The Cannibalism of the Tripoli regime shows the real face of a regime which calls itself socialist, but is supported by the imperialist powers!
(«Proletarian»; Nr. 7; Summer 2011)
After the riots in Tunisia and Egypt, which caused the fall of governments tied to the Ben Aligad and Mubarak families it is now the turn of Libya and the system of government centered around the Gaddafi family and the tribes that support it. Compared to other countries, there is a difference: the revolt of the masses has turned into armed revolt in Libya, detachments of the army, air force, and navy refused to bomb the population and it appears that some have passed over to the side of the rebels, Gaddafi and his cronies can only rely on the Tripolitanian military forces and on their African and Balkan mercenaries to quell the uprising.
But none of the governments of these countries would have lasted so long – Ben Ali, more than twenty years, Mubarak over thirty, Gaddafi over forty – without the assistance, the support and international recognition accorded by the major imperialist powers: the United States in the first instance as the leading world power, then Britain, France and Italy, as former colonizers of the region, not to mention the USSR, in competition with Western imperialism, all tried to penetrate the region. Diplomatic clashes which have escalated tensions between states, first in one country then in another, sometimes resulting in military action (as in Egypt in 1956, Libya in the early 80s, not to mention the Gulf wars or Arab-Israeli wars); are the natural consequence of the inevitable rivalry between capitalist powers, and when it reaches its breaking point, economic and trade warfare becomes all-out war.
However the general framework does not change; and for the imperialist countries, to have authoritarian regimes, especially in areas where decolonization could lead to political and social instability, was the “price to be paid” for the proper functioning of the global economy and the production of capitalist profits!
In 2004 the English government was the first Western government to resume formal ties with the Libyan government, previously treated as “terrorist”, British Petroleum being the major beneficiary of this rapprochement. The British initiative paved the way for an Americo-Libyan “alliance” within the framework of the fight against “Islamist terrorism”. In 2007 Tony Blair signed a military agreement with Gaddafi which included the training of Libyan Special Forces by the British.
Also, if Mubarak was used by Western imperialism to rein in the Palestinian proletariat through his good relations with Israel, Gaddafi has been used to control mass emigration from Africa to Europe. Thus, the recent agreement (2008) between the Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi and the Libyan leader had among its principal terms control of emigration!
This is one reason why the Italian government has continued, despite the massacres, to support the retention of power by Gaddafi, perhaps even in a divided Libya, as it has done for years: we remember Berlusconi’s cynical words saying he would not intervene with his “friend” Gaddafi so as “not to disturb” him at such a grave moment for his country. The French Government which has laid down the red carpet to receive the “The Guide of the Libyan Revolution”, has remained quite silent these days, and has yet to acknowledge its responsibility in the dispatch by its Chadian protege, Idriss Deby, of hundreds (up to 1000) of soldiers from his Presidential Guard to the rescue of the potentate of Libya during the very first moments of the revolt...
During the “five days of Benghazi”of February 15 to 20, much of the population of eastern Libya rose up against despotism, riding the wave of mass revolts, which after Tunisia and Egypt, have impacted Algeria, Morocco, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, and Iran, to varying degrees. From Cyrenaica, the rebellion has spread over 10 days up the coast to the capital Tripoli where Gaddafi and his praetorians are entrenched and from where the head of the “revolution” of 1969 (in reality a coup d’Etat) unleashed the war against his own people.
The number of victims continues to rise each day and now the Al Jazeera TV network speaks of thousands dead, a massacre perpetrated by police, soldiers and mercenaries called upon by Gaddafi to crush the rebellion and retake control of the country and its business affairs!
The cannibalism of the government of Tripoli shows the true face of Libyan capitalist power – because it is capitalism that is the basis of the systems of government oppressing the great masses, the workers and immigrant populations in every country; systems of government where in countries buoyed up by oil and other raw materials, a thin layer of bourgeois seize the enormous wealth produced, while the masses are condemned to misery and starvation, without even being able to demand any rights .
Representatives of major Western democracies that boast of the freedom enjoyed by their populations, have supported and armed the despotic and dictatorial powers with which they have been doing gold-plated business and countenancing the massacres that today follow one after another in the Arab countries, they have one idea in their head: how to save the profits from oil, arms sales or construction of infrastructure to “modernize” the country! The stock markets in New York, London, Berlin, Paris or Milan tumble because of the chaos caused by the riots? It is an “international issue”, it is necessary to achieve social pacification as quickly as possible, in order to make finance and the world economy run! The demonstrators are imprisoned, tortured, massacred by the thousands in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya or Algeria? It is the “the problem”of Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans, Algerians, where internal problems should not interfere! The big light and heavy armaments manufacturers of the developed capitalist countries which have stocked the arsenals of these countries have only one concern: how to continue to do business? It is of no regard to the bourgeois that thousands of unarmed civilians were massacred by soldiers; profits must be saved! And if there is no more Gaddafi, it will be necessary to find another in his place to continue the affairs of business...
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In Rome, Madrid and Athens as in all the major European capitals, there is inquietude about the possible influx of refugees from the other shore of the Mediterranean, and Italian ministers express the open concern of the European leaders: the possibility that 300 000 refugees could come from Libya , the Italian Minister of Defence, saying there would be more than 2.5 million African immigrants in Libya, stirred the prospect of a real “invasion”of desperate masses fleeing poverty, repression and war after the collapse of the Libyan state. And it is for this reason that Italian warships have begun to position themselves along the Libyan coast!
The true face of capitalism is not constituted by the democratic facade of freedom of expression, freedom to demonstrate, assemble and organize. Where these freedoms exist it is because they were conquered by long struggles in which the proletariat was in the vanguard, and these freedoms are always more or less flouted and limited, because the bourgeois right that must always prevail, even at the expense of reduction or suspension of other democratic rights is the right to exploit wage labor in the best way possible in order to extract surplus value which, for the capitalists, is transformed into profit. Faced with the worsening of social tensions that pushes the proletariat and the proletarianized masses to attack the pillars of capitalist power and its symbols, the democratic facade shows itself to be a mystification.
The revolts, sometimes armed, which are shaking the despotic regimes supported by the imperialist democracies may well be enough to bring down local governments that had ruled by terror and repression; but the aim of “restoring civil peace”and “opening the path to democracy” through another bourgeois government, less compromised than the previous one cannot result in anything other than maintaining the domination of the capitalists over the workers, the domination of bourgeois nationalist and imperialist interests over the population and especially over the proletariat; the petit-bourgeois layers, the lawyers, judges and especially the military will gain in terms of social recognition, but the crushing majority of the proletarians and the poor peasants will continue to have to face the problems of daily survival with just as many difficulties, if not more still. It is also for this reason that in recent years millions of people, braving all manner of perils, have emigrated and continue to emigrate across the world.
But what do these masses driven by poverty find when they emigrate to the rich European countries? They find detention centers for undocumented immigrants, they find the best equipped police and military in the world who pursue them, detain and expel them; they find superexploitation and illegal work, and even when they manage to obtain papers, they face racism and petit-bourgeois prejudice. The bourgeois civilization of these countries which teach the whole world lessons on the benefits of democracy, is based on the same economic and social structure as that of less developed countries: capitalist exploitation, economic, social and political domination of the class that possesses all the means of production as well as all the products, and therefore has the right of life and death over the proletarians of the world.
Surprised by the social conflagration which has endured for more than two months in the Maghreb and the Middle East, foreign ministries of the major capitalist countries of East and West have called on the leaders of these countries to exercise “restraint” in the repression and “to listen” to demands for “freedom”and “reforms”. Regimes that for so many years were considered solid, can no longer control their masses, their proletarians. Ben Ali has fallen, Mubarak has fallen, Gaddafi is in freefall, Bouteflika staggers. But what really strikes fear into the imperialist powers, is less what is happening today, than what might happen tomorrow, they fear that the popular revolt will open the way for revolutionary proletarian movements, that the proletariat against whom the bourgeoisie in all countries leads a struggle without truce will discover in the current uprisings the force to engage openly in the anti-bourgeois class struggle. The fall of Gaddafi could indeed relaunch the wave of social revolt in the region, thereby encouraging the proletarian masses of Africa and Asia to rise up in their turn against the despotism of capital. It is this fear that motivates the changing attitude of the United States which, when the armed rebellion heralds the end of Gaddafi threatens to intervene militarily in Libya.
Unfortunately for the proletarians of the countries in revolt, the proletarian class struggle is not yet on the agenda; democratic illusions, still too powerful, overshadow and consign the real interests of the proletariat class to the back-burner. And the proletariat of Europe and America, for decades anesthetized by democratic opium, passively contemplate these revolts instead of finding in them a motive to enter the struggle against their bourgeoisie – the real vampires who have sucked the blood of generations of Arab and Middle Eastern proletarians and peasants: the path to be taken to fight against being accesories to the repression, the wars and the grinding down of the populations of these countries, and which is the only real way to solidarize itself with these proletarians and to join with their class brothers of the whole world is to defend the proletarian interests common to all.
Mubarak, Ben Ali, Gaddafi or others could be replaced tomorrow by a young soldier calling himself a revolutionary, or by a political exile: it will not change much for the proletariat and the masses. The only real change can come about from the resumption of the class struggle, not only in these countries but also in the industrialized capitalist countries that are the heart of the world capitalist Moloch!
Revolutionary communists salute the social revolts in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East not only because they are causing the collapse of these despotic and bloodthirsty regimes, but also because they show the true face of the bourgeois powers in these countries to be the same as the imperialist countries. Knowing that these movements, mobilizing all the classes that make up the people “starved”of democracy cannot as such be transformed into a revolutionary proletarian movement, the revolutionary communists stress the material, not the ideological, causes which started a courageous bare-handed revolt and which pushed a young and combative proletariat to strike and demonstrate. It is impossible to expect that the current social revolts will automatically open up into class struggle tomorrow and it will require the workers to organize and fight independently for the exclusive defense of their own class interests, freeing themselves from democratic illusions and the suffocating embrace of bourgeois and petit-bourgeois strata, and it will be in these struggles where we will see the appearance of vanguard elements needed to form the class party, the revolutionary communist party, whose task will be to lead the fight toward the destruction of bourgeois power, the expression of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, whatever its form, and towards the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the extension of the revolutionary internationalist struggle uniting all the proletarians of the world against the bastions of the counter-revolution.
The road to the reprise of the class struggle has never been simple and easy, this is especially true today where the power of the bourgeoisie has been greatly enhanced in terms of social despotism and militarism and where the work of decades-long social-imperialist collaborationism has brought about the acceptance by the proletariat of its own exploitation and support of bourgeois atrocities and wars of plunder. But this is the road it is necessary to take to end the horrible massacres perpetrated by the bourgeoisie over the world to defend their class privileges, their private property and the whole system of capitalist exploitation on which their domination is founded.
February 24, 2011
International Communist Party