“Journey to the Libyan Jamahiriya“ (20-26 May 2000)
by The Pacifists of Tunis
“Libya, which has been described as “Gaddafi’s military dictatorship” is actually the largest democratic State in the world. In 1977 the JAMAHIRIYA was proclaimed by the Libyans, which is a higher form of democracy where traditional institutions of government were abolished, and where power belongs to the People directly through its committees and congresses. The State is divided into many communities that are “mini-autonomous states” in a state having control over their district, including the allocation of budgetary funds.”– (Vladimir Chamov, former Russian Ambassador in Libya)The report entitled “Journey to the Libyan Jamahiriya” has finally been put online . Its subject is an independent observation on theground, based on frank and uncompromising discussions, visits and dialogues with citizens within the Congress bases, People’s Committees and Revolutionary Committees, key elements of the original Jamahiriya system. In retrospect, such a paper can better appreciate the strength of an experience unique in the world (at least judged by its duration, scale and context, the African world in general and Arab-Muslim world in particular, without mentioning the extremely hostile geopolitical environment): that of the practice, not of a substitute but of direct democracy pure and simple.
Indeed, because of systematic parasitism of the interference of the totalitarian information machine , some believe that the notion of “democracy”or of “direct democracy” (those who are familiar with the term), is unique to the “West” (for instance, unfortunately short-lived experiences of the Great Soviet Revolution of 1917; various communist and libertarian groups in Europe, the Paris Commune, etc..). Or at the contemporary time, it’s in Latin America (with the Zapatistas of Mexico and, even better, in Nicaragua) that direct democracy has splendidly expressed itself. For Daniel Ortega, once again guiding that country, ‘direct democracy ‘means ‘ the People as President’.
However, Muammar al-Gaddafi went much further, not only in theorizing such a system and taking into account a certain number of characteristics (notably African) but, by putting it into practice on the scale of a vast oil-producing country and formalizing (via the Declaration on the Advent of the Power of the People of March 2, 1977) a clear internationalist commitment “to defend it in Libya and any other country in the world” [3-5]. As with Augusto Sandino in Nicaragua, this was an immense audacity that the imperialists never forgave him . Indeed, the experience of the Libyan “government of the popular masses by themselves and for themselves”(“Jamahiriya” in Arabic) was indelibly written on the period and consciousness throughout the world.
There are only watchdogs like Wikipedia(the version of the librarianship of the “Money-Slave Media “such as the BBC, Al Jazeera, New York Times, etc..), to miserably contradict on this subject. On the one hand, this “encyclopedia” (with content subtly controlled by agents of the global totalitarian system) states that the Libyan system of direct democracy is “largely fictional, “autocratic” and “dictatorial”and the “proof” is the “armed insurrection” (sic)”then sustained by international intervention”(sic) .
On the other hand, Wikipedia says that a classical criticism of direct democracy in general concerns “its supposed military weakness”. However, the success of the democratic option of the Libyan Jamahiriya has not only been eloquently illustrated by a long series of objective indicators of human development , but was again demonstrated by the test of fire because the Libyan people, by a “miracle” for some, withstood seven months of intensive bombing by 42 predator States, NATO and assaults of fanatical bands of mercenaries hired by them. From Latin America, independent observers have noticed no ” dictatorship,” in the world could have survived the unbridled aggression of military force of NATO for such a long period .
Fidel Castro had declared for his part, after only two months of bombing, that in view of the “Nazi-fascist character” of this war, the Libyan resistance was truly astonishing . Readers thus have a further example illustrating the sneaky role of The System’s tranmission outlets such as Wikipedia.
Anthology of “Journey to the Libyan Jamahiriya”
-About Revolutionary Committees
(Volunteers for the care, overseeing daily the smooth functioning of direct democracy, especially in the junctures between the Basic Congress and People’s Committees):
“[These instances are only a provisional movement] until people are completely involved in the power and actively participate in various People’s Committees” (page6). Their references (theoretical and historical) are: the French Revolution, the Paris Commune, Proudhon, Bakunin, the Anarchist movement” (ibid.).
“When the society (the masses) becomes aware of its power, it [all Revolutionary Committees] will disappear [...] “(page 7). The Revolutionary Committees “encourage citizens to take power” (ibid.). “The first enemy is the government which often prevents from being released the willingness of people to emancipate themselves locally [...] The revolutionary committees are not a political party, not a party structure; everything is decided always at the base” (page 11).
In a historical text, Gaddafi, the authentically libertarian anarchist, carefully analyzed the problem faced by the Communist Revolution [11 and 12].
-On the role of Muammar al-Gaddafi:
“Muammar Gaddafi is the Guide of the Revolution. He does not represent the people in power. He is considered the symbol. His role is to encourage the people to take all powers. The Guide often called upon the Congresses to take this or that decision. For example, he favoured the suppression of schools in favour of home schooling. The People’s Congress however refused to go along with this. The Guide also desired the distribution of all oil revenues income to the citizens and the Congress also refused” (Page 7).
-About the Army:
“Its role is to lead the people, to teach the People defense according to the Third Universal Theory [...] The day when all the people have been entrained, the army will remain just a structure. It has remained to this day, a structure rather professional [...] If the army remains in place, it may eventually become a danger to the power of the People, because it could take power. All the current direction tends to its disappearance, to be replaced by an army of citizens [...] This is the same example as for Revolutionary Committees. They too will disappear once they have completed their role” (page 8).
There is not, strictly speaking, a military hierarchy, it is only a formality: “The whole People is armed. Nobody can take power by force, otherwise it will be blocked by the people [...] There is no Ministry of Defense: a People’s Committee has just replaced it” (page 8).
-About the People’s Committees:
“At each meeting, each committee presents its report [...] If the explanations are unclear, or if it appears that the Committee has not been able to execute what it was responsible for implementing, it may be removed by the base Congress which elects another immediately”(Page 9). Note that “the Congress base also expresses itself and “always” on Foreign Policy (page 9).
-Rappel au sujet des secteurs « sacrés » dans la Jamahiriya libyenne:
“Every family living in a house occupies it for free. It is given to them. It can not be a subject of ownership because it belongs to the communities. Neither are rents allowed. Foreigners live in public apartments. This is why you don’t ever meet people who sleep in the streets as they do where you live [...] There are some areas that are sacred to us: home, because nobody should have to sleep outside if he/she has not freely chosen to do so; accessible medical care to care for all active or inactive people” (page 10)
-Need for the historical perspective to appreciate the advances: “Libya was colonized for 600 years; Only in the last 30 years have we taken charge of our way of life” (Page 11)
-About the world of business, organization of work, equality between genders:
In Libyan enterprises, one usually finds a People’s Congress for production. For example: “Our company does not have a boss; it is the Libyan society that defines the rules; the plant is self-managing, like all Libyan companies. The fruits of production are divided into three equal parts: 1/3 for the capital, that is to say, the General Congress; 1/3 for investment, machinery, purchase of raw materials, operation, and control; 1/3 returns to the workers ” (page 14)
Equality between men and women is total. Moreover, “after giving birth, we benefit from three months paid leave. Then after a wedding, we have paid leave of a month, plus a marriage allowance. This is a non-refundable gift, in addition to the household and communication devices that are generously offered by the society. Upon death, the enterprise also handles all funeral costs”(page 15).
With regard to occasional layoffs, “Our social traditions forbid us to show someone the door. In case of constraint, we prefer to reduce working hours for all” (Page 16)
About globalization: “We are not in favor of globalization if it is only to increase the yield and lower production costs [...] We especially want at all costs to avoid hierarchy because we are all workers and proud of our production” (page 16).
And since even the “chores” are not ignored by the system of direct democracy (“We are responsible for the cleanliness of each channel of each sector and we all clean by rotation”) (page 15), we easily understand the conclusion of citizens of the Great Libyan Jamahiriya: “The enterprise for us is like a family, we will
feel comfortable … just like home ….”(Ibid.)
The strength of the totalitarian machine that controls and destroys our lives comes from its centralization and planning power, recently strengthened by its control over new information technologies. Therefore, only decentralized and popular actions can stop its draconian and genocidal movement. However, the secret of the historical and legendary resistance of the Libyan Jamahiriya to repeated attacks of imperialism resides in its popular and decentralized nature. Muammar Al-Gaddafi, right up until his last radio-broadcast speeches before his eclipse, urged the peoples of Egypt and Tunisia to achieve a genuine revolution by creating systems of government based on Direct Democracy: for a Libyan Jamahiriya, a Tunisian Jamahiriya, an Egyptian Jamahiriya , a jamahiriya under whatever other name (including the communist councils) .
(*) For reasons of space, the various experiments (such as the highly interesting Cuban one which contain a strong element of direct democracy) are not discussed here.
1. ‘Trip to the Libyan Jamahiriya’, May 20 to 26 2000. Descriptions of encounters, debates, tours, dialogue with the Congresses of bases, Popular Committees and Revolutionary Committees. Alternative 2001 “Toward a Caring World” (Community of alternative practices and reflections on direct democracy, local and
participatory here and elsewhere. Under the direction of Ginette Skandrani. http://bit.ly/yd15JY (pdf -1.5 MB)
2. Thomas Mountain: ‘Lies of the Libyan War’. 27 April 2012
http://www.mathaba.net/members/gold.shtml?sh_itm = 171299ee2e7195fbc0e8179af8ad14ef
3. The Third Universal Theory. The Green Book of Muammar Al-Qaddafi. February 24 2012
http://www.mathaba.net/members/?sh_itm = 74d1a2202fe6ad04265fb34de15ad22d
4. The Green Book (by Kontrekulture) http://www.kontrekulture.com/achats-livres-subversifs/122-le-livre-vertmouammar-el-kadhafi.html
5. Declaration on the Advent of the Power of The People (March 2, 1977). Trad. JP Maury. http://mjp.univ-perp.fr/constit/ly1977.htm
6. Toni Solo: ‘Muammar al Gaddhafi and Augusto C. Sandino’. November 3, 2011. http://www.tortillaconsal.com/tortilla/node/10072
“The same is certainly true of Muammar Al Ghaddafi whose philosophical and religious thought is even more inaccessible to Anglo-Saxon and European minds than that of Augusto C. Sandino. Muammar Al Ghaddafi’s vision was one of direct solidarity-based communal democracy, of Pan-African unity, of a broad African alliance able to withstand the economic and military aggression of the predatory Western powers. His determination to defend this vision lead directly to NATO’s aggression and to his horrific murder, which Hillary Clinton, the quintessential Yankee sadist, found so amusing”
7. Robert Charvin: ‘The intervention in Libya andviolation of international law: a return to the misnomer “international morality” of the nineteenth century.’ December 23, 2011
8. ‘Tunisian revolutionary, what did you know and what do you still know of Libya?’ The Pacifists of Tunis, 25 Jan 2012
9. Capelin Jorge y Toni Solo. Libia: Fariseos y la destrucción de un pueblo . 22 Sept 2011
http://tortillaconsal.com/fariseos.html “Ninguna dictadura habría sobrevivido a la agresión despiadada de la fuerza militar de la OTAN durante tantos meses.”
10. Fidel Castro. Libya: a fire that can set all ablaze. April 29, 2011
11. ‘Muammar Qaddafi: Is communism truly dead?’ 10 Apr 2012
12. ‘Gaddafi, a genuinely libertarian anarchist’
The Pacifists of Tunis, February 23 2012
13. Announcement of the proposed formation of the Hezb-El Jamahiry (Jamahirien party of direct democracy) in Tunis. The Pacifists of Tunis, April 17
14. A Jamahiriya by Any Other Name. June 25
2011 mathaba.net / news /? X = 627279
> Read also: Ginette Hess Skandrani. ” La société libyenne, les congrès populaires, les différents comités.” July 1998. Published as comment to the following address: “Gaddafi was not a dictator!”. November 13, 2011
Further comment (GHS)”I wrote this text in 1998, following my travels and participation in basic or secondary Congresses, in Tripoli or Sirte, in meetings with popular Congresses, at conferences on direct democracy and on ecology and pacifism. I do not know where the Libyans are on their proposals for participatory democracy and direct democracy. The Jamahiriya, in opening itself to liberalism, since the lifting of the embargo (I think it was one of the conditions issued by the U.S. to lift the ban) tried to rush in a society of consumption and capitalist production. It thus reduces the redistribution and I think that has generated much discontent. And, it may be, I would not dare to affirm, one of the reasons that some disappointed in the system have re-joined the rebels who were orchestrated to destroy the Jamahiriya”.
Extract from The Green Book :
Popular Conferences are the only means to achieve popular democracy. Any system of government contrary to this method, the method of Popular Conferences, is undemocratic. All the prevailing systems of government in the world today will remain undemocratic, unless they adopt this method. Popular Conferences are the end of the journey of the masses in quest of democracy.
Popular Conferences and People’s Committees are the fruition of the people’s struggle for democracy. Popular Conferences and People’s Committees are not creations of the imagination; they are the product of thought which has absorbed all human experiments to achieve democracy.
Direct democracy, if put into practice, is indisputably the ideal method of government. Because it is impossible to gather all people, however small the population, in one place so that they can discuss, discern and decide policies, nations departed from direct democracy, which became an utopian idea detached from reality. It was replaced by various theories of government, such as representative councils, party-coalitions and plebiscites, all of which isolated the masses and prevented them from managing their political affairs.
These instruments of government – the individual, the class, the sect, the tribe, the parliament and the party struggling to achieve power have plundered the sovereignty of the masses and monopolized politics and authority for themselves.
THE GREEN BOOK guides the masses to an unprecedented practical system of direct democracy. No two intelligent people can dispute the fact that direct democracy is the ideal, but until now no practical method for its implementation has been devised. The Third Universal Theory , however, now provides us with a practical approach to direct democracy. The problem of democracy in the world will finally be solved. All that is left before the masses now is the struggle to eliminate all prevailing forms of dictatorial governments, be they parliament, sect, tribe, class, one-party system, two-party system or multi-party system, which falsely call themselves democracies.
True democracy has but one method and one theory. The dissimilarity and diversity of the systems claiming to be democratic do, in fact, provide evidence that they are not so. Authority of the people has but one face which can only be realized through Popular Conferences and People’s Committees. There can be no democracy without Popular Conferences and Committees everywhere.
First, the people are divided into Basic Popular Conferences. Each Basic Popular Conference chooses its secretariat. The secretariats of all Popular Conferences together form Non-Basic Popular Conferences. Subsequently, the masses of the Basic Popular Conferences select administrative People’s Committees to replace government administration. All public institutions are run by People’s Committees which will be accountable to the Basic Popular Conferences which dictate the policy and supervise its execution. Thus, both the administration and the supervision become the people’s and the outdated definition of democracy – democracy is the supervision of the government by the people – becomes obsolete. It will be replaced by the true definition: Democracy is the supervision of the people by the people.
All citizens who are members of these Popular Conferences belong, vocationally and functionally, to various sectors and have, therefore, to form themselves into their own professional Popular Conferences in addition to being, by virtue of citizenship, members of the Basic Popular Conferences or People’s Committees. Subjects dealt with by the Popular Conferences and People’s Committees will eventually take their final shape in the General People’s Congress, which brings together the Secretariats of the Popular Conferences and People’s Committees. Resolutions of the General People’s Congress, which meets annually or periodically, are passed on to the Popular Conferences and People’s Committees, which undertake the execution of those resolutions through the responsible committees, which are, in turn, accountable to the Basic Popular Conferences.
The General People’s Congress is not a gathering of persons or members such as those of parliaments but, rather, a gathering of the Popular Conferences and People’s Committees.
Thus, the problem of the instrument of government is naturally solved, and all dictatorial instruments disappear. The people become the instrument of government, and the dilemma of democracy in the world is conclusively solved.
About The Pacifists of Tunis
We are a group of citizens (mostly women) who have decided to react to the imperialist and hyper-totalitarian war against the Great Libyan Jamahiriya conducted with the complicity of the media and vast majority of Tunisian political parties. For nearly a century, opposition to imperialism means to defend without hesitation any country around the world (from Zimbabwe to Cuba and from Syria to Nicaragua) who would be attacked by one or more neocolonialist powers.
Also, we are unambiguously alongside SYRIA in the present trials. We also defend Iran and Lebanon, despite the severe and suicidal ethical mistakes (“crying wolf” against the Jamahiriya) of their political leaders. We will never forget the millions of deaths caused by the incessant wars of imperialism against the peoples of Asia (especially 200,000 casualties, including 100,000 instantly killed by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the war against Vietnam, Afghanistan, Pakistan); the people of Latin America, the Middle Eastand Africa.
We endorse the humanist guidelines of Che Guevara and Muammar al-Gaddafi:
“Above all, always be able to feel within the deepest part of yourself all injustice committed against anyone, anywhere in the world. This is the most beautiful quality in a Revolutionary “.
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