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20 March 2011

Statement of the International Executive Committee of the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist)

Defend Libya Against Imperialist Attack!

The International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) calls on workers around the world to take a stand for military defense of semicolonial Libya against the attack begun yesterday by a coalition of rapacious imperialist governments. The French, British and U.S. rulers, in league with other imperialist governments and with the blessings of the sheiks, kings and military bonapartists of the Arab League, wasted not a moment in acting on the green light given by the United Nations Security Council on Thursday to slaughter countless innocent people in the name of “protecting civilians” and ensuring “democracy.” French air strikes were quickly followed by U.S. and British missile attacks, while Egypt’s military regime is providing arms to the Benghazi opposition forces. From Indochina and the Korean peninsula to the U.S.-led occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan today, the “democratic” imperialist rulers wade in the blood of millions upon millions of their victims. Recall that Britain and France historically carried out untold massacres in the Near East, Africa and the Indian subcontinent in order to pursue their colonial subjugation of those areas. Recall that Italy, now providing the use of its air bases for the attack, is responsible for the deaths of up to half the population of Cyrenaica in eastern Libya during its colonial rule prior to World War II.

Prior to the current attack, the conflict in Libya had taken the form of a low-intensity civil war, heavily overlaid by tribal and regional divisions, between the Tripoli-centered government of strongman Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi and imperialist-backed opposition forces concentrated in the country’s eastern areas. Workers Vanguard No. 976 (18 March), newspaper of the U.S. section of the ICL, noted that “Marxists presently have no side in this conflict.” But as the article continued: “In the event of imperialist attack against neocolonial Libya, the proletariat internationally must stand for the military defense of that country while giving no political support to Qaddafi’s capitalist regime.” The civil war in Libya has now been subordinated to the fight of a neocolonial country against imperialism. Every step taken by the workers of the imperialist countries to halt the depredations and military adventures of their rulers is a step toward their own liberation from capitalist exploitation, impoverishment and oppression. Defend Libya against imperialist attack! U.S. Fifth Fleet and all imperialist military bases and troops out of North Africa and the Near East!

Recall that the slaughter of well over a million people in Iraq began with the imposition of a UN-sponsored starvation embargo and a “no fly zone” in the 1990s. The latest action by the Security Council, including the neo-apartheid South African regime led by the African National Congress, underscores yet again the character of the United Nations as a den of imperialist thieves and their lackeys and semicolonial victims. The abstention by the representative of China, a bureaucratically deformed workers state, gave tacit approval to imperialist depredation, emboldening the very forces which seek to overturn the 1949 Chinese Revolution.

The crocodile tears shed by the imperialist rulers and their media mouthpieces over the Libyans killed by the Qaddafi regime during the recent wave of protests stands in sharp contrast to their muted response to the continuing massacre of protesters in Yemen—whose dictatorship is a key component of Washington’s “war on terror”—and their ongoing support to the Bahraini kingdom, which hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet. To aid in crushing mass protests, Bahrain last week invited in troops from the medievalist and theocratic Saudi monarchy, a key bulwark of U.S. imperialist interests in the region. In the eyes of the imperialist rulers, Bahrain’s Shi’ite majority and the Yemeni masses are less than human, with no rights they are bound to respect.

Numerous social-democratic leftists, typified by the United Secretariat (USec) and the British Cliffite Socialist Workers Party, have done their part to prepare the ground for imperialist massacres in Libya by cheering on the so-called “Libyan Revolution.” Having urged support for the cabal of pro-imperialist “democrats,” CIA stooges, monarchists and Islamists that comprise the Benghazi-based opposition, these reformists now feign to balk at imperialist military intervention in support of the opposition. The New Anti-Capitalist Party, constituted in 2009 by the USec’s French section, signed a call for a demonstration yesterday demanding that the Benghazi outfit be recognized as “the only legitimate representative of the Libyan people”—which French ruler Sarkozy had already done! At the same time, those left groups that have promoted illusions in Qaddafi’s “anti-imperialist” pretensions—such as the Workers World Party in the U.S.—seek everywhere and at all times to chain the working class to a mythical “progressive” wing of the bourgeoisie.

We pledge today, as we did at the time of the U.S. Reagan administration’s bombing of Libya in 1986, to “undertake every effort to propagandize the need for the world working class to take the side of Libya” against its imperialist enemies (“Under Reagan’s Guns in Libya,” WV No. 401, 11 April 1986). In the pursuit of profit and domination, the same capitalist ruling classes that brutally exploit the working class “at home,” only to throw workers on the scrap heap during periods of economic crisis, as today, carry out murderous imperialist attacks abroad. The struggle against imperialist war cannot be conducted separately and apart from the class struggle. Only socialist revolution can overthrow the system of capitalist imperialism which breeds war. Our path is that of the October Revolution of 1917, led by the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Trotsky, which was a beacon of revolutionary internationalism for the proletariat everywhere. We struggle to reforge the Fourth International as an instrument that can lead the working masses, from the Near East to the imperialist centers, forward to new October Revolutions and a world socialist society.

—20 March 2011