[Marxism] NYT still fighting for "revolution" in Libya. (Was: Arm the resistance - Victory to the Libyan revolution - No to the NATO/UN No Fly Zone)

Fred Feldman ffeldman at verizon.net
Fri Jul 1 06:59:54 MDT 2011

Introductory comment to Thursday NYT editorial on Libya
The Socialist Resistance item that Dayne submitted is quite dated. It still
refers to the imperialist operation as a "no-fly zone," even though NATO has
long since shifted to "regime change." There is no indication of the steady
increase in the bombing and air war campaign. 

The statement calls for "arm the resistance" even though this supposedly
progressive demand has been granted on a considerable scale--hooray! -- by
France. The New York Times article,  Socialist Resistance will be glad to
hear, has called for stepping this up. The item also makes no mention of the
imperialist advisers already helping to direct the war on the ground, which
the Times also calls for stepping up. (I don't know whether SR says
"hooray!" to this or not.)

I disagree with the call that all Libyan assets stolen by the imperialists
be turned over to the "revolutionaries." Such plundering of oppressed
nations should be opposed, even though the imperialists are supporting a
supposedly good cause.

The "revolutionaries" are continuing to call for still more imperialist
bombing, which they consider an unconditional necessity if Gadhafi is to be
overthrown by their forces.

Planning is underway now for the UN to "lead" the transition in Libya, in
cooperation with the opposition, once the imperialists have gotten the
Libyan dictator out of the way -- something the "revolutionaries" are
convinced they cannot do on their own. I believe this will require a
substantial UN military force to keep "order."n  Of course, only time will

Any one who wants to is entitled to label this a democratic,
anti-imperialist revolution. Expressing this opinion is a basic democratic
right, which I wouldn't restrict for the world. 

I believe people who hold this position -- unsupported by facts as it seems
to me at this point -- have every right to express their viewpoint in public
meetings on Libya. If I were still in my public-speaking days, I would enjoy
exchanging views with them in such a venue. I agree with the Vancouver
antiwar activists, who invited a pro-war speaker from the Somalian community
to speak at an antiwar demonstration they had organized. Much wiser than
excluding or attempting to exclude pro-war Somalians from such events.

I believe that supporting the imperialist seizure of Libyan assets and
calling for them to be turned over by the imperialists to the
"revolutionaries" is wrong. I think that the seizure of these assets was a
crime against an oppressed nations, though hardly a new or unusual one.

Nor do I think that those like John Edmundson, who oppose imperialist
intervention (except for arms shipments) are insincere -- that they really
support imperialist bombing. Not at all.

This does not change the fact, however, that all available evidence
indicates that the rebels would not be able to hold a single strip of
territory in Libya without being backed at every step by imperialist
bombing. If the imperialists stopped their brutal aggression against the
Libyan people, the rebels would almost certainly face defeat. Their position
of opposition to the bombing only makes sense if, like me, they consider the
defeat of the imperialists the lesser evil, even if it results in the defeat
of the "revolutionaries."  

The end of the imperialist bombing would throw them back to where they were
when the imperialists came to their rescue, except (as I believe is the
case) they would have lost some support in Libya as a result of their
enthusiasm about bombing their country.

The only list member I know of who has thought through to the end the
objective contradiction involved in supporting the "revolutionaries" and
opposing the bombing that keeps them afloat is Paddy Apling.  He considers
the defeat of the "revolutionaries" a greater evil than the imperialist
bombing and other military intervention, a necessary bargain with the devil.

Others, however, are content to live in peace with their contradiction.

This is, I reiterate, their unconditional democratic right.
Fred Feldman

The Libya Campaign
Published: June 30, 2011 
Four months into the NATO air campaign, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi is still in
power, protected by loyalists and mercenaries. Americans are weary of war,
and patience in Europe is also wearing thin. But NATO must not give up. 

If Colonel Qaddafi is allowed to have his way, thousands more Libyans will
die. The credibility of NATO and this country would also be severely
damaged. Colonel Qaddafi, who has a long history of sponsoring international
terrorism, is not one to let bygones be bygones. 

There is progress. The make-shift rebel army - aided by British, French and
Italian advisers and armed by France and Qatar - is slowly improving. NATO
strikes on military command centers, including Colonel Qaddafi's compound in
Tripoli, have done real damage. This week's International Criminal Court
indictment of Colonel Qaddafi, one of his sons and his intelligence chief on
charges of crimes against humanity should be a warning to all of his

A naval blockade and international sanctions are increasingly having an
effect. Oil revenues, the government's main income, are down by two-thirds.
There are reports of long gasoline lines in Tripoli and rising bread prices.
On Thursday, people fleeing Tripoli told of overnight gunfire and signs of

The Qaddafi clan is watching closely for signs that NATO's will is flagging.
Italy's recent call for a cease-fire (which could give government forces
time to regroup) and second-guessing by the Arab League's outgoing leader,
Amr Moussa, are not helpful. Neither are Congressional efforts to force an
end to American support for the air campaign. 

President Obama was wrong to ignore the War Powers Act, but that should not
stop the House and Senate from adopting the Kerry-McCain resolution
authorizing the mission to continue for another year. 

NATO must help, but the Libyan people are the only ones who can bring the
regime down. 

The rebels need more military advisers and weapons and access to $30 billion
in frozen Qaddafi government funds. The United States and other countries
need to remove the legal obstacles to getting that money. 

The alliance should extend sanctions to more of Colonel Qaddafi's cronies
and the subsidiaries of state-owned enterprises. Washington and its partners
should also help the rebels start building the political and civil
institutions they will need to keep a post-Qaddafi Libya from descending
into chaos. 

There has been recent talk by all sides about a possible political deal
between the rebels and the government. We are eager to see an end to the
fighting. But Washington and NATO must stand firmly with the rebels

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