Against the anti-intervention left….
Military action in Libya has begun. Of course, it is true that it is for the Libyan people to remove Gaddafi. Nonetheless, the last couple of weeks have demonstrated that the rebel forces are incapable of doing this on their own. It is to be hoped that the rebels will now be able to take advantage of the attacks launched on Gaddafi by France, Britain, the US and others and roll-back his forces to the point where they can finally finish his regime.
Gaddafi’s forces are at the gates of Benghazi and before we bleat about civilian casualties and ‘innocent lives lost’ we should perhaps take a deep breath and reflect on what the consequences would be of Gaddafi’s forces entering this city. The nature of war is such that the military action taken by the Western powers will result in some lives lost which should not be, that is regrettable but still, when weighed against the cleansing of Benghazi that would occur, as has occurred in other cities retaken from the rebels, were Gaddafi to capture it, the number of these is unlikely to outweigh the deaths caused by inaction.
Does this bother the left? It seems not. Let’s look at what Socialist Worker has to say;
So you will leave the Libyans to die while talking about solidarity?
Having solidarity with the revolution means opposing any force that will compromise that revolution.
Rather than answer the question posed, it is simply avoided. Maybe the author gives tips to David Cameron regarding PMQ’s because he takes exactly the same approach to a difficult question, doing everything in his power to avoid giving an actual answer to the question asked.
Meanwhile, the Stop the War coalition calls for peace, disarming the rebel struggle and the legitimate democratic war the Libyan people are waging against Gaddafi. How can they call for a ceasefire with Gaddafi still in place when he has shown exactly how he would use this to kill more Libyan civilians as he has done in the last few days? I admire John McDonnell greatly but this call is a case of ‘heart in the right place, head in the wrong place’:
In the short term, in the interest of conflict resolution, is there to be a final offer from the United Nations to Gaddafi for peace talks?
No such talks should be entered into by the United Nations or the Libyan people. No peace should be pursued until Gaddafi’s regime is in ashes, left in the dust by the revolutionary democratic uprising of the Libyan people. In varying ways the anti-interventionist left is turning on that uprising because deep-down it knows that to side with it logically leads to support the Resolution passed by the UN which has been demanded by the rebels for some time. An extreme example of this turning on the people is the Morning Star which amazingly attacked David Cameron for ‘sneering’ at Gaddafi’s bogus ceasefire. It reports the announcement of Gaddafi’s ‘ceasefire’ totally uncritically:
The Libyan foreign minister declared that the regime accepted demands by the United Nations for a halt to the violence.
“Libya is a full member of the United Nations. We accept that it is obliged to accept the UN security council resolution,” he told a news conference in Tripoli.
“Therefore Libya has decided an immediate ceasefire and the stoppage of all military operations.”
We laugh at the Workers Revolutionary Party and its snivelling pro-Gaddafism but it’s slowly seeping into the mainstream body politic of the anti-interventionist left as a natural result of its position.
For those who say ‘what about this, or what about that’, I refer you to this excellent post on Next Left which takes apart those arguments. The theoretical underpinnings for the left’s Libyan mistakes boil down to a faulty understanding of ‘imperialism’ which is 100 years old and does nothing to address itself to the actual world we live in. Imperialism in the colonial sense is long-dead and in its place are a complex web of relationships which are not as simplistic as the ‘imperialism’/’anti-imperialism’ dichotomy implies.
It may comfort the left to think in simplistic black and white terms but it shows how woefully unprepared and unable it is to address itself to the much more complicated real world, let alone change it. Libya is just yet another example of that….
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