Down with the imperialist invasion of Libya!

Expropriate all imperialist assets without compensation, place them under workers control!

Down with the pro-imperialist capitalist (Interim) Transitional National Council!

Down with the imperialist puppet regime of Gaddafi!

Forward to a revolutionary workers government based on workers councils of delegates from factory committees, the disbanding of the army and the general arming of the masses!


The Transitional Programme says in the section on the Struggle against imperialism and war, … ‘a correct policy is composed of two elements: an uncompromising attitude on imperialism and its wars and the ability to base one’s program on the experience of the masses themselves.’


The first point of the programme against this imperialist invasion of Libya is to call for the confiscation of the profits of the war monopolies, to call for their expropriation and for them to be placed under workers control; further we have to call for the expropriation of the oil monopolies, BP ,Shell, Exxon Mobil Texaco, Repsol, the French (Elf-Aquitaine), German and Italian oil companies (ENI), etc, for workers control over these industries and for the banks that are behind the military and oil companies to be expropriated, their profits confiscated and for workers control to be established both in the semi-colonies and in the imperialist centres.


The same banks, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Deutsche bank, Credit Lyonnaise, etc are falling over each others feet in jockeying for a redivision of the hold of the different imperialists over the resources of Libya.


The same banks are the ones leading the attacks on the US, British, French, German worker, on all the workers in Europe. Trillions of dollars go to the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and now Libya and Ivory Coast. Yet billions are cut back from wages, benefits, education and health care to bail out these same banks.


Yet, the Gerry Downings, Socialist Fight and the rest of the social imperialist left raise no such demands for their own imperialist to be defeated on home soil and they fail to draw the link between the uprisings against the intolerable conditions of the working class and lower sections of the middle class in North Africa and the Middle East and the attacks on workers living standards in the imperialist centres. This is also occurring when there was the second biggest march in recent history in London, against the imperialist cutbacks, hundreds of thousands of workers are marching in Wisconsin and Sarkozy has the lowest rating among the broad masses of all French Presidents going back to before the French May 1968. The role that the social imperialist and reformist left plays is, using Socialist phraseology, to prevent the working class from taking to the path of revolution. The time has come for the working class in the imperialist centres to rise up to overthrow their own regimes- the enemy is at home. Crucially, this requires the working class to break from and politically defeat the social imperialist and reformist left. An independent working class party is required of the vanguard working class fighters to lead this struggle on national and international terrain.


All over the world the domination of capitalism is being threatened by the masses. When the capitalists increased housing, food, oil, electricity, to 40-100 times their real value, they created fictitious value, in other words, value that did not exist. For the monopoly capitalists now to create value they have to rob the workers of their pensions, take back benefits, lower wages. But the working class refuses to die in silence. It is resisting, on a world scale. Every capitalist regime on the planet is under threat from being overthrown by the masses. This is why imperialism is trying everything it can to smash the Libyan masses; they are trying to stop a workers revolution that would spark a further revolution not only in the semi-colonies, but in the very imperialist centres. This is the significance of the struggles in Libya today.


Imperialism does not know how to act to stop the explosion of the world working class; when Gaddafi first started using live ammunition to shoot down the protestors, imperialism and in particular US imperialism refused to condemn this. Later the same shooting of unarmed protestors occurred in Yemen and Bahrain. Previously in the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings, the regime at some stage also used live ammunition before the police were withdrawn from the streets to prevent the army from directly joining the masses and breaking from the capitalist regime. Thus Gaddafi, by using live ammunition to shoot down protestors, was applying the policy of imperialism.


Libya’s ‘African Socialism’ was African stalinism

From the time of September 1969 when his military coup contained the workers revolution, Gaddafi has been a puppet of imperialism. From 1967 there a number of strikes and protests among oil workers, supported by the middle class- there were protests against the war that imperialism waged through Israel against the masses in the region. Protests were also held against US imperialist invasion of Vietnam. It was also the period around the May 1968 workers’ revolt in France that reverberated around the globe. The coup in Libya was against the working class seizing power and overthrowing the monarchy with its own methods.  In the period after 1969 Ghaddafi nationalized a large part of the oil industry and set up partnerships with imperialist oil companies. Thus he set up a state capitalist regime. He adapted a blend of Islamic and Italian law for Libya. Two legal trustees would advise over the development of new law. Popular committees of workers and the middle class were set up with delegates to higher councils up to a Governing People’s Congress, which would elect a cabinet. Despite the nominal equality of everyone, the popular committees ensured the domination of the middle class, of a bureaucracy that had at its head the Gaddafi family and the group of officers that launched the 1969 coup. Everyone had to belong to the state union whose structures were controlled by the popular committees, ie under the control of the middle class. In other words the regime was not one of a workers government but of a Stalinist bureaucracy. This means further that there was no real workers control over the oil, the major part of the economy. Control by the Gaddafi bureaucracy meant that Libya was still a semi-colony providing cheap to the oil monopolies. Until before the current imperialist invasion of Libya, the cost of production  per barrel of oil was $1. The pressures of Libya in a world dominated and controlled by capitalism-imperialism meant that, despite its riches it would remain a semi-colony dependent on world capitalism. The history of Libya shows the fallacy of attempting to build Socialism in one country. Using demagogy of ‘support’ for guerilla and nationalist groups and ‘radical’ socialist  groups, was how Gaddafi maintained his standing. The National Oil company of Libya controlled only half of the oil while different imperialists, the Italians, US, French, German directly and indirectly controlled a huge part of the oil. US imperialism controls 65% of Tamoil the main agency for handling oil derivative products. The period from the 1990’s saw Libya opening itself more and more to direct capitalist exploitation. In 2008-9 the EU and USA saw the Gaddafi regime as its preferred partner for the future exploitation of Libya. Recently Gaddafi, following the plans of the IMF, retrenched 300 000 public sector workers and was due to retrench 300 000 more. In 2008 Italian imperialism and the EU signed agreements with Gaddafi for satellite surveillance for the desert borders to turn back African immigrants, despite this condemning these workers to a sure death in the middle of the Sahara. The setting up of concentration camps today for African immigrants on the Italian island of Lampedusa is just another extention of the agreements between Gaddafi and imperialism. The  Mediterranean is full of imperialist ships but they did nothing to save a ship carrying 250 African immigrants from sinking after it had sent out distress signals. This shows further that the so-called no fly zone has nothing to do with protecting civilians as Gaddafi and imperialism have long been in a pact against the working class.


All the capitalist regimes in the world are under threat

The masses rose spontaneously, as they had done in Tunisia and Egypt, and started smashing the police stations; whole sections of the army came over to the side of the masses. What gave the initial uprising a greater sweep than Egypt or Tunisia is due to a greater degree of urbanization (88% in Libya) and the weakness of the state trade unions whose leadership were unable to play the role of keeping the working class off the streets. When the masses were about to overthrow Gaddafi, imperialism came to his rescue- at all costs imperialism had to stop the armed masses smashing one of their puppet regimes. The implications were that immediately in Bahrain and Yemen the masses would follow suit and from there to Saudi Arabia, even threatening the existence of Israel and the very imperialist regimes themselves. The recent shooting of a Democrat senator in the US by an unemployed worker is a reflection of the deep hatred of the working class for the regime. [In the USA virtually the entire population has arms].


Imperialism saves the Gaddafi regime and goes on the offensive against the uprising

Imperialism rescued the Gaddafi regime by dispatching mercenaries from the French-imperialist controlled Chad and Niger. At the same time US imperialism mobilized their resources to betray the uprising from within: Gaddafi’s Minister of Justice and Head of Intelligence ‘defected’; imperialism dispatched military leaders, such as Hafter, who they had used years ago and failed to overthrow Gaddafi through a the Libyan National Salvation Front (then trying to impose a more regime more compliant to US imperialism than other imperialists). For 20 days imperialism worked on gaining control of the leadership of the uprising, steering it towards setting up a bourgeois regime- Thus the ITNC includes fragments of Gaddafi’s regime, tribal leaders, the Muslim Brotherhood, but the head of military operations, Hafter, the de facto Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril and head of finances, Ali Tarhouni, are all US-trained and thus directly under the instructions of US imperialism. The Turkish regime, another US puppet, has been on the ground in Benghazi, in support of US imperialism’s campaign for complete control of the ITNC from the time the masses took over the area.  With the excuse of ‘training’, the weapons of the armed masses were brought under the control of the ITNC, in essence a capitalist regime was being set up. This capitalist regime is recognized by Italy, Qatar (and thus indirectly by US imperialism) and France.  At the same time, the 20 days gave Gaddafi sufficient time to advance and smash, especially the masses in Tripoli, thus, for the moment suppressing the momentum of a revolutionary overthrow of the Gaddafi regime by the working class. On the other hand the ITNC leaders (under the directive of US imperialism) have been instigating attacks against African immigrant workers, who comprise more than half the workforce, to divide the working class- a mechanism to isolate and weaken the uprising. Hafter, the CIA operative controlling the ‘rebel’ offensive has deliberately kept the troops that came over from Gaddafi’s army, away from the front line, thus sacrificing the workers and poor farmers that rose up against the Gaddafi regime, to be slaughtered on the battle fields. [it is likely that imperialism is passing on intelligence to the Gaddafi regime about the Benghazi forces].  


The fact that the ITNC had to limit its call for a UN no-fly zone that it should exclude occupation troops, shows that their control is still being contested by the Libyan masses not only in the east, but throughout the country. At the same time the sentiment of the US working class and the entire working class in the North Africa- Middle east region, if not the world, is against any occupation of Libya by any imperialist army. There have been reports of Al Qaeda in Libya. If it is true then US imperialism would use Al Qaeda to help smash, divide and divert the working class from taking power.


It has emerged that Greece is supplying the Gaddafi regime with fuel for his military vehicles and tanks. As Greece is virtually a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, this means that US imperialism is still propping up the Gaddafi regime, giving it more time to smash the masses. Further, a ship carrying weapons from Benghazi to Misurata to support forces of the ITNC, was turned around by a Turkish ship. Turkey is controlled by US imperialism- further evidence that the battle is against the Libyan masses, and the world masses, not the Gaddafi regime. Nato bombs attacked and destroyed military infrastructure under the control of Gaddafi and the ITNC. Recently Nato planes struck twice within days killing forces of the ITNC in the same area. The UN resolution for the invasion prevents arms shipments to Libya, ie on the surface preventing arms from reaching both ITNC and Gaddafi. But while the UN resolution condemns mercenaries- it outlines no steps against them. Thus de facto the resolution allows the further arming of the Gaddafi regime and while arms for the masses are cut off. The terms of the UN resolution 1703 are for a negotiated settlement, thus setting the ground for maintaining the brutal regime of Gaddafi, even though imperialism may be forced to send him out as they did to their other puppets Ben Ali and Mubarak.


Workers in Tobruk have said they are opposed to the UN bombing, saying that the masses in Libya should deal with Gaddafi on their own. This is a sign of a split on the forces in Benghazi. Increasingly the masses in Benghazi are realizing that the ITNC is another bourgeois regime merely wanting to replace Gaddafi with themselves and that the ITNC wants to open Libya up to greater exploitation by imperialism than ever before. On the other hand a section of the masses are now temporarily supporting the fight against the ITNC, helped by the UN bombing into thinking that they are fighting imperialism. Worker is fighting worker while Gaddafi and the ITNC are in their bunkers. Imperialism is very happy while the revolutionary masses are being weakened in the West by a murderous fascist crackdown on the masses and in the east by clashes with the Gaddafi armed forces and mercenaries.


Imperialism is reluctant to supply heavy arms to the ITNC as these could be used against them when they attempt to land their invasion forces. Some of the soldiers in the east are resisting being put under similar command structures that they had broken from under the Gaddafi regime. The masses in the west and east of Libya are now questioning whether imperialism wants to allow them democracy or whether they are just interested in the oil and establishing or maintaining a regime that would keep the masses in subjection for continued exploitation by imperialism.


The actions of imperialism show that the CIA and MI5 is operating on and advising both ‘sides’, the ITNC and the Gaddafi regime. The central objective is to snuff out the revolutionary movement to overthrow the lackey imperialist regime. In other words, Gaddafi and the ITNC are on the same side with imperialism against the masses.


Such is the close relation between the Gaddafi regime and imperialism that Libya was on the UN Human Rights council and remained there for several weeks after the mass protests started against the regime.


That imperialism now threatens Gaddafi with the International Criminal Court is just a cover for imperialism to hide behind- the USA and Libya are not signatories of the court and thus their regimes cannot be tried in terms of its rules. In Sudan, US imperialism used the referral to the International Criminal Court as a bargaining chip against Omar Bashir to seize the oil in South Sudan [US imperialism has long funded the ‘rebels’ in the South of Sudan].


Greater funds are now being given by US imperialism to the Egyptian military than in the time of Mubarak- this is to ensure that the military regime remains loyal to US imperialism and is able to act, if necessary against the masses in the region to protect capitalist interests.


What is needed is for the immigrant and Libyan workers to unite, setting up joint factory committees with workers militias and including delegates from the rank and file soldiers. The central demand must be for the immediate expropriation of imperialist assets, without compensation to the capitalists and workers control over all industry. This can only be achieved if the masses unite to overthrow the ITNC and the Gaddafi regime, setting up a revolutionary workers government based on the factory committees. Based on this programme there needs to be set up revolutionary working class parties in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, the entire region and in the imperialist centres and indeed across the world. These factory committees must be distinguished from the popular committees of Gaddafi which were set up as a means of bureaucratic control by the Libyan middle class and elite. The call must be made to extend the fight to expropriate imperialism in the region, up to the imperialist centres and for the working class there to stop the war machinery as we have spelt out in the opening paragraphs above. We need to spread the fire of revolution throughout the capitalist world. Let us turn the start of the uprising in the North Africa and Middle East into the world socialist revolution. But for this, contrary to what the reformist left claims, or the World Social Forum claims, when they say the masses need only social movements, we need to build a revolutionary international. This is the ultimate way to unite our struggles against world imperialism capitalism; in is in these fights for programme on the barricades that the Fourth International is being refounded.


Forward to socialism!

7.4.2011 amended 12.4.2011



We expose the capitulation of Gerry Downing, Socialist Fight and others to Gaddafi and to imperialism (his foolish illusions in Gaddafi):


Gerry Downing’s way forward for the Egyptian revolution is ‘ It is vital to fight for the working class movement in the shape of the new independent trade union federation, the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, champion the cause of women’s oppression and equally the cause of the oppressed Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank’. Thus according the Gerry the leadership of the fight for Socialism must be in the hands of a trade union formed by AFL-CIO for the purpose of strangling the revolution! The role of the party in leading the revolution against the capitalist state is non existent, according to Downing. Further, the fight for women’s emancipation is reduced to a trade union struggle and not one against the capitalist system. Even further, struggle of the Palestinians is reduced to Gaza and West bank. What shines through is the acceptance by Downing of Bantustans for Palestinians and by implication the existence of the state of Israel- what about the 6 million Palestinian refugees scattered around the world? Under the cover of Socialist phrases, Downing reveals his pro-zionist and pro-imperialist leanings.


Downing regards Gaddafi as the ‘foremost opponent of Zionism in the region’ . What Downing forgets is that the exploited masses are the foremost opponents of Zionism in the region. On the 8th April 2011 there was almost a million protestors in Tahrir square demanding that the Rafah border be opened and condemning the attacks by Israel on the Palestinians.  Completely missing from Downing’s ‘analysis’ is the pivotal role of the masses. He puts his faith in Gaddafi, the darling of the UN Human Rights Council that does not lift any finger against Zionism and the ongoing massacres against the Palestinians. Gaddafi was the one who coined the term ‘Isratine’ in other words an acceptance of Zionism as part of a future state which negates the existence of Palestinians. Now we can see more clearly why Downing refers to Gaza and West Bank for Palestinians- he aims that they be confined there in the future ‘Isratine’.


Downing tries to build a case that Gaddafi is not ‘imperialism’s strongman in the region’ – why he asks, would imperialism bomb their own friend? For those with short memories, Saddam Hussein was for years the darling of US imperialism in Iraq- when Saddam started to shift more towards French and German imperialism, they trumped up charges against their ‘strongman’ and bombed him. Yes, Downing that is what imperialism has done not only to him but many other of their lackeys that show either disloyalty or show they are no longer capable of controlling the masses.


Downing further attempts to build a case Libya was the ‘most egalitarian and anti-imperialist country in the region’, as part of his desperate attempt to show that Gaddafi is not an imperialist lackey.


Let us look only at a few factors of this ‘egalitarianism’:


  • The Supreme Court in Libya still operates on the basis of laws set up in 1953 (before the 1969 coup) in the time of the monarchy when Italian imperialism still held sway, albeit in the name of a formally independent Libya. The laws operate based on Italian and Sharia principles which are both based on private property;
  • All workers are forced to join the Libyan national trade union and if they break ‘labour discipline’ can be sent to prison serving sentences of hard labour; workers have no fight to form their own unions and if their representatives are not to the liking of the regime, Gaddafi replaces them; The right to strike exists but in practice no strikes are allowed – assuring imperialism an uninterrupted supply of oil for many years under conditions of brutal suppression of the working class; further there are more immigrant workers in Libya than local workers- immigrant workers, who number over 1,5 million have no right to join any union and once their contracts expire, they are expelled from the country; the regime has killed immigrant workers, expelling thousands of black workers from time to time [it seems the ITNC has learnt well from Gaddafi in their attacks on black workers].
  • The Libyan trade union is controlled by the popular committees, which are structures of the state. These bureaucratic unions are part of the Stalinist controlled WFTU (World Federation of Trade Unions).
  • 30% of Libyans live below the poverty line  and there is a 15- 30% unemployment rate (different estimates are given)
  • Female illiteracy is 32% while male illiteracy is 9.2%
  • In the Government Congress, women make up only 8% of the members;
  • No independent workers organizations or parties are allowed


Gaddafi’s supposed anti-imperialism can be seen from Libya’s membership of the imperialist UN Human Rights Council that turns the other cheek at all the atrocities of imperialism in the DRC, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, etc. Chavez, Gaddafi and Mugabe (and others) all use ‘anti-imperialist’ phrases to contain the mass and to hide their real role as total lackeys of imperialism.


Downing argues that Gaddafi is ‘anti-imperialist’ and that the working class should march in a united front with him to prevent the ‘Benghazi rebels’ from helping imperialism to get Libya. What he is covering is that imperialism already has Libya and does not want to lose it to the masses. Through the UN the French and US imperialism want to increase their share and reduce the share of the German and Italian imperialists. But all of them are united against the masses. Thus Downing helps imperialism give greater credibility to Gaddafi as a ‘bulwark against imperialist finance capital’. At the same time Downing gives a progressive cover to Gaddafi as he continues to smash the masses. Gaddafi is not fighting imperialism but is fighting the masses who want to get rid of him- he is suppressing the working class in Tripoli- so Downing says we must march with Gaddafi to suppress the working class in every area. Thus the position of Downing provides a great service to imperialism- smashing the working class resistance- the very aim of imperialism in the entire region.


Downing lists 7 countries which, just because imperialism claims they are targeted for ‘regime change’, that they are not imperialist stooges. The countries are: North Korea, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Venezuela, Myanmar, Libya and Iran. He conveniently ignores the 3 other countries, the DRC, Eritrea and Timor Leste which are also listed as ‘least free’ which are totally under the thumb of imperialism. Eritrea which has partitioned Ethiopia and which together with Djibouti are used by French and US imperialism as springboards to control the region; the DRC has been in war since 1996 and more than 6 million people have died while imperialism plunders it for minerals for cellphones, laptops and playstations. North Korea sends workers to the imperialist sweat shops across the border in South Korea, directly receiving workers wages from the imperialist companies operating there- such is the ‘anti-imperialism’ of the Stalinist North Korean regime; The Castrist bureaucracy has long played the role of beheading revolutions and are now dismissing a million workers and becoming a new capitalist class in the service of imperialism; Zimbabwe brutally suppresses the workers so that Anglo American can continue to plunder the country of Platinum, gold and diamonds- the country has been dollarised- this is the ‘great’ anti-imperialism that Downing claims for Mugabe. Iran and Venezuela  are not run by workers governments – the bonapartist regimes here smash the workers strikes when the workers try to establish real workers control over production; workers in Iran cannot even establish their own unions- in short all these supposed ‘anti-imperialists’ are nothing but lackeys of imperialism. Their anti-imperialist rhetoric is to appease the home masses while in reality these regimes smash the working class and keep them in control for imperialism.


In short the position of Downing to march with Gaddafi is to put worker against worker and to help imperialism slaughter the vanguard fighters in Libya.


Downing distorts the role of the AU (African Union) as if it plays a progressive if weak anti-imperialist role in Africa. The AU is a negotiating chamber of the imperialist lackeys in Africa, each acting to prevent themselves from being overthrown by the masses, keeping the masses in chains so imperialism can continue to plunder Africa. When it comes to the crunch, rhetoric aside, the AU regimes all line up with imperialism. This is illustrated by the 3 Africa regimes (SA, Nigeria, Gabon) on the UN security council all voting in favour of the imperialist invasion of Libya.


Downing claims that if Gaddafi’s regime falls then there will be greater exploitation of the masses in Africa everywhere. It is true that if imperialism crushes the masses in Libya, things will be worse for the world proletariat. But if the masses overthrow the ITNC and the Gaddafi regime, then the counter-offensive of the masses against the imperialism onslaught will have taken 100 steps forward.


We should march with the Libyan masses against the imperialist invasion, which means acting to expropriate imperialism without compensation, organizing independent workers councils; Down with the Gaddafi regime and the capitalist ITNC- they are both servants of imperialism. Forward to armed workers brigades to support the Libyan masses in their fight against the imperialist invasion and against the Gaddafi regime and the ITNC. Down with the social imperialist left that wants to march with Gaddafi and those who want to march to support the ITNC. The formation of revolutionary working class parties in every country is necessary to take our struggle for Socialism up to the end, for the working class to take power and to hold on to it; the struggle for Socialism can only succeed if the working class also takes power in the imperialist centres. All power to the working class in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Ivory Coast; down with the Swazi regime- puppet of Anglo American. Down with the Saudi regime! Down with the Zionist fascist regime Down with all capitalist regimes! For preparations for a revolutionary general strike in the USA, France, Britain, Germany, Japan. Such is the broad programme for the refounding of the Fourth International!


Let us end this barbarism of capitalism! Forward to Socialism!


Issued by Workers International Vanguard League 1st Floor, Community House, 41 Salt River rd, Salt River, 7925 South Africa ph 0822020617          website :