Libyan rebels dance in the streets, while globalized capital waits in the wings

U.S. capitalism and its twin apologists, the Republican and Democratic political parties, have much to celebrate with the anticipated fall of the Gaddafi government in Libya.

The Democrats and their sycophants in the corporate news media can’t seem to praise leader Obama’s wisdom enough, as the U.S. and its NATO allies have brought Libya to the brink of regime change without the reported loss of a single Western life. Loss of Libyan civilian lives and the destruction of much of their infrastructure is, however, of little concern to those responsible for more than five months of continuous bombing.

The Republicans are a little less euphoric, although the expected fall of Gaddafi to be replaced by a “democratic” government subservient to Western capitalism and globalization is something right out of their playbook. Petty U.S. politics keeps them from giving Obama his due at being a more efficient Commander in Chief than his Republican predecessor in delivering recalcitrant countries to the altar of globalized capitalism; formerly referred to as old fashioned colonialism.

Gaddafi has been cast by the leaders of the global capitalist states as a dictator, tyrant and bloodthirsty killer, hell-bent on the murder of innocent civilians. As head of state, Gaddafi had both the right under international law and the duty to his country to put down an armed rebellion. Before the U.S. and NATO elected to support the rebels, we were told of civilian bombings by Gaddafi. Since then Russian satellite photos show no evidence of any of the claimed airstrikes. U.S. corporate media failed to report this. [1]

If the reports we were given on Gaddafi’s “river of blood” choice of language concerning the rebels are true, then he is guilty of being a hurt, wounded leader who definitely needed aides to soften his language and threats when confronted with armed insurrection aided and fomented by the Western capitalist powers. That in itself is no justification for the Western powers providing 5 continuous months of bombing raids to ostensibly prevent a humanitarian disaster, while actually bringing one about, siding with a revolution that they themselves had cultivated.

Gaddafi came to power in 1969 when he led a military coup against King Idris who was installed by the British after supporting them against Italy in World War II. The king ruled Libya as a de facto colony of Britain and the U.S. Gaddafi took Libya from its 1969 position under Idris as one of the world’s poorest countries to having the highest standard of living in Africa. Libya as a nation currently ranks 55th of 172 countries in the Human Development Index in the UN Development Program’s Human Development Report. [2]

After 42 years under Gaddafi’s rule, Libyans are certainly entitled to a new government. The question is whether or not they will be better or worse off than under Gaddafi? Under Gaddafi Libya had:

  • The highest standard of living in Africa.
  • Full legal equal rights for women, unheard of in the Arab world. [3]
  • Free education for all Libyans
  • Free healthcare for all Libyans
  • Average life expectancy increased by 22 years under Gaddafi’s revolution. From 52 years in 1970 To to 74 years in 2010 [4]
  • Free subsidized housing for Libyans
  • $50,000 interest free grant to young Libyan couples upon marrying [5]
  • The Man Made River Project, the world’s largest underground system of pipes and aqueducts built at a cost of $33 billion. Labeled the Eighth Wonder of the World it brings 6.5 million cubic meters of fresh water per day to Tripoli, Benghazi and other cities. [6]

Not bad for a country that as recently as 1951 was ranked dead last in the world in terms of development.

Libya also has a public central bank, unlike Western capitalist countries in which the county’s central bank is private. As a county’s population and economy expands it is necessary to increase the money supply or there would be deflation (dropping prices). While dropping prices might sound good to consumers, who would buy a house with the knowledge that its worth will drop over time? With a public central bank the creation of money benefits the country and its people. With a private central bank like our Federal Reserve, the tremendous benefits of money creation belong to the private bankers. Gaddafi had proposed African unification, under the banner United States of Africa, to members of the African Union just before the U.S. and NATO joined the rebel side. He had also proposed a common currency the African Dinar which would be a challenge to the Western banking cartels monopoly on global oil trading. [7]

In 2003 after years of Western capitalist economic sanctions, Gaddafi made his deal with the Western capitalist states and renounced terrorism and discontinued his nuclear program in addition to allowing Western oil companies and others into the country. Libya took responsibility for their official’s role in the Lockerbie bombing and paid $10 million to each victim’s family. In return U.S. and U.N. economic sanctions were lifted.

Gaddafi’s revolution modernized a feudal society and provided tremendous benefits for its citizens. Whenever any kind of massive social change takes place in a society, there are always those that want to go back to the days and ways of old. Libya is no different and certainly Gaddafi used repression to combat those forces who didn’t want to see equal rights for women and the declining role of tribal leaders. From 2003 until 2010 the U.S. and other Western capitalist states became quite comfortable with Gaddafi’s Libya. It was only when Gaddafi started asserting his independence from them financially and threatened to cancel oil contracts and unite the African continent in a United States of Africa, thus in some minute way challenging the monopoly status conferred to private bankers’ U.S. dollars as the only currency to buy and sell oil internationally that he once again became an international pariah to be brought down by NATO and the U.S.

The victors get to write their history and it appears that the insurgents and NATO will win. But there is no evidence that the revolution is the wish of the majority of Libyans, regardless of how many times we seem the same clips of a handful of rebels taking Tripoli and shooting their guns in celebration

The masses in the West have been inundated for decades with tales of Gaddafi as a monster, just as we were with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Will the Western capitalist nations allow a free independent government? That seems highly unlikely and hardly necessary since the rebel government appears perfectly comfortable rubbing elbows with the Western powers. Will the people of Libya be better or worse off with a Western capitalist puppet government than they were under Gaddafi? That also seems highly unlikely. They very well may be allowed to vote in meaningless elections, but their social and economic advances are sure to evaporate as Western bankers start extracting their pound of flesh on a defenseless people.

Research Notes

1. Voltaire Network, “Russia military reports airstrikes in Libya did not take place

2. Wikipedia, “List of Countries by Human Development Index

3. WBEZ, “Equal rights is the law in Libya for women”

4. “World Health Rankings, Lybia” and Wikipedia “Life expectancy rankings

5. Ellen Brown, “Libya: all about oil or all about banking?

6. Wikipedia, “Great Manmade River” and “GMR (Great Man-made River) Water Supply Project Libya

7. Brown, ibid and Nick Egnatz, “Libyan war: Just another bailout for the banking class

Nick Egnatz is a Vietnam veteran. He has been actively protesting our government’s crimes of empire in both person and print for some years now and was named “Citizen of the Year” for Northwest Indiana in 2006 for his peace activism by the National Association of Social Workers. Contact Nick at

2 Responses to Libyan rebels dance in the streets, while globalized capital waits in the wings

  1. Pingback: Dancing in the Streets or Ye Olde Fashioned Colonialism? |

  2. Continuing to read on the Libyan situation I uncovered yet another reason for Gaddafi to be disenchanted with his overtures to the Western capitalists. It seems that he invested $1.3 billion of the Libyan People’s Sovereign Wealth Fund with Goldman Sachs Investment Bank (!) which had been allowed to set up shop in Tripoli in 2007. Libya lost 98% of the $1.3 billion. Goldman Sachs was contrite and wanted them to get their money back, if only they would invest another $3.7 billion for an equity interest in Goldman Sachs.

    Of course, our fearless leader in the White House omitted this too from his narrative on why it was necessary to make war on that devil Gaddafi. Honest, I didn’t make this up. I lack both the imagination and sense or irony to concoct it.
    Libya placed bets with Goldman, lost $1.3 billion
    Goldman Sachs lost 98% of Libya’s $1.3 billion Sovereign Wealth Investment Fund
    Libya’s Sovereign Wealth Fund loses 98% of $1.3 billion invested with Goldman Sachs