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Debate: NATO in Libya: A tactical, necessary evil

[For more left views on Libya, click HERE.]

By Iggy Kim and Marce Cameron

April 3, 2011 -- The NATO intervention in Libya is a necessary evil. Evil, yes, but necessary just the same. At least for the present.

The brutal reality of the early weeks of March was the choice between the crushing of the centre of liberated Libya in Benghazi or the securing of much-needed time (and protection) for the regrouping of the revolutionary forces – however this needed to be obtained, given the urgent imperatives of the actual struggle. The ends do command the means. That is the unavoidable reality confronted by all masses in political motion, engaged in open, class warfare, and no less one that has gone over into armed struggle.

Democratic revolution based on popular power

Immanuel Wallerstein: The great Libyan distraction

By Immanuel Wallerstein

April 1, 2011 -- ZSpace -- The entire Libyan conflict of the last month -- the civil war in Libya, the US-led military action against Gaddafi -- is neither about humanitarian intervention nor about the immediate supply of world oil. It is in fact one big distraction -- a deliberate distraction -- from the principal political struggle in the Arab world. There is one thing on which Gaddafi and Western leaders of all political views are in total accord. They all want to slow down, channel, co-opt, limit the second Arab revolt and prevent it from changing the basic political realities of the Arab world and its role in the geopolitics of the world-system.

To appreciate this, one has to follow what has been happening in chronological sequence. Although political rumblings in the various Arab states and the attempts by various outside forces to support one or another element within various states have been a constant for a long time, the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi on December 17, 2010 launched a very different process.

Communist Workers' Party of Tunisia opposes Libya intervention, calls for completion of revolution

The Communist Workers' Party of Tunisia on Libya: "The Tunisian revolution has spread to many Arab countries. Egypt's dictator fell, while authoritarian regimes in Yemen and Bahrain are fiercely repressing popular uprisings, in Bahrain, with the help of Saudi Arabia. Our neighbour, the Libyan people, rose up against their tormentors, but events took a bad turn with the intervention of the United States and its allies, under the pretext of protecting civilians. The US administration has hardly mentioned the killing of civilians in Yemen and Bahrain, as it has also never done regarding Gaza, Lebanon or Iraq and Afghanistan, countries it occupies. And didn’t Sarkozy support the Tunisian dictator until the last moment?

Egypt: 'A new political left is emerging'

By Alastair Beach

March 26, 2011 -- Al Masry Al Youm -- Gehan Shaaban has come a long way since her youthful days as a radical Trotskyist student. In the early 1990s she joined forces with a small group of far-left political activists in Egypt and founded an organisation called the Revolutionary Socialists. They were inspired by radical Palestinian-British politician Tony Cliff, who was born in 1917 to a Jewish family living in the Holy Land and became a fervent anti-Zionist after emigrating to the UK.

In those days, said Shaaban, things were very bad for the left. “There was no movement at all”, she said. “In the 1990s it was a time when you could not say the word “socialism” because it was the era of the new liberalism and the end of the USSR.”

But now things are beginning to change. With the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak a new political left is emerging in Egypt.

Left debates Libya: `The Arab revolution must stay in Arab hands' -- a reply to Gilbert Achcar

French navy technicians load a Mica missile, destined for Libya, under the wing of a Rafale jet fighter on the deck of Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea.

[For more left views on Libya, click HERE.]

By Kevin Ovenden

March 28, 2011 -- Socialist Unity -- The Arab revolution has widened the left’s horizons. In the region itself there is now a historic possibility of a new radical politics: successful resistance to the hegemonic Western powers and to Israel fused with the movement of the young and propertyless masses against the corrupt and complicit elites. 

The fall of Tunisia's Ben Ali and Egypt's Mubarak shattered decades of Western policy, rocking them onto the back foot. They are now moving onto the front foot, as the regional despots raid their political and military arsenals to cling on.  

Left debates Libya: Juan Cole's open letter to the left on intervention; Phyllis Bennis and Vijay Prasad respond

March 29, 2011 -- Democracy Now! -- Juan Cole defends the use of military force to prevent a massacre in Benghazi and to aid the Libyan rebel movement.Vijay Prashad warns the United States has involved itself in a decades-long internal Libyan struggle while it ignores violent crackdowns by US-backed governments in Bahrain, Yemen and other countries in the region.

Tariq Ali on Libya: Another case of selective vigilantism by the West

By Tariq Ali

March 29, 2011 -- Guardian.co.uk Comment is Free -- The US-NATO intervention in Libya, with United Nations Security Council cover, is part of an orchestrated response to show support for the movement against one dictator in particular and by so doing to bring the Arab rebellions to an end by asserting Western control, confiscating their impetus and spontaneity and trying to restore the status quo ante.

Left debates Libya: SEARCH Foundation -- `Support "no-fly" UN resolution for Libyan democratic rebellion'

Libya rebels ride a captured Gaddafi tank in Benghazi March 19, 2011. Photo by Goran Tomasevic.

The following statement was released by the Australian SEARCH Foundation. The foundation was set up as a not-for-profit company in 1990 to preserve and draw on the resources of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA), and its archives. The CPA was the most significant socialist party in Australia between its formation in 1920 and 1991, when it ceased operating.

Mike Marqusee: Thoughts on Libya and liberal interventionism

[For more on Libya, click HERE.]

By Mike Marqusee

In the Guardian, Jonathan Freedland writes that liberal interventionism is “fine in theory” but goes wrong “in practise”. I’d suggest that it goes wrong in practise because it’s deeply flawed in theory.

March 25, 2011 -- www.mikemarqusee.com -- The hypocrisy, double standards and selectivity displayed in the Western military action in Libya defy enumeration, but just for a start….

In Yemen and Bahrain Western-backed regimes are violently repressing the democracy movement the West claims to back in Libya. In Iraq a US-sponsored regime protected by 47,000 US troops is trying to do the same – shooting demonstrators, detaining thousands and subjecting many to torture.

Libya intervention: A legitimate and necessary debate from an anti-imperialist perspective

"The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was indeed a compromise with the imperialists, but it was a compromise which, under the circumstances, had to be made... To reject compromises 'on principle', to reject the permissibility of compromises in general, no matter of what kind, is childishness, which it is difficult even to consider seriously... One must be able to analyze the situation and the concrete conditions of each compromise, or of each variety of compromise. One must learn to distinguish between a man who has given up his money and fire-arms to bandits so as to lessen the evil they can do and to facilitate their capture and execution, and a man who gives his money and fire-arms to bandits so as to share in the loot."

-- Vladimir I. Lenin

[For more left views on Libya, click HERE.]

By Gilbert Achcar

Libya, imperialism and ALBA

A Libyan rebel walks past a military position decorated with the rebellion flag at the southern entrance to Benghazi. Photograph: Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images.

[For more coverage of Libya, click HERE.]

By Barry Sheppard

March 27, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalThe struggle in Libya cannot be analysed except in the context of world and especially US imperialism, as I am sure all will agree. But its also cannot be analysed solely in terms of Libya itself in conjunction with the role of imperialism in that single country.

What is the context in which Libya must be placed? Or to put the question another way, could the civil war in Libya and the US military assault have happened four months ago? Of course not. Neither were even remote possibilities in anyone’s mind four months ago.

Malaysian socialists: 'Imperialist powers hands off Libya! Solidarity with people’s uprising in Libya and Arab states!

Statement by the Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia)

March 26, 2011

1. The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) strongly denounces the imperialist military intervention in Libya. The so-called “humanitarian” intervention serves nothing to protect civilians or prevent loss of lives or support democracy in Libya, but only the effort of Western imperialist powers to secure their interests in the oil-rich country as well as to contain the spread of Arab revolutions. The bombardment on Libya has an ultimate aim by the imperialists to destroy and derail the revolutionary waves in the Arab world.

2. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 passed on March 17, 2011, has authorised the United States, United Kingdom, France and other imperialist powers and their allies to enforce a “no-fly zone” by launching air strikes on Libya, during the eighth anniversary of US-led invasion on Iraq.

Western Sahara: `We want to go back to our country. Nothing will stop us wanting our rights'

Tagiyou Aslama. Photo by Alan Bain.

Tony Iltis interviews Tagiyou Aslama

March 20, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Western Sahara is the last country in Africa awaiting decolonisation. Invaded by Spain in the late 19th century, in the early 1970s mass mobilisations heralded the birth of the modern independence movement. In 1973, Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front) was established to wage an armed independence struggle.

By 1975, the dying days of the Franco dictatorship, the Spain had been fought to a standstill. However, rather than allow independence, Spain made an agreement with neighbouring countries, Morocco and Mauritania, whereby these countries would occupy Western Sahara while Madrid would retain access to its maritime resources.

Many Saharawi fled to refugee camps on the border with Algeria. However, most of the men returned to fight for independence. On February 27, 1976, the Polisario Front declared the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

Communist Party of Egypt resumes open political activities

March 24, 2011 -- People's World -- On March 15, the Communist Party of Egypt announced that after many years underground because of repression, it will be assuming open, public political activities once more. The announcement came after "an extensive meeting with all of its bodies" and was unanimous.

The original Communist Party of Egypt, the Hizb al Shuvuci al-Misri, had been founded in 1922 when Egypt was still a monarchy and very much under the thumb of British imperialism. The last king of Egypt, Farouk, was overthrown by an uprising of young army officers in 1952. Out of that revolution came the 14-year regime of Colonel Gamel Abdel Nasser, a radical nationalist who worked to break Egypt away from subservience to Western capitalist powers. In 1965, the Communist Party of Egypt merged into Nasser's own movement, the Arab Socialist Union.

(Updated April 1) Left statements on Libya: Stop the bombing, victory to the Arab revolution

March 24, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below are a number of statements on the situation in Libya issued by left parties and organisations around the world following the start of the US-led bombing campaign. Statements include those by the Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt),  Via Campesina, Socialist Aotearoa (New Zealand), the Fourth International, France's New Anti-Capitalist Party, the South African Communist Party, Focus on the Global South, Sinistra Critica (Critical Left, Italy), Portugal's Left Bloc, Brazil's PSOL. There is also a statement signed by 58 communist and workers' parties. More will be posted as they come to hand. See also statements by Socialist Alliance (Australia), the Socialist Party of Malaysia, the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines), the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the New Zealand Greens.

* * *

Libya: New Zealand Greens criticise Western intervention

By Keith Locke MP

March 23, 2011 -- The situation in the Middle East is now central to the considerations of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, and was among the topics addressed in the financial review we are debating today. We have been inspired by the success of the Egyptian and Tunisian people in toppling their dictators, and we were hoping that the Libyan people would soon prevail over the Gaddafi regime. However, as we know, the regime has fought back and was making advances, prompting calls for an internationally imposed no-fly zone to neutralise Gaddafi's air force, which was bombing rebel forces. The proposal for a no-fly zone is only one element in the resolution recently passed by the UN Security Council. The motion had a very loose wording, allowing member states to "take all necessary measures... to protect civilians" in Libya. So far the coalition powers have bombed not only anti-aircraft batteries but also Gaddafi's tanks, troops, and even his compound in Tripoli. British Secretary of Defence Liam Fox has not ruled out Gaddafi himself being a target.

COSATU supports democracy, but condemns foreign military attack on Libya

"Humanitarian" US bombs being prepared for delivery in Libya.

By Bongani Masuku, COSATU international relations secretary

March 22, 2011 -- The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) reiterates its position in support of the legitimate and genuine struggles of the people and workers of the Middle East and North Africa for democracy, human dignity and social justice. In doing so, however, we seek to exercise caution in the manner Western powers claim to be advancing the struggle for democracy in that region.

In their own imaginations, military occupation can deliver democracy to the masses. Is it not the same doctrine that failed in Iraq before, Afghanistan recently and is it not inevitably bound to fail in Libya? This can be best described as helicopter democracy, which disempowers the masses in whose name the struggle for democracy is waged and renders them spectators as foreign powers arrogate themselves the role of liberators, in the process, relegating the masses and their role in their own struggle.

Jadaliyya: Solidarity and intervention in Libya

By Aslı Ü. Bâli and Ziad Abu-Rish

[Note: This article was published before the UN Security Council voted for military action against Libya.]

March 16, 2011 -- Jadaliyya -- The Libyan uprising is entering its fourth week. The courage and persistence of the Libyan people’s efforts to overthrow al-Qaddafi [Gaddafi] have been met with ongoing regime brutality ranging from shoot-to-kill policies to the indiscriminate use of artillery against unarmed civilians. When we last wrote on this subject, we already recognised that the situation in Libya was dire. Since that time the violence of the regime’s unhinged bid to subdue the armed insurgency has only escalated.

Socialist Alliance: Support the Libyan uprising but reject foreign military intervention

February 22, 2011 -- Solidarity rally in Sydney with the Libyan people in their struggle for democracy. Photo by Kiraz Janicke. See an article about this action here: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46782.

Socialist Alliance statement

March 18, 2011 -- The threat of military air strikes against Libya by Britain, France, the US and allies — now supported by a March 17 UN Security Council resolution — may or may not force the despotic Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi to stop using its armed forces against the rebel-held city of Benghazi in the short term.

However, it does pose grave dangers for the sovereignty of Libya and for the wave of democratic revolts that have swept the Arab world this year.

Immanuel Wallerstein: Libya and the world left

By Immanuel Wallerstein

March 15, 2011 -- There is so much hypocrisy and so much confused analysis about what is going on in Libya that one hardly knows where to begin. The most neglected aspect of the situation is the deep division in the world left. Several left Latin American states, and most notably Venezuela, are fulsome in their support of Colonel Gaddafi. But the spokespersons of the world left in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and indeed North America, decidedly don’t agree.

Hugo Chavez’s analysis seems to focus primarily, indeed exclusively, on the fact that the United States and western Europe have been issuing threats and condemnations of the Gaddafi regime. Gaddafi, Chavez and some others insist that the Western world wishes to invade Libya and “steal” Libya’s oil. The whole analysis misses entirely what has been happening, and reflects badly on Chavez’s judgment – and indeed on his reputation with the rest of the world left.

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