How did self-declared anarchists come to support the Nato bombing of Libya?
David Douglass reports on how some English Anarchists slid down a slippery slope with their support for Islamic rebels in Libya. Full text at link.
On Sunday November 6 I was confronted out of the blue by a political development in anarchism which knocked me off my feet. Surrounded by comrades in a fairly well attended meeting of the Northern Anarchist Network and the North East Anarchists at the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle, I listened with jaw dropping to the item on the agenda marked ‘Libyan Solidarity Campaign’.
The ‘Support Nato bombing tendency’ is how I would roughly designate it. I subsequently traced back this disturbing development to Ian Bone’s blog. Ian, a long standing comrade of mine, founder of Class War and many great initiatives, surely could not be the origin of this absurd and reactionary viewpoint?
This is what he wrote in March: “The left, anarchists, myself and all of us are against western military intervention and a no-fly zone. Some of those arguments are worn out already - ‘We did it because we wanted Libya’s oil’. But political positions have real consequences … without such intervention we shall watch thousands die in Benghazi and the triumph of a nutter which will set back uprisings in other Arab dictatorships. We will have maintained our impeccable anti-imperialist integrity against the cries of soon-to-be-annihilated rebels now asking for a no-fly zone.”
Here we have Ian deliberating with himself basically on not wanting to see the anti-Gaddafi rebels go down in blood, but realising the consequences of western military intervention. This is fair enough as thinking out loud, but how many thoughts did Ian have as to the nature of what was being proposed against the Gaddafi regime? The rebels were not just living their lives or minding their own business, but posing a military and political challenge. What were they offering? This is crucial in any discussion, not whether my enemy’s enemy is my friend, but is my enemy’s enemy worse than my enemy or the same? The Benghazi-based rebellion was rooted in Islamist and monarchist opposition to Gaddafi. Does this effort further the struggle of the working class to gain power for itself? Can we take a side in a war which always ultimately may be against us and people of our political stance, and the working class as a class acting in its own interests? Can Nato ever spearhead a progressive revolution? Really?