General Sisi, Hollande, Obama: Hands Off Libya!
Defeat General Haftars’ Imperialist Lackeys! Down with the Daash-Gang of Killers! For a Workers’ and Popular Government!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 26.2.2015, www.thecommunists.net
1. The recent barbaric decapitation of 21 Egyptian Copts by the Libyan followers of Daash (“Islamic State”) and the imperialist-backed strikes against Libyan targets by the Egyptian air force have opened a new stage in the Libyan civil war. The European imperialists want to use the strengthening of Daash as a pretext for military intervention in North Africa so as to restore the order which began to be shattered there with the start of the Arab Revolution in January 2011. In this situation socialists must mobilize the working class and the oppressed masses to defend Libya against any aggression by the imperialist powers, as well as against reactionary lackeys like the Egyptian military dictatorship of General Sisi and the Tobruk-based forces of General Haftar.
2. Libya is suffering from the unfinished nature of the democratic revolution of the popular masses against the Gaddafi dictatorship in 2011. While the masses – led by about 200,000 rebels organized in numerous local militias – successfully overthrew the capitalist-bonapartist regime after an eighth month civil war, they failed to take political and economic power into their own hands. The RCIT supported the Libyan Revolution as a just popular insurrection against a barbaric state-capitalist dictatorship of the Gaddafi Clan. At the same time, we unconditionally opposed the limited air strikes by the Western imperialists. We called for a workers’ and popular government based on popular action councils and militias. The lack of a revolutionary party created a situation in which power was initially shared and increasingly disputed between various sections of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois forces.
3. However, even this unfinished democratic revolution brought some gains for the workers and poor in Libya. Aside from getting rid of an omnipotent totalitarian state apparatus, the masses increasingly enjoyed the advantages of the right to strike and form independent trade unions. The workers’ power to fight – particularly in the oil and port industries – was substantially increased by their widespread arming as a result of the civil war. This power was particularly painful for foreign corporations. The latter had hoped to continue their exploitation of the country’s oil reserves, to which they had been granted substantial access under the Gaddafi regime after the latter opened the country to foreign investors in 2003.
4. The Western imperialists intervened in the civil war in 2011 by undertaking a number of air strikes, mostly directed against Gaddafi-loyalist forces. In this way, the imperialists hoped to gain political influence among the rebel forces. However, contrary to the fantasies of the Stalinists and other pro-Putin/Xi pseudo-“anti-imperialists” (more accurately dubbed pro-Eastern social-imperialists), NATO’s limited intervention was neither the decisive factor in the Libyan Revolution nor did the Western imperialists succeed in subjugating the country. This became obvious when the US and European imperialists failed to install a loyal and powerful regime of lackeys. A particularly visible manifestation of this failure was the riots in Benghazi in September 2012, after the release of an anti-Islam film produced by right-wing racists in the US. In the course of these riots, the US American consulate was stormed and burned down, leaving the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and a number of embassy officials and security forces dead. Since then, nearly all Western embassies and foreign companies have fled Libya.
5. Today most of Libya's oil fields and terminals are under attack or closed and hence the country is producing only an estimated 160,000 barrels of oil per day, down from its post-2011 peak of 1.5 million barrels per day. The country is importing around 75 percent of its fuel for domestic use. In addition, it faces chronic cash shortages, unpaid government salaries, electricity cuts, and soaring gasoline and food prices.
6. The impasse of the unfinished revolution led to a strengthening of bourgeois forces and increased efforts by the imperialist to stabilize Libya under its control. As a result, a full-scale civil war between two bourgeois camps began in May 2014. The pro-imperialist camp is dominated by remnants of the Gaddafi repression forces which have formed a coalition called Amaliya al-Karama (“Operation Dignity”). This coalition claims to be the legitimate government of the country. It is recognized and supported by the imperialist powers as well as the regimes of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. However, it has only little support among Libya’s population, symbolized by the fact that its “parliament”, the Council of Deputies, has to convene on a car ferry in the port of Tobruk, a small town in the far east of the country. Aguila Saleh Issa, the President of this parliament, characteristically was a leading bureaucrat under Gaddafi. However, the real power house of this camp is General Khalifa Haftar and his militia which incorporates the remnants of Gaddafi’s army. Haftar himself was a leading general under Gaddafi before he deserted and became a collaborator of the CIA. Significantly, in February 2015 the Tobruk-government suspended the law which barred Gaddafi officials from office. Its social bases are Arab Bedouins in the east of Libya as well as forces based in Zitan who have long-standing conflicts with the surrounding Amazighs national minority (also known as Berbers). The pro-imperialist Amaliya al-Karama alliance has welcomed the recent Egyptian air force attacks. In February 2015, Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni repeated his government’s appeal to the great powers of the West for military intervention and called for strikes on Tripoli and Ben Jawad.
7. The rival camp is dominated by an unstable alliance of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois Islamist forces called Fajr Libya (“Libyan Dawn”). This coalition controls the larger cities including Tripoli and Misrata and the populous areas of the country, mostly located in the west. Fajr Libya’s social basis is the smaller and mid-sized capitalists, like the merchants from Misrata, the urban population as well as non-Arab and religious minorities (like the Amazighs, the Tuaregs, and the small reformist Islamic sect called Ibadiyya). They are led by Prime Minister Omar al-Hassi's government and the New General National Congress based in Tripoli. Al-Hassi called the Egyptian raids “terrorism” and denounced them as a “sinful aggression.” Fajr Libya also opposes military intervention by the great powers of the West.
8. In addition, there are a number of smaller Salafi-Takfiri Islamist forces which have recently aligned themselves with Daash. They currently control the eastern town of Derna and temporarily took over Sirte. However, the Tripoli-based government deployed Misrata’s 166 battalion and other rebel forces and expelled Daash from Sirte in mid-February.
9. General Sisi’s military regime in Egypt tries to exploit the Libyan civil war to position itself as a key player in Middle East politics. Since the military coup d’état on 3 July 2013, Sisi’s regime has murdered more than 6,000 people and thrown tens of thousands of people into prison. Regardless, or rather because of this, the dictatorship has received political and financial support from all key imperialist powers like the US, EU, Russia, and China. In addition, Sisi’s dictatorship has also been unabashedly hailed by pro-Gaddafi forces in exile, Stalinists, as well as various centrists like Alan Woods’ IMT. Just recently, the Sisi regime signed a $5.8 billion deal to buy French weaponry, including 24 Rafale combat jets, a multi-mission naval frigate, and air-to-air missiles. In an interview with France's Europe 1 radio, General Sisi said in February “there is no choice” but to create a global coalition to intervene militarily in Libya.
10. Sisi’s call for another imperialist war dovetails nicely with the recent war-mongering of European imperialists who have called for a military intervention in Libya. Italy’s Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, in an interview with the Italian paper La Republica, urged NATO to intervene “for the future of the Western world.” Taking advantage of the current hysteria about Daash, Alfano dramatically warned: “ISIS is at the door. There is no time to waste.” It is a clear that the European imperialists are striving for a massive military intervention in Libya in order to achieve what they failed in 2011: subjugating the country and imposing a colonial administration which would ensure imperialist exploitation of the country’s rich oil reserves.
11. As we have emphasized in a number of past statements, this is just another act in the ongoing imperialist campaign to utilize the reactionary actions of Daash to intensify attacks by the Great Powers in the Middle East as well as to demonize and oppress Muslim migrants in Europe. Obama’s crusade in Iraq and Syria, with the support of the European imperialists as well as their Arab lackeys, the ongoing US occupation in Afghanistan, France’s war in Mali and Central Africa, Russia’s continuous barbaric repression of the Chechen people – these are all acts of imperialist aggression against oppressed people of the semi-colonial world. The other side of this coin is the ongoing super-exploitation and national oppression of migrants in the imperialist metropolises. Among them Muslim migrants, in particular, have become targeted victims of racism, as we saw in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack. Revealingly, the “Communist” Party of France and their friends in the reformist Party of the European Left have failed to oppose the imperialist aggression, and most centrists cowardly refuse to support the military struggle of the – mostly Islamist-led – resistance against the imperialist occupants. Similarly, these groups supported the vile, pro-imperialist demonstrations in Europe on 11 January for “national unity” in support of the racist magazine Charlie Hebdo.
12. The RCIT unequivocally states that the main enemy of the Libyan people in the current situation is the pro-imperialist camp of the Gaddafi remnants around General Haftar. We support the Libyan people’s determined resistance against the European imperialists and the Egyptian regime’s attempts to organize a military intervention. We call on the international workers’ movement to fight against such flagrant aggression which can only serve the interests of the European monopolies and their greedy lackeys in the Middle East.
13. The Libyan people need a second revolution in order to achieve what they were striving for in 2011. Such a revolution must be led by the working class organized in action councils and popular militias. It must expel all factions of the bourgeoisie – Islamist as well as “secular” – expropriate the capitalists and nationalize all industries and banks under workers’ control.
14. The RCIT reiterates its solidarity with the heroic mass protests in Egypt against the Sisi regime as well as with the Syria revolution. Finally, we reemphasize the importance of defending the Muslim migrants in Europe against the vicious hatemongering campaign fostered by the ruling class.
The RCIT proposes to fight for the following slogans:
* Defeat General Haftar’s alliance of imperialist lackeys but give no political support to the Islamists!
* No to reactionary sectarianism! Down with the Salafi-Takfiri Daash!
* For independent workers’ and popular councils and militias! For a workers’ and popular government which expropriates the domestic bourgeoisie as well as the foreign monopolies! Nationalization of industry and banks under workers control!
* Mobilize against any military aggression as well as economic sanctions by the Egyptian regime and the imperialist powers against the Libyan people! In case of any attack, we call for the defeat of the imperialists and their allies! Support the resistance against the imperialist aggression! For international mobilizations to defeat the imperialist and the Egyptian war-mongers!
* Free all political prisoners in Egypt! Down with the show trials against resistance activists of the Muslim Brotherhood and other organizations! For international solidarity demonstrations and strikes against the repression in Egypt! Prepare for a general strike and an armed insurrection against the military regime! For a workers’ government, with the support of the poor peasantry and the urban poor!
* Defend Gaza! Defeat Israel! For an international boycott campaign against Israel! For a Free and Red Palestine!
* Victory to the Syrian Revolution against the Assad Regime!
* For a socialist federation of the people of the Maghreb and Mashriq!
International Secretariat of the RCIT
For our analysis of the Libyan Revolution we refer readers to:
Michael Pröbsting: Liberation Struggles and Imperialist Interference. The failure of sectarian “anti-imperialism” in the West: Some general considerations from the Marxist point of view and the example of the democratic revolution in Libya in 2011, in Revolutionary Communism No. 5 (2012), http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/liberation-struggle-and-imperialism/
RKOB: After the collapse of the Gaddafi regime: Where now for the Libyan Revolution? in Revolutionary Communism No. 1 (2011), http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/libya-collapse-of-gaddafi-regime/
Michael Pröbsting: The intervention of the imperialist powers in Libya, the struggle of the masses against Gaddafi’s dictatorship and the tactics of revolutionary communists, in Revolutionary Communism No. 1 (2011), www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa/libya-revolutionary-tactics
For more RCIT documents on the imperialist aggression in the Middle East, see among others:
* RCIT: Defeat Obama’s New Crusade in the Middle East! For an International Mass Movement to Defeat the Offensive of the Great Western Powers! Support the Kurdish Struggle for an Independent State! No to the Harassment of Muslims in Western Countries! 18.9.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/obama-s-new-crusade/
* RCIT: Defend Iraq against another Aggression of US Imperialism! Support the Kurdish Right of Self-Determination against IS! Unite the Struggle against the US Attack with the Palestinian Resistance against Israel! 9.8.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/defend-iraq-against-us/
* RCIT: Iraq: Defend the Sunni Rebellion against the Maliki Regime and US Imperialism! Down with all Reactionary Religious Sectarianism! For a Workers’ and Peasants’ Republic! 22.6.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/iraq-sunni-rebellion/
Yossi Schwartz: Down With the New Imperialist Attack on Iraq and Syria! The Renewal of the Imperialist War and the Tasks of the Workers Movement, 2.10.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/us-war-in-iraq-and-syria/
For additional RCIT analyses of Egypt’s military dictatorship, as well as reports of solidarity activities, we refer readers to the following small selection of our articles on this issue:
RCIT: General Sisi – The Butcher of the Egyptian People – Sentences another 683 People to Death, 1.5.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/egypt-mass-death-sentences/
RCIT: Egypt: Down with General Sisi’s pro-Army Constitution! Boycott the Referendum!, 12.1.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/boycott-egypt-referendum/
RCIT: Egypt: International Solidarity against the Army Crackdown! August 14, 2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/egypt-international-solidarity/
Yossi Schwartz: Israel and the Coup in Egypt. Israel’s primary concerns regarding Egypt are the possible fall of the military regime or a descent into civil war, Aug 21, 2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/israel-and-egypt-coup/
Michael Pröbsting: The Coup d'État in Egypt and the Bankruptcy of the Left’s “Army Socialism”. A Balance Sheet of the coup and another Reply to our Critics (LCC, WIVP, SF/LCFI), 8.8.2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/egypt-and-left-army-socialism/
Yossi Schwartz: Egypt: Mobilize Resistance against the reactionary military regime! Down with the army’s puppet-government! No political support for Morsi and the Muslim brotherhood! For independent working class mobilization with a revolutionary perspective! 27.7.2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/egypt-no-to-military-regime/
Michael Pröbsting: The Military’s Coup d'État in Egypt: Assessment and Tactics. A reply to the criticism of the WIVP and the LCC on the meaning of the Military’s Coup d'État and the slogan of the Revolutionary Constituent Assembly, 17.7.2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/egypt-meaning-of-coup-d-etat/
RCIT: Egypt: Down with the Military Coup d’État! Prepare Mass Resistance! July 8, 2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/egypt-down-with-military-coup-d-etat/
Nina Gunić: Military Dictatorship in Egypt: Report (with Photos & Video) on the Solidarity Demonstration on 25.1.2015 in Vienna, 29.01.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/report-egypt-demo-25-1-2015/
RKOB: Egypt: Report with Videos from Demonstration in Austria against the Military Dictatorship on 20 April, 22.4.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/egypt-solidarity-demo-in-austria-20-4-2014/
RKOB: Austria: Solidarity with the Resistance against the Military Dictatorship in Egypt! Report (with photos and video clips) of a rally on 25January to commemorate the third anniversary of the revolution in Egypt, 26.1.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/solidarity-rally-for-egypt/
For our analysis of the Charlie Hebdo Attack and the Anti-Muslim Racism we refer readers to:
RCIT: France after the Attacks in Paris: Defend the Muslim People against Imperialist Wars, Chauvinist Hatemongering, and State Repression! 9.1.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/statement-paris-attacks/
Michael Pröbsting: France: “Communist” Party fails to Vote in Parliament against Imperialist War in Iraq! 15.1.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/french-pcf-iraq-war/
Michael Pröbsting: After the Paris Attack: Socialists must Join Hands with Muslim People Against Imperialism and Racism! Reformist and Centrist Forces try to derail the Workers Movement by Failing to Stand up for Solidarity with the Muslims and Against Imperialist War-Mongering! 17.1.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/france-defend-muslims/
Michael Pröbsting: The Racist Character of Charlie Hebdo and the pro-imperialist campaign “Je Suis Charlie”. Solidarity with Muslim People! NOT Solidarity with Charlie Hebdo! 17.1.2015, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 31, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/racist-charlie-hebdo/