[Marxism] Has imperialism changed its stripes?

james pitman marinercarpentry at gmail.com
Wed Jul 6 02:25:21 MDT 2011

I think your analysis is a good one John and I'm not setting out to
counter-pose my view against yours. Partition is one possibility that looms
if NATO withdraw because (primarily) they feel they are leaving Libya with a
balance of forces they can do business with and (b) pressures from squeezed
war budgets and domestic electorates make this preferable - but only if (a)
is achieved first.

Simon Assaf says this of the TNC:
The popular councils formed a national organisation, the Transitional
National Council (TNC), to act as the leadership of the revolution. There
are, however, two forces inside the TNC. There is the popular revolutionary
leadership - drawn from the key leaders of the uprising, and the former
high-ranking defectors of the old regime who want to set up an interim
government with the backing of the West. The formation of the TNC
represented a compromise between these two wings - but it had to offer a
guarantee to the West that it would abide by the oil contracts signed by the
Gaddafi regime.

Looking at this, and bearing in mind that historically, the West has managed
to install puppets straight after democratic elections, it doesn't seem such
a push to imagine they can do the same in the foment and confusion of
uprising and civil war.


On 6 July 2011 08:42, <johnedmundson at paradise.net.nz> wrote:

> ======================================================================
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> ======================================================================
> Allan asked:
> > I've been following the debate over the war in Libya on the list, and
> have
> some > questions for those who generally put forward the "anti-pro-Qadaffi"
> position, > as I'll refer to it.
> > The Libyan opposition (the "rebels") are supported by NATO and the
> western
> > imperialist powers. If they represent a genuine force for democracy and
> > self-determination, why are the imperialists supporting them militarily
> and
> > politically?
> I think the reason they are being supported is pretty clear and I doubt
> there'd
> be much disagreement on this question taken broadly, although a lot in the
> detail. I think the West saw the Libyan situatio as one where they could
> get a
> win and reverse the process that was starting to spread right through the
> Arab
> world. Whereas people like Zine Abadin ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak were
> long-time
> loyal allies of the West, and it might have been expected that they would
> be
> supported, a number of things worked againnst it. Firstly the West was
> caught by
> surprise. Secondly, Tunisia, and Egypt even moreso, are much more
> complicated
> when it comes to intervening. They are so big and populous that an
> intervention
> would have needed much more planning. There was no time and a decision was
> made
> to cut them loose. Gaddafi was much flakier and didn't have the history of
> loyalty. In fact, despite his having been fully rehabilitated at an
> official and
> business level, it was easy to justify a campaign against him with a
> domestic
> population well used to his characterisation as a mad dog, terrorist etc,
> due to
> his past words and deeds, and actions attributed to him and his regime.
> The West will do all it can to support the "right" revolutionaries in
> Egypt,
> Tunisia and the rest of the Arab world too. It's already doing so, trying
> to
> make sure "its" revolutionaries control the process.
> In Libya, it was deemed appropriate to launch a military action, made
> easier by
> the fact that assorted ex-regime people and other ammenable figures were
> assuming top leadership positions.
> I wouldn't go so far as to say that they "represent a genuine force for
> democracy and self-determination". What I would say is that they had every
> right
> to try to ditch Gaddafi and the NATO intervention doesn't take away that
> right.
> Of course it does make it much much more difficult for a progressive result
> to
> emerge from the rubble of the war.
> > Would a victory for the opposition on the basis of the NATO intervention
> be a
> > positive step for democracy, self-determination, and ultimately for the
> > development of socialism in Libya and in the broader Middle East in
> general?
> That is not something I would be prepared to predict. Obviously if Gaddafi
> hadn't acted with guns to suppress the revolution - if he'd "gone quietly"
> like
> ben Ali and Mubarak, there would have been much greater cause for optimism.
> As
> it stands there is little cause for optimism in the short term in my view,
> in
> terms of Libya. As to the rest of the Arab world, obviously the West's
> intention
> is that the process will be arrested but I don't think there are any
> grounds to
> say that they have succeeded yet in that aim.
> A problem for me with the counter argument - that the rebels are rotten
> counterrevolutionaries (now at least if not from the start) due to their
> willingness to call for NATO support (which many emphatically did not do in
> the
> beginning) is that a) there will always be someone willing to call for
> Western
> intervention, and b) if all the West need do is mumble words of support for
> possible intervention (after all this debate began as soon as there was
> only
> pretty incoherant mutterings about a 'no fly zone') for the left to abandon
> the
> struggle, then we will be forever reactive.
> Just an additional point in response to Jamie. I'm not at all convinced
> that
> partition will occur, or is an objective. The bogey of possible partition
> has
> been raised many times, with all the attendant implied reference to past
> colonial occupations, Fascist Italy etc. But to my knowledge the rebels
> themselves have never indicated that they would settle for anything less
> than
> the territorial integrity of all of Libya. No Western figure of any
> significance
> is actually arguing for partition, and partition would be inherently
> volatile,
> so (while not entirely ruling anything out) I would be surprised if that is
> the
> outcome.
> I also think Jamie is a bit inaccurate when he suggests that the "Western
> powers
> replaced the genuine revolutionaries in the transitional council with the
> cuckold interim government". I think that atempts to cast the process in
> terms
> that are altogether too black and white. Those people got to their
> positions in
> the movement by a range of means. To suggest it was all down to Western
> scheming
> is in my view incorrect.
> Cheers,
> John
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