Statement of the International Committee of the Fourth International
How the WRP Betrayed Trotskyism

Libya: How the Bloc Looked in Practice

It would be impossible within the limits of this resolution to reproduce each of the articles in which the News Line glorified the achievements of the Libyan regime. Still, we shall provide the most illustrative examples of how Healy prostituted Marxism and transformed himself and his closest cronies into hirelings of this bourgeois state.

In accordance with its propaganda bloc with Gaddafi and its “theory” of proletarian class struggle waged by the national bourgeoisie, the News Line of September 4, 1979 carried a two-page article on Libya entitled “Masses of Workers Take Over Factories.” It uncritically reported that workers, “following a speech by the secretary-general of the General People’s Congress, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi” had seized “full control of production.”

Without indicating the slightest reservations, it quoted Gaddafi’s claim that “the Jamahiriya was heralding a radical transformation in the basis of political order and social construction of the whole world.”

In the August 29, 1979 issue of News Line, a four-page color special celebrating the 10th anniversary of Gaddafi’s rise to power carries an article entitled “Oil Riches Regained for the People.” The article baldly claimed that “The great advances made by the Libyan masses would not have been possible if the Revolutionary Council had not taken on, and defeated, the international oil giants.”

Considering the fact that the British Trotskyists had once led the struggle against the theoretical capitulation of Pabloism to Castroism, this article epitomized the WRP leadership’s cynical contempt for questions of principle. While claiming that Libya had defeated the oil conglomerates, the article failed to mention that most of their holdings had never been expropriated and nationalized. Instead, the far more modest gains of the Libyans—centered on renegotiating the terms upon which foreign companies conduct their operations within the country—were described with inflated journalistic rhetoric.

One week later, in the News Line of September 5, 1979, the following betrayal of Marxism was published: “The revolution led by Colonel Gaddafi has fought consistently against every form of bureaucracy. The Libyan Jamahiriya has conclusively disproved this cynical bourgeois lie that bureaucracy is the inevitable outcome of revolution. Bureaucracy is not inevitable except in certain historical circumstances. The experience of the Libyan Revolution has demonstrated that the struggle for the world socialist revolution can and will destroy bureaucracy forever.”

Here, Gaddafi was elevated to the level of Trotsky, and the latter’s profound historical analysis of the roots of bureaucracy was contemptuously dismissed and replaced with a vulgar fantasy that doesn’t merit serious con-

sideration. The sole purpose of this anti-Marxist dribble was to corrode the theoretical foundations of the British section and demoralize its cadres, who, having devoted their lives to the struggle against bureaucracy in the workers’ movement, now read in the News Line that Gaddafi had discovered a magic potion in Libya that rendered the historical work of the Fourth International superfluous. Who needed The Revolution Betrayed when the Green Book was available—courtesy of WRP presses in Runcorn!

In the News Line of October 9, 1979, Gaddafi’s Green Book was glorified in a two-page article by Mitchell. Describing the proceedings of a seminar held on the significance of this work, Mitchell wrote: .

“A total of 60 papers were translated and circulated for discussion, covering different aspects of the world wide crisis of democracy, the two-party system, the growth of bureaucracy, and the transfer of power to the masses...

“It was Gaddafi and a small group of Libyan academics who made the most stimulating and incisive contributions. They patiently and firmly explained each stage of the development of the Green Book theories which are to create a society in which the old forms of government and bourgeois democracy are replaced by popular committees and full ownership, control and authority in the hands of the armed masses.

“In the Jamahiriya, they explained, democratic rights are safeguarded because wage workers have become partners in their factories and offices and therefore exploitation has been abolished.”

In this masterpiece of journalistic flunkeyism, Mitchell never suggested that he disagreed with this Utopian nonsense. Nor did he feel the need to differentiate the Party’s position from that of the Green Book on the subject of Marxism and the USSR. Instead, the uncritical reporting continued:

“They said that Marxism was a product of the industrial revolution and that it had been put into practice in the workers’ revolution in the Soviet Union.

“But they took the point of view that the Soviet revolution had not been able to attain democracy for the masses. They said that Libya’s Third Universal Theory had been born out of an analysis of the two main world trends—so-called liberal’ capitalism and Marxism.”

It is unthinkable that Lenin would have permitted such a description of Sun Yat-senism in the pages of the Bolshevik press. But then again, Healy was very far from Lenin.

In 1980 Healy attempted to prove to the Gaddafi regime that the program of the Workers Revolutionary Party was essentially identical to that of the Libyan Jamahiriya. In a document discovered by the International Control Commission, entitled “Notes on the Programme, Strategy and Tactics of the Workers Revolutionary Party,” submitted to the Libyan government and dated April 30, 1980, Healy wrote:

“We have agreement with the Jamahirya (sic) on:

“a) The popular role of the Revolutionary Committees (Green Book) as the basis for the manifestation of the democratic revolutionary power of the masses. These committees could assume other names in line with the organizational traditions of the masses, but their content and aims would be that of Revolutionary Committees.

“b) The Workers Revolutionary Party agrees with the Jamahirya (sic) on the role of Partners in a Socialist society (see our notes already submitted on Part Two of the Green Book).”

Healy was now ready to proclaim Gaddafi as the leader of the Libyan working class and the Green Book as a worthy alternative to Marxism. A draft resolution adopted by the WRP Political Committee on July 28, 1980 declared that “the Workers Revolutionary Party salutes the courageous and tireless struggle of Colonel Gaddafi whose Green Book has guided the struggle to introduce workers’ control of factories, government offices and the diplomatic service, and in exposing the reactionary maneuvers of Sadat, Beigin and Carter... We stand ready to mobilize the British workers in defense of the Libyan Jamahiriya and explain the teachings of the Green Book as part of the anti-imperialist struggle.”

On December 12, 1981 the Political Committee of the WRP issued a statement which declared: “When Gaddafi and the Free Unionist Officers seized popular control in 1969, they set Libya on the road of socialist development and expansion...Gadaffi has developed politically in the direction of revolutionary socialism and he has shunned the palaces and harems of some other Arab leaders.”

These publicity snow-jobs on behalf of the Libyan bourgeoisie, paid for by Gaddafi, led directly to a political betrayal of the PLO little more than a half-year later. During the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the summer of 1982, as bombs rained down on Beirut, Gaddafi’s contribution to the anti-Zionist struggle was to call upon Arafat to commit suicide! Not even this statement provoked a sharp political attack.