Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 22, 2011

Notes on Libya

Filed under: Alexander Cockburn,Libya — louisproyect @ 4:54 pm

Well, I erred back in February when I predicted that there would be no imperialist intervention in Libya. If there’s anything we’ve learned about Libya, it is that crystal ball gazing, even if informed by a Marxist perspective, is prone to error.

Just one month ago, the leading voices of the anti-anti-Qaddafi left were predicting that the rebels were history, chief among them Alexander Cockburn who wrote on July 15:

Recent pro-government rallies in Tripoli have been vast. Libya has a population of about six million, with four million in Tripoli. Gaddafi barrels around the city in an open jeep. Large amounts of AK-47s have been distributed to civilian defense committees. Were they all compelled to demonstrate by Gaddafi’s enforcers? It seems unlikely.

Franklin Lamb, Counterpunch’s correspondent in Tripoli, agreed with that assessment a little over a month ago but has become disabused of it now:

Reports of Saif and Mohammad Qaddafi’s capture supports the idea that the government here wildly exaggerated its solid support and that the public largely believed them.  Already among the few staff and some kids who come early the jump the hotel fence and use the swimming pool, and their trademark chants of “Allah, Mohammad, Muammar, Libya wa bass” have ended their chants and now support for ousting “the leader” is widespread. Most hotel staff at my hotel appear crestfallen.

The outpouring of support for Qaddafi’s departure by the same crowds who seemed to adore him at Green Square the past five months I have been monitoring them is surprising but perhaps reveal why all powerful despots are often more form than substance and can collapse quickly under certain conditions.

One hopes that the anti-anti-Qaddafi left might ruminate on this collapse. With all their constant reminders of how beloved Qaddafi was for creating such a wealthy country based on oil profits, there might be an imperative to think about the importance of freedom over and above material well-being. This is especially true since each and every one of these anti-imperialists are so protective of their own free speech rights when it comes to the FBI and other American repressive forces. Could you imagine what Alexander Cockburn would do if he was arrested for writing an “anti-American” blog and sent to prison for a year? What difference would it make if someone reminded him that America made it possible for him to afford a fleet of classic cars?

Cockburn, who is probably the highest profile member of the anti-anti-Qaddafi left, was rather churlish toward Juan Cole. After the rebels assassinated one of their top military leaders Abdel Fatah Younis, he said the following on July 29:

This is one of the greatest humiliations of NATO in its history (also, to be petty, a terrific smack in the eye for the analytic and political acumen of a prime propagandist in progressive circles for the rebels, Prof. Juan Cole, whose blogs on Libya have been getting steadily more demented.) Incidentally, they keep calling for Ghadafi to “step down.” In constitutional terms, which is what NATO must keep in mind, I believe he did some time ago.

There are two points that must be made here. Younis was Qaddafi’s right-hand man for forty years before joining up with the rebels. As Minister of the Interior, he was in charge of repressing just the kind of people who were now taking orders from him. He was arrested on July 28 for smuggling arms to Qaddafi loyalists. In retrospect, maybe his assassination was more of a sign of rebel strength than weakness. In terms of “constitutional terms”, the only thing that can be said is this. A constitution is not just about the rules and regulations of the executive branch of a government. It is also about the rights of a citizenry to choose that executive. One understands that such niceties might matter little to Alexander, but they do to people who faced prison terms and torture for exercising such rights.

While I disagreed with Juan Cole’s support for NATO intervention, I think—like Gilbert Achcar—that he has made some interesting points about Libya. In fact, unlike those who backed Bush’s war on Iraq (Hitchens, Berman, Makiya et al), neither Cole nor Achcar have broken with the left. I especially recommend Juan Cole’s latest post on Libya titled Top Ten Myths about the Libya War. It should not come as any surprise that I have debunked the same mythology here frequently, including number ten in Cole’s list:

10. This was a war for Libya’s oil. That is daft. Libya was already integrated into the international oil markets, and had done billions of deals with BP, ENI, etc., etc. None of those companies would have wanted to endanger their contracts by getting rid of the ruler who had signed them. They had often already had the trauma of having to compete for post-war Iraqi contracts, a process in which many did less well than they would have liked. ENI’s profits were hurt by the Libyan revolution, as were those of Total SA. and Repsol. Moreover, taking Libyan oil off the market through a NATO military intervention could have been foreseen to put up oil prices, which no Western elected leader would have wanted to see, especially Barack Obama, with the danger that a spike in energy prices could prolong the economic doldrums. An economic argument for imperialism is fine if it makes sense, but this one does not, and there is no good evidence for it (that Qaddafi was erratic is not enough), and is therefore just a conspiracy theory.

While nobody could possibly deny that NATO intervention made the fall of Qaddafi possible, the tendency to write off the rebel campaign as inconsequential must be scrutinized carefully. History will probably record that the battle for Misrata was as critical to the outcome we see today as the battle of Stalingrad was for Russia. And as Juan Cole points out, “Misrata fought an epic, Stalingrad-style, struggle of self-defense against attacking Qaddafi armor and troops, finally proving victorious with NATO help, and then they gradually fought to the west toward Tripoli.”

I would only question whether NATO’s help was key to the rebel victory, although it was certainly a factor. If you take a close look at news reports from late April and early May, there are constant references to NATO’s ineffectiveness. For example, the Daily Telegraph reported on April 19:

NATO forces have a challenging task ahead of them. Gaddafi is astutely destroying Misrata by avoiding the amassing of his forces in a way that makes them vulnerable to allied air attacks. His long-range weapons, which the rebels do not have, suffice for now: more than 50 civilians are killed every day, and there is no escape for the population since Misrata is surrounded on three sides by Gaddafi’s forces, and the sea.

Misrata’s predicament is further complicated by the type of weapons Gaddafi’s forces are deploying. These include Grad surface-to-surface missiles as well as cluster shells which have been banned by most governments. The multiple “bomblets” from these shells are designed to kill and injure groups of massed troops or, in this instance, a highly vulnerable and largely unarmed civilian population.

Despite his superior weaponry and the professionalism of his troops, Qaddafi failed to subdue the rebels who mostly found their own way to victory in Misrata through trial and error as the NY Time’s TJ Chivers reported on his blog.

Those who have spent time among Libya’s rebels will recognize these scenes and the type of young men in them. These men were not professional soldiers when their war began. Rather, they became almost accidental gunmen. They were civilians who, after public demonstrations against Colonel Qaddafi slipped into war, found themselves fighting against their nation’s own army for control of their home city. Sometimes — as here — that fight was carried out house by house.

When such men have put their lives on the line against what they regard as a dictatorship, it might be expected that they would be little inclined to follow orders from a Transitional National Council in Benghazi that was never elected as Alexander Cockburn’s brother Patrick reported on Counterpunch today:

It is an extraordinary situation. The Transitional National Council (TNC) in Benghazi is now recognised by more than 30 foreign governments, including the US and Britain, as the government of Libya. But it is by no means clear that it is recognised as such by the rebel militiamen who are in the process of seizing the capital. The rebel fighters in Misrata, who fought so long to defend their city, say privately that they have no intention of obeying orders from the TNC. Their intransigence may not last but it is one sign that the insurgents are deeply divided.

Well, if the division is between those who are in the overwhelming majority and who have taken risks with their lives on the battlefield and those notables in Benghazi who are on the phone each day with the CIA, it not only seems understandable but one that the left should not have any trouble picking sides on. Yesterday the Guardian reported:

Tensions are inevitable in a revolutionary administration starting from the ground up, but the confusion and bickering in the aftermath of the killing bode ill for the NTC’s claim to be a government of all Libyans.

This claim has already been all but rejected by Misrata, Libya’s third city, whose inhabitants are scathing of Jalil’s rule and of the poor performance of NTC army units. Commanders in Misrata recently underlined to journalists that they do not accept instructions from the NTC.

Jalil’s task of imposing order will suffer further because his forces in the east of the country played no part in the twin rebel offensives now closing on Tripoli.

It is rebels in the west – from the Nafusa mountains and Misrata – that have captured Zawiya, 30 miles west of the capital, Garyan, 40 miles south and Zlitan, 80 miles to the west. Their commanders and politicians will, if they storm the Libyan capital, demand a greater say in what is currently a Benghazi-centred administration.

Speaking of rebels in the west, the full story of Berber fighters has yet to be told but an article in today’s Los Angeles Times marks a significant step in that direction:

The uprising in the Nafusa Mountains was so little noticed early on that the fighting often barely merited mention as the world focused on dramatic events in and around Benghazi and Misurata.

In the end, however, the western rebels’ tenacity and proximity to Tripoli seemed crucial in breaking down what the government had long boasted was a virtually impregnable wall of security around the capital.

As insurgent offensives stalled near Benghazi and Misurata, fighters made up of Arabs and ethnic Berbers, or Amazigh, tenaciously gained ground in the west. There is no indication the western fighters possessed superior firepower or were better trained than their undisciplined comrades in the east. But geography was certainly an ally.

In the east, rebels struggled to move forward in flat desert terrain that proved advantageous for Kadafi’s artillery and rocket launchers, often well concealed from allied aircraft. In contrast, the western fighters engaged in a guerrilla war on turf that was intimately familiar to them. Supplies arrived via a captured post on the Tunisian border.

By June, the mountain fighters had largely gained control of the highlands and were filtering into the plains that led to the coast and the capital, the ultimate prize. Tribal links to lowland populations probably aided their advance. Government officials in Tripoli betrayed no sense of alarm.

And, finally, a July 16 article from the same newspaper explains why they joined the revolution. It speaks volumes about the potential of this movement to transform society:

Kadafi has ruthlessly denied the existence of Libyan Berbers, even insisting on calling them Arabs during a rare June 2008 visit to the mountains and allegedly orchestrating a violent attack on the town of Yafran later that year.

“You can call yourselves whatever you want inside your homes — Berbers, children of Satan, whatever — but you are only Libyans when you leave your homes,” a contact of the U.S. Embassy said Kadafi had privately told the leaders of the community, according to a State Department document published by WikiLeaks.

“Tamazight was forbidden. You might lose your life or freedom if you spoke out for your rights,” said Abdullah Funas, a Libyan Berber who previously served as a diplomat and now is an opposition leader in the mountain town of Jadu. “We spoke it in our homes and that’s it.”

Kadafi and his deputies tried to play the two groups against each other.

“When he’s coming to us, he was saying, ‘Watch out for the Berber; he wants to run you out of the western mountains,'” said Mokhtar Fakhal, a town elder in Zintan. “When he went to the Berbers, he would say, ‘Watch out for the Arab; you were here first.’ That’s why we hated each other.”

Berbers in these mountains said they were inspired to wholeheartedly join the uprising that began in mid-February when they saw the Arabs put aside decades of privileges Kadafi had bestowed upon them and join the rebellion that began in the country’s east.

Zintan and Kikla, another Arab town, “from the very first day decided they would use their weapons against Kadafi,” Bouzakher said.

Now Arabs openly call for Berber language rights. Arabs and Berbers train together on military bases in preparation for battle. They join up on front lines.

42 Comments »

  1. there is no evidence of any remaining independent organization and it’s wishful thinking to assume that the rift between the ruling council in Misurata and the TNC is based on anything other than regional and tribal rivalries.

    Isn’t it time to put this bullshit about regional and tribal rivalries to bed? As Juan Cole pointed out, there is something disgustingly Orientalist about this.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 22, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

  2. Prediction is a tricky business. Based on statements by Gates and Hillary Clinton, I didn’t expect an intervention either.

    I’ve been appalled by the analysis put forward by Lenin’s Tomb. Seymour continues to defend the assertion that there was no, zero, zilch, nada revolutionary elements involved in the successful assault on Tripoli, despite the fact that residents staged an uprising in coordination with rebels from the west who aren’t controlled by the NTC (and its CIA stooges). It’s much easier to write off the rebels as NATO’s pawns to preserve one’s anti-imperialist credentials than it is to oppose imperialist intervention and simultaneously side with the rebels when their leadership is calling for more imperialist intervention.

    The British SWP’s newspaper misrepresented the stand of the TNC on this issue back on March 5 in this article: http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=24090 In fact, the TNC said that a U.N.-backed no-fly zone would not qualify as “foreign intervention” on March 1 or Feb. 29 (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/world/africa/02libya.html). If this was an honest mistake on their part, they should’ve issued a correction. Personally, I suspect they glossed over the problematic politics of the rebels in order to champion their cause, which is understandable.

    NATO gave the rebellion a new lease on life. Qaddafi would’ve retaken Bengazi if they hadn’t stepped in. Once NATO got involved, it severely damaged the revolutionary process, a process that was already weak to begin with, thanks to the class politics of the rebel leadership (mostly ex-Qaddafi loyalists and bigwigs) and the premature militarization of the struggle brought on by Qaddafi’s shoot-first-promise-concesssions-never policy. Even so, there were anti-regime protests in Tripoli itself even after NATO got involved, and it seems that some of these elements contacted the rebels and staged an uprising. To say that there was no revolutionary process/dynamic given these facts is ridiculous.

    Comment by Binh — August 22, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

  3. Had NATO not provided material support in terms of bombing this country which was no threat to any member of the NATO alliance, this victory would and could never have come this quickly. NATO’s support was the decisive factor, the key factor in this event.

    Whatever anyone writing from afar – who can only judge things by the media offensive which the NATO regimes and its kept media have been conducting – thinks about the government of Libya – NATO intervention was obviously the decisive factor.

    Today’s LA TIMES print edition features a SIX-COLUMN banner headline trumpeting this victory for Washington. It’s rather remarkable that the Libyan government was able to survive this long. Now we’ll presumably get a new regime which will practice NATO-approved “democracy” as we see in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    It’s obvious that the overthrow of a government to which Washington was opposed doesn’t at all signify the consolidation of a new regime also dependent on NATO and Washington. Look at Afghanistan? Resistance to the occupation has continued. And in Iraq, too, resistance continues to express itself to the US occupation. There’s zero indication that Washington is going to leave either country anytime in the foreseeable future.

    How many countries can Washington and NATO continue to occupy?

    Check out the considerations of PATRICK COCKBURN on these factors. His conclusion:

    COUNTERPUNCH
    August 22, 2011

    Many Militiamen Say They Will Not Take Orders From Transitional National Council
    Divided Rebels
    By PATRICK COCKBURN

    In Libya the rebels have triumphed, but foreign intervention brought about the fall of Gaddafi just as surely as it did Saddam and the Taliban. In fact he resisted longer than either and the war was fiercer and more prolonged than France and Britain imagined. It is clear that Gaddafi will go, but we still have to see if the war is truly over.

    FULL
    http://counterpunch.org/patrick08222011.html

    Walter’s conclusion: Which country will be the next target: Syria? Iran?

    Not good news for anyone opposed to foreign imperialist intervention the affairs of other countries.

    Comment by Walter Lippmann — August 22, 2011 @ 5:50 pm

  4. Walter doesn’t seem to understand that Qaddafi got his weaponry from imperialism as well. Of course, he paid for it with oil profits but his cluster bombs, his rockets and his tanks were not bought from the USSR, they were bought from the British, the French–the same countries that turned around later on to bomb him. When they sold him those weapons, they fully understood that they would be used against his own people. There could be no clearer example of this than a deal he made with Italy, a country run by his pal Berlusconi:

    http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Security/?id=3.0.3312644146

    Italy: Patrol boats given to Libya to stop immigrants

    Gaeta, 14 May (AKI) – Italy’s interior minister Roberto Maroni reinforced the country’s commitment to fight illegal immigration with the delivery of three new coastguard vessels to Libya. Libya’s ambassador to Italy Hafid Gaddur and head of Italy’s Guardia di Finanza (or tax police), Cosimo D’Arrigo, attended the ceremony announcing the move in the port city of Gaeta in the central Lazio region on Thursday.

    “We have a moral obligation, and even the right, to stop illegal immigration and human trafficking using any means necessary,” said Maroni (photo).

    The event appeared to reinforce Italy’s hardline stance against immigration which has drawn criticism from the Vatican and human rights organisations, including the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees.

    Last Thursday Italy provoked an international outcry when Italian patrol vessels returned a boat with an estimated 227 migrants on board to Libya.

    Libya is one of the main departure points for migrants trying to reach Italy.

    The interior minister – who comes from the anti-immigrant Northern League party – also asked the European Union to help Italy in combating illegal immigration.

    “We want the European Union to take the decision that until now it hasn’t, to help countries like Italy, Malta and Spain, which are on the frontlines in fighting against illegal immigration,” he said.

    Libyan ambassador to Italy Hafid Gaddur said his country would fully implement the agreement signed in 2007 with the then prime minister Romano Prodi of the centre-left.

    “Libya has an agreement with Italy, signed on 29 December 2007 with the centre-left Prodi government, that we are now implementing with the centre-right Berlusconi government,” said Gaddur during the ceremony.

    “It is said that some immigrants who arrive in Libya are being persecuted, but instead, our country already hosts two million immigrants, without proper documents and without passports: whoever wants to work can stay in Libya, provided they do not commit crimes,” he said.

    “Libya has always hosted people that have had problems in their country and will continue to do so. Whoever arrives [in Libya], has every opportunity of presenting their case to the authorities.”

    However, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees criticised Italy’s decision to return the Libyan immigrants on the grounds that possible asylum seekers had been given the right to apply for protection, saying that Libya did not have proper asylum procedures and was not a signatory to a key international convention.

    The vessels to be given to Libya are of the ‘Bigliani’ type and have two powerful diesel engines which will enable them to intercept people-smuggling boats which set sail from the Libyan coast.

    In February, Italy and Libya signed the implementation protocol of a bilateral accord originally endorsed in December 2007 to combat illegal immigration.

    Last year, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi visited Libya in late August and agreed to pay 5 billion dollars in reparations for its 32-year occupation of the country more than 50 years ago.

    Part of the money is destined for increased border security to stop illegal immigrants crossing from Africa to Europe, but particularly to Italy, which has the longest coastline of any European Union country at 4,500 kilometres.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 22, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

  5. Shawn, you’re denouncing something you know as much about as I do.

    The TNC openly announced on Feb. 29 or March 1 that it welcomed a no-fly zone. The March 5 SWP article quoted a statement made 1 day before that. So tell me, why did one set of facts make it into the paper and not the other? I’m all ears.

    Comment by Binh — August 22, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

  6. […] Louis called our attention to this essay which first appeared on his Unrepentant Marxist blog, under the name “Notes on Libya.” […]

    Pingback by Kasama — August 22, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

  7. Shawn, so what the SWP prints in its paper is “not intended to be a factual statement”? The statement I pointed to came from the TNC’s spokesman who literally said: ““If it is with the United Nations, it is not a foreign intervention.”

    Comment by Binh — August 22, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

  8. The bit from Franklin Lamb is pretty funny. Lamb was in Tripoli for months, and his reporting on Qaddafi was utterly uncritical — large chunks of it consisted of government propaganda, edited lightly or not at all. He managed to live there all through the war without ever, as far as I can tell, doing any actual investigative reporting or talking to anyone who wasn’t on the government’s payroll. Now it’s suddenly all come crashing down! I don’t think it’s the hotel staff who are “crestfallen”.

    Counterpunch can produce interesting stuff, but on Libya it’s been pretty worthless. Cockburn and the rest kept recycling a few obvious points (NATO really wanted regime change YES WE KNOW) without ever trying to engage with the underlying issues. Inconvenient facts like the growing strength and competence of the rebels, or the steady flow of recruits out of Tripoli, or the underlying social and economic incentives for rebellion, were simply ignored. I don’t mind advocacy, but this was badly written, badly reasoned advocacy that was obviously ignoring the realities on the ground.

    Anyway. Your point about Abdel Fatah Younis is extremely interesting. At the time, his assassination — and the NTC’s seemingly feeble and clumsy attempts to explain it — seemed like a major disaster. Under your interpretation, the feeble explanations and clumsy excuses would have been a feature, not a bug: we’re strong enough to take him out, and confident enough not to bother with a good cover story. Maybe!

    Putting the tribal issue aside, the east-west divide in Libya goes back a long time. It’ll be interesting to see how this evolves.

    Doug M.

    Comment by Doug M. — August 22, 2011 @ 6:37 pm

  9. I know what the article doesn’t say, Shawn. It’s filled with falsehoods and half-truths, such as this gem: “The revolutionaries’ military strategy has not been to call for Western airpower, but to convince the soldiers sent to crush them to change sides.” In fact, the rebels were indeed calling for Western airpower under a U.N. figleaf, but the SWP for whatever reason chose to leave that inconvenient fact out of its “reporting.” This is the problem with stick-bending. One day the rebels are leading a glorious democratic anti-imperialist revolution against Qaddafi, the next they are simply pawns of NATO, mere neoliberal pro-imperialist puppets acting on orders from Berlin, Paris, and Washington, D.C. When anyone documents the double-speak, we’re told the situation “was in flux” and it was “a debate,” when in fact where the rebel leadership stood on this issue was clear from the beginning to anyone who bothered to fact check.

    Comment by Binh — August 22, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

  10. Congratulations LP, you are right to crow along with J Cole, your side has won. When is the Goldman Sachs Libya liberation bash? Don’t forget to monitor how the Libyan working class is faring under the democratic regime put up by that imperialist hydra known as NATO. Cuba and the Philippines were also liberated with U.S. imperialist help at the end of the 19th century. How did that work out for them? Why will it be different this time?

    Comment by lextheimpaler — August 22, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  11. When is the Goldman Sachs Libya liberation bash?

    It was already held:

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2011/05/goldman-sachs-lost-libyas-money-during-financial-crisis/38322/

    How Goldman Sachs Made Libya’s $1 Billion Investment Disappear
    Uri Friedman May 31, 2011

    Last week we learned that Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi (above, on left) had, in recent years, invested billions of dollars in oil revenues in several Western institutions, including Goldman Sachs. Today we’re finding out exactly what Goldman bankers did with all that money. They lost it.

    In early 2008, according to interviews and an internal document review conducted by The Wall Street Journal, Libya’s sovereign wealth fund invested $1.3 billion in stock and currency options with Goldman, only to watch as the investments shrunk to a measly $25.1 million–that’s two percent of the initial value, for those keeping score–as the credit crisis hit. A Libyan official was so furious with the bank during one meeting in Tripoli that Goldman officials hired a security guard to protect them before they left Libya, consulted Goldman chief Lloyd Blankfein (above, on right) about how to mend the relationship, and offered Libya the opportunity to become one of Goldman’s biggest shareholders by investing $3.7 billion in preferred shares or corporate debt. The negotiations eventually collapsed, the Journal adds, but the episode is emblematic of a period of several years when Goldman and other Western banks rushed to do business with Libya after the U.S. decided to lift its sanctions against the country in 2004. That period, of course, is now history.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 22, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

  12. Shawn, the person quoted in the NY Times article is the same exact person the SWP quoted — the spokesman for the NTC, Ghoga. The NY Times article has the quote in question. If you bothered to read past the headline, you would see that. The SWP chose to run one of Ghoga’s quotes but not the other.

    Deliberately reporting only one side of reality is dishonest. Doing it accidentally isn’t much better, but judging by your defensiveness and unwillingness to grapple with the inconvenient truth I pointed out, it doesn’t seem like an honest mistake.

    Comment by Binh — August 22, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

  13. I know Louis does not long reads but Alan Woods of the International Marxist Tendency has a great article below.

    http://www.marxist.com/after-the-fall-of-tripoli.htm

    After the fall of Tripoli: The way forward for the Libyan Revolution

    Comment by Cort Greene — August 22, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

  14. Louis seems to love the phrase “anti-anti-Qaddafi left,” but that is a huge distortion of the views of those leftists (I count myself among them) who never fit that description, and who never supported Qaddafi. It smacks of the kind of factional distortions we saw during debates inside the U.S. Socialist Workers Party in the 1970s. And what about the left that openly supported NATO and imperialism? That would include at least 40% of Louis’s beloved (and now utterly moribund and irrelevant) French New Anticapitalist Party.
    The most disheartening aspect of the entire Libya affair (i.e., the imperialist support for the motley rebels, who were seen last night shouting “God is great!” in Tripoli) is the total failure of the left anywhere to mount an antiwar opposition to imperialist invasion and attack. Instead we get snotty and factional backhanded support for imperialism. The main enemy in this case was NATO and imperialism.
    It is truly pathetic to see leftists who know almost nothing about Libya, have never been there, trotting out their supposedly enlightened “Marxoid” template (as Louis, to his credit, acknowledges did not work in this case) and touting it as the real deal for understanding a society they are mostly ignorant about.
    Finally, to claim now that the Libya events did not involve a tribal struggle seems stupendously disingenuous. The internal struggles there hardly seem over. Nor is the outcome yet certain. But what is certain is that this was a victory for imperialism. To see leftists lauding that is revolting.
    David

    Comment by David Thorstad — August 22, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

  15. David, you are a shtoonk.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 22, 2011 @ 9:35 pm

  16. Woods seems to say what Abukhalil says more succinctly: “Now that the dictator has fallen, let us now urge the liberation of Libya from NATO occupation.”

    The fact that the Egyptians have cheered the fall of Qaddafi, with full knowledge of US/NATO/Saudi intervention, says a lot about the situation, especially as they continue to resist US/Saudi soft power involvement in their own country. Even Hossam el-Hamalawy has posted photos of people celebrating Qaddafi’s fall. Both Egypt and Libya face a similar challenge as to whether the populace can overcome the manipulation of the political and social life of their countries from the outside, although it would appear that the Egyptians are in a stronger position to resist. One wonders how long it will be before US and European media start maligning the rebels that they have so enthusiastically embraced.

    Comment by Richard Estes — August 22, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

  17. Actually the New York Times just had an article on how the Chinese are getting shut out of the ‘new Libya’.

    Comment by purple — August 22, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

  18. The ‘growing strength’ of the rebels came from targeted special ops training via NATO. You don’t learn to fight in a few months without professional training.

    Comment by purple — August 22, 2011 @ 11:08 pm

  19. You don’t learn to fight in a few months without professional training.

    Read the TJ Chivers article I linked to in my post. There were no special ops trainers in Misrata.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 22, 2011 @ 11:27 pm

  20. Louis, I asked a Jewish leftist friend what “shtoonk” (your spelling) meant. I had thought it meant party pooper, and I could accept that. But here’s what he says, which puts an entirely different hue (discoloration) on it. A ridiculous one, I would say. You seem to be waxing poetic in your dotage.
    David
    =====================
    Dear David,
    We had two schtunks in our family. My father’s first cousins, Jack and Hersh. When my father built an insurance business in Wisconsin and invited them up from Chicago to partake they proceeded to take the good part of the business away from him. When my father died they cut my mother out of any benefits from it and left her bereft without even health insurance. Thus: schtunks.
    There is a certain venal conatation to the word. I don’t think it applies to Proyect who is more of a “Marxist” talmudist.

    Comment by David Thorstad — August 23, 2011 @ 12:31 am

  21. There were pictures of a poster hanging on a building in Benghazi that appeared all over left-wing sites, I picked it up on my own blog even. The poster said in English, “No Foreign Intervention — Libyan People Can Manage It Alone.” That was moments before the NATO intervention. The sign was very inspiring and seemed to capture a pretty exciting development, of a Libyan uprising that wouldn’t be beholden to imperialism. I think the NATO intervention changed everything. Does anybody know who was responsible for that poster? Did there continue to be any element of the rebels that opposed inviting NATO in? In that I’m trying to follow Shawn and Binh’s exchange above, I think the moment between the time that poster was put up and the time that special forces started advising the TNC something important did change

    Comment by ish — August 23, 2011 @ 2:31 am

  22. Sheesh, ya think that Libya was the center of the friggin world.

    Wadda about Egypt? Wadda about the Sinai border?

    Is there a connection, ya think?

    Man you leftists (on “both” sides) gotta pull your fecal covered heads outta yer arses.

    Seriously, this discussion is getting ridiculous.

    The twittering “Angry Arab” would no doubt agree.

    Comment by Matt — August 23, 2011 @ 4:27 am

  23. BTW, speaking of Angry Arab:

    How lovely
    “At the same time, Britain, France and other nations deployed special forces on the ground inside Libya…”
    Posted by As’ad AbuKhalil at 6:00 AM

    This refers to a typically self-delusional masturbatory fantasy NYT article concerning the all-powerful imperialists that wwp/psl, etc love to believe in: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/world/africa/22nato.html That sack of shit Friedman could have written it himself – perhaps he is the “anonymous” one.

    “We *always* knew there would be a point where the effectiveness of the government forces would decline to the point where they could not effectively command and control their forces,” said the diplomat, who was granted anonymity to discuss confidential details of the battle inside Tripoli. [Anonymity== NYT horseshit]

    Yeah right, and Gaddafi had yellow cake too. Oh that’s right, nobody, even in the U.S., will believe such a lie anymore.

    [Angry Arap] Now that the dictator has fallen, let us now urge the liberation of Libya from NATO occupation.

    PS I shall be writing a comment about Libya for the new English section of Al-Akhbar in a few days.

    Comment by Matt — August 23, 2011 @ 4:54 am

  24. Lenin would urge all class conscious workers in any foreign policy debate to follow first & foremost the money trail to determine politics, that is, who gets what?

    The fact is Libya has the largest known oil reserves on the continent of Africa.

    Libyan oil is known by all Geologists & Speculators to be of the highest grade light sweet crude on the planet.

    It’s an irrefragable fact that light sweet crude oil is the most essential commodity absolutely necessary to keep the incredibly engineered civilian & military machines perfected by imperialism in general (NATO) — and Uncle Sam in particular (the Pentagon) — running at their optimum efficiency, that is, requiring the very least amount of refining.

    That amounts to a prize equivalent (from say Hitler’s perspective) to the Baku oil fields and more, since Baku didn’t generate light sweet crude in nearly the quantities of Libya.

    Hitler was prepared to refine any shit grade of crude oil to power his army. Germany squeezed oil out of coal from the Black Forest in the 40’s when it was compelled to.

    The modern day Hitlers don’t have it nearly so hard. They get access to light sweet crude much easier these days, particularly since the defenders of Baku have been vanquished, that is, the USSR is long gone.

    Hitler sent Rommel to Libya for a reason, because the Baku oil fields were defended more heavily than he bargained for, that is, the Red Army blocked him, and Libya looked much easier.

    Now the closest thing to blocking the modern Hitlers from Libya’s oil is Gaddafi, pathetic as his regime is, and the closest thing blocking them from Baku’s less desirable oil is Putin, pathetic as his regime is.

    The point is that Gaddafi is much more vulnerable than Putin, and his crude is way sweeter, so why not go for it, and use the subterfuge of erstwhile legitimate complaints about “freedom & democracy” as a Trojan horse to manipulate a future that will almost certainly look in the end like the “People’s Power” of Corazon Aquino in the Philippines after the Marcos’ dictatorship fell.

    We revolutionists are all for regime change so long as the big question, who gets what, isn’t just a substitution of devils we know for ones we don’t.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — August 23, 2011 @ 8:59 am

  25. […] Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist – Notes on Libya: One hopes that the anti-anti-Qaddafi left might ruminate on this collapse. With all their constant […]

    Pingback by Libya | rebel-alliance.org — August 23, 2011 @ 10:44 am

  26. Ish, I was inspired by that poster as well. Most Libyans who supported the revolution probably did not see a contradiction between opposing imperialist intervention (they used to be an Italian and French colony, so that’s what their idea of imperialism is — occupation) and supporting a U.N. no-fly zone/airstrikes because Qaddafi had superior firepower. Firepower became decisive because the social power of the working class was untapped; the necessity of aid from imperialist powers was born of the revolution’s political weaknesses.

    I suspect that whoever made that poster saw American F-16s bombing Qaddafi’s troops as a lesser evil to being killed by Qaddafi’s troops, although that is pure speculation on my part. If I was on the ground there, I’d probably feel the same way, especially if my life and the lives of my family members were at stake. As I said at the time (http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/03/gilbert-achcar-cruise-missile-marxist/), we shouldn’t begrudge them for this.

    (That there was no anti-imperialist, pro-worker element discernible to the outside world should come as no surprise — Qaddafi ruled with an iron fist and smashed any type of independent organization before anything could develop. Hell, he even kept his army small so it couldn’t be used against him; contrast that to Egypt where there were some independent unions created after decades of hard struggle and the army forced Mubarak to walk the plank to save their own asses.)

    Did the situation change after NATO stepped in? Of course. The TNC moved further and further right, became enmeshed in plots with Berlin, Paris, and Washington, D.C., got CIA money, arms, and aid, etc. The difference of opinion between myself and Shawn/Lenin’s Tomb is on the question of whether imperialist intervention completely destroyed or corrupted the revolutionary dynamic of struggle from below and self-organization of the Libyan masses. My answer is, “not completely” and their answer is “totally.” As evidence for my position, I point to the fact that demonstrations against Qaddafi continued in Tripoli sporadically even after NATO got involved and over the weekend residents staged an uprising in coordination with the rebel military offensive from the west.

    The issue that I raised at the beginning of this thread was the way the politics of the rebellion were presented in the SWP’s paper. On March 5, I read the SWP article, and when I saw the poster you mentioned, I was floored. The SWP article quoted Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga, the TNC’s spokesman, who said: “We are against any foreign intervention or military intervention in our internal affairs… This revolution will be completed by our people with the liberation of the rest of Libyan territory.” I did a Google search of his name in order to find the full text of his statement, which is when I found this quote from the New York Times article: “If it [it meaning airstrikes/no-fly zone] is with the United Nations, it is not a foreign intervention.”

    The first quote was reported on Feb. 28, the second on March 1, the very next day. Why did the SWP paper run the first quote and not the second? I have yet to hear a credible answer.

    Shawn’s claim that it was an issue of “debate” within the rebellion is irrelevant nonsense. The SWP article he is defending does not say that this was a contentious issue or a debate within the rebellion; it does not say the situation is complicated or in flux. It says the rebels flat-out reject Western intervention and that “the revolutionaries’ military strategy has not been to call for Western airpower, but to convince the soldiers sent to crush them to change sides.” Shawn is attempting to re-write history and failing miserably because anyone who is literate can see that the article portrays Libya’s revolutionaries as consistent anti-imperialists, which they weren’t.

    Shawn, the analysis doesn’t stand, unless you believe that facts don’t have any relationship to analysis. The article was flat out wrong, misleading, and one-sided at best.

    Comment by Binh — August 23, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

  27. Indeed, Libya was not a black or white issue for imperialism. Libya was a new and developing ally for the West over the past 10 years. A revolt began in Libya, and NATO decided to make a sizable wager — with its large thumb gently pressed on the scale — on unseating Qaddafi. This one had surprises like a good baseball playoff.

    Imperialism is a game of shifting alliances. I’ve learned this watching US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s hardly ever rational or consistent. Saddam used to have good relations with the US, then that flipped in the late 1980s. The Taliban were seemingly “in” one week, then “out” after a single day in September 2001. To say thinking a “war for Libya’s oil” to be “daft” comes off as naive as well.

    True, Libya wasn’t a smash and grab plunder: It hadn’t been protectionist about its oil supplies. But the US and NATO had to do something rather than nothing to protect their interests, and I predict the “human rights” angle by Europe and Obama’s administration and the momentum of the Arab-African spring meant the only logic was to support the rebellion and get it over sooner rather than later.

    As the Machiavellian bureaucrat Kissinger said, there is no such thing as “permanent friends or enemies, only interests”.

    Comment by Aaron — August 23, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

  28. Lenin’s tomb is right, y’know:http://leninology.blogspot.com/2011/08/libya-is-free-it-must-be-occupied.html
    Congrats Louis, you have an inappropriate amount of idealism.

    Comment by Jenny — August 23, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

  29. Friedrich wrote:

    “We revolutionists are all for regime change so long as the big question, who gets what, isn’t just a substitution of devils we know for ones we don’t.”

    That’s right: an individual dictatorship is the same as a class dictatorship! Democracy is a joke so what’s the difference between Quadafi and someone else? Imperalism’s all I care about! Keep a dictator so long as it keeps the imperialists out!

    Like I said: you’re good at mouthing phrases eg “we revolutionists”; you just don’t know what they mean.

    Comment by Todd — August 23, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

  30. LP wrote lots of fanciful garbage on Libya. LP have you checked Lexis-Nexis for this article from the Guardian?
    Libya: Nato plans final onslaught on Gaddafi’s forces

    Nato to resume bombing campaign after ‘tactical pause’ as it emerges that rebels are being advised by SAS soldiers

    Richard Norton-Taylor, Luke Harding in Tripoli, Julian Borger and Chris Stephen in Misrata
    guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 23 August 2011 14.50 BST
    larger | smaller

    Libyan rebels near Bab al-Aziziya
    Libyan rebels near Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli. Photograph: Sergey Ponomarev/AP

    British and Nato military commanders are planning what they hope will be a final onslaught on Colonel Gaddafi’s forces to put an end to all resistance from troops loyal to the Libyan leader.

    Heavy fighting raged around Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound, in Tripoli, on Tuesday afternoon as rebels rained artillery rounds, mortar shells and missiles on loyalist positions.

    Columns of grey smoke billowed over the Libyan capital as witnesses reported a buildup of rebel troops and vehicles to the east of the compound.

    Large convoys of rebel vehicles raced through deserted streets in an apparent show of strength after Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam claimed the government had “broken the backbone” of the opposition.

    After being caught by surprise by the speed of the rebel advance on Tripoli, Nato chiefs have ordered what defence officials described a “tactical pause” in the bombing campaign.

    But the pause will not last long, and the bombing of what strategic targets are left in Tripoli will resume, possibly as early as Tuesday night, alliance officials said.

    The Guardian has learned that a number of serving British special forces soldiers, as well as ex-SAS troopers, are advising rebel forces, although their presence is officially denied.

    Two thousand rebel reinforcements arrived in Tripoli on Monday night after breaking through government lines near Zlitan, according to Guma al-Gamaty, the London representative of the rebel National Transitional Council. “They should make a difference,” he said.

    More rebel fighters arrived by boat, and a separate convoy of jeeps and artillery was heading west from Misrata, according to rebels in the eastern city, which had been besieged by government forces for five months.

    The sudden advance on the capital suggests co-ordination between the rebels and Nato planners is not as effective as had been widely assumed.

    On Tuesday, Nato commanders were analysing photographic and signals intelligence provided by spy planes looking at what defence chiefs call “patterns of life” – movements of people and vehicles in and around Gaddafi’s compound.

    British, Danish and Norwegian aircraft have been particularly active in striking targets in Triploi. RAF jets have attacked the compound with 500lb Paveway bombs, but they have so far been directed at its perimeter walls and control towers.

    The decision facing Nato commanders on Tuesday was whether the compound’s core and underground tunnels could be regarded as legitimate targets and weighing up the risks involved, notably to the lives of civilians and rebels. British defence chiefs are also aware of the dangers of being seen to be sanctioning assassination.

    Nato planes can more easily spot groups of Gaddafi forces ambushing rebel convoys on the streets of Tripoli, but defence officials say bombing them from the air would be far too risky.

    Pilots are continuing to seek targets that are more clearly defined as military, including command and control facilities, radar and surface-to-air missiles which are still being operated by troops loyal to Gaddafi, the latest strike figures put out by Nato indicate.

    British aircraft are seeking what pilots call “dynamic” targets – targets seen by chance – as well as “deliberate” planned targets.

    The Guardian has previously reported the presence of former British special forces troops, now employed by private security companies and funded by a number of sources, including Qatar. They have been joined by a number of serving SAS soldiers.

    They have been acting as forward air controllers – directing pilots to targets – and communicating with Nato operational commanders. They have also been advising rebels on tactics, a task they have not found easy.

    Britain’s international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said there would be a “bumpy ride” over the coming days.

    “There was a lot of confusion. There are quite long lines of communication involved,” he told the BBC. “It’s inevitable in this situation, with the warfare going on as it is, that there will be some confusion.”
    Our “Unrepentant Marxist” claims otherwise: See comment #26. I know R. Seymour writes for the Guardian so this story could be a plant to besmirch the “heroic Libyan rebels”.

    Comment by lextheimpaler — August 23, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

  31. Our “Unrepentant Marxist” claims otherwise: See comment #26.

    What is your problem? TJ Chivers wrote that the Misrata fighters were learning on the job all by themselves and the Telegraph reported that NATO bombing could not deter Qaddafi’s dispersed forces there. My point was that the victory at Misrata was home-grown and that it was as crucial to toppling Qaddafi. I regret that your reading comprehension is so low-level.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 23, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  32. Wow LP your sophistry knows no limit. Let me see if I get you right Franklin Lamb was wrong, the Guardian reporters are wrong but TJ Chivers of NYT should be believed because he writes for the NYT? Let me congratulate you on your patriotic jibe at Cockburn ” Could you imagine what Alexander Cockburn would do if he was arrested for writing an “anti-American” blog and sent to prison for a year? What difference would it make if someone reminded him that America made it possible for him to afford a fleet of classic cars? ” You could have called him an ungrateful “limey” bastard and suggested he either love America or leave it.

    Comment by lextheimpaler — August 23, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

  33. What is your problem? The Guardian article was right about training they *did* receive at one point and Chivers was right in pointing out that they defeated Qaddafi’s troops pretty much on their own at Misrata. For most sentient people, Misrata is understood to be the turning-point of the war. Unfortunately, that probably does not include you.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 23, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

  34. New York Times, May 9 (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/world/africa/10libya.html?_r=2):

    The breakout of what had been nearly static lines came after NATO aircraft spent days striking positions and military equipment held by the Qaddafi forces, weakening them to the point that a ground attack was possible, the rebels said.

    You left out the paragraph that followed it:

    While not in itself a decisive shift for a city that remained besieged, the swift advance, made with few rebel casualties, carried both signs of rebel optimism and hints of the weakness of at least one frontline loyalist unit.

    And this one later on:

    The breakout in the west did not appear to have an immediate effect elsewhere. At the front near the airport, a commander there said that his fighters were in a strong position, but that he wanted them to move methodically because the Qaddafi soldiers had taken up strong defensive positions on both sides of the main road.

    Finally, even if I was wrong in saying that NATO was limited by the close-quarter fighting in Misrata and that Qaddafi’s tactics were not ultimately capable of warding off that attack, most observers credit the rebels with fighting against overwhelming odds. Ultimately they were victorious not because of NATO but because they were motivated by a desire to end a 42 year old despotic regime.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 24, 2011 @ 2:05 am

  35. http://www.economist.com/node/18586978

    NATO’s problem is that it currently lacks both the means and the mandate to do much to help Misrata. Loyalist snipers in buildings across the city cannot be taken out from the air without killing civilians nearby. It is tricky even to go after the mortars (some of which are firing cluster munitions, according to the New York-based Human Rights Watch) and the Grad rockets being fired from outside the town. Compared with a tank or heavy artillery, they represent a tiny and easily hidden target. Yet a single Grad multiple launcher can fire a salvo of 40 (highly inaccurate) rockets.

    To have some effect against such dispersed targets, NATO requires some combination of sophisticated (special forces) spotters on the ground, the ability to loiter above the target area until opportunities arise and the right sort of aircraft to deliver the blow. Fast jets armed with missiles costing up to 100 times more than the weapons they are trying to destroy are of only limited use.

    According to Douglas Barrie, an air-power specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, the best solution may be to use attack helicopters, but “it depends how much risk you are prepared to take”. They would be vulnerable to man-portable air defence systems (MANPADs), such as the heat-seeking SA-7, that Colonel Qaddafi has in abundance. Another option may be to mount a drone-based combat air patrol over Misrata which could strike every time a mortar or rocket team popped its head up. But though the early, surveillance version of the Predator drone is being used above Libya, the heavily armed and bigger Predator B, known as the Reaper, which is proving so potent against the Taliban in Afghanistan, is in short supply.

    If helicopters are ruled out and there are not enough drones, that leaves only the US Air Force A-10 tankbusters and the AC-130 gunships that were used for a few days in late March and then withdrawn when America handed over command of the air operation to NATO. Last week, at a rather sticky meeting of NATO foreign ministers, Admiral James Stavridis, the supreme allied commander in Europe, was reported to have asked for eight additional “specific” warplanes needed for precision strikes. There is speculation that the aircraft he was asking for were the A-10s and AC-130s. However, as The Economist went to press, there were no indications whether Robert Gates, America’s secretary of defence, would sanction the release of the aircraft and the official line from NATO is that no requests have been made.

    They are, however, the only potentially game-changing assets readily available. During the first Gulf war, in 1991, the A-10 Thunderbolt is estimated to have destroyed 900 Iraqi tanks. It flies relatively slowly and can loiter above targets. The AC-130, based on the ubiquitous C-130 Hercules airlifter, is an even more lethal platform than the A-10, with a huge array of heavy weapons and sophisticated fire-control systems. But it is much more vulnerable to ground fire than the heavily armoured A-10 and in “non-permissive environments” can operate only at night.
    Use the interactive “Graphics Carousel” to browse our coverage of unrest in the Middle East

    NATO sources claim that the air campaign has close to everything it needs and that about 45% of the sorties being flown result in bombs or missiles being dropped or fired. There is some frustration that the rebels criticise NATO for holding back and then criticise it again when it takes action and something goes wrong. But Anthony Cordesman at Washington’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies argues that the problem is driven by the limits to the mission rather than the number of aircraft and the way they are deployed. Using air power to hit scattered, lightly armed ground forces as opposed to aiming at more strategic targets, such as Colonel Qaddafi’s command centre, bases and other sites affecting his regime’s survival, is inherently inefficient. “Is the human cost of a slow war of attrition a better choice than acting decisively within a wider mandate?” asks Mr Cordesman.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 24, 2011 @ 2:15 am

  36. Shawn, the article you’re defending claimed the rebels definitively rejected “assistance” from imperialism and lied about their strategy for dealing Gaddafi’s military power. Before you defend something, try reading it first. It might help. I’m sorry you find facts boring, but they are stubborn things. I can’t seem to get away from them.

    Comment by Binh — August 24, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

  37. I’ve always thought- not as a true activist or card-carrying leftist, but, I’ll admit, as an armchair radical (yes)- that if one calls oneself a resister and opponent of whatever smacks of tyranny and oppression, it then follows that it would not be so hard to see the writing on the wall, and that US imperialism by any other name, or whatever it chooses to metastasize itself into, would be defined as such under any and all circumstances. Is there such a thing as humanitarian intervention, absent liberal apologies and justifications? There are indeed real people at the other end of the spectrum bearing the brunt of the bombings, drones, missile attacks, and the non-stop NATO carnage.

    Please illuminate me, as I am really trying to follow the logic and wisdom of defending the hordes of the West as they swarm and repeat their assault again and again against the rest of humanity. Isn’t there a historical pattern here? Do you honestly think that there will ever be someone able to make them stop and change the course of history for the best? Just a wish, a sincere wish.

    Comment by Fred — August 24, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

  38. Is there such a thing as humanitarian intervention, absent liberal apologies and justifications?

    Of course not. Imperialism always intervenes for its own benefit. But it can be pretty safely assumed that the only difference between pre and post-Qaddafi will be an end to his personal rule. The country will still have a dependent relationship to oil companies. It will still use oil revenues to sustain a welfare state. It will still have a kind of clerical politics. On the other hand, it is no small thing for someone to start a newspaper or a blog and not worry about the cops coming to his or her house to haul them off to prison where they will be tortured. In a way, it is like Kerensky’s Russia. It was still ruled by the big bourgeoisie but the days of arbitrary arrest and torture came to an end.

    Needless to say, my reaction to the anti-anti-Qaddafi left that could care less about the right to political expression continues to be one of amazement and disgust. I wonder what someone like Richard Seymour would do if the British cops came into his apartment and took away his computer because they didn’t approve of what he was saying. We’d never hear the end of it. Why he can’t see the same breakthrough for the average Libyan is beyond me.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 24, 2011 @ 10:29 pm

  39. More proof that there was a genuine democratic revolution rooted in the self-organization of Tripoli’s residents:
    http://news.yahoo.com/a-double-agent-in-gadhafi-camp-.html

    Sean’s and Richard Seymour position grows more untenable by the day as the facts come out.

    Comment by Binh — August 26, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

  40. Louis Proyect is not alone in supporting the NATO-led so-called Libyan “rebels”.

    Rebel forces take Tripoli in Libyan civil war
    (front page)
    http://www.themilitant.com/2011/7531/753102.html

    Protesters in Syria defy murderous regime
    http://www.themilitant.com/2011/7531/753160.html

    Comment by Walter Lippmann — August 27, 2011 @ 5:43 am

  41. […] think the right tone on the Libyan situation–cautious, critical, but hopeful–is the one struck by Lou Proyect. Lou is certainly no humanitarian imperialist–I first came across him when he was […]

    Pingback by Libya and the Left — September 14, 2011 @ 11:38 am

  42. […] I think the right tone on the Libyan situation–cautious, critical, but hopeful–is the one struck by Lou Proyect. Lou is certainly no humanitarian imperialist–I first came across him when he was eviscerating […]

    Pingback by Libya and the Left | The Activist — September 15, 2011 @ 12:07 am


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