[Marxism] Franklin Lamb : "Waiting for the endgame in Libya"

Jeff meisner at xs4all.nl
Sun Aug 21 16:00:30 MDT 2011

At 05:28 21/08/11 -0400, Fred Feldman wrote:
>..... He 
>has forgotten to demonstrate where I have ever said that the war was 
>about "stealing Libya's oil, to curb any supposed 'militant' tendencies 
>of Gadhafi, etc..  That has never been my position.
My apologies. However I was really aiming at the entire wing of the left
which promotes such positions, among whom such ad hoc explanations for a
supposed "imperialist war" have been offered. I did not mean to put words
in the mouth of Fred in particular.

> It is true that I 
>think the war, once begun for whatever conjunctural reasons, tends to 
>become part of the pattern of US wars in the Middle East .....
Now think about what you just said: If the REASONS for a war are totally
different from previous instances, then how could that possibly be part of
a PATTERN? What you are talking about, I'm afraid, is a "pattern of
thinking" on our part which is being misapplied in a case where there is
only a superficial resemblance.

>opposition to the imperialist war stems from the fact that it is an 
>imperialist war
This is bordering on circular reasoning. You call it "imperialist" because
you are against it. Not due to any analysis of its origins being due to an
imperialist motive, or "pattern" if you will. 

>Jeff turns "prestige" and "embarrassment" into a purely psychological 
>and personal question for individual imperialists.. No, this is the 
>psychological background to the fact that they cannot afford to lose 
>this war, from the standpoint of imperialist viability and morale....
But that IS what I am saying, that they continue the war because they
already began it, not because it was ever in their actual self interest.
Thus I don't see it as an imperialist war (in the usual sense) but an
imperialist MISTAKE that they cannot easily extricate themselves from and
don't want to be seen as losing. That is why they have tried to force a
compromise solution with Gaddafi staying in Libya with reduced power, so
that they can claim they brought "peace" to Libya.

>First of all, imperialist prestige is, again, not a mere psychological 
>need of individual imperialists,
Now I never said anything about "psychology" or "individuals," so please
don't put any stupid words in my mouth, ok?

> but a necessity of the system in the 
>struggle for world domination. 
Well..... yes..... but what's primary? It's only because of the military
and economic might that imperialism gains its "prestige" (that is, its
perception of being powerful). That is why I suggest opposing the substance
of imperialism (its actual power) rather than mere perceptions of
imperialism. (Such as the perception of them fighting for their basic
interests in Libya, when that isn't the case).

>Jeff cheerleads 
>for opposition and the  "Libyan revolution," but sees no need to 
>demonstrate that one exists today.
I don't know if we're using different definitions, but of course there is a
revolution going on throughout the Arab world and an instance of it erupted
in Libya. Those involved cannot be blamed for the fact that they met
violent suppression from Gaddafi and were forced into a situation of taking
up arms. The entire Arab revolution was set back by the negative outcome in
Libya (compared to Egypt and Tunisia), while the regimes in Syria, Yemen,
and Bahrain immediately learned from Gaddafi how to stay in power.

>In fact the imperialist intervention, and the rebels' demands for this 
>intervention have and are put a continuing damper on any tendencies in a 
>revolutionary direction.
Well I surely agree (I'll take "revolutionary direction" to mean "socialist
direction"). The revolution has been badly "contaminated" by that
association and it may well be that they would have had better success if
NATO had just stayed out of it. But they were facing a bloodbath (or at
least the perception of one) and took aid that was offered, for better or
for worse.

> And the imperialists don't plan to halt this 
>once Gadhafi is gone.The plans are in the works for something like a 
>European-African-Arab peacekeeping occupation
Exactly! That is where the real struggle begins: after Gaddafi is out of
the way.

> which the opposition 
>leadership shows every sign of being willing to accept.
None of us know very much about the "opposition leadership," let alone any
position that it is united around. What counts in a revolution is the
struggle of the people, not who is leading it. There WILL be a struggle
between different elements, both within and outside of the TNC, and THAT is
where the real "anti-imperialist" struggle will be taking place. I can't
say I'm optimistic: 99% of revolutions wind up with a state in power that
disappoints the participants. But that's better than the failed revolutions
where the number is 100%.

>And after all aren't revolutionaries supposed to call on the 
>imperialists to give the "revolutionaries" whatever they want
Well not really, because most of those things can't be expected from them.
As Louis points out, the most we can realistically call on the imperialists
to do is to get the hell out of the affairs of other countries. I don't
think they have any right to be involved in Libya right now. Nor do they
have a right to be in hundreds of other places. But you can't say that all
of their presences are equally destructive all of the time (or we'd be
required to organize dozens of demonstrations about places and issues we're
not even familiar with). The important battle against imperialism in Libya
begins after the defeat of Gaddafi.

- Jeff

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