'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Monday, August 29, 2011

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss? 

Apparently not, if the populace of Libya has anything to say about it. Contradictions within the NATO assisted rebellion are rising to the surface pretty quickly. For a similar written account, consider the following:

The first cracks in Libya's rebel coalition have opened, with protests erupting in Misrata against the reported decision of the National Transitional Council (NTC) to appoint a former Gaddafi henchman as security boss of Tripoli.

Media reports said the NTC prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, is poised to appoint Albarrani Shkal, a former army general, as the capital's head of security.

Protests erupted in the early hours of the morning in Misrata's Martyr's Square, with about 500 protesters shouting that the blood of the martyrs would be betrayed by the appointment.

Misrata's ruling council lodged a formal protest with the NTC, saying that if the appointment were confirmed Misratan rebel units deployed on security duties in Tripoli would refuse to follow NTC orders.

Misratans blame Shkal for commanding units that battered their way into this city in the spring, terrorising and murdering civilians.

Such stories are important, because they remind us that the people of Libya have their own historical agency. They cannot be reduced to marionettes of the US, NATO and Saudi Arabia, as some on the left would have us believe. Of course, this does not necessarily mean that they will successfully resist the predation of the US and Europe. But they do possess an indigenous culture and resources that provide them with an opportunity to do so.

A truly left internationalist engagement with the situation in Libya would seek to understand and support those institutions of collective social organization capable of facilitating opposition to the reimposition of repressive social controls for the benefit of transnationals. Given that Gaddafi was perfectly willing to continue to provide such assistance, if a bit querulously, I still remain perplexed as to why NATO intervened. Was Gaddafi really demanding that big a slice of the pie? And, after all, he was reinvesting a lot of the proceeds from his hydrocarbon deals within Europe. But it did, and the question now is whether the Libyans will be allowed to chart their own destiny or have the State Department do it for them. Meanwhile, here is a profile of the CIA's favorite for leadership.

Hat tip to Hossam el-Hamalawy and Louis Proyect.

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