Wednesday 23 February 2011

Libya! - Amid the Massacres and Machine-gun Fire: Questions and Answers

The Arab Revolution Spreads to Libya, Trigerring a Civil War and a Myriad Question Marks

How did the Gaddafi power structure, that used to be a long-standing progressive, anti-Imperialist and anti-colonialist political force with large significance for the Left regionally and globally, become an autocratic authoritarian regime and then ended up joining the "Western umbrella" in recent years transforming itself into an ally of Imperialism, oppressing the people with guns and tanks bought from the US and the UK, now bombing the cities in rebellion with aircraft supplied by the West?

And where is the revolution going? In some of the towns and cities being "liberated" by the armed insurgents, the new flag of the revolution is... the old flag of the pro-capitalist Monarchy, overthrown by Gaddafi long ago. Where is this conflict headed?

Please study this quarter of an hour video program with Professor Hamid Dabashi of Columbia University, exploring some of the history, the forces, and the questions involved in the Libyan uprising in dialogue with Paul Jay, of the Real News Network. The Real News Network is an independent news source that has evolved within the US Left (please use the link, or click on the picture):

Class Politics

...of course play a significant role in shaping current events in Libya, especially valuable when seen from the perspective of the old feudal class structures being replaced by pre-socialist formations in the transition from a pre-industrial to a modern industrial political economy.

Part of the reason why the uprising has quickly escalated to open armed insurrection and is now an open civil war is the nature of the administration that Gaddafi's revolution had created when remaking the country decades ago. With Gaddafi's help and under his initiative during his progressive and revolutionary phase, Libya made a transition from a highly centralized feudal-capitalist authoritarian Monarchy to a system of administration based on popular participation and local power with many Leftist values embedded in the structure, utilizating the petroleum industry to fund some of these social changes and to benefit the people. In Libya there is a system of decentralized direct democracy founded on peoples' power called the Jamahiriya, which does not rely on a web of central administration. Instead, power is vested in local and regional Committes that are the instruments of and the forums through which the population (at least in theory) exercices power.

Even after Gaddafi made peace with the Western Imperialist powers (in the middle of the last decade), the progressive system of local and regional social self-administration remained in place. It is this system that the population is now activating, arming itself and fighting against the oppressive regime.

The same thing had occured when the Soviet Union and its satellite countries underwent an uprising that did away with the Soviet system. Despite the Western media lies about the Soviet Union there was no "iron fist" to crush the opposition. The population utilized the local Committees and labour organizations to mobilize against the regime, and even though the Soviet Union had a much more centralized and hierarchical system of administration, the uprisings were mostly peaceful and very few people were killed in the process of the Soviet Union's dissolution. Unfortunately, instead of advancing forward to improve and deepen the socialist formations, they re-installed capitalism.

As the capitalist media apply themselves to try to explain what is going on in Libya, they try to fit the country's decentralized administration model into their "explanations" of events, but do not succeed in making much sense:
"The system of rule created by Khadafy — the "Jamahiriya," or "rule by masses" — is highly decentralized, run by "popular committees" in a complicated hierarchy that effectively means there is no real center of decisionmaking except Khadafy, his sons and their top aides."

"The country is nominally run as the “state of the masses,” a socialist, decentralized system of Mr. Gadhafi's own devising known as a jamahiriya, where local committees have wide leeway."

"CNN -- Libya's Moammar Gadhafi is clinging to power despite a wave of opposition due in part to a legacy of decentralized authority and divided tribal politics that has been reinforced during the embattled strongman's four-decade rule, analysts told CNN Tuesday."
There Is a Great Danger that the revolution in Libya might open the doors to Western Imperialism in a more complete and influential way than before. If Gaddafi's alignment with the Western Capitalist powers in recent years was disastrous - and it was - enabling further incursions by the Empire into Libya to dominate and exploit its oil and population will be catastrophic.

So far there are no indications that the revolutionary forces have any undestanding of this, nor any political positions at all other than righteous and courageous opposition to the regime. We hope that this courage will be complemented with political knowledge and wisdom as to the dangers ahead and that the revolution will aim to preserve and deepen the gains of the Jamahiriya, rather than attempt to get rid of them.

All power to the people!
Cyprus IndyMedia Collective

More on the Arab Revolution

The Rising of Egypt's Working Class
The real “intelligence failure” of the ruling class

Αλεξάνδρεια: Έκπτωτος ο Βασιλεύς Μουμπάρακ
Ο Λαός Πανηγυρίζει στους Δρόμους !

Two Members of Cyprus IndyMedia Assaulted

Η Αιγυπτιακή Αντίσταση

When the Moon Rises on The One You Love
The Arab Revolution

About the Photos:

The two photos above were published widely on the internet by the establishment press with the following text.

Residents stand on tank
Residents stand on a tank inside a security forces compound in Benghazi, Libya on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011. Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of Benghazi on Monday, claiming control of the country's second largest city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time. (AP Photo/Alaguri)

Residents stand
Residents stand on a tank holding a pre-Gadhafi era national flag inside a security forces compound in Benghazi, Libya on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011. Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of Benghazi on Monday, claiming control of the country's second largest city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time. (AP Photo/Alaguri)


  1. Because they will not go towards a better way (I have no doubt about it) I prefer the existing way!

  2. Ήταν πολλά μιτσιά η Πλατεία Ινονού τελικά!

  3. Thank you for the info which is quite enlightening and interesting.

    I insist though that after all these events the end result for libyan people will be worst than before the events. Only the fact that people died and are dying on both sides cannot be recompensated. I have no doubt that the western powers will gain more than they do already by exploiting Libya's resources and wealth one way or the other.

    Also I continue to like Qaddafi for some kind of reason as he had some good ideas (despite the fact that they were never applied really at the end of the day), he did a few good acts and he had the courage to be in contrast with the Western imperialism even for a short time risking his personal life and his family's.

    I wonder who of those of his regime defecting and pretending now suddenly to be democrats and acting for the Libyan people (who until now were serving the regime but as soon as they saw the danger they changed sides), would be a better man in his shoes. In my eyes they are coward traitors and coward traitors will continue to be and as such will serve the Western imperialism in the best way they can.