National Sections of the L5I:

The victory of the Libyan Revolution’s first phase

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Gaddafi's army melted away as the rebels approached the capital, but what is next for the revolution? A statement by the League for the Fifth International

The revolution in Libya is making a huge advance. A combination of an uprising in Tripoli and a fast advance by rebel fighters on the city has captured large parts of Libya’s capital from Gaddafi and his murderous regime.

As we write pro-Gaddafi forces were still fighting around the dictator’s compound, though many believe he has already fled. These appear to be the last hours for the bloody despot and his vicious anti-working class regime.

The rebels’ advance into Tripoli was apparently helped by the defection of the commander of the city's defences, who secretly agreed with the rebels to open the gates and withdraw his forces. Both Gaddafi’s sons have been captured.

Popular jubilation on the streets indicates that even in Tripoli the revolution is massively popular. Apologists for Gaddafi as some kind of anti-imperialist hero - like Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and various Stalinist parties around the world- have been confounded.

Now the question is what a post-Gaddafi Libya will look like. How can the NATO imperialists, who backed the Benghazi based National Transitional Council (NTC), be prevented from stealing the fruits of the people’s revolution?

There is a very real threat that the NATO powers will impose a pro-western government on Libya, led by former officials, police, military and security officers from the old regime. Defending the independence of Libya from imperialism is the next stage of the revolution.

All socialists should be clear about the significance of these events. The Libyan revolution, and its victory in the civil war, will revive the Arab revolution after a summer of disappointment and stalemate. It will encourage the Syrian rebels to continue their heroic sacrifices to overthrow the Ba’athist dictator Assad and pulverise his fascistic regime. It could also revive the rebellions in the Gulf, encourage a Palestinian intifada and revive the Egyptian and Tunisian movements to move forward against the new military regimes.

In one important sense the Libyan revolution is more advanced than either the Egyptian or the Tunisian revolutions – in Libya the old armed forces has largely disintegrated, and thousands of Libyans have been trained in the art of fighting, they have weapons and organised into irregular army units. These are not professional soldiers, they are engineers, doctors, the unemployed. The popular revolution became a civil war due to the intransigence of Gaddafi, and now his regime has played the price.

At the same time, unlike in Egypt and Tunisia, the intervention of the NATO powers and their prestige among the masses is a threat – the masses need to avoid being corralled into backing an imperialist oil grab under the auspices of the NTC.

As ever, the political consciousness of the masses is contradictory; there are many different trends and ideas at work in the rebellion. Which one comes to dominate will be a question of political struggle. 

The most immediate struggle must centre on warning of the danger presented by the imperialist powers who are intent on exacting their price for military assistance to the revolution.



Revolutionary socialists raise the following immediate demands:

No support to the NTC - make the revolution permanent with the aim of replacing the bourgeois government with a workers government, no disarming of the militias, local committees to be turned into councils of workers, youth and the fighters.


Foreign workers such as the sub-Saharan African migrants must be protected, and there must be severe punishment of progromists or anyone fomenting intertribal revenge killings



Build free trade unions, fight for the election of a sovereign and revolutionary constituent assembly, 
Scrap all deals made by the NTC with NATO and imperialism. As a rentier state it is essential that the control of Libya’s oil profits is democratically decided. No handing of the oil wealth to imperialist (including US, UK, EU or Chinese) multinationals.

Dissolve the remains of the national army and police. For popular militias, democratically run and organised by mass councils of the revolution. The popular masses should create a constituent assembly to democratically discuss the future of the country.


All NATO special forces out of Libya. No to any NATO bases in the country. Foreign banks and governments must hand over the frozen resources to the Libyan people,. No privatisations, workers control of the oil industry and all industries and services. Confiscate all the Gaddafi millions. For a massive programme of house, school and hospital building.

Link up with the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions - mobilise the masses in support of Algerians, Syrians and Palestinians fighting their dictators or occupiers.



Build a Libyan revolutionary party as part of an international working class party.