The Arab Arrival Exposes Contradictions of US and Europe

The US and Europe protect the revolt in Libya but do not protect the revolt in Bahrain as Saudi troops invade.

The US, France, Great Britain, and the UN Security Council vote to enforce a no fly zone and to protect the Libyan people by whatever means are necessary.

What about the Bahrain? President Obama and the UN do not protest the Saudi invasion of Bahrain. So what’s going on here?

The Arab zeitgeist imbued with the ideal of democracy is a leaderless unstoppable force that is willing change in the Middle East. The road to change will be long, not short. It will contradict the forces of capitalism that have kept down the Arab people and caters to the rule of ownership of resources by the few.

The US invaded the Philippines almost 100 years ago and has since supported almost every dictator on the planet who helps protect US resources from Marcos to Suharto to Somoza to the Saudi Kings. As in Guatemala in the 1950s where half of the farm land was owned by Chiquita Banana (then United Fruit Company) and 100,000 Mayans were slaughtered by the US-supported dictatorship. The cases are many. They have nothing to do with the so-called cold war or iron curtain or fight against communism. They have to do with the preservation of power, US power in these cases. Anyway, the old excuses are all gone now. The new excuse is to battle terrorism, but the new Arab movements are neither terrorist nor fundamentalist.

The US and Europe are caught in a contradiction. On the one hand, they say they
support democracy. Yet they support dictators and kings and the plutocracy at home and abroad that consists of a small percentage of the population that owns most of the wealth and has most of the power.

Will that change? A better question is, can that change?

Capitalism does not equal democracy, a lesson the idealists in the Arab world will come to learn after the dust settles.

Still, the ideal of democracy is a good one, in spite of capitalist forces that oppose it. So that movement towards democracy will continue. It is what is happening in the Arab world, helped by the internet and mass communication that dictators can no longer censor.

I cannot agree with Hugo Chavez this time. I don’t believe Gaddafi is a good guy or would honor a cease fire. So another contradiction here is for those on the left in the US who are pacifists. No intervention means de facto support for Gaddafi. That does not make the situation in Libya any less of a mess. It is a mess and no one knows what the outcome will be.

The emerging forces among the rebels in Libya will follow the logic of capital. Power will accrue to those who own and not so much to those who work. Immigrant labor, Tunisian and Egyptian, will continue to be the norm. Will that new arrangement permit Libya to have a democracy? If it permits more democracy than before, it’s a start. It is change that will continue to be rebuffed by autocratic capitalism. But it is change for the better.

What about the United States? Can the left in the US learn from the Arab movement for change?

The movement in Wisconsin was also a spontaneous uprising with no clearly defined leadership. No amount of opinion by Ariana Huffington, who named a newspaper after herself, or speeches by Michael Moore, who has a wonderful Web site, however well intentioned, will provide leadership for the left in the US.

The Arab World will find leaders and a platform and form new parties with the goal of creating socialist democracies where the interests of working people becomes the goal for society. May the US left follow that lead.

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