Re: [Diggers350] NATO smashed 'Jamahiriya' ... Gaddafi’s Libya , Africa’s Most Prosperous Democracy

Alison Banville alisonbanville at
Wed Aug 27 14:39:16 BST 2014

This is what we at BSNews have been saying since before the intervention. Here are the articles we've published on Libya and I'd draw particular attention to The Final Statement of the Conference of theTribes of Libya from May this year:

 From: "Tony Gosling tony at [Diggers350]" <Diggers350-noreply at>
To: Massimo <diggers350 at> 
Sent: Wednesday, 27 August 2014, 1:03
Subject: [Diggers350] NATO smashed 'Jamahiriya' ... Gaddafi’s   Libya , Africa’s Most Prosperous Democracy

Gaddafi’s Libya Was Africa’s Most Prosperous Democracy
By Garikai Chengu

January 14, 2013 "Information Clearing House" - Contrary to
popular belief, Libya , which western media described as “Gaddafi’s
military dictatorship” was in actual fact one of the world’s most
democratic States.

In 1977 the people of Libya proclaimed the Jamahiriya or “government
of the popular masses by themselves and for themselves.” The Jamahiriya
was a higher form of direct democracy with ‘the People as President.’
Traditional institutions of government were disbanded and abolished, and
power belonged to the people directly through various committees and

The nation State of Libya was divided into several small communities that
were essentially “mini-autonomous States” within a State. These
autonomous States had control over their districts and could make a range
of decisions including how to allocate oil revenue and budgetary funds.
Within these mini autonomous States, the three main bodies of Libya ‘s
democracy were Local Committees, People’s Congresses and Executive
Revolutionary Councils.

In 2009, Mr. Gaddafi invited the New York Times to Libya to spend two
weeks observing the nation’s direct democracy. Even the New York Times,
that was always highly critical of Colonel Gaddafi, conceded that in
Libya, the intention was that “everyone is involved in every
decision…Tens of thousands of people take part in local committee
meetings to discuss issues and vote on everything from foreign treaties
to building schools.” The purpose of these committee meetings was to
build a broad based national consensus.

One step up from the Local Committees were the People’s Congresses.
Representatives from all 800 local committees around the country would
meet several times a year at People’s Congresses, in Mr. Gaddafi’s
hometown of Sirte, to pass laws based on what the people said in their
local meetings. These congresses had legislative power to write new laws,
formulate economic and public policy as well as ratify treaties and

All Libyans were allowed to take part in local committees meetings and at
times Colonel Gaddafi was criticised. In fact, there were numerous
occasions when his proposals were rejected by popular vote and the
opposite was approved and put forward for legislation.

For instance, on many occasions Mr. Gaddafi proposed the abolition of
capital punishment and he pushed for home schooling over traditional
schools. However, the People’s Congresses wanted to maintain the death
penalty and classic schools, and ultimately the will of the People’s
Congresses prevailed. Similarly, in 2009, Colonel Gaddafi put forward a
proposal to essentially abolish the central government altogether and
give all the oil proceeds directly to each family. The People’s
Congresses rejected this idea too.

One step up from the People’s Congresses were the Executive Revolutionary
Councils. These Revolutionary Councils were elected by the People’s
Congresses and were in charge of implementing policies put forward by the
people. Revolutionary Councils were accountable only to ordinary citizens
and may have been changed or recalled by them at any time. Consequently,
decisions taken by the People’s Congresses and implemented by the
Executive Revolutionary Councils reflected the sovereign will of the
whole people, and not merely that of any particular class, faction, tribe
or individual.

The Libyan direct democracy system utilized the word ‘elevation’ rather
than ‘election’, and avoided the political campaigning that is a feature
of traditional political parties and benefits only the bourgeoisie’s
well-heeled and well-to-do.

Unlike in the West, Libyans did not vote once every four years for a
President and local parliamentarian who would then make all decisions for
them. Ordinary Libyans made decisions regarding foreign, domestic and
economic policy themselves.

 Several western commentators have rightfully pointed out that the
unique Jamahiriya system had certain drawbacks,  inter alia,
regarding attendance, initiative to speak up, and sufficient supervision.
Nevertheless, it is clear that Libya conceptualized sovereignty and
democracy in a different and progressive way.

 Democracy is not just about elections or political parties. True
democracy is also about human rights. During the NATO bombardment of
Libya , western media conveniently forgot to mention that the United
Nations had just prepared a lengthy dossier praising Mr. Gaddafi’s human
rights achievements. The UN report commended Libya for bettering its
“legal protections” for citizens, making human rights a “priority,”
improving women’s rights, educational opportunities and access to
housing. During Mr. Gaddafi’s era housing was considered a human right.
Consequently, there was virtually no homelessness or Libyans living under
bridges. How many Libyan homes and bridges did NATO destroy?

One area where the United Nations Human Rights Council praised Mr.
Gaddafi profusely is women’s rights. Unlike many other nations in the
Arab world, women in Libya had the right to education, hold jobs,
divorce, hold property and have an income. When Colonel Gaddafi seized
power in 1969, few women went to university. Today more than half of
Libya ‘s university students are women. One of the first laws Mr. Gaddafi
passed in 1970 was an equal pay for equal work law, only a few years
after a similar law was passed in the U.S. In fact, Libyan working
mothers enjoyed a range of benefits including cash bonuses for children,
free day care, free health care centres and retirement at 55.

 Democracy is not merely about holding elections simply to choose
which particular representatives of the elite class should rule over the
masses. True democracy is about democratising the economy and giving
economic power to the majority.

Fact is, the west has shown that unfettered free markets and genuinely
free elections simply cannot co-exist. Organized greed always defeats
disorganized democracy. How can capitalism and democracy co-exist if one
concentrates wealth and power in the hands of few, and the other seeks to
spread power and wealth among many? Mr. Gaddafi’s Jamahiriya however,
sought to spread economic power amongst the downtrodden many rather than
just the privileged few.

Prior to Colonel Gaddafi, King Idris let Standard Oil essentially write
Libya ‘s petroleum laws. Mr. Gaddafi put an end to all of that. Money
from oil proceeds was deposited directly into every Libyan citizen’s bank
account. One wonders if Exxon Mobil and British Petroleum will continue
this practice under the new democratic Libya ?

 Democracy is not merely about elections or political parties. True
democracy is also about equal opportunity through education and the right
to life through access to health care. Therefore, isn’t it ironic that
America supposedly bombarded Libya to spread democracy, but increasingly
education in America is becoming a privilege not a right and ultimately a
debt sentence. If a bright and talented child in the richest nation on
earth cannot afford to go to the best schools, society has failed that
child. In fact, for young people the world over, education is a passport
to freedom. Any nation that makes one pay for such a passport is only
free for the rich but not the poor.

Under Mr. Gaddafi, education was a human right and it was free for all
Libyans. If a Libyan was unable to find employment after graduation the
State would pay that person the average salary of their

For millions of Americans health care is also increasingly becoming a
privilege not a right. A recent study by Harvard Medical School estimates
that lack of health insurance causes 44,789 excess deaths annually in
America. Under Mr. Gaddafi, health care was a human right and it was free
for all Libyans. Thus, with regards to health care, education and
economic justice, is America in any position to export democracy to Libya
or should America have taken a leaf out of Libya’s book?

 Muammar Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa .
However, by the time he was assassinated, Libya was unquestionably Africa
‘s most prosperous nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life
expectancy in Africa and less people lived below the poverty line than in
the Netherlands . Libyans did not only enjoy free health care and free
education, they also enjoyed free electricity and interest free loans.
The price of petrol was around $0.14 per liter and 40 loaves of bread
cost just $0.15. Consequently, the UN designated Libya the 53rd highest
in the world in human development.

The fundamental difference between western democratic systems and the
Jamahiriya’s direct democracy is that in Libya citizens were given the
chance to contribute directly to the decision-making process, not merely
through elected representatives. Hence, all Libyans were allowed to voice
their views directly – not in one parliament of only a few hundred elite
politicians – but in hundreds of committees attended by tens of thousands
of ordinary citizens. Far from being a military dictatorship, Libya under
Mr. Gaddafi was Africa’s most prosperous democracy.

Garikai Chengu is a fellow of the Du Bois Institute for African Research
at Harvard University

- This article was originally posted at Brave New World. 
+44 (0)7786 952037
Twitter: @TonyGosling
uk-911-truth+subscribe at
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which
alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung

Fear not therefore: for there is nothing covered that shall not be
revealed; and nothing hid that shall not be made known. What I tell you
in darkness, that speak ye in the light and what ye hear in the ear, that
preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:26-27 

Die Pride and Envie; Flesh, take the poor's advice. 
Covetousnesse be gon: Come, Truth and Love arise. 
Patience take the Crown; throw Anger out of dores: 
Cast out Hypocrisie and Lust, which follows whores: 
Then England sit in rest; Thy sorrows will have end; 
Thy Sons will live in peace, and each will be a friend.   
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list