|Revolutionary youth celebrate capture of one of Gaddafi's tanks|
Was Libya just another ‘proxy war’?
First, these so-called revelations are hardly new. It was obvious at the time that the US and EU powers coveted the oil that Gaddafi was promising to China. That is what you expect from imperialist powers when they are competing for a vital resource such as oil.
Does that mean that imperialism determined the fate of the Libyan revolution? No! The Libyan revolution won despite imperialist intervention. It got rid of Gaddafi's pro-imperialist dictatorial regime. There were excesses including the summary execution of black mercenaries by the rebels, and the summary execution of Gaddafi himself. These were known at the time and opposed by those supporting the revolution who called for such acts to be subject to a revolutionary court.
Semi-colonial revolutions don’t follow the blueprints of Western revolutionaries. Democratic revolutions against military dictatorships are not ‘pure’. Such revolutions in the West were bloody and were fought over decades. Revolutions are messy and do not mean that suddenly the future is rosy. So talk of chaos and anarchy is stupid when killings are a fraction of downtown Chicago.
Revolutions are always bloody because they are confronted by bloody counter-revolutions. Ruling classes rule by force unleashing anarchy and chaos to destroy revolutions. Revolution can only prevail by destroying the military dictatorship of the counter-revolution.
In Libya today it is clear is that the popular masses are still in control. The militias will not agree to disarm until a national army exists that represents all their interests. They control the oil production and negotiate shares. The US/NATO bloc and Russia/China bloc have failed to create a new client regime to pump the oil for them.
The machinations of Clinton and her US power brokers are largely irrelevant to this situation because they failed in Libya and they will ultimately fail in Syria.
The imperialist ‘left’ conspiracy
The so called Clinton ‘revelations’ are merely fuel for the social imperialist left that is desperate to find 'facts' to prove that Arab and other MENA people are incapable of determining their own future because they are dupes of the CIA or Muslim 'extremists'. This is the left that has benefited from generations of 'democracy' paid for by the blood of colonial peoples and suppressed by dictators like Gaddafi, Assad and Sisi. These people would not recognise a democratic revolution if they ran into it in a pub.
The imperial ‘left’ are liberals bought off by colonial super-profits decades ago to support to ‘progressive’ leaders (Gaddafi and Assad!) or big powers (Russia!) to create a better world without having to get off their backsides. When ‘reality’ social media shows up their conspiracies they have to look for new conspiracies to plug the gaps. Clinton's emails don't tell us anything we don't already know and nothing about real revolutions. Let’s look at how these ‘imperialist conspiracies’ to make revolutions have worked out in practice.
Western ‘Leftists’ who write off the Arab masses as no more than the pawns of Big Power spies or proxy fighters, claim that revolutions are the result of imperialist conspiracies. Classic anti-communist conspiracy theory holds that workers cannot make revolutions unless organised to do so by their imperialist masters. So those revolutions then must serve the interests of the imperialists.
Favourite conspiracies include that the Bolshevik revolution where the Kaiser supposedly allowed Lenin to travel in a sealed train back to Russia and contributed gold to back the Bolsheviks in return for a ceasefire. On the contrary, proving they were not puppets of the Kaiser, the Bolsheviks delayed signing a peace treaty to foment revolution in Germany. French and British spies also tried to influence the Bolsheviks into continuing the war against Germany. But the Bolsheviks served the interests of none of the big powers.
Bolsheviks were no imperialist puppets
The Bolsheviks delayed signing a peace treaty with Germany in support of the German masses fed up with the war and primed for mutiny. This forced Germany to invade the Ukraine and destroy Russia’s agricultural and industrial heartland to force the Bolsheviks to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Within months the German soldiers had mutinied and the Bolsheviks had expropriated the assets of all the imperialist powers. The real conspiracy then became obvious. The warring powers hastened to sign the Armistice so they could unleash an invasion of 7 armies against the ultimate enemy, Bolshevism, only to be defeated in the Civil War by the Red Army, establishing the Soviet Union as a thorn in the side of imperialism for 70 years!
The Russian revolution was handicapped by its isolation as a result of the failure of the German revolution. That had nothing to do with the Entente whose greed impoverished German workers and helped drive them to insurrection, but rather to German social democracy which was bought off by the German ruling class to form a bourgeois “Socialist Republic” and to kill Luxemburg and Liebknecht the leaders of the Spartacists who demanded a socialist insurrection. This momentous episode in history proves that it was not imperialist spies manipulating revolutions, but rather organising counter-revolutions to divide-and-rule the proletariat and defeat revolutionary insurrections.
A second example is the Chinese revolution of 1949. No imperialist power, especially the US and Japan, expected the Chinese revolution to kick them and the national bourgeoisie out of China. The CCP influenced by Stalin formed an alliance with the ‘progressive’ national bourgeoisie, but it fled the country making it necessary for the party to go further than it intended and nationalise imperialist and capitalist property. Far from being the dupes of imperialism the Chinese bureaucracy was forced to expel it and to base itself on the ‘state property’ of poor peasants and workers. However, the bureaucracy feared the power of workers and poor peasants to rise, overthrow it and take state power into their own hands. So they plotted a return to the “capitalist road”. However, even then they were no dupes of imperialism.
While the Chinese bureaucracy painted themselves as “communists” they were actually moving to build state capitalism in China strong enough to resist any return to Western colonial domination. Thus in 1989-92 the US imperialist bloc celebrated the restoration of capitalism in Russia and China only to face the shock of these two countries emerging from ignominious defeat in the Cold War as born again rivals to US hegemony. Now both Russia and China led a block of “emerging nations” that threatened to rival the declining US imperialist bloc.
Revolution vs Counter-Revolution
The class war is a constant battle between labour and capital. Revolutionary forces are constantly confronted and attacked by counter-revolutionary forces. As war and repression expose the attempts to use democratic forms to contain the revolution, the imperialist ruling classes are forced to resort to naked state power. They can only hold onto their power by hiring spies, mercenaries and agents to divide and conquer the working masses. But these measures too are insufficient. That is what Libya and Syria show us.
Attempts to intervene and manipulate popular resistance have come to nothing. There is only so much that the imperialist spies and mercenaries can do before they are powerless in the face of the armed masses. For all its “interventions” the US bloc has lost every war it fought since Vietnam because it could not destroy revolutionary workers and poor peasants who defended democracy against imperialism and its lackey client regimes.
That is why the weapon of last resort that the imperialists have is the imperialist ‘left’ that cynically bemoans the manipulation of the masses by the US imperialist bloc. For them the popular revolution is actually an imperialist counter-revolution. That is why they side with reactionary, genocidal regimes as “progressive” allies in the ‘war on terror’.
The revolutionary masses in Libya and Syria refuse to bought off or subordinated to imperialism and its servants and will always overshoot the plans of their ‘masters’ when they have nothing to lose but their chains. One of those chains is the imperialist ‘left’ bought off by the comforts of civilisation to write off the masses as history’s losers. That is why the Libyan and Syrian revolutions will win only if based upon armed militias that are independent of imperialism and its lackey national regimes, and materially backed up by the world's working class.