issue.

"Libyans did not have “ownership of their own future” under Gaddafi. What they had was the complete absence of liberty and the miserable prospect of more repression. They were not even “independent” of the Western powers since Gaddafi was brought back into the fold by Tony Blair. Nor was Libya free of the multinational corporations – look at the energy firms and the arms dealers who were knee-deep in contracts with his regime.

Milne utterly misunderstood events in Libya, because his politics are focused on the negative (opposing whatever some of the big power do), rather than on what working people actually do to improve their lives. The Libyan fighters are just as much a part of the Arab spring as the great protesters in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and elsewhere – and they even managed to topple the dictator. Genuine socialists should rejoice in Gaddafi's downfall."

This again demonstrates the nature of the AWL's apologism, and the extent to which it will chop its position to suit. The argument put forward here, is of course, the argument that the "idiot anti-imperialists" put forward, and which the AWL, and Hampton are usually the most virulent opponents of.   But, here, Hampton is prepared to adopt the arguments of the idiot anti-imperialists for the sake of making another point. Of course, Libyans did not have ownership of their future. They do not have such now either, nor would they under a bourgeois democracy. They would only have such under Socialism.   Nor, was Libya "independent of the western powers" or the "multinational corporations."   But, whenever the idiot anti-imperialists have made that argument to claim that some country is not truly free, the AWL have, in the past, correctly pointed out that this lack of freedom is not the same as it not having won Political independence. The argument that has previously been put to the idiot anti-imperialists, and which is correct, is that complete freedom can only be achieved via a Socialist Revolution, not by an anti-imperialist/colonialist struggle. Hampton here is prepared to ditch that argument and jump into bed with the idiot anti-imperialists in order, opportunistically, to make his point against Milne. Of course, Libya, and Libyans was not truly free, but that is not to deny that the nationalisation of the Oil assets was a progressive step forward compared with their domination and ownership by foreign Capital, in just the same way that Trotsky argued that case in relation to the nationalisation of the British Oil assets, in Mexico, by the Cardenas regime.   Of course, the Libyan people were not truly free, but nor will they be truly free even if bourgeois democracy is established in Libya, for the simple reason that all Marxists have always argued that Bourgeois Democracy is merely a mask that hides the Dictatorship of Capital, and hides the reality that the Working Class is a Slave Class under Capitalism whatever the nature of the political regime!

Genuine socialists should rejoice at Gaddafi's downfall, but they should not join the AWL in rejoicing at the fact that the Libyan working class have merely exchanged one set of gaolers for another!


Anonymous said...

I think that you overlook a vital bit of the equation -- there were elements on the left that supported Gaddafi. The AWL triangulates its positions by looking at the left, and if there is a dictatorial or otherwise unpleasant regime that is supported by leftists, then anyone opposed to it will be fine.

If nobody on the left supported Gaddafi, then the AWL would be less uncritical of the Libyan opposition, it would warn about the presence of former regime heavies and -- especially -- Islamists amongst the oppositionists, and it would call for a working-class solution. It would also be rather less supportive of imperialist intervention.

It's odd that in the case of Tunisia and Egypt, AWL members (in two letters in the Guardian on the same day) warned gravely about the Islamist threat, yet the Islamist threat in Libya is blithely ignored, despite the fact that the main Islamist parties in those two countries are to some extent housetrained, whilst those in Libya are real jihadists.

It's odd that the AWL keeps poking away at Seamus Milne for his apologetic approach towards Islamism, yet it takes the same position as him when it comes to Libyan jihadists.

Dr Paul

Boffy said...

I'm not sure I totally agree with that. I think that the defining aspect of the AWL's politics - and this is ironic given their origins - is that in all important respects they are Stalinists. They have adopted the Stalinist/Reformist theory of the State as being class neutral - though for the purpose of their theoretical documents and Day Schools they would deny that. They have adopted the Stalinist "stages theory". Their practice - despite their criticisms of their fellow Third Campists of the SWP - is based upon Popular Frontism, though their irrelevant size means they are always undeclared. They have essential adopted a position of "peaceful co-existence" with Imperialism, which they see as the most progressive force - as a manifestation of Bourgeois Democracy - and, therefore, because they have lost faith in the working-class, and have adopted the "stages theory", the best that can be hoped for today is the spread of bourgeois democracy, and "Democratic Imperialism" is the means to achieve it. In some of his fiction, Clive hints at this.

I would have more respect for them if they actually admitted they have abandoned Marxism for Radical Liberalism, and argued these positions openly. Of course, they can't do that, which is why they have to bowdlerise the writings of Marxists to try to square that circle, and it is why they have to adopt the other aspect of Stalinism, their bureaucratic methods, and their bullying and hectoring approach to others on the Left, and as happened with Dave Broder, with anyone in their organisation that develops an effective opposition.

Its that rather than placing a minus sign against where others on the left place a plus, which determines their positions. There have been some on the left who supported Gaddafi for a long time, but during that period the AWL did not support the Libyan jihadists against him. It is only when those jihadists were in alliance with "Democratic Imperialism", and with sections of the Libyan bourgeois Liberals, that the AWL discovered that they were "revolutionaries" after all!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that the AWL has adapted to liberalism and sees (implicitly, of course, as it would never openly state it, well not yet anyway) that imperialism does offer some sort of positive solution.

However, I think that the form that this has taken in some specific cases -- Yugoslavia, Palestine-Israel, Libya -- is determined by the attitude of other leftists, positions that are to me in themselves erroneous (support for Serbian nationalism, Hamas and Gaddafi).

I agree that the AWL only became interested in the Libyan jihadists once they found themselves in alliance with imperialism. It's rather like the KLA in Kosovo: once imperialism became involved, the AWL then took a position.

But again, would the rabid anti-Serbian standpoint of the AWL have been so extreme had there not been left-wingers who saw Serbian nationalism as a legitimate heitr to Titoism?

I think that had Mubarak and ben Ali played with anti-imperialist slogans which had impressed left-wingers and gained their support, then the AWL would have been less alarmist about the Islamists aiming to gain influence and power in Egypt and Tunisia.

Altogether, I think that this is part of the form which the AWL's capitulation to imperialism takes.

Finally, it is amusing that the ever-so workerist AWL hails uncritically as a 'revolution' an armed uprising that is supported and praised by the big imperialists, and which has been in my 30 years of political activity the most apolitical -- that is, in respect of its almost total lack of political demands -- uprising that I have observed.

Boffy said...

I think its true that the form the AWL's positions take can be shaped by what others on the left are saying, but I don't think its fundamental to the actual positions they adopt.

For example, there are not many on the Left who today see any reason to provide support for Russia - though I suppose you could make a case for saying some see it as a heir to Stalinism as with Serbia - yet their position of opposing the Russian intervention to stop the massacre of South Ossetians by Georgia, stands in stark contrast to their position on Kosovo, on Libya, and their misquoting of Trotsky on "picking your nose" whilst such massacres take place.

I agree the position of much of the left on these issues has also been atrocious, which simply obscures the true nature of the AWL's politics.

Its interesting that during the current attacks by Imperialism on Kosovan Serbs on the border, and the continued attacks on them by Kosovan Albanians, the AWL have shown little concern for Serbian civilians, in the way they did for Kosovan civilians, just as they showed little concern for the civilians in Sirte, or Tripoli threatened by the rebels and Imperialism. This was, of course, the true context of Trotsky's comment, where he was atatcking Opportunists like the AWL who cherry pick which atrocity to protest to fit their objectives.

Tibet is another example, where they uncritically line up behind Imperialism and the forces of Landlordism and Clericalism, purely on the basis of opposition to China.

I don't think I'd describe the AWL as Workerist, rather they are more akin to a student debating club. In fact, their sectarianism towards the LOR strikers and the demands for "British Jobs" for fear of alienating their student contacts, stands in complete contrast to their uncriticial support for the Libyan "rebels".

I agree about the lack of politics in this "revolution". As I pointed out months ago, in previous revolutions we have seen nascent forms of direct democracy arise of various forms. None such seems to have arisen in Libya. On the contrary, it seems very top down, if compartmentalised. The Jihadists having their own command structure. That seems to go together with the reports of just how few people were actually involved.