The Arab spring/Spanish echoes

703577_photo_1.jpgDave Osler writes:

True, Gaddafi has not won yet. But it is starting to look as if superior military hardware is a telling that advantage that will deliver victory to the Libyan strongman sooner or later.

Analogies have already been drawn with the Spanish civil war [here and here, for instance], which seems to me to stretch the historical parallels somewhat.

Although I haven’t had a chance to think the question through yet, my gut instinct would be to support calls for western governments to arm the rebels. But as far as I am aware, no prominent political figure in the US or Europe has publicly backed such a plan.

Jim Denham has some more compelling analogies: The Morning Star: those wonderful folks who brought you the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact / From Jack London to the scabs of the Morning Star, Socialist Worker and Counterfire. Dale Street also notes George Galloway’s Stalinism:

In his semi-autobiographical work “I’m Not the Only One”, Galloway wrote: “”Just as Stalin industrialized the Soviet Union, so on a different scale Saddam plotted Iraq’s own Great Leap Forward. … He is likely to have been the leader in history who came closest to creating a truly Iraqi national identity, and he developed Iraq and the living, health, social and education standards of his own people.”

And in the comments thread at BobFromBrockley:

Clearly, the SWP are taking a much better line than the reactionary hardcore anti-imp position (the scab position, as Jim Denham rightly puts it) taken by Noah and Calvin Tucker, Andy Newman and John Wight. It would be good to see the SWP revert to Third Camp form, having swayed so long to a Second Camp position. (Interesting that John Wight attributes the SWP’s wrongness to their state capitalist analysis: Tucker, Wight, Newman and co are essentially Stalinists, whose very un-21st century idea of “socialism” always involves a strong state and a strongman at the helm.)

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I don’t think it can be put down to superior military hardware. The Egyptian Generals have much better hardware than does Gaddafi, for example. The difference, I think as I’ve written in my blog Popular Protest and Civil War, is that in Tunisia and Egypt we saw real Popular Revolt, symbolised by the epicentre being in the Capital City and main population centres. In Libya, no mass protest took off in Tripoli, even at that stage when it looked like Gaddafi was on his way out. In fact, as most of the coverege has stated, Gaddafi has traditionally kept his military relatively weak out of fear of the kind of military coup that brought him to power. Instead he has focussed his regime on his own Praetorian Guard, and paramilitary force.

    Incidentally, I think its the differences between the nature of the different regimes that has a significance for the possibility of succesful revolt, though I suspect that the actions of the Saudis are in part a result of Gaddafi’s succcess, and may lead to a reassertion of the power of the Bonapartist regime in Egypt in the coming weeks.

    Trotsky’s writing on Spain, and in the Action Programme for France are more appropriate in these conditions than either Permanent Revolution or the Thesis On The Colonial Question.

  2. […] Spanish echoes I; Practice in arms; ibn-Poum; Distant echoes; Orwell in Tahrir […]

  3. […] The Arab spring/Spanish echoes (poumista.wordpress.com) […]

  4. […] of course, the same points were made about Libya last year – see e.g. here and […]


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