The Internationalist  
March 2011  

Defend Libya Against Imperialist Attack!
Defeat U.S./U.N./NATO Assault!

Defeat the Monarchist/Islamist Opposition, Cat’s Paw for the U.S.!
For Workers Revolution Against Qaddafi Police State!

MARCH 18 – Last night the United Nations Security Council voted by 10-0 (with Russia, China, Germany, Brazil and India abstaining) to launch military action against Libya in the guise of “protecting civilians.” After weeks of the Western media churning out war propaganda and liberals clamoring for “humanitarian” intervention, the U.N. issued a declaration of imperialist war. The alleged “humanitarian” concerns are the same kind of smokescreen used to justify the U.S./NATO attack on Yugoslavia in 1995 and 1999, as well as the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, supposedly (among other pretexts) to defend the Kurds and Shiites. The “no fly zone” and air strikes to bomb Libyan forces authorized by the Security Council resolution represent a major shift from what was a civil war between the brutal bourgeois Qaddafi regime in Tripoli and a monarchist/Islamist/pro-imperialist opposition in Benghazi. Now, in the face of the U.N. action and giving no political support to Qaddafi, revolutionaries and all opponents of imperialism are duty-bound to defend Libya while calling for the defeat of the U.S./U.N./NATO attackers.

Libya, a former Italian colony and then British protectorate, is a semi-colonial country under attack. Imperialist forces covet it for geostrategic reasons – vast high-quality oil deposits and key Mediterranean/African location – and wish to get rid of Muammar Qaddafi, with whom U.S. rulers have had an on-again, off-again feud for decades. Recently the Libyan leader had been cooperating with the U.S. “war on terror” against Islamists who also threatened his rule. But with popular uprisings and unrest sweeping the Near East and North Africa, Qaddafi’s CIA-backed opponents evidently figured this was a good opportunity to get rid of the erratic strongman who has sometimes been a thorn in Washington’s side. The result is the latest case of “humanitarian” imperialist aggression. Recall how the U.S. used the Haitian earthquake of January 2010 to occupy the hard-hit Caribbean island country. For poor and working people, imperialist occupation is always a greater evil. We don’t call on the U.S., U.N. and NATO to “aid the people” – they don’t and won’t – we demand they get the hell out, and stay out!

The situation in Libya is notably different from that in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and elsewhere in the Near East where there have been mass plebeian uprisings for democratic rights against U.S.-backed dictatorships. In Libya, the initial protests were called by exile opposition groups tied to the CIA. In the ensuing civil war pitting Qaddafi’s Islamic-populist regime against a motley crew of monarchist, Islamist and pro-imperialist bourgeois forces along with some of Qaddafi’s own bloodiest (now former) henchmen, proletarian revolutionaries had no side. But with the U.N. vote, the rebels are now cat’s paws of imperialist forces, and we call for their defeat and for defense of Libya. At the same time, we continue to be for a revolution of the Libyan working people and oppressed groups (such as the Berbers) to bring down Qaddafi, denouncing not only his police-state repression but also his repeated collaboration with U.S. (and Italian and French) imperialism whenever he has been given a chance.

The fight against the imperialist assault on Libya is not limited to the North African country. Egyptian workers should oppose the imperialist invasion by blocking U.S. warships from transiting the Suez Canal. Tunisian workers should stop NATO warships from docking. In Bahrain, instead of appealing to the U.S. for aid, as protesters have been doing, any genuinely democratic overturn would not only bring down the U.S.-allied Sunni monarchy which has long oppressed the overwhelmingly Shiite population, but would also drive out the U.S. naval and air bases which are the linchpin for the imperialists’ operations in the Arab/Persian Gulf, as part of international workers revolution from the oil fields of eastern Arabia to the factories of Iran.

Much of the social-democratic left in the United States and internationally (including the International Socialist Organization and Socialist Alternative in the U.S., the Socialist Workers Party and Socialist Appeal in Britain and their satellites) have been cheerleading for a supposed Libyan “revolution,” taking up the rhetoric of U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton and more generally supporting the Libyan bourgeois opposition. Now they are in a pretty pickle as the U.S. and UK governments (with the support of the Labour Party “opposition”) launch military action supposedly aiding these same rebels. Other reformist leftists of a Stalinoid bent (such as Workers World Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation) have historically hailed Qaddafi, making the Libyan leader out to be some kind of anti-imperialist – forcing them into a mealy-mouthed position due to Qaddafi’s more recent alliance with Washington. 

While the social democrats sport the Libyan monarchist red-black-and-green with a crescent and star in support of the rebels fighting for a pro-imperialist bankers’ and Islamists’ government, and the fornlorn Qaddafi apologists of yesteryear halfheartedly raise the green flag of Islamic populism (and crony capitalism), the communists of League for the Fourth International fight under the red flag to smash imperialism through international socialist revolution.

To contact the Internationalist Group and the League for the Fourth International, send e-mail to: internationalistgroup@msn.com