The True Conception of Welfare
[excerpted from Distributive Justice, by Msgr.John A. Ryan (1869-1945)]
This working creed of materialism is condemned by right reason, as well as by Christianity. The teaching of Christ on the worth of material goods is expressed substantially in the following texts: "Woe to you rich." "Blessed are you poor." "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth." "For a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of things that he possesseth." "Be not solicitous as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, or what you shall put on." "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you." "You cannot serve God and Mammon." "If thou wouldst be perfect, go, sell what thou hast and give to the poor, and come follow me." Reason informs us that neither our faculties nor the goods that satisfy them are of equal moral worth or importance. The intellectual and spiritual faculties are essentially and intrinsically higher than the sense faculties. Only in so far as they promote, either negatively or positively, the development of the mind and soul have the senses any reasonable claim to satisfaction. They have no value in themselves; they
are merely instruments to the welfare of the spirit, the intellect, and the disinterested will. Right life consists, not in the indefinite satisfaction of material
wants, but in the progressive endeavour to know the best that is to be known, and to love the best that is to be loved; that is, God and His creatures in the order of their importance. The man who denies the intrinsic superiority of the soul to the senses, who puts sense gratifications on the same level of importance
as the activities of mind, and spirit, and disinterested will, logically holds that the most degrading actions are equally good and commendable with those which
mankind approves as the noblest. His moral standard does not differ from that of the pig, and he himself is on no higher moral level than the pig. Those who accept the view of life and welfare taught by Christianity and reason cannot, if they take the trouble to consider the matter, avoid the conclusion that
the amount of material goods which can be expended in the rational and justifiable satisfaction of the senses, is very much smaller than is to-day assumed by the
great majority of persons. Somewhere between five and ten thousand dollars a year lies the maximum expenditure that any family can reasonably devote to its material
wants. This is independent of the outlay for education, religion, and charity, and the things of the mind generally. In the overwhelming majority of cases in which
more than five to ten thousand dollars are expended for the satisfaction of material needs, some injury is done to the higher life. The interests of health, intellect,
spirit, or morals would be better promoted if the outlay for material things were kept below the specified limit. The distribution advocated in this chapter is obviously no substitute for justice or the deeds of justice. Inasmuch, however, as complete justice is a long way
from realisation, a serious attempt by the possessors of true superfluous goods to fulfil their obligations of distribution would greatly counteract and soften
existing injustice, inequality, and suffering. Hence, benevolent giving deserves a place in any complete statement of proposals for a better distribution of wealth.
Moreover, we are not likely to make great advances on the road of strict justice until we acquire saner conceptions of welfare, and a more effective notion of
brotherly love. So long as men put the senses above the soul, they will be unable to see clearly what is justice, and unwilling to practise the little that they
are able to see. Those who exaggerate the value of sense gratifications cannot be truly charitable, and those who are not truly charitable cannot perform adequate
justice. The achievement of social justice requires not merely changes in the social mechanism, but a change in the social spirit, a reformation in men's hearts.
To this end nothing could be more immediately helpful than a comprehensive recognition of the stewardship of wealth, and the duty of distributing superfluous goods.
a response to Prof.
Francis Boyle’s “The Impending Collapse of Israel in
by Ken Freeland
The unflappable Francis Boyle is at it again. He periodically erupts with a new panacea to solve world problems, and today he has a novel suggestion for the Palestinians: don’t sign any peace agreement with Israel! Leave them to themselves, and they’ll just vanish from the pages of time, fulfilling the much-misquoted prophecy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Would that it were so!
Boyle’s prescription rests on two historically flawed assumptions, and they are these:
1) Yugoslavia was a useful historical example of a genocidal state that demonstrates what happens to such states: they fall of their own weight!
2) The CIA has predicted the collapse of the state of Israel in 20 years’ time, and we can bank on it.
I’ll examine his equally dubious conclusion later. For now, let’s look at these two flawed premises:
Was Yugoslavia genocidal? That was certainly NATO’s excuse for its very first “humanitarian intervention,” but where is the proof of this? The Kosovo conflict, about which these false claims were made, was nothing like what the Western media obediently reported, and postwar efforts to find the alleged mass graves of Muslim Kosovans have proven as fruitless as the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Habeus corpi! Let us have the bodies please, Professor Boyle! Where would you point us, sir, to find evidence of Serbian genocide in Kosovo?
On the other hand, it is a relatively easy thing to point to evidence of postwar massacres and uprooting of ethnic Serbs in Kosovo. But the permanent and massive US military base in that beleaguered province, Camp Bondsteel, tells the real story. In a million years, I doubt that it will ever occur to Professor Boyle that Yugoslavia did not fall apart because of supposed genocidal tendencies that he and his congeners continue to falsely impute to it, but it was taken apart in neo-imperialist fashion a la mode: 1) sanctions, 2) military aggression including rather indiscriminate aerial bombing with widespread civilian destruction (I witnessed the evidence firsthand immediately after the war), 3)support for separatist movements, 4)dismemberment. Is this not the formula that has been repeated ad nauseam in Iraq, Libya and, if they get their way again, Syria and then Iran (Syria currently experiencing phase 2 and Iran still in phase 1)?
But “Yugoslavian genocide” is Professor Boyle’s hobby horse, and off again he rides on it, this time in an effort to convince Palestinians they must refrain from any negotiated settlement with Israel. Perhaps Professor Boyle would be willing to spend another 20 years imprisoned in the hellhole of Gaza just to see if his vaunted prophecy holds up? Anyone with a historically accurate understanding of the War on Yugoslavia, that solitary bastion of European democratic socialism after the fall of the USSR, will already have already realized that he is not dealing with a historian here, but an ideologue, oblivious to the pollution this fly exudes in the ointment he offers as balm to the sempiternally suffering people of Palestine.
But speaking of the fall of the USSR, would Professor Boyle care to remind us how accurately the CIA predicted that greatest political collapse of the 20th century? Of course he doesn’t. And as those of his ilk continue to accept the fallacy that the events of 9/11 were masterminded and executed by foreign Islamic militants, would he care to remind us how accurately the CIA warned of that impending catastrophe? Yet we should perfectly willing to accept the CIA’s reported prediction of Israel’s imminent collapse. Israel, which has no apparent problem bankrolling itself from the tax rolls of, just to name a few, the United States, Germany, and additional largesse from Swiss banks…that’s a lot of capital! But we are assured that despite Israel’s fifth-column support in virtually every developed country in the world, despite its virtual monopoly control through its minions of the US media, the US congress, and the US president, we are to believe that it will soon go belly-up? When we consider that the CIA is known to plant disinformation for its own purposes, and that it has a policy of doing so whenever it finds it expedient, I would have to say, if I were a Palestinian, that a public CIA prediction is a very thin reed to lean on.
Now let’s take a close look at Professor Boyle’s novel conclusion, that only an agreement with the Palestinians would save Israel from certain doom: “Without approval by the Palestinians in writing, Zionism and Israel in Palestine will collapse. [Why didn’t he tell Yasser Arafat this good news and save him his futile trip to America when he was serving as his advisor?!] So the Palestinians must not sign any Middle East Peace Treaty with Israel…” Of course, when Israel is guaranteed to collapse on its own in 20 years, why bother? But then again, suppose it doesn’t? And then follow several incredible feats of logic, demonstrating that history is not Professor Boyle’s only weak subject: “Without approval by the Palestinians in writing, Zionism and Israel in Palestine will collapse. So the Palestinians must not sign any Middle East Peace Treaty with Israel…” So then, even if Israel should offer internationally guaranteed mutual non-aggression, withdrawal of all West Bank settlements and free egress from Gaza and East Jerusalem, with no other conditions, the Palestinians should say no? And later, “…for the Palestinians to sign a comprehensive peace treaty with Israel means that they will never be able to return to their homes as required by Resolution 194 of 1948.” Well of course, this goes without saying if the terms of the settlement relinquish Palestinian right of return, but that’s not what Professor Boyle says…he insists that any comprehensive peace treaty would mean this!
There can be no quarrel with the writer’s exposition of Israel’s expansive ambitions in the Middle East (aided and abetted by Washington’s wars, he might have usefully noted), which he culls from Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi, nor with his apposite quote from St. Augustine – that shoe definitely fits too. But as for Boyles’ own thinking, his historical premises, his faith in the CIA and his counterintuitive advice to the long-suffering people of Palestine, it is irresponsible and ahistoric, to say the least, and at best wishful thinking.
Date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012, 10:12 AM
The Palestinians must sign nothing and let Israel collapse!
University of Illinois Law Professor Francis A. Boyle
On November 15, 1988 the Palestine National Council (P.N.C.) meeting in Algiers proclaimed the Palestinian Declaration of Independence that created the independent state of Palestine. Today the State of Palestine is bilaterally recognized de jure by about 130 states. Palestine has de facto diplomatic recognition from most of Europe. It was only massive political pressure applied by the U.S. government that prevented European states from according to Palestine de jure diplomatic recognition.
Palestine is a member state of the League of Arab States and of the Islamic Conference Organization. When the International Court of Justice in The Hague—the so-called World Court of the United Nations System—conducted its legal proceedings on Israel’s apartheid wall on the West Bank, the World Court invited the State of Palestine to participate in the proceedings. In other words, the International Court of Justice recognized the State of Palestine.
Palestine has Observer State Status with the United Nations Organization, and basically all the rights of a U.N. Member State except the right to vote. Effectively, Palestine has de facto U.N. Membership. The only thing keeping Palestine from de jure U.N. Membership is the implicit threat of a veto at the U.N. Security Council by the United States, which is clearly illegal. Someday Palestine shall be a full-fledged U.N. Member State.
From a world-order perspective, the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence created a remarkable opportunity for peace with Israel because therein the P.N.C. explicitly accepted the U.N. General Assembly’s Partition Resolution 181(II) of 1947 that called for the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in the Mandate for Palestine, together with an international trusteeship for the City of Jerusalem, in order to resolve their basic conflict:
Despite the historical injustice inflicted on the Palestinian Arab people resulting in their dispersion and depriving them of their right to self-determination following upon U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 (1947), which partitioned Palestine into two states, one Arab, one Jewish, yet it is this Resolution that still provides those conditions of international legitimacy that ensure the right of the Palestinian Arab people to sovereignty and national independence.
The significance of the P.N.C.’s acceptance of the Partition Resolution in the Palestinian Declaration of Independence itself could not be over-emphasized. Prior thereto, from the perspective of the Palestinian People the Partition Resolution had been deemed to be a criminal act that was perpetrated upon them by the United Nations Organization in gross violation of their fundamental right to self-determination as recognized by the United Nations Charter and general principles of public international law. The acceptance of the Partition Resolution in their actual Declaration of Independence signaled the genuine desire by the Palestinian People to transcend the past century of bitter conflict with the Jewish People living illegally in their midst in order to reach an historic accommodation with them on the basis of a two-state solution.
The very fact that this acceptance of Partition Resolution 181 was set forth in their Declaration of Independence indicated the degree of sincerity with which the Palestinian People accepted Israel. The Declaration of Independence was the foundational document for the State of Palestine. It was intended to be determinative, definitive, and irreversible. As the P.N.C. well knew at the time, their Declaration of Independence was not something that could be amended or bargained away.
Nonetheless, the Palestinians have now fruitlessly spent the past twenty-two years trying to negotiate in good faith with Israel over the two-state solution set forth in Resolution 181. They have gotten absolutely nowhere. Israel has never demonstrated one iota of good faith when it came to negotiating a comprehensive Middle Peace settlement with the Palestinians on the basis of a two-state solution. Even the 1993 Oslo Agreement was nothing more than an Israeli-drafted interim Bantustan arrangement for five years that was rejected in Washington, D.C. by the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations for that precise reason. Both Israel and the United States now want to make the Oslo Bantustan permanent and, incidental thereto, destroy the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes as required by U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) of 1948 and general principles of public international law.
In this regard, shortly before he died on September 24, 2007, I called up the former Head of the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations, Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi at his home in Gaza in order to review the entire situation with him. According to Dr. Haidar: “The Zionists have not changed their objectives since the Basel Conference of 1897!” In other words, the Zionists want a “Greater” Israel on all of the Mandate for Palestine together with as much ethnic cleansing of Palestinians out of Palestine that the Zionists believe they can get away with internationally.
After twenty-two years of getting nowhere but further screwed to Israel’s apartheid wall on the West Bank and strangulated in Gaza, it is now time for the Palestinians to adopt a new strategy, which I most respectfully recommend here for them to consider: Sign nothing and let Israel collapse! Recently it was reported that the United States’ own Central Intelligence Agency predicted the collapse of Israel within twenty years. My most respectful advice to the Palestinians is to let Israel so collapse!
For the Palestinians to sign any type of comprehensive peace treaty with Israel would only shore up, consolidate, and guarantee the existence of Zionism and Zionists in Palestine forever. Why would the Palestinians want to do that? Without approval by the Palestinians in writing, Zionism and Israel in Palestine will collapse. So the Palestinians must not sign any Middle East Peace Treaty with Israel, but rather must keep the pressure on Israel for the collapse of Zionism over the next two decades as predicted by the Central Intelligence Agency. The correct historical analogue here is not apartheid South Africa, but instead the genocidal Yugoslavia that collapsed as a State, lost its U.N. Membership, and no longer exists as a State for that very reason.
All the demographic forces are in favor of the Palestinians and against the Zionists. The United States government is tired of its blank-check support for Israel because this policy seriously undermines and conflicts with America’s imperial objective to obtain the oil and gas lying beneath Arab and Muslim states by hook or by crook. Israel is ridden with and paralyzed by so many internal contradictions and conflicts that they are too numerous to list here.
Indeed, from the very moment of its inception as a direct result of the Zionists’ genocidal al Nakba in 1948, Israel has been the proverbial failed state, and still is so today. Israel would have never come into existence without the support of Western colonial imperial powers throughout the twentieth century. And the same is true today. Without the political, economic, diplomatic, and military support provided primarily by the United States, and to a lesser extent by Britain, France, and Germany, Israel would immediately collapse. The international Campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (B.D.S.) against Israel is quickly whittling away Israel’s domestic support in those countries. Israel’s own serial barbarous atrocities perpetrated against the Palestinians and the Lebanese have revealed the true face of Zionism for the entire world to see: genocide.
In fact, Israel has never been a State but just an Army masquerading as a State — a Potemkin Village of a State. Israel is the archetypal Great Band of Robbers described by St. Augustine in Book 4, Chapter 4 of The City of God:
Kingdoms without justice are similar to robber barons. And so if justice is left out, what are kingdoms except great robber bands? For what are robber bands except little kingdoms? The band also is a group of men governed by the orders of a leader, bound by social compact, and its booty is divided according to a law agreed upon. If by repeatedly adding desperate men this plague grows to the point where it holds territory and establishes a fixed seat, seizes cites and subdues peoples, then it more conspicuously assumes the name of kingdom, and this name is now openly granted to it, not for any subtraction of cupidity, but by addition of impunity….
All of these political, economic, military, diplomatic, sociological, psychological, and demographic forces are working in favor of the Palestinians and against Israel and the Zionists in Palestine. It will take a few more years for these historical forces to predominate and then to prevail. But the proverbial handwriting is on the wall for the Zionist Enterprise in Palestine for the entire world to see, including and especially the C.I.A. Even large numbers of Zionists living in Israel have already prepared their parachutes, and their exit plans, and their landing zones to go elsewhere in the world. There is no reason for the Palestinians to give the Zionists a new lease on life in Palestine by signing any sort of peace treaty with Israel.
It is obvious that soon Zionism will enter into Trotsky’s “ashcan” of history along with every other nationalistic “ism” that has plagued humankind during the twentieth century: Nazism, Fascism, Francoism, Phalangism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc. The only thing that could save Zionism in Palestine is for the Palestinians to conclude any type of so-called comprehensive Middle East Peace treaty with Israel. It is for precisely that reason then that the Palestinians must sign nothing and let Israel collapse of its own weight over the next two decades.
Millions of Palestinians have waited in refugee camps since 1948 in order to return to their homes, that is for 62 years. They can wait a little longer until Israel collapses within 20 years. Otherwise, for the Palestinians to sign a comprehensive peace treaty with Israel means that they will never be able to return to their homes as required by Resolution 194 of 1948. History and demography are on the side of Palestine and the Palestinians against Israel and the Zionists. But the Palestinians must allow history and demography a little bit more time in order to produce the collapse of Israel and Zionism in Palestine. Twenty years is but the blink of an eye in the millennia-long history of the Palestinian People, who are the original indigenous inhabitants of Palestine. God had no right to steal Palestine from the Palestinians and give Palestine to the Jews to begin with. A fortiori the United Nations had no right to steal Palestine from the Palestinians and give Palestine to the Zionists in 1947.
In the meantime, the Palestinians must keep up the pressure on Israel, Zionism and the Zionists in Palestine. The Palestinians have a perfect right under international law to resist an illegal, colonial, genocidal, criminal, military occupation regimé of their lands and of their homes and of their People that goes back to 1948 so long as it is done in a manner consistent with the requirements of international humanitarian law. Simultaneously, the Palestinians must continue to build their state from the ground up as they have been doing successfully since the first Intifada began in 1987 with its grassroots Unified Leadership of the Intifada.
Internationally, the Palestinians must continue their diplomatic and political and legal offensive against Israel. Palestine has gained enormous ground since November 15, 1988 when the P.N.C. proclaimed the independent State of Palestine. Palestine will continue to gain more support internationally over the next two decades, including the accelerating B.D.S. campaign that will delegitimize Israel and Zionism all around the world. At the same time, Israel will continue its rapid descent into pariah state status along the lines of the genocidal Yugoslavia that collapsed as a state and no longer exists. Israel will meet the same fate as the genocidal Yugoslavia provided the Palestinians do not sign any type of international peace agreement with Israel.
When Israel collapses, most Zionists will have already left or will soon leave for other states around the world. The Palestinians will then be able to claim all of the historic Mandate for Palestine as their State, including the entire City of Jerusalem as their Capital. Palestine will then be able to invite all of its refugees to return to their homes pursuant to Resolution 194.
Some Jews will remain in Palestine either voluntarily or involuntarily. Palestine and the Palestinians will treat the remaining Jews fairly. Palestine and the Palestinians will not do to the Jews what Israel, Zionism, and the Zionists have done to the Palestinians.
The Palestinians must sign nothing and let Israel collapse!
University of Illinois Law Professor Francis A. Boyle served as Legal Advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization on the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence; to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations from 1991 to 1993; and to H.E. Chairman and President Yasser Arafat. The story is told in his book “Palestine, Palestinians and International Law” (Clarity Press: 2003).
Occasionally we encounter a writer who can brilliantly summarize every relevant detail of the current state of imperialist onslaught (note that I do not use the shopworn “US imperialist” phraseology…Hossein-zadeh’s reference to the US as “client ruler state” of imperialism is a much better fit!). Ismael Hossein-zadeh is that writer. I have never encountered him before, but I sure hope I do again. No one, but no one, has provided such comprehensive perspective on the current state of imperialist militarism. His analysis is as flawless as it is sweeping, and even careful students of modern imperialism, after reading his article below, will find themselves responding: “I couldn’t have said it better myself!”
Why Regime Change in Libya?
By Ismael Hossein-zadeh
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25317
Global Research, June 20, 2011
In light of the brutal death and destruction wrought on Libya by the relentless US/NATO bombardment, the professed claims of “humanitarian concerns” as grounds for intervention can readily be dismissed as a blatantly specious imperialist ploy in pursuit of “regime change” in that country.
There is undeniable evidence that contrary to the spontaneous, unarmed and peaceful protest demonstrations in Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain, the rebellion in Libya has been nurtured, armed and orchestrated largely from abroad, in collaboration with expat opposition groups and their local allies at home. Indeed, evidence shows that plans of “regime change” in Libya were drawn long before the insurgency actually started in Benghazi; it has all the hallmarks of a well-orchestrated civil war .
It is very tempting to seek the answer to the question “why regime change in Libya?” in oil/energy. While oil is undoubtedly a concern, it falls short of a satisfactory explanation because major Western oil companies were already extensively involved in the Libyan oil industry. Indeed, since Gaddafi relented to the US-UK pressure in 1993 and established “normal” economic and diplomatic relations with these and other Western countries, major US and European oil companies struck quite lucrative deals with the National Oil Corporation of Libya.
So, the answer to the question “why the imperialist powers want to do away with Gaddafi” has to go beyond oil, or the laughable “humanitarian concerns.” Perhaps the question can be answered best in the light of the following questions: why do these imperialist powers also want to overthrow Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Fidel Castro (and/or his successors) of Cuba, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Rafael Correa Delgado of Ecuador,Kim Jong-il of North Korea, Bashar Al-assad of Syriaand Evo Morales of Bolivia? Or, why did they overthrow Mohammad Mossadeq of Iran, Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala, Kusno Sukarno of Indonesia, Salvador Allende of Chile, Sandinistas in Nicaragua, Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti and Manuel Zelaya in Honduras?
What does Gaddafi have in common with these nationalist/populist leaders? The question is of course rhetorical and the answer is obvious: like them Gaddafi is guilty of insubordination to the proverbial godfather of the world: US imperialism, and its allies. Like them, he has committed the cardinal sin of challenging the unbridled reign of global capital, of not following the economic “guidelines” of the captains of global finance, that is, of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and World Trade Organization; as well as of refusing to join US military alliances in the region. Also like other nationalist/populist leaders, he advocates social safety net (or welfare state) programs — not for giant corporations, as is the case in imperialist countries, but for the people in need.
This means that the criminal agenda of Messrs Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy, and their complicit allies to overthrow or kill Mr. Gaddafi and other “insubordinate” proponents of welfare state programs abroad is essentially part of the same evil agenda of dismantling such programs at home. While the form, the context and the means of destruction maybe different, the thrust of the relentless attacks on the living standards of the Libyan, Iranian, Venezuelan or Cuban peoples are essentially the same as the equally brutal attacks on the living conditions of the poor and working people in the US, UK, France and other degenerate capitalist countries. In a subtle (but unmistakable) way they are all part of an ongoing unilateral class warfare on a global scale — whether they are carried out by military means and bombardments, or through the apparently “non-violent” processes of judicial or legislative means does not make a substantial difference as far as the nature or the thrust of the attack on people’s lives or livelihoods are concerned.
In their efforts to consolidate the reign of big capital worldwide, captains of global finance use a variety of methods. The preferred method is usually non-military, that is, the neoliberal strategies of Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), carried out by representatives of big business disguised as elected officials, or by the multilateral institutions such as the IMF and the WTO. This is what is currently happening in the debt- and deficit-ridden economies of the United States and Europe. But if a country like Libya (or Venezuela or Iran or Cuba) does not go along with the neoliberal agenda of “structural adjustments,” of outsourcing and privatization,and of allowing their financial system to be tied to the network of global banking cartel, then the military option is embarked upon to carry out the neoliberal agenda.
The powerful interests of global capitalism do not seem to feel comfortable to dismantle New Deal economics, Social Democratic reforms and welfare state programs in the core capitalist countries while people in smaller, less-developed countries such as Libya, Venezuela or Cuba enjoy strong, state-sponsored social safety net programs such as free or heavily-subsidized education and health care benefits. Indeed, guardians of the worldwide market mechanism have always been intolerant of any “undue” government intervention in the economic affairs of any country in the world. “Regimented economies,” declared President Harry Truman in a speech at Baylor University (1947), were the enemy of free enterprise, and “unless we act, and act decisively,” he claimed, those regimented economies would become “the pattern of the next century.” To fend off that danger, Truman urged that “the whole world should adopt the American system.” The system of free enterprise, he went on, “can survive in America only if it becomes a world system” .
Before it was devastated by the imperialist-orchestrated civil war and destruction, Libya had the highest living standard in Africa. Using the United Nations statistics, Jean-Paul Pougala of Dissident Voice reports,
“The country now ranks 53rd on the HDI [Human Development Index] index, better than all other African countries and also better than the richer and Western-backed Saudi Arabia. . . . Although the media often refers to youth unemployment of 15 to 30 percent, it does not mention that in Libya, in contrast to other countries, all have their subsistence guaranteed. . . . The government provides all citizens with free health care and [has] achieved high coverage in the most basic health areas. . . . The life expectancy rose to 74.5 years and is now the highest in Africa. . . . The infant mortality rate declined to 17 deaths per 1,000 births and is not nearly as high as in Algeria (41) and also lower than in Saudi Arabia (21).
“The UNDP [United Nations Development Program] certified that Libya has also made ‘a significant progress in gender equality,’ particularly in the fields of education and health, while there is still much to do regarding representation in politics and the economy. With a relative low ‘index of gender inequality’ the UNDP places the country in the Human Development Report 2010 concerning gender equality at rank 52 and thus also well ahead of Egypt (ranked 108), Algeria (70), Tunisia (56), Saudi Arabia (ranked 128) and Qatar (94)” .
It is true that after resisting the self-centered demands and onerous pressures from Western powers for more than thirty years, Gaddafi relented in 1993 and opened the Libyan economy to Western capital, carried out a number of neoliberal economic reforms, and granted lucrative business/investment deals to major oil companies of the West.
But, again, like the proverbial godfather, US/European imperialism requires total, unconditional subordination; half-hearted, grudging compliance with the global agenda of imperialism is not enough. To be considered a real “ally,” or a true “client state,” a country has to grant the US the right to “guide” its economic, geopolitical and foreign policies, that is, to essentially forego its national sovereignty. Despite some economic concessions since the early 1990s, Gaddafi failed this critical test of “full compliance” with the imperialist designs in the region.
For example, he resisted joining a US/NATO-sponsored military alliance in the region. Libya (along with Syria) are the only two Mediterranean nations and the sole remaining Arab states that are not subordinated to U.S. and NATO designs for control of the Mediterranean Sea Basin and the Middle East. Nor has Libya (or Syria) participated in NATO's almost ten-year-old Operation Active Endeavor naval patrols and exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and neither is a member of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue military partnership which includes most regional countries: Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania .
To the chagrin of US imperialism, Libya’s Gaddafi also refused to join the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), designed to control valuable resources in Africa, safeguard trade and investment markets in the region, and contain or evict China from North Africa. “When the US formed AFRICOM in 2007, some 49 countries signed on to the US military charter for Africa but one country refused: Libya. Such a treacherous act by Libya’s leader Moummar Qaddafi would only sow the seeds for a future conflict down the road in 2011” .
Furthermore, by promoting trade, development and industrialization projects on a local, national, regional or African level, Gaddafi was viewed as an obstacle to the Western powers’ strategies of unhindered trade and development projects on a global level. For example, Gaddafi’s Libya played a leading role in “connecting the entire [African] continent by telephone, television, radio broadcasting and several other technological applications such as telemedicine and distance teaching. And thanks to the WMAX radio bridge, a low cost connection was made available across the continent, including in rural areas” .
The idea of launching a pan-African system of technologically advanced network of telecommunication began in the early 1990s, “when 45 African nations established RASCOM (Regional African Satellite Communication Organization) so that Africa would have its own satellite and slash communication costs in the continent. This was a time when phone calls to and from Africa were the most expensive in the world because of the annual$500 million fee pocketed by Europe for the use of its satellites like Intelsat for phone conversations, including those within the same country. . . . An African satellite only cost a onetime payment of $400 million and the continent no longer had to pay a $500 million annual lease” .
In pursuit of financing this project, the African nations frequently pleaded with the IMF and the World Bank for assistance. As the empty promises of these financial giants dragged on for 14 years,
“Gaddafi put an end to [the] futile pleas to the western ‘benefactors’ with their exorbitant interest rates. The Libyan guide put $300 million on the table; the African Development Bank added$50 million more and the West African Development Bank a further $27 million – and that’s how Africa got its first communications satellite on 26 December 2007.
“China and Russia followed suit and shared their technology and helped launch satellites for South Africa, Nigeria, Angola, Algeria and a second African satellite was launched in July 2010. The first totally indigenously built satellite and manufactured on African soil, in Algeria, is set for 2020. This satellite is aimed at competing with the best in the world, but at ten times less the cost, a real challenge.
“This is how a symbolic gesture of a mere $300 million changed the life of an entire continent. Gaddafi’s Libya cost the West, not just depriving it of $500 million per year but the billions of dollars in debt and interest that the initial loan would generate for years to come and in an exponential manner, thereby helping maintain an occult system in order to plunder the continent”.
Architects of global finance, represented by the imperialist governments of the West, also viewed Gaddafi as a spoiler in the area of international or global money and banking. The forces of global capital tend to prefer a uniform, contiguous, or borderless global market to multiple sovereign markets at the local, national, regional or continental levels. Not only Gaddafi’s Libya maintained public ownership of its own central bank, and the authority to create its own national money, but it also worked assiduously to establish an African Monetary Fund, an African Central Bank, and an African Investment Bank.
The $30 billion of the Libyan money frozen by the Obama administration belong to the Central Bank of Libya, which
“had been earmarked as the Libyan contribution to three key projects which would add the finishing touches to the African Federation – the African Investment Bank in Syrte (Libya), the establishment in 2011 of the African Monetary Fund to be based in Yaoundé (Cameroon) . . ., and the Abuja-based African Central Bank in Nigeria, which when it starts printing African money will ring the death knell for the CFA franc [the French currency] through which Paris has been able to maintain its hold on some African countries for the last fifty years. It is easy to understand the French wrath against Gaddafi.
“The African Monetary Fund is expected to totally supplant the African activities of the International Monetary Fund which, with only $25 billion, was able to bring an entire continent to its knees and make it swallow questionable privatization like forcing African countries to move from public to private monopolies. No surprise then that on 16-17 December 2010, the Africans unanimously rejected attempts by Western countries to join the African Monetary Fund, saying it was open only to African nations” .
Western powers also viewed Gaddafi as an obstacle to their imperial strategies for yet another reason: standing in the way of their age-old policies of “divide and rule.” To counter Gaddafi’s relentless efforts to establish a United States of Africa, the European Union tried to create the Union for the Mediterranean (UPM) region. “North Africa somehow had to be cut off from the rest of Africa, using the old tired racist clichés of the 18th and 19th centuries,which claimed that Africans of Arab origin were more evolved and civilized than the rest of the continent. This failed because Gaddafi refused to buy into it. He soon understood what game was being played when only a handful of African countries were invited to join the Mediterranean grouping without informing the African Union but inviting all 27 members of the European Union.” Gaddafi also refused to buy into other imperialist-inspired/driven groupings in Africa such as ECOWAS, COMESA, UDEAC, SADC and the Great Maghreb, “which never saw the light of day thanks to Gaddafi who understood what was happening” .
Gaddafi further earned the wrath of Western powers for striking extensive trade and investment deals with BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), especially with China. According to Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce, China’s contracts in Libya (prior to imperialism’s controlled demolition of that country) numbered no less than 50 large projects, involving contracts in excess of $18 billion. Even a cursory reading of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) strategic briefings shows that a major thrust of its mission is containment of China. “In effect, what we are witnessing here,” points out Patrick Henningsten, “is the dawn of a New Cold War between the US-EURO powers and China. This new cold war will feature many of the same elements of the long and protracted US-USSR face-off we saw in the second half of the 20th century. It will take place off shore, in places like Africa, South America, Central Asia and through old flashpoints like Korea and the Middle East” .
It is obvious (from this brief discussion) that Gaddafi’s sin for being placed on imperialism’s death row consists largely of the challenges he posed to the free reign of Western capital in the region, of his refusal to relinquish Libya’s national sovereignty to become another unconditional “client state” of Western powers. His removal from power is therefore designed to eliminate all “barriers” to the unhindered mobility of the US/European capital in the region by installing a more pliant regime in Libya.
Gaddafi’s removal from power would serve yet another objective of US/European powers: to shorten or spoil the Arab Spring by derailing their peaceful protests, containing their non-violent revolutions and sabotaging their aspirations for self-determination. Soon after being caught by surprise by the glorious uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, the imperialist powers (including the mini Zionist imperialism in Palestine) embarked on “damage control.” In pursuit of this objective, they adopted three simultaneous strategies. The first strategy was to half-heartedly“support” the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia (of course, once they became unstoppable) in order to control them — hence, the military rule in those countries following the departure of Mubarak from Cairo and Ben Ali from Tunis. The second strategy of containment has been support and encouragement for the brutal crackdown of other spontaneous and peaceful uprisings in countries ruled by “client regimes,” for example, in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. And the third policy of sabotaging the Arab Spring has been to promote civil war and orchestrate chaos in countries such as Libya, Syria and Iran.
In its early stages of development, capitalism promoted nation-state and/or national sovereignty in order to free itself from the constraints of the church and feudalism. Now that the imperatives of the highly advanced but degenerate global finance capital require unhindered mobility in a uniform or borderless world, national sovereignty is considered problematic — especially in places like Libya, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Bolivia and other countries that are not ruled by imperialism’s “client states.” Why? Because unhindered global mobility of capital requires doing away with social safety net or welfare state programs; it means doing away with public domain properties or public sector enterprises and bringing them under the private ownership of the footloose-and-fancy-free global capital.
This explains why the corporate media, political pundits and other mouthpieces of imperialism are increasing talking about Western powers’ “responsibility to protect,” by which they mean that these powers have a responsibility to protect the Libyan (or Iranian or Venezuelan or Syrian or Cuban or ... ) citizens from their “dictatorial” rulers by instigating regime change and promoting “democracy” there. It further means that, in pursuit of this objective,the imperialist powers should not be bound by “constraints” of national sovereignty because, they argue, “universal democratic rights take primacy over national sovereignty considerations.”In a notoriously selective fashion, this utilitarian use of the “responsibility to protect” does not apply to nations or peoples ruled by imperialism’s client states such as Saudi Arabia or Bahrain. .
This also means that the imperialist war against peoples and states such as Libya and Venezuela is essentially part of the same class war against peoples and states in the belly of the beast, that is, in the United States and Europe. In every instance or place, whether at home or abroad, whether in Libya or California or Wisconsin or Greece, the thrust of the relentless global class war is the same: to do away with subsistence-level guarantees, or social safety net programs, and redistribute the national or global resources in favor of the rich and powerful, especially the powerful interests vested in the finance capital and the military capital.
There is no question that global capitalism has thus woven together the fates and fortunes of the overwhelming majority of the world population in an increasingly intensifying struggle for subsistence and survival.No one can tell when this majority of world population (the middle, lower-middle, poor and working classes) would come to the realization that their seemingly separate struggles for economic survival are essentially part and parcel of the same struggle against the same class enemies, the guardians of world capitalism. One thing is clear, however: only when they come to such a liberating realization, join forces together in a cross-border, global uprising against the forces of world capitalism, and seek to manage their economies independent of profitability imperatives of capitalist production—only then can they break free from the shackles of capitalism and control their future in a coordinated, people-centered mode of production, distribution and consumption.
Ismael Hossein-zadeh, author of The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2007), teaches economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.
1.Michel Chossudovsky, “When War Games Go Live: Staging a ‘Humanitarian War’ against ‘SOUTHLAND’ Under an Imaginary UN Security Council Resolution 3003,”Global Research http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24351
2. D. F. Fleming, The Cold War and Its Origins (New York: Double Day, 1961), p. 436.
3. Jean-Paul Pougal, “Why the West Wants the Fall of Gaddafi?”Dissident Voice: http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/04/why-is-gaddafi-being-demonized/
4. Rick Rozoff, “Libyan Scenario for Syria: Towards A US-NATO ‘Humanitarian Intervention’ directed against Syria?” Global Research: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24562
5. Patrick Henningsten, “WEST vs. CHINA: A NEW COLD WAR BEGINS ON LIBYAN SOIL,” 21st Century Wire: http://21stcenturywire.com/2011/04/12/2577/
6. For an insightful and informative discussion of this issue see (1) F. William Engdahl, “Humanitarian Neo-colonialism: Framing Libya and Reframing War—Creative Destruction Part III,” Global Research: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24617; (b) Marjorie Cohn, “The Responsibility to Protect - The Cases of Libya and Ivory Coast,” Counter Punch: http://www.counterpunch.org/cohn05162011.html
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