Re: [OPE] winning the battle of democracy

Date: Tue Mar 15 2011 - 22:51:18 EDT

> Yes, Alejandro, there are “Marxists” who over the years have been on
> the side of tyranny – going all the way back to the USSR. Now it’s
> Libya, Cuba, China, etc.

Hi Paula:

Cuba is not Libya and Castro is not Gaddafi. One minor problem with your
suggestion that F. Castro is a tyrant is that he is probably the most popular
leader of any nation in the world in his own nation. A rather trivial
detail, isn't it?

As for Libya, who exactly do you think are the 'pro-democracy' forces there?
Large segments of the 'rebels' identify with the pre-1969 monarchy and
openly fly the flag of that monarchy. Another trivial detail, no doubt.
Also trivial is the base of support that Gasaffi has - which has allowed
him to stay in power for so long. I guess the rights of women (which have been
championed by the current regime - and ridiculed in the West, where the
press thinks that him having women guards is another indication of how
'crazy' he is) is also a trivial issue.

By all means be anti-authoritarian, but you might want to consider who
exactly it is that you are supporting and who supports them and why.
Note that the rebels haven't even put forward a political platform which
calls for democracy or elections - instead they call for 'regime change'.

Please note that I am NOT defending Gadaffi: rather, I am simply pointing
to some realities and complexities which get in the way of the simplistic
narrative of 'madman' vs. those who are in favor of democracy.

> Regarding Jerry’s question – I don’t have a strict definition of
> fascism. It seems to be a label people apply to the most extreme cases
> of something that’s entirely normal in the age of imperialism –
> political reaction with an element of popular support. I’d say
> Gadhafi’s regime is a pretty extreme example, as bad as General
> Franco’s in Spain, if not worse.

Political reaction? Was Gadaffi a 'reactionary' when he helped lead the coup
which overthrew the monarchy? Then, what does that make the pro-
monarchist forces? ... progressive?...revolutionary? ... democratic? Ha!

It's an unfortunate tendency for some on the Left to loosely use
the word 'fascist' to basically describe any movement, government, or person
who doesn't have the 'correct line'. In so doing, the term looses any of its
specific historical meaning. At a time in world history where there are
genuine fascist movements and dangers this is a very dangerous - and
sloppy and lax - practice. Why? Because if you can't identify the real
fascists then you get in the way of effectively organizing a united front
against fascism. Indeed, this is part of what happened in Germany
in 1933: the KPD said that the SPD leadership was 'social fascist' and hence
refused to have a united front in the election to the Reichstag (of course,
the SPD leadership was also to blame because they didn't want a united
front either). The result was that the Left split its vote - and the rest is

Frankly, I think that the claim that Gadaffi is fascist is comically - and
tragically - wrong. He is indeed an authoritarian leader who has violently
repressed his own people but that doesn't make him a fascist. Rather, it
makes him (in that sense) a normal bourgeois leader. He is no more a
fascist than was the person he politically identified the most with -
Gamal Abdel Nasser - although Israeli officials often tried to paint Nasser
as a fascist (ironic, given the character of Zionism and the policies of Israel).
I think a better take on Gadaffi is that he is a one-time revolutionary (bourgeois)
nationalist (who was also internationalist in many ways as well) who over time
became more conservative and ultimately came to a rapprochement with
imperialism, especially US imperialism. Hence, just last year note H. Clinton's
praise for Gadaffi.

Certainly, the people of Libya deserve democracy - or at a minimum what
passes for democracy (bourgeois democracy) in other nations. And it would
certainly be a good thing if there was a genuine revolutionary movement in
Libya, but I don't see that happening in Libya today. Frankly, I see the
hand of imperialism promoting the current rebellion and taking
sides in the civil war. I guess you could call me naive for thinking this had
something to do with greater access to Libyan oil and a desire to eventually
drive down the price of oil on world markets.

In solidarity, Jerry
ope mailing list
Received on Tue Mar 15 22:52:10 2011

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