A Lynch-Mob Revolution? (II)

Dmitri Prieto

Moammar Gadhafi. Foto: wikipedia.org.

Gadhafi’s murderers are part of a military movement supported and agreed upon by NATO, despite that backing being counter to the quite controversial provisions of the relevant UN resolution.  NATO — the representative of the cultured, civilized, free and democratic North — preferred to look with undisguised satisfaction at what happened to Gadhafi.

On YouTube it looks like a porn movie.  “But who cares! – they’re Arabs. Those are their customs…” (as was thought in 1994 in Rwanda: “They’re only a few African tribes going at it”).

Part One

Such people see the ethnic Arab world as the homeland of eroticism and fundamentalism, and in the case of the latter word, I’m sure that from now on there will be those who will search for the word “lynching” as having a genealogy based on the Arabic lexeme.

I read one book about the Libyan “green revolution”, and I’m observing the classic pattern of “transdomination.”

A liberation movement (a military one based on junior officers) became the government, and then it turned into an oppressive regime, with the shade of difference being that Gadhafi and his comrades worked to “transfer power to the grassroots,” at least in the Jamahiriya sense of the word.

Apparently there was real improvement in the “quality of life,” the Human Development Index (HDI) and other measurable indicators, though this didn’t stop the protests (“man” does not live on HDI alone).  But rule also included state terrorism in the case of Libya (*).

If that had not been the case, the protests would have been in vain and there wouldn’t have been a second “revolution” in Libya that began with the protests in the Arab Spring.  Those popular protests, which were different from what happened in other Arab countries, were co-opted by militarist forces that created a context of civil war.

The “green revolution” of Gadhafi was born in the barracks…though it then certainly generalized. But the big question is how?  The anti-Gadhafist revolution began in the streets, but the executioners of Gadhafi almost certainly operated out of a barracks concept, one of military rule.

The great revolutionary fear might be that this second “revolution” (whose defenders surely presume themselves to be revolutionary, though they don’t put themselves in the same category as the Gadhafi of 1969) will lead in turn to a new oppressor.  New “freedom fighters” lynching in the name of freedom under NATO air cover would be the leading characters in a transdomination # 2 scenario.

Speaking of “freedom fighters” (**), we should remember that cohorts placed under that title in the past in the Near and Middle East included both Saddam Hussein (against the Islamic Iranian threat) and Bin Laden (against Soviet intervention in Afghanistan). Both “fighters,” incidentally, were also executed — each in their own way — with clear US participation.

It seems that strategic alliances between certain revolutionaries with the “great powers” can in some way be recycled (between “socialism” and “capitalism,” “totalitarianism” and “democracy”), just as self-styled revolutionaries can be recycled – and their modes of action even more so than themselves.

Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Pinochet and many others taught us in the twentieth century that cultural relativism and political pragmatism have limits.  Moral boundaries are not exact, but they have constraints generated by the massive ethical effects of each action.

Sanguinary effects can make any banner or ideal smell putrid, despite how lofty they initially were.

When Gorbachev attempted to restructure such a monstrosity that had already turned pathetic (Castoriadis said “the USSR, four letters, four lies”), I learned one truth during the perestroika reform process that I still consider enormous: That the message of the popular saying, “If you want to eat an omelet you have to break the eggs,” is false.

People like Gandhi, Marti, Tolstoy and many others knew this very well.

A lynching is a lynching, wherever it occurs and under whatever flag.

(*) What about state terrorism against Libya?  Imperialist aggression and the “revolutionary” rhetoric of national redemption, which gives internal and external violence an anti-imperialist justification, allow for mutual suckling.  Gadhafi was only right in certain theses while cynical on others.  I’m not trying to justify him, but some “less cynical democracies” have supported worse governments.

(**) Like what happened with the two other Muslim leaders mentioned, it’s clear that Gadhafi and his family were significant and desirable trading partners with the “West.”  My question is: Could the same thing ever happen to the current reactionary monarchs of Saudi Arabia?



6 thoughts on “A Lynch-Mob Revolution? (II)

  • I agree with Rob. None of this could have happened if the Libyan people had not turned against Gaddafi in the first place. Those who talk of NATO aggression would presunable have happily stood by when (not if!) Gaddafi had carried out a massare in Bengazi.
    I do not believe for one moment that the world champions in international solidarity, the Castros and Chavez, would have protested.
    This NATO bashing hides the fact that many of NATOs critics are very happy to point out NATOs support for fascist police states (Portugal and Turkey once even as members), but have nothing to say about the Cuban regime’s strategic alliance with fascist police states from Gaddafi’s Libya to Syria and Iran yo name just a few. As for the lynch mob, why is what happens in Libya more reprehensible than what happened in the early years of the Cuban revolution. Allying themselves with fascist police states is a sure recipe for killing socialism.

  • @Dmitri
    A belated mea culpa. I concede that I had a knee-jerk reaction to your article and in not the most civil way. Your article upon proper reading shows that we were in agreement on many points. What triggered my reaction – after only scanning through part 2 was one of your concluding paragraphs:
    “It seems that strategic alliances between certain revolutionaries with the “great powers” can in some way be recycled (between “socialism” and “capitalism,” “totalitarianism” and “democracy”), just as self-styled revolutionaries can be recycled – and their modes of action even more so than themselves.”
    I saw in this a juxtaposition of socialism vs. capitalism, and totalitarianism vs. democracy and by implication the equation of socialism automatically with totalitarianism and capitalism with democracy. For this, perhaps erroneous reading, and not understanding all the conclusions you were driving at e.g. Gorby, perestroika, etc, I accused you, in my anger, of being guilty of “Western-style drivel, mystification, and regurgitation of corporate media viewpoints”. I don’t deny the danger of totalitarianism but reject the use of such words to stereotypically characterize anti-imperialists and left leaders and regimes by the West (e.g. Cuba, Venezuela…). The use of cold-war era ideological lexicon by to characterize or explain developments in the Third World is problematic for me. For example, as you know all too well, the Angolan war of national liberation was distorted, as part of the propaganda campaign of the Reagan years, and thus presented in the media as a Cold War proxy war. In this way, many crimes have been committed by the West under the guise of bringing democracy. You are all too familiar with the history of destabilization in Latin America, the counterinsurgency operations of the CIA, the infamous torture-training School of the Americas, “Operation Condor” responsible for the thousands of desaperecidos…Pinochet, the fascist dictator, who boasted that not even a tree leaf moved in Chile without his knowledge, was never described as being totalitarian by the Western media. A cute word, “authoritarian”, was invented for him and other pro-Western dictatorships whereas left, progressive and defiant regimes were always characterized as “totalitarian“ or portrayed as potentially so. The corporate media never characterizes as totalitarian any of the Middle Eastern monarchic (and despotic) dictatorships e.g. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Quatar…

    Perhaps my expectation of your article was unfair to your approach – which, if I’m not mistaken, tackles the issue from a philosophical and cultural angle (“cultural relativism“? ). Western media, however, is notorious for contriving cultural backgrounds to mystify the objective causes of events and the real forces behind them. My expectation (once again perhaps unfairly) was an article that would use the same lens of dialectical analysis typical of the articles by Pedro Campos of the Critical Observatory. In the case of Libya, I wanted to see the “picture behind the picture” exposed. I wanted a class analysis of the “state of masses” (Jamahiriya) : the reality vs. the propaganda. Was Gadhafi’s nationalization policies in the 70’s equal to “socialism”? Who was power really invested in in Libya? Why the imperialist NATO adventure in Libya? I wanted to see evidence examined and motive established. Was debt-ridden Europe compelled to capture the Libyan resource trophy as a way out of its crisis of finance capital? Above all, what are the lessons for Cuba? Without equating the socialist character of the Cuban revolution, where leadership is nevertheless tightly knit, comes from an inner circle and a particular gene pool, which “recycles” itself, with the myth of the Libyan “Jamahiriya”, or Gadhafi’s theatrical and rhetorical flourish with the sober, analytical and calculated approach of Cuba’s historic leadership, what parallels can be seen? Could the perfidy of Robaina and Perez-Roque be seen as harbingers of the kind of wholesale defections that Gadhafi’s inner circle suffered? Could Mariela Castro turn into a female Saif-al-Islam and naively become a beach-head for subversive infiltration in Cuba?

  • Dear cimarron:
    Thanks a lot for your criticism!
    Regarding ´heaven help Cuba´, I agree! If you are a customary HT reader, you must know how narrow our internet access is. So, I really will be very grateful if you could provide the Critical Observatory with the analyses you mention. All of us will be very grateful for such cooperation.
    Thanks for your interpretation of Haram too.
    Regarding ´indigenous´events, I strongly believe that such events no longer exist since 1492, when the capitalist world-system was brought to existence. I am not a believer in conspiracy-theories, but in the case of Gaddafi the version you provide seems quite credible.
    Again, my point was not about the puppet-masters, but about the way the ´revolutions´ tend to occur.

  • grady goes on alot about being a different sort of left “thinker” but is stuck in the same mindset whereby any unrest against a government that is at odds with the west must somehow be manipulated by the west. libya being a prime example as well as the extreme right government of syria. only a matter of time before the youth of iran take to the streets again and grady and the rest of the so called “left” make excuses for the mullahs and the bullies while they shoot into groups of people and lynch homosexuals, just as they all did with their fawning over saddam..”sure he’s a bad guy but….(national health care, secular..)” having no shame whatsoever defending the new fascism. carry on comrades, but as for me i will choose as allies the open minded and the ironic and the pluralistic society anyday while you all can go on about neo imperialism or whatever and jacking off to photos of qadaffi.

  • If this Western-style drivel, mystification, and regurgitation of corporate media viewpoints about the events in Libya is what passes for dialectical analysis in the Critical Observatory of Cuba, to which the author belongs, then heaven help Cuba!

    But even before touching on the political, lets be clear about the religious reference (“haram”) cited by the author in part 1. If it is true that Gadhafi uttered the word “haram” as he was being brutalized before executed, then the only sensible meaning would be he defying his murderers as being “sinful”, “shameful” or “sacrilegious“. Imputing “haram” with the meaning of “mercy” is capital nonsense. Gadhafi did not seek mercy from anyone. He did exactly what he had said he would do : die in Libya. He refused exile. He chose to make his last stand in his beloved Sirte, where he put up remarkably stiff and heroic resistance.

    Many, including myself, were initially fooled by the disinformation carried out by the corporate media about the events in Libya. However, thanks to the expose by many progressive sources including the Italian journalist, Franco Bechis, it became clear that regime change in Libya had been planned years ago by the Bush administration, by MI6 training Libyan Al Qaida jihadist in Afghanistani in the mid-nineties, and by French intelligence having had contact with the leaders months before the “spontaneous” demonstrations. The order to execute Ghadhafi came from the highest levels of the Nato partners-in-crime. There were British SAS agents on the ground working with the the Libyan mercenaries, as were Qatari troops, CIA, Blackwater, Belgian, Italian and French special forces on the ground. What happened in Libya was no indigenous event!

  • The story worth telling of recent events in Libya is not about how dictators in general–or this particular “leader” in particular–come to an end. It is about how imperialism destroys or seeks to destroy any government that gets in the way of multinational corporate greed and control. This article is tabloid-level pablum of no consequence.

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