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Socialist Party USA: Recent Statements
Statement on Libya and the wave of popular uprisings
Socialist Party USA, International Commission March 17, 2011

Although we are barely two months into 2011, tumultuous revolts have already made history in the Middle East and North Africa. Masses of people, from all walks of life, broke free from their respective authoritarian governments to protest and fight for freedom, democracy, and better living conditions. We have seen two of the region's most
entrenched dictators brought down from power: Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The successful people's revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, though nowhere near finished, inspired similar mass movements all across the region; from Morocco to Iran, Yemen to Syria, and even in U.S. occupied Iraq.

In Libya, a mass movement by the Libyan people to end the 41-year authoritarian rule of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi has seen murderous
state-sponsored violence against unarmed protesters.

The United States, however, remains the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, conducting two wars in the Middle East and supplying many dictators, including Qaddafi, with the weapons to suppress their own people. The U.S. has no credibility to intervene in Libya on humanitarian grounds, nor can the international community credibly sit in judgment of Qaddafi while turning a blind eye to crimes of the United States.

The popular uprising in Libya began with a protest in Benghazi against the inhumane imprisonment of Fathi Terbil, a Libyan human rights activist. Within two days, on February 17th, a Day of Revolt resulted in the deaths of at least a dozen protesters. Within days, what was a small protest erupted into a mass movement against Colonel Qaddafi and the Libyan government. Despite Colonel Qaddafi's statement that he would “die as a martyr,” and an onslaught from loyalist soldiers and war planes, the revolt only became more defiant and grew in strength and numbers. Now protesters control several key cities and regions, leading many to fear the outbreak of civil war. The International Commission of the Socialist Party USA stands in solidarity with the people's movement for democratic rights in Libya.

While the international response should be one of unity and solidarity with the Libyan protesters, the response of western nations has instead been marred by underlying imperialist goals and tactics that blatantly do not work. Until now, Libyan oil has served as a bribe between the Libyan government and several European nations, most notably Great Britain, in exchange for peace with Colonel Qaddafi and indifference towards his authoritarian regime. Now, the imperialists in the United States and Europe have deemed that Colonel Qaddafi's fall will benefit them more than continuing to support his authoritarian regime

The United Nations Security Council decided unanimously to impose sanctions on Libya, a tactic that has found very little success elsewhere and has historically only increased the economic strain on the working class. More troubling is the fact that the United States has positioned naval war ships and Marines near Libya, in the event that
they deem it in their best interest to invade Libya and forcibly remove Colonel Qaddafi from power. This was a blatantly wrong move in Iraq that only created widespread suffering for the Iraqi people in the interest of achieving larger oil profits, and it is a blatantly wrong move now. President Obama has refused to rule out military intervention, instead declaring that all options remain on the table. In reality, the United States has already intervened in Libya by arming the Qaddafi regime under the imperialist banner of the “War on Terror”. The blame for the bloodshed in Libya does not only fall on Muammar Qaddafi, but also on the American government. Imperialist military intervention is the exact opposite of what the Libyan people want and need.

As with protests in Tunisia, Egypt, all across the Middle East, North Africa, and the planet as a whole, the Socialist Party USA stands firm in our support for all mass movements that aim to better the lives of the working class and to create a more democratic society. We strongly condemn the use of violence by the authoritarian Qaddafi regime to prolong its inevitable collapse. We also strongly oppose any imperialist intrusion on the freedom or democratic rights of the Libyan people, both in the present and after Colonel Qaddafi is out of power. We call upon the compassionate people of the United States to join us in protest against war, imperialism, and militarism on April 9th and 10th.


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