[Marxism] For the defeat or uncoditional end of the NAT) war on Libya

Fred Feldman ffeldman at verizon.net
Tue Jul 19 08:22:56 MDT 2011

The following is a contribution I made to a discussion on the NATO war
against Libya and Gadhafi taking place in Solidarity, a US socialist
organization that I support



The United States is now engaged in six wars in predominantly Arab or
Islamic countries. For me, the decisive factor is not the varying qualities
of the regimes and groups under attack (none particularly outstanding), but
rather the defeat of the imperialists and especially our very own
imperialists.  The US today always portrays its wars of subjugation against
semicolonial countries as wars against "evil" leaders and groups and often
as a response to a "humanitarian emergency."  For instance, it is now clear
that the priority of "saving"  the rebels from Gadhafi was not the cause of
the no-fly zone, but rather the presumed emergency was a  pretext for
opening a war against Libya in general and the Gadhafi regime in particular



Here is my broad general conclusion: I consider the defeat of the
imperialists in Libya as the lesser evil, even if that means that the
Gadhafi regime remains in power for however long or that the opposition
military force is defeated. My pivot is the defeat of the imperialists,
rather than the continuity of the Gadhafi regime.  After all, it is possible
that a genuine democratic revolutionary upsurge could revive among the
Libyan people, even while the imperialists were attacking for their own
reasons or the current recognized opposition. 


And this is also my position on the other five wars US and allied
imperialism are fighting in the "arc of instability" today -- Afghanistan,
Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia (with Sudan in the
watch-this-apace-for-further-developments category). I think the defeat of
the US and other imperialists is the lesser evil, regardless of the
nastiness of the forces they often confront. f the imperialists is a central
question, higher than questions about the quality of the regimes and
leaderships on the other side, 


This is also my stamce in the war against the Islamic  Courts in Somalia,
the so-called Al Qaeda in Yemen, the war (currentlty against the Sadrists
and Sunni dissidents) in Iraq, the war against the Pakistani "Taliban," and
what I suspect is the coming open war against the very unpleasant regime in


And it is also my position on sanctions and other acts of war against
Zimbabwe, although there is no sign that US, British, or French imperialism
will move to  eject Mugabe in the immediate future. They obviously have
mixed feelings 


My stance in each case is one that might be called rigid and inflexible. I
am for the defeat of the imperialists in every case. I do not go case by
case, determining whether this or that government is bad enough to be
removed from the outside by imperialist powers, or whether it is really a
good  government or leadership (not the case in any of these instances).. It
is not necessary to argue or believe that life is wonderful for the mass of
human beings in each of the countries, as apparently some opponents of
imperialist war feel called upon to do..


 I think they are better off if the extension of imperialist power and
domination is defeated, prevented, stymied, or whatever, regardless of the
fact that progressive alternative forces may be absent. I think in each case
the victory of the imperialists is a greater evil, not an exactly equal  or
lesser evil evil, to the survival or victory of their often quite
reactionary enemies. 


I do not equate imperialist and oppressed bourgeois states as "equal evils."
I think imperialism, and above all for us in this country our own
imperialism is the greater evil.  And, without any cheerleading for the
forces the imperialists confront in these countries, I think this is the
stance we should take on Libya and any other such cases. 


I admit that I was enthused when the popular upsurge against Gadhafi took
place. But I think it would be a fatal mistake to imagine that the choices
we face are still the same as the ones we faced at that moment, although
that situation or something like it is sure to rise again at some point. A
popular revolution in Libya is going to happen at some point.


The antiwar action called for August 12 in Harlem by Cynthia McKinney, Black
organizations,  Party for Socialism and :Liberation, and other PSL, and
others in Harlem should be supported at this time, despite the fact that
most of these forces have a basically support the Gadhafi regime I have
learned in the recent period that there is more to political wisdom on this
war than the ability to bash away at the pro-Gadhafi sector of the US left
and denounce Gadhafi with unbridled  enthusiasm. 


I think the rulers of this country have made some significant gains with
left public opinion in this operation. Those who have softened will have
more trouble opposing coherently wars against evil semicolonial regimes like
Saddam and the Taliban in the future, having softened their stance in this
case. Well, it's a humanitarian emergency or in this case its a coalition
not unilateral, or the UN Security Council is on board, or even falling for
the scam that it is not just an imperialist war but an alleged project of
the so-called  "world community."


How can we even defend the Palestinians in Gaza against US-Israel? Do we
have to pretend that Hamas or the West Bank "government" have established
post-second-coming regimes to recognize that the imperialist powers and
their settler-colonial ally Israel represent a greater evil in this


Following is an edited version of a  comment I made to several lists, and
have re-edited for this occasion: 

Fred Feldman 



US recognition of Transitional gov. opens possible $30 billion Libya assets
for opposition 


The move frees the United States to provide the assets to the opposition as
the administration pleases, in exchange for full cooperation with US and
US-led NATO objectives. The access the opposition will now have to the
assets, for a price, will further erode the remaining elements of iof
independence of the so-called "revolutionary" movement. 


It can be argued that many of the assets were in fact stolen by Libyan
government officials and other Libyan capitalists. The likelihood that this
is true is completely beside the point. 


The seizing of the Libyan assets was an act of war and plunder by US
imperialism against Libya and its independence and sovereignty. As with the
unseating of Libya's representatives in the UN, the arms embargo, the UN
resolution, the no fly zone -- all these moves were typical of imperialist
war drives supposedly aimed against "evil dictators" in an "arc of
instability" stretching from Morocco to Pakistan 


All these moves should be opposed in this case and in any coming war against
an "evil dictator" or yet another semicolonial "Hitler." 


The opening of the assets to bidding by the rebels means that a broader
layer of them now have a shot at getting into the recomposing Libyan ruling
class through obedience to US-NATO demands. Making the assets available to
the opposition is a deliberate act of corruption by Washington. 


I'm going to express two opinions that I can't claim are final since I am
not close enough to the situation to say with certainty. 


I don't believe that there is a revolution taking place in Libya today. As
far as I can see, more-or-less reaction has regained control on all sides of
the situation, in contrast to the early phases of the war when the masses
were able to act for a time. 



As an obvious corollary, I do not regard what is taking place in Libya as
part of the Arab Spring today and do not see anything evidently progressive,
under the existing circumstances, about the replacement of Gadhafi by the
imperialist-coalition-with-rebels-in-tow (allowing, of course, that some
totally new element of revolutionary  mass action could suddenly enter the
scene, which nobody foresees at present). 




I think the "Arab Spring" in Libya has been defeated for now, partly by the
Gadhafi's repression but much more so by the consequences of the imperialist
war, as well as the opposition's support for and subordination to the
imperialist war, which I do not see as being combated today anywhere in
their base, albeit  the base remains more complex than the leadership


I am opposed to slogans such as "Down with Gadhafi!" or "Victory to the
Rebels!" today.  I believe that whatever the obviously antiwar intentions of
those who raise these slogans, they are logically contradictory to demanding
the end of NATO bombing and other warlike intervention (including the
seizure of the assets), since everything indicates that Gadhafi will not be
toppled at present if the intervention, including the bombing ceases. 


(It goes without saying that I am completely opposed to such slogans as part
of the platform of an antiwar coalition since that would exclude any
opponent of the war with a different view, including myself.) 


NATO out of Libya Now! remains my favored slogan.  That's unconditional,
regardless of what it may mean for Gadhafi's or the rebels' futures. 


I consider the defeat of the imperialists in Libya as the lesser evil, even
if that means that the Gadhafi regime remains in power for however long or
that the opposition military force is defeated. 


The Libyan people will rise again but, today, that is the hope and
expectation of the future, not the situation at present. 

Fred Feldman 


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