Working people were thrilled when the Arab Spring caught fire in Libya so soon after insurrections in Tunisia and Egypt. Alas, when the U.N. Security Council approved bombing to enforce a “no-fly-zone,” Libya’s revolt turned into a U.S./NATO counter-revolutionary war.
The mainstream media wants the public to believe that U.S. and European motives for invading Libya were “humanitarian” and pro-democracy. How absurd! What they want is to stop North African revolution. What they need is Libya’s oil — in fact, access to all of Africa’s oil, strategic metals and minerals.
The self-appointed Transitional National Council did not do the fighting and dying. It was the “rag-tag rebels” and the women and men and their children in cities and towns who bore the brunt of savage weapons — from Gadhafi in one direction and U.S./NATO in the other.
There are charges of racist persecution by rebels toward African “mercenaries” for Gadhafi. Few facts are available, but certainly black African workers were harshly exploited by the Gadhafi regime. Italy paid it $5 billion to “keep them out” of Europe. But the mercenaries to watch out for are the Blackwater death squads, financed by the U.S. and based in Qatar, who played a leading role in the Tripoli Brigade that took over the capital city.
Gadhafi’s repression of unions and socialists prevented the development of a workers movement and Left forces, putting Libyan grass-roots rebels in a particularly weak position. Libyan workers cannot wrest their own fate from current imperialist mayhem without their own movement. A revolutionary party is critical, to teach the lessons of defeats and victories, goals and strategies of struggle, and the discipline needed to win lasting independence. Such a party can unify a working class otherwise divided by skin color, gender, tribe or national origin.
As the Freedom Socialist Party explains on www.socialism.com, “There are no shortcuts: only the Libyan people can win their own liberation — with as much help from their working-class friends internationally as we can give.”
After ten years of a war in Afghanistan that continues to exact a heavy human and economic toll on that land, and our own, the lesson is clear. There’s no such thing as a “good” imperialist war.