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Vol. 75/No. 13      April 4, 2011

Workers’ stake in opposing attacks
(front page / editorial)

There are big stakes for working people the world over in opposing the military assault on Libya by Washington, London, Paris, and other imperialist powers. These air strikes are being carried out in the interests of the same U.S., British, French, and other capitalist ruling families that are seeking to bust our unions, imposing austerity measures to drive down our living standards, and slashing jobs and speeding up work to boost their profits.

The imperialist powers are the deadly enemy of working people in Libya, as they have been for more than a century. President Barack Obama claims the air strikes are necessary for “humanitarian” reasons. But that pretext is nothing but a bald-faced lie—made easier for the aggressors by Moammar Gadhafi’s threat to residents of Benghazi that his forces would “have no mercy and no pity” if they conquered that stronghold of opposition to his regime.

As they have done from the Balkans to the Middle East to Central Asia in recent decades, the imperialist governments are using their military might to bring to heel, and if possible to topple, a regime that no longer serves their class interests. Washington and its partners looked on for weeks as Gadhafi’s armed forces and hired mercenaries pummeled working people across Libya who had rebelled against his dictatorial rule. As the regime’s troops were on the verge of entering Benghazi—once enough blood had been spilled to make intervention more palatable to bourgeois public opinion worldwide—the imperialist powers struck.

All the posturing by Washington, London, and Paris as “saviors” of the Libyan people, however, cannot obscure what they are really after. Each of the participating capitalist governments seeks to stabilize the situation in that oil-rich country and region in order to strengthen its strategic interests and keep on raking in profits from the exploitation of workers and other toilers there. The imperialist rulers need a regime in Libya—or in part of it—that is more beholden to them.

At the same time, the competing economic and political interests among the intervening capitalist powers, and the tensions these rivalries produce, have come to the fore since the outset of “Operation Odyssey Dawn.” But “saving” working people in Libya from the brutality of the Gadhafi regime counts for nothing in these conflicts.

The fight by working people and others in Libya to topple the Gadhafi regime gained momentum earlier this year in the wake of mobilizations in Tunisia and then Egypt to end long-standing dictatorships in those countries. The ongoing rebellions across northern Africa and the Middle East are a response to intolerable conditions confronting working people in face of today’s global capitalist crisis. Millions of workers, peasants, and youth are fed up with the suppression of basic democratic freedoms that make it harder for them to organize—on the land, in the factories, and in the streets—to defend themselves and form their own unions and political organizations.

Working people in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and the world over have common class interests with our brothers and sisters in Libya in opposing the imperialist military assault. What’s more, the soldiers and sailors deployed by the wealthy rulers in Washington, London, and Paris are workers and farmers in their big majority—not the sons and daughters of those who send them into harm’s way.

Working people the world over should demand: “Stop the air strikes! Hands off Libya!”
Related articles:
Stop assault on Libya!
Washington, London, Paris launch air strikes
Protests widen for ouster of Yemeni dictator  
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