Friday, April 01, 2011

A Debate On The NATO Intervention In Libya

As NATO began its military intervention in Libya on the side of the "rebel" anti-Gaddafi forces, there was much debate on The Commune's mailing list about how communists should react. My own contribution was as follows:

"To be a communist is to take the side of the working class, and the working class only. Not one faction or other of the ruling class, in the (mistaken, in my view) belief that they would treat working class people better. Therefore we must oppose imperialist intervention in all its forms, including the policing of a ‘no-fly zone’ against the Gaddafi regime. (Even the no-fly thing is now clearly a figleaf, after the bombing of the Gaddafi compound and other targets – they want regime change).

‘The rebels’ are not a homogenous block. As always, there are class divisions. Many of the self-appointed ‘Transitional’ leaders are ex-Gaddafi generals, who saw that they were losing a few weeks ago, or saw an opportunity to step out from Gaddafi’s shadow, and went over to the other side. They are the ones providing most of the equipment being used to fight Gaddafi’s forces, and they will demand positions of power over the working class should they be victorious. The democratic (and behind them, material) aspirations of the working class will not be met by holdovers from the Gaddafi regime, any more than they will be met by holdovers from the Ben Ali and Mubarak regimes in Tunisia and Egypt respectively.

It is western imperialism that creates the power of Middle Eastern dictators, and it is only the power of the international working class that can overthrow them. Mubarak fell precisely at the point when a strike wave went through Egypt, and the same appears to be happening in Bahrain. This is where the power of working class people lies – not begging arms from this or another general for an insurrection, or begging support from imperialists."

You can read a representative sample of the comments here. The debate took place between the 20th and 25th March.
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