March 20, 2011
"Qaddafi's barbaric war on the uprising" by David Whitehouse
A Response by Lil Joe
David Whitehouse, on behalf of the policies of socialistworker.org cadres wrote:
"MUAMMAR EL-QADDAFI'S superior firepower, plus his willingness to use it against rebel forces and civilians alike, seems to have turned the tide against a Libyan rebellion that began February 17. By midweek, Qaddafi loyalists were bombarding Misurata, the only western city still in rebel hands, while gathering forces for an assault on Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and the rebels' last key stronghold in the east." David Whitehouse -
This from an ostensibly Marxist organization, 'socialist worker'! This article, echoing the imperialist politicians and regurgitating the US and British capitalist owned and managed media and press, might just as well been written by Clinton, Obama, or any number of television and print propagandists who masquerade as 'journalists' and 'reporters'!
Yet, SocialistWorker.org regards and presents itself to be the continuation of the analytical work of Marx, Lenin and Trotsskyist revolutionary theory and practice! (See http://socialistworker.org/where-we-stand)
Marxists do not endorse imperialist wars, based on its politician and propagandists claim that it is against an individual 'dictator' who is 'killing his own people'. David Whitehouse is not writing as a Marxist, still less as a Trotskyist, because Marxists and Trotskyists reject the bourgeois politicians and propagandists categories, and for themselves do an investigation of what classes are in conflict, which class is in rebellion and which is under attack.
In the U.S. Civil War, for instance, the socialist workers, Marxist, and trade unionists in Britain didn't accept the demogogy of British politicians in league with Souther planters or the imperialist propaganda of 'support' the Confederacy in its rebellion against the Union on the fake 'humanitarian' basis that "Abraham Lincoln had "superior firepower, plus his willingness to use it against rebel forces and civilians alike, seems to have turned the tide against an American rebellion that began April 12" .
On the contrary, the British worker's knew from their own experiences of the ruthless and inhuman policies of British colonialism and that its intervention in the American civil war wasn't to protect Southern 'rebels and civilians' from what propagandists of the time would have called "Lincoln's barbaric war on the uprising" of Southern planters, and on that pretense sent British troops into the US to wipe out the Union's military capacity to fight and defeat the rebels uprising.
In fact, the International Working-Men's Association sided with the Union in opposition to the planter's rebellion, because they recognized the class basis of that rebellion as a slave-holder's rebellion and the British workers on the contrary regarded themselve in alliance with the American slaves against the slave holders. In an open letter to Lincoln on the occasion of his re-election, Marx, on behalf of the International, wrote:
Address of the International Working Men's Association to Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America
Presented to U.S. Ambassador Charles Francis Adams
January 28, 1865
We congratulate the American people upon your re-election by a large majority. If resistance to the Slave Power was the reserved watchword of your first election, the triumphant war cry of your re-election is Death to Slavery.
From the commencement of the titanic American strife the workingmen of Europe felt instinctively that the star-spangled banner carried the destiny of their class. The contest for the territories which opened the dire epopee, was it not to decide whether the virgin soil of immense tracts should be wedded to the labor of the emigrant or prostituted by the tramp of the slave driver?
When an oligarchy of 300,000 slaveholders dared to inscribe, for the first time in the annals of the world, "slavery" on the banner of Armed Revolt, when on the very spots where hardly a century ago the idea of one great Democratic Republic had first sprung up, whence the first Declaration of the Rights of Man was issued, and the first impulse given to the European revolution of the eighteenth century; when on those very spots counterrevolution, with systematic thoroughness, gloried in rescinding "the ideas entertained at the time of the formation of the old constitution", and maintained slavery to be "a beneficent institution", indeed, the old solution of the great problem of "the relation of capital to labor", and cynically proclaimed property in man "the cornerstone of the new edifice" — then the working classes of Europe understood at once, even before the fanatic partisanship of the upper classes for the Confederate gentry had given its dismal warning, that the slaveholders' rebellion was to sound the tocsin for a general holy crusade of property against labor, and that for the men of labor, with their hopes for the future, even their past conquests were at stake in that tremendous conflict on the other side of the Atlantic. Everywhere they bore therefore patiently the hardships imposed upon them by the cotton crisis, opposed enthusiastically the proslavery intervention of their betters — and, from most parts of Europe, contributed their quota of blood to the good cause.
While the workingmen, the true political powers of the North, allowed slavery to defile their own republic, while before the Negro, mastered and sold without his concurrence, they boasted it the highest prerogative of the white-skinned laborer to sell himself and choose his own master, they were unable to attain the true freedom of labor, or to support their European brethren in their struggle for emancipation; but this barrier to progress has been swept off by the red sea of civil war.
The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes. They consider it an earnest of the epoch to come that it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln, the single-minded son of the working class, to lead his country through the matchless struggle for the rescue of an enchained race and the reconstruction of a social world.
I know that what is happening in Libya 2011 is not the same kind of civil war as happened in America 1861-5. The point here is that the working classes of Europe and in Britian in particular did their own research and analysis of what was going on in America, the class warfare there between capitalist commodity production by chattel slavery in the agricultural mode of production in the South, against the industrial capitalist commodity production based on wage labour in the North. The worker's in the International Association were revolutionaries, and Internationalist in their advocacy of revolutionary expropriation of expropriators, but did not on that account 'support' every 'uprising' or 'rebellion', but to the contrary staked its own position on them on the basis of independent working class analysis.
In other words, Marxists don't side with a rebellion just because it is a rebellion. It is a matter of first investigating the circumstances of the rebellion, doing an analysis of who the 'rebels' are, what class do they represent, and who against whom they are in rebellion. In all the articles posted by socialistworker.org, the Communist Party of Great Britain's weeklyworker.org, hasn't presented a single analysis of what class forces are at work in the 'rebellion' in Libya, nothing about who the rebels are and what is their program (objectives).
"Qaddafi's prompt and ruthless response to the uprising allowed little time for the rebellion to develop political or organizational cohesion before it was thrown into a military contest, town by town, against better-equipped and better-trained government forces." - David Whitehouse
This statement similarly could have been written by imperialist propagandists and read by Clinton or Obama, because all it is is a regurgitation of what US imperialist politicians and propaganda medias are using to justify their armed, imperialist military intervention, ostensibly because Qaddafi is a meglomaniac and mad man who is killing his own people, and presenting the reactionary armed militias in the East of Libya as 'civilians'. Thus, the imperialists are saying their motives for invading Libya through its rebels are against "Qaddafi's prompt and ruthless response to the uprising".
But, it is not true that the rebels don't have an ideology and organized structure to achieve those objectives by armed uprising. They are reactionary monarchists, and Jihadists at that, based on their call to overthrow Gaddafi the infidel, enemy of Allah, and these rebels waving flags and photos of the former king, the monarchy that was overthrown, to be restored.
No wonder US, British and French imperialists have embraced these rebels, and have entered the civil war in Libya by supplying those monarchists and jihadists with an airforce to advance their reactionary 'cause'. To prove this, it is needed but to compare their responses to the US armed States in Yemen and Bahrain to those in Libya.
The uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain are trade union led workers revolutions with a social agenda. Therefore, the imperialists approve of the 'ruthless' supression and mass murder activities of the kings of Arabia, Bahrain and the government in Yemen 'killing their own people'. The fact that the imperialists haven't called on the UN Security Council to draft a resolution authorising military action to take out the armed forces and Saudi intervention in Yemen and Bahrain is proof that the imperialists are not invading Libya in the name of humanity to prevent the governments armed forces from 'killing civilians', because those rebels in Libya are not civilians but soldiers, whereas in Yemen and Bahrain the protestors are unarmed civilians.
All of Whitehouse's predictions that the imperialists wouldn't intervene on behalf of the 'uprising', are proven false. So is his claim that US imperialism would not because it secretely supported Qaddafis 'barbaric war on the uprising'. The fact is that they have intervened, bombing Libya, because unlike Whitehouse the imperialists do class analysis and do not believe their own propaganda about 'dictators' v 'prodemocracy protestors'.
Analysis: David Whitehouse
Qaddafi's barbaric war on the uprising
Qaddafi's immediate and unrestrained ruthlessness is one of several factors that has helped the regime to mount a counterattack on rebel forces, says David Whitehouse.
March 17, 2011
A 14-year-old boy injured by Qaddafi's forces outside of Brega (Al Jazeera)
MUAMMAR EL-QADDAFI'S superior firepower, plus his willingness to use it against rebel forces and civilians alike, seems to have turned the tide against a Libyan rebellion that began February 17. By midweek, Qaddafi loyalists were bombarding Misurata, the only western city still in rebel hands, while gathering forces for an assault on Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and the rebels' last key stronghold in the east.
Qaddafi's prompt and ruthless response to the uprising allowed little time for the rebellion to develop political or organizational cohesion before it was thrown into a military contest, town by town, against better-equipped and better-trained government forces.
In contrast to last week, it now seems that Western military intervention is increasingly unlikely in the short run, as Germany blocked a Group of Eight endorsement of a no-fly zone, and China and Russia were set to do the same in the UN Security Council.
The Obama administration, already wary about committing to a new armed conflict in the Muslim world, spent the week temporizing over the risks and effectiveness of a no-fly zone--and grew cooler to the option as Qaddafi seemed to be getting the upper hand. "With the advances made by loyalists, there is growing consensus in the Obama administration that imposing a no-fly zone over Libya would no longer make much of a difference," a senior official told the New York Times.
Arab commentators suspect that U.S. officials will be privately pleased if Qaddafi carries out a successful crackdown, since it could "create a firebreak between the revolutions in North Africa and its oil-rich Gulf clients," the Financial Times said in an editorial.
This assessment of what U.S. officials really care about was confirmed when officials voiced only muted caution as Gulf kingdoms sent troops into Bahrain on Tuesday. Armed forces from oil-rich Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates arrived to back up the Bahraini royal family's suppression of an uprising that began when Libya's did.
The U.S. Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, and in contrast to Obama's demand for Qaddafi's resignation, the U.S. has only counseled the Bahraini monarchy to offer some democratic reforms and practice "restraint" in its crackdown on the opposition.
The twists and turns of Western policy toward Libya highlight the hypocrisy of the imperialist powers. The U.S. and other powerful nations seemed to be leaning toward military intervention when the uprising was winning, not for the stated "humanitarian" reasons, but as an excuse to squelch dissent and confront the tide of revolution in the Arab world. The grisly truth behind the apparent turn away from intervention is that Western powers now expect Qaddafi, their ally just months ago, to do the job for them. http://socialistworker.org/2011/03/17/qaddafis-war-on-the-uprising
Leon Trotsky On Dictators and the Heights Of Oslo A Letter to an English Comrade (April 1936)
It is with great astonishment that I read the report of the conference of the Independent Labour Party in the New Leader of April 17, 1936. I really never entertained any illusions about the Pacifist Parliamentarians who run the ILP. But their political position and their whole conduct at the conference exceed even those bounds that can usually be expected of them. I am sure that you and your friends have drawn approximately the same conclusions as we have here. Nevertheless, I cannot refrain from making several observations.
Maxton and the others opine that the Italo-Ethiopian war is "a conflict between two rival dictators." To these politicians it appears that this fact relieves the proletariat of the duty of making a choice between two dictators. They thus define the character of the war by the political form of the state, in the course of which they themselves regard this political form in a quite superficial and purely descriptive manner, without taking into consideration the social foundations of both "dictatorships."
A dictator can also play a very progressive role in history; for example, Oliver Cromwell, Robespierre, etc. On the other hand, right in the midst of the English democracy Lloyd George exercised a highly reactionary dictatorship during the war. Should a dictator place himself at the head of the next uprising of the Indian people in order to smash the British yoke – would Maxton then refuse this dictator his support? Yes or no? If not, why does he refuse his support to the Ethiopian "dictator" who is attempting to cast off the Italian yoke?
If Mussolini triumphs, it means the reinforcement of fascism, the strengthening of imperialism, and the discouragement of the colonial peoples in Africa and elsewhere. The victory of the Negus, however, would mean a mighty blow not only at Italian imperialism but at imperialism as a whole, and would lend a powerful impulsion to the rebellious forces of the oppressed peoples. One must really be completely blind not to see this.
McGovern puts the "poor little Ethiopia" of 1935 on the same level with the "poor little Belgium" of 1914; in both cases it means support of war. Well, "poor little Belgium" has ten million slaves in Africa, whereas the Ethiopian people are fighting in order not to be the slaves of Italy. Belgium was and remains a link of the European imperialist chain. Ethiopia is only a victim of imperialist appetites. Putting the two cases on the same plane is the sheerest nonsense.
On the other hand, to take up the defence of Ethiopia against Italy in no way means to encourage British imperialism to make war. At one time this is just what was very well demonstrated in several articles in the New Leader. McGovern's conclusion that it should have been the ILP's task "to stand aside from quarrels between dictators," is an exemplary model of the spiritual and moral impotence of pacifism.
The most shameful thing of all, however, only comes after the voting. After the conference had rejected the scandalous pacifist quackery by a vote of 70 to 57, the tender pacifist Maxton put the revolver of an ultimatum at the breast of the conference and forced a new decision by a vote of 93 to 39. So we see that there are dictators not only in Rome and in Addis Ababa, but also in London. And of the three dictators, I consider most harmful the one who grabs his own party by the throat in the name of his parliamentary prestige and his pacifist confusion. A party that tolerates such conduct is not a revolutionary party; for if it surrenders (or "postpones") its principled position on a highly important and topical question because of threats of resignation made by Maxton, then at the decisive moment it will never withstand the immeasurably mightier pressure of the bourgeoisie.
By an overwhelming majority, the conference forbade the existence of groups inside the party. Good! But in whose name did Maxton put an ultimatum to the conference? In the name of the parliamentary group which regards the party machine as its private property and which actually represents the only faction that should have been sharply beaten into respect for the democratic decisions of the party. A party which dissolves the oppositional groups but lets the ruling clique do as it jolly well pleases is not a revolutionary party. It will not be able to lead the Proletariat to victory.
Fenner Brockway's position on this question is a highly instructive example of the political and moral insufficiency of centrism. Fenner Brockway was lucky enough to adopt a correct point of view on an important question, a view that coincides with ours. The difference lies in this, however, that we Marxists really mean the thing seriously. To Fenner Brockway, on the other hand, it is a matter of something "incidental." He believes it is better for the British workers to have Maxton as chairman with a false point of view than to have a correct point of view without Maxton. That is the fate of centrism – to consider the incidental thing serious and the serious thing incidental. That's why centrism should never be taken seriously.
On the question of the International, the old confusion was once more approved, despite the obvious bankruptcy of the previous perspective. In any case, nothing more is said about an "invitation" from the Third International. But the centrist doesn't take anything seriously. Even when he now admits that there is no longer a proletarian International, he nevertheless hesitates to build one up. Why? Because he has no principles.
Because he can't have any. For if he but once makes the sober attempt to adopt a principled position on only one important question, he promptly receives an ultimatum from the right and starts to back down. How can he think of a rounded-out revolutionary program under such circumstances? He then expresses his spiritual and moral helplessness in the form of profound aphorisms, that the new International must come "from the development of socialist movements," that is, from the historical process, which really ought to produce something some day. This dubious ally has various ways, however: it has even got to the point of reducing the Lenin International to the level of the Second.
Proletarian revolutionists should therefore strike out on their own path, that is, work out the program of the new International and, basing themselves on the favourable tendencies of the historical process, help this program gain prevalence.
Fenner Brockway, after his lamentable capitulation to Maxton, found his courage again in struggle against the undersigned. He, Brockway, cannot allow a new International to be constructed from "the heights of Oslo." I leave aside the fact that I do not live in Oslo and that, besides, Oslo is not situated on heights.
The principles which I defend in common with many thousand comrades bear absolutely no local or geographical character. They are Marxian and international. They are formulated, expounded, and defended in theses, pamphlets, and books. If Fenner Brockway finds these principles to be false, let him put his own up against them. We are always ready to be taught better. But unfortunately Fenner Brockway cannot venture into this field, for he has just turned over to Maxton that oh so paltry parcel of principles. That is why there is nothing left for him to do save to make merry about the "heights of Oslo," wherein he promptly commits a threefold mistake: with respect to my address, to the topography of the Norwegian capital, and, last but not least, to the fundamental principles of international action. Leon Trotsky http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1936/04/oslo.htm
Gaddafi and Yasser Arafat
Mandela, his Mozambican companion, Graca Machel, and Foreign Minister Alfred Nzo arrived at the Libyan border town of Ras Adjir by helicopter from the nearby Tunisian resort island of Djerba and drove across the frontier and 160 km (100 miles) to Tripoli. The trip was made by road because of an air embargo imposed on Libya by the United Nations.
Mandela's 50-vehicle convoy passed under a series of welcoming banners, including one that set the tone for his visit saying: "Mandela's visit to Libya is a devastating blow to America."
After a triumphant cavalcade around downtown Tripoli, Mandela, 79, was greeted by Gaddafi outside the ruined home in which the Libya leader's daughter, Hana, was brutally killed in a U.S. air raid more than 10 years ago.
Greeting Gaddafi with a hug and a kiss on each cheek, Mandela told him: "My brother leader, my brother leader. How nice to see you."
Shortly afterwards, he told reporters he remained unimpressed by U.S. opposition to his mission, adding: "Those who say I should not be here are without morals. I am not going to join them in their lack of morality."
Mandela said he had spent 27 years in jail rather than abandon his principles under pressure and said he felt the same way about his debt to Gaddafi and the Libyan people for their support in the struggle against apartheid.
"This man helped us at a time when we were all alone, when those who say we should not come here were helping the enemy (South Africa's white government)," Mandela said. http://plane-truth.com/Aoude/geocities/mandela.html
Hugo Chávez has said: 'What Simón Bolívar is to the Venezuelan people, Gaddafi is to the Libyan people.
Photograph: EPA Muammar Gaddafi and Hugo Chavez are old comrades in the struggle against imperialism and American hegemony.
Friday, 13 July, 2001, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Gaddafi driven to support Mugabe
Gaddafi drove the 500km from Lusaka to Harare
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is visiting Zimbabwe to assess the impact of fuel shortages on the country.
Leon Trotsky's Writings On Britain
CHAPTER VI Two traditions: the seventeenth-century revolution and Chartism
Following at the tails of those living non-lions who write leading articles in the Manchester Guardian and other Liberal organs, the Labour Party leaders generally counterpose democracy to any sort of despotic government whether 'the dictatorship of Lenin' or 'the dictatorship of Mussolini'. The historical mumbo-jumbo of these gentlemen is nowhere expressed more clearly than in this juxtaposition. Not because we are in hindsight inclined to deny the 'dictatorship of Lenin'- his power was, through its effective influence on the whole course of events in an enormous state, exceptional. But how can one speak of dictatorship while passing over its social and historical content?
History has known the dictatorship of Cromwell, the dictatorship of Robespierre, the dictatorship of Arakeheev, the dictatorship of Napoleon I, and the dictatorship of Mussolini. It is impossible to discuss anything with a crackpot who puts Robespierre and Arakcheev on a par. Different classes in different conditions and for different tasks find themselves compelled in particular and indeed, the most acute and critical, periods in their history, to vest an extraordinary power and authority in such of their leaders as can carry forward their fundamental interests most sharply and fully.
When we speak of dictatorship we must in the first place be clear as to what interest of what particular classes find their historical expression through the dictatorship. For one era Oliver Cromwell, and for another, Robespierre expressed the historically progressive tendencies of development of bourgeois society. William Pitt, likewise extremely close to a personal dictatorship, defended the interests of the monarchy, the privileged classes and the top bourgeois against a revolution of the petty bourgeoisie that found its highest expression in the dictatorship of Robespierre.
The liberal vulgarians customarily say that they are against a dictatorship from the left just as much as from the right, although in practice they do not let slip any opportunity of supporting a dictatorship of the right. But for us the question is determined by the fact that one dictatorship moves society forward while another drags it back. Mussolini's dictatorship is a dictatorship of the prematurely decayed, impotent, thoroughly contaminated Italian bourgeoisie: it is a dictatorship with a broken nose.
The 'dictatorship of Lenin' expresses the mighty pressure of the new historical class and its superhuman struggle against all the forces of the old society. If Lenin can be juxtaposed to anyone then it is not to Napoleon nor even less to Mussolini but to Cromwell and Robespierre. It can be with some justice said that Lenin is the proletarian twentieth-century Cromwell. Such a definition would at the same time be the highest compliment to the petty-bourgeois seventeenth-century Cromwell. http://marxists.anu.edu.au/archive/trotsky/works/britain/ch06.htm
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