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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Socialism and the State of Libya

I'm not going to make some elaborate argument that the Libya Revolution is somehow groping towards socialism because Marxists already know that is true of the whole world simply because it is the next historic phase in successful human development. No system is eternal. Just as surely as feudalism had to eventually give way to capitalism, as capitalism ceases to be a benefit to humanity and instead threatens to drag it down with it, it too must give way to a system that is more just, and most importantly, more in tune with humanity's needs at this already post-capitalist stage of our development.

Capitalism gave rise to industrial production and that created vast wealth. This is a good thing, but the control of that wealth, by and for the benefit of an ever shrinking portion of humanity, now increasingly endangers, not only all the people, but the viability of life on Earth. It must be overthrown. This is the most important historic task of humanity in the present era.

Still it must be admitted that the first dozen or so attempts at socialism in a handful of countries makes for a poor showing. It will probably take a lot more attempts and especially in countries with advanced socialized production and the freest forms of capitalist democracy, before really workable models start to take shape.  Good things sometimes take time.

One might wish that the first horse be a thoroughbred, the first car a Mercedes, but that just isn't the way development works. Good things sometimes take time.

A child that has suffered from decades of abuse doesn't recover from the repeated trauma, just because the abuser has been removed. This also takes time.

Because many in the so-called anti-imperialist Left anointed Mummar Qaddafi and his Green Book "socialism" with a kind of sainthood, they opposed the uprising of the Libyan people against his dictatorship from the very beginning. They declared the National Transitional Council and the Revolutionary Brigades creations or tools of US imperialism, and when NATO entered the fray, they expressed little doubt that the whole fiasco would end with NATO boots on the ground and a puppet government in Tripoli.

When Tripoli fell and Qaddafi was killed with no NATO boots on the ground, they robbed the Libyan people of this hard won victory, declared it the first war ever won by air power, and gave all the credit (or blame from their non-Libyan POV) to NATO.

With no puppet government and NATO "boots" to kick around, with the failure of all of their original predictions about the post-Qaddafi outcome for Libya, (no DU to clean up, no bombed out infrastructure, etc.) these "anti-imperialists" resorted to claiming that Libya now had no state at all or was a "failed state" and a "mess" rather than recognizing it for what it is, a country were the state has been destroyed and now has to be rebuilt, a country carrying out the second half of a successful revolution.

They forged a great deal of unity with the sour grapes pro-Qaddafi, pro-Putin camps, and the imperialists, who naturally want to see any revolution declared a failure. They readily parrot every report about Libya in the bourgeois media designed to warn people off of even thinking about revolution, and except for these negative reports, they pay little attention to what is actually happening in Libya and so fail to sympathize the real world lessons of the Libyan experience into revolutionary theory that can help us all move forward.

Two and a half years after the Qaddafi regime was overthrown, Libya is still a mess. It could hardly be otherwise after 40 years of maniacal dictatorship. It is tasked with recreating the state from scratch, and there are many competing interests, so naturally there has been intense political struggle and this struggle has involved the masses in ways they never could have under the "Green" dictatorship, and slowly but surely, the Libyan people are lurching forward and the new Libyan state is taking shape. What follows are three articles published today that address the current state of the Libyan state.

Middle East Institute has just published this assessment of the current state of state building in Libya:
The Political Process in Libya

22 April 2014
By Karim Mezran
Libya’s road to democracy is shaky at best. Security is deteriorating, with targeted killings, criminal attacks, and bombings on the rise and clashes between rival armed groups—some apparently with government legitimacy and others not—growing more frequent. While these negative trends put tremendous pressure on the transition, Libya’s political process, albeit fickle, manages to keep moving. The efforts at institution building in Libya present a nuanced landscape: for every step forward in one aspect, there are steps backward in others.

Two years ago, expectations and hopes were high in Libya regarding the constitutional committee, considered the most important transitional body involved in institution building. Originally, the National Transitional Council (NTC) mandated that the General National Congress (GNC), elected in July 2012, was to serve as the constitutional drafting committee. A few months before the GNC elections, however, in an effort to appease the eastern federalist movement—which is weak but nevertheless vocal—the provision was changed so that the GNC would appoint the 60-member constitutional committee. Just a few days before the elections, the NTC changed its mind again and, in another act of appeasement toward the federalists, decided that the constitutional committee would be elected by the people. The federalists were mistrustful of a nationally elected body and claimed the right for the people of the eastern regions to elect their own representatives to the constitutional committee directly. These decisions created a conflict insofar as they deprived the GNC of its original mandate to draft a constitution and left it as a legislative body with no clear areas or limits of authority and responsibility. More...
Please note that while Libya certainly has its problems, being a client state of the NATO powers isn't one of them. Yet, that is precisely the outcome the so called "anti-imperialists" [Qaddafi lovers] predicted, not that after the revolution there would be a period of disorganization and discomfort. Oh My!

Also today in Libya, from AFP:
Libyan charter panel elects liberal as head

Tue, Apr 22nd 2014, 8:23AM
Ali Tarhuni, a liberal politician and former rebel minister, was elected to head Libya's constituent assembly, a spokesman for the body charged with drawing up a new constitution said Tuesday.

Tarhuni, an exiled opponent of dictator Moamer Kadhafi, returned to Libya to take part in the 2011 revolt which toppled his regime.

He held a ministerial post in a transitional government set up by the rebels, and went on to found the National Centrist Party, part of the liberal National Forces Alliance.

Libya's constituent assembly launched its work Monday in Al-Baida, in the country's east. More...
The Libyans who will draft the new constitution
And from Reuters:
Libya starts voter registration for general elections

22 April 2014
by Ahmed Elumami
(Reuters) - Libya will start registering voters for general elections, officials said on Tuesday, in the first concrete step indicating a vote will take place later this year.

In February, the Libyan parliament, the General National Congress (GNC), agreed to hold early elections, in an apparent effort to assuage Libyans frustrated at political chaos nearly three years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Deputies initially agreed to extend their term after their mandate ran out on February 7, to allow a special committee time to draft a new constitution. But that move provoked protests from Libyans angry at the slow pace of political change.

Voter registration will start from Wednesday, Emad al-Shadi al-Saih, head of the elections commission, told reporters. He gave no date for the vote but analysts say it might take place in summer or early autumn.

Saih called on Libyans to avoid "being negative" and participate in the elections in order to rebuild the country. More...

Libya's constitution-drafting body starts work

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya

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