“Socialism” did not “fail” in the Soviet Union because socialism never existed there.
Rather state-capitalist commodity production by wage-labor continued,
indeed expanded, operating in the context of world-market competition
World-Economy and Gaddafi’s Capitulation
By Lil Joe
It is not okay to lie to the people: I must admit that I was initially taken by surprise by Gaddafi’s capitulation to Anglo-American force. And that’s what it is, a capitulation. The point is not to bless or curse Gaddafi, but to understand the compelling forces both in Libya’s domestic techno-economic needs, the world economy and economic rivalries, and geopolitical alignments and conflicts.
What being “surprised” tells me about myself is that I still harbored illusions about the possibility of individuals to rise above techno-economic circumstances. Neither can an individual, nor a class emancipate himself/itself by wishing it into existence, what is possible is determined by natural resources and tools made from the natural resources and raw materials in the labor-process.
I have often quoted Marx: “it is not the consciousness of men that determine their existence, but their social being that determine their consciousness.” By this materialistic sociopolitical analysis of technology and economic institutions, of the Soviet Union for example, I reached the conclusion that it was state-monopoly capitalism, not socialism that determined managerial and political behavior.
The economic wants and processes going on in the background also explicate the analysis of the Libyan political capitulation to the Anglo-American empire. As in the case of Gorbachev’s capitulation to U.S. imperialism so in Gaddafi’s case there are technological and economic global forces at work.
We are not concerned with political cult fictions. It is not about who was “right,” and who was wrong; nor, therefore, of was who “principled” in factional debates, and who “opportunist” but how these debates and the factions arose. Just as one does not judge an individual by what he or she thinks of himself/herself neither do we judge an epoch of socioeconomic transformation by the self-consciousness of parties, or factions but by what compelled programs, and objectively determined successes of one camp and failures of its rivals.
It is not politics that determine economics but economics politics. In my analysis of the Soviet Union I operated from the premises of environmental, techno-economic determinism collecting and analyzing economic data of a market-economy in which the basic means of production and distribution were state property. The level of development of the productive forces, class and class conflicts, in the Soviet market-economy in context of a world-market that was most technically advanced in the West is what determine the decisions of enterprise managers of state industries, state farms, collectives, state planners, and political bureaucrats.
Analysing the Soviet Union, I came to understand how it was that Lenin’s advocating Soviet New Economic Policies (NEP) permitting privatization and profit incentive was an economic capitulation to Russia’s vast petty -bourgeois (peasants, artisans) and to entrepreneurs. This was more realistic than Trotsky’s War Communism and Alexandra Kollontai’s Left-opposition to “state capitalism.” The subsequent political conflicts between Stalin and Trotsky were in turn based on class factions in the State-monopoly capitalist economy: Bukharin and Stalin on the right, representing the rich peasants, managerial elite and state bureaucracy in conflict with the workers and remnant of the revolutionary Bolshevik cadres represented by Preobrazhensky and Trotsky. Stalin in these cases represented the capitulation to technological and economic needs and realities.
The techno-economic issues fought out in the Soviet State economic state’s organs penetrated the government, and therefore the Communist Party. Issues of ideological conflicts and resolutions in the Soviet Union did not originate in the minds of Party leaders regarding what is or isn’t the “principled” position, or “correct” program to be adopted by the Party cadres and by “implementation” become State Policy and spread throughout the economy. Rather the reverse! The technology and economy, men and women producing their means of subsistence and means of production on one hand, and those that managed production and distribution on the other, and the material struggles between them on one hand and competition in the world-market on the other produced both the issues of the debates and the possibilities for solutions. These material processes, of production and exchange determined the debate issues, politics and ideology.
Consequently who “won” or who “lost” the ideological and political struggles in the Soviet Union, and every other country is not the issue. There is no such thing as a “dictator.” Those who appear to be “dictators” are made to appear that way by their political rivals. The one who seems a tyrant is nothing but the political representative of interests of a class, or class-faction thereof that is the dominate economic power.
To do an objective scientific analysis of what technological and economic factors that compelled a Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Mao, Gorbachev, Nyerere, Toure, and now Gaddafi to in each case turn from socialist visions, and capitulate to entrepreneurial capitalism one must explain the technological and economic forces that compelled them to capitulate.
Calling Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Mao, Gorbachev, Nyerere, Toure, and now Gaddafi “sell-outs,” or/and “traitors,” and “betrayers of the proletariat” explains nothing. Although Trotsky, for instance, titled his book, “Revolution Betrayed” for political-polemical reasons, he nonetheless did an objective economic analysis, based on data to explain what he thought were the “material causes” behind the “Stalinist betrayal.” He thought the cause was “corruption,” which however is subjective and not an economic analysis of the trends which made this “corruption” inevitable. Yet the same kinds of pains-taking data collection and analysis must be done to explain the course of events in the Soviet Union, China, Tanzania, Guinea, and now Libya.
Lenin, Khrushchev, Mao, Gorbachev, Nyerere, Toure were scientific socialists in the tradition of historical materialism of Marx and Engels. The collapses of ostensible “socialism” in the Soviet Union, entrepreneurial privatization in China, Tanzania, Guinea and now Libya has enabled the claim by reactionaries and anti-communists that “socialism,” “communism” are “dead,” and in particular the Marxian historical materialist analysis has thus been “refuted”!
The truth however, as they say, is stranger than fiction in this case the fiction is “Marxism-Leninism.” Marx’s Marxism on the contrary is validated, it is the Trotskyist theory of “permanent revolution” that is refuted. Lenin and Trotsky wanted to reach a goal – socialism – without the material means of getting there. What is the materialist conception of history? As one of it’s discoverer, Marx, articulated the principle of this discovery [first recognized by African historian Ibn Kaldun]:
No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society. Mankind thus inevitably sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation. **At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. http://www.marxists.org/
The Soviet Communist Party State nationalized the means of production and distribution in the Soviet Union. This did not do away with capitalist commodity production by wage-labor, but the State became the personification of capital in these relations of production. “Socialism” did not “fail” in the Soviet Union because socialism never existed there. Rather state-capitalist commodity production by wage-labor continued, indeed expanded, operating in the context of world-market competition remained subordinated to that world-market based on the universal exploitation of wage-labor.
Impatience wants the impossible: to reach a goal without the means of getting there. Socialism requires a material and social basis — those are the objective material productive forces, capitalist technology and the subjective factor a working-class majority in opposition to commodity production and wage-labor. These conditions were not present in Russia, China, Tanzania, Guinea and Libya; but also, the technology and social relations in those countries lagged behind industrial capitalism in Western Europe, Japan and the United States. The higher developed technology in entrepreneurial capitalism, and abundant capital and money in the West eventually overran the historically retarded, thus less developed technology and state capitalist Soviet Union resulting in complete privatization and collapse of the Soviet State.
The so-called World War II (2nd Imperialist War) mechanized military forces destroyed much of the European, Soviet and Asian including Japanese productive forces. But, the United States mainland economy was not touched. This enabled American technology to advance and its economy to grow while the more advanced productive forces in Europe and Japan were being destroyed.
The American capitalists sold military equipment to Britain, France, the Soviet Union and China. The post-War rebuilding of industry and capitalism in Western Europe and Japan, using the world’s most advanced technology to produce new, even more advanced productive forces in Europe and Japan, not only enabled Western Europe’s entrepreneurial capitalism to out compete Soviet state-monopoly capitalism. This new technology in Western Europe and Japan also laid the basis for success today of the European Union and Japan in economic competition against the United States.
The “Cold War” arms and space races, in context of “hot wars” in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, the “Arab-Israeli wars”, Angola, Mozambique, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Chile, acerbated the economic strain on the Soviet economy. Unable to compete, its workers, peasants and economic resources diverted to military spending, and its citizens exhausted, the Soviet state-monopoly capitalist economy collapsed.
The collapse of the Soviet State only meant the break-up of state monopoly capitalism at it’s core, but only meant that the privatization would enable enterprise managers and state planners to become out-right capitalist “entrepreneurs.”
The Chinese Communist Party state, and industrial managers were enabled to avoid collapse by the wave of entrepreneur capitalism by themselves becoming entrepreneur capitalists: two/thirds of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee are millionaires.
The trend is toward privatized entrepreneurial capitalism in the former Soviet Union, China, Tanzania, Guinea, Angola, Mozambique, Nicaragua, and now even prostitution and elitist accommodations to rich white men, tourists has returned to Cuba. Women and girls from Russia, and Eastern and Central Europe, now impoverished are being sold to rich American men and exploited as sex-slaves.
I suspect it was in this trend that Gaddifi moved against the Libyan “left-opposition,” which resisted his selling out to American as well as European investor-capitalists (http://www.arabicnews.com).
The inference is drawn from the data: these people were attacked and excluded from the government in context of the government’s opening the economy to the West.
In news article in arabicnews.com is stated:
Libya announces vast plan for privatization Libya
The Libyan prime minister Shukri Ghanem considered that Libya had prepared a large scale plan for privatizing state owned factories and companies and the plan is to be extended until 2008.
Ghanem said in a press conference held in Tripoli on Saturday that this plan covers “privatization of mineral industries, especially iron, steel, chemical industries, and factories to assemble trucks and buses, textile, and shoes companies, and state owned farms.”
Ghanem said that the privatization plan would be applied in three phases until the year 2008, noting “the Central Bank will sell shares of these companies and factories until a stock market is founded.”
Ghanem, an economist, was appointed in June as head of the government, adopts the policy of economic openness. He stressed that his country seeks to open up to foreign companies especially oil companies. In June this year, Libya’s Leader of the Revolution Colonel Muammar al Qathafi called for the privatization of the sector of oil, banks, public companies, and airports.ArabicNews
Selling off the countries natural resources, minerals and industries to Western capitalists is of course good news gospel truth to the Lord Mammon: the IMF. In a subsequent article to arabicnews.com:
IMF commends the Libyan reforms Libya
The International Monetary Fund on Thursday announced that since lifting the UN sanctions, Libya has started measures of economic reforms targeting to liberalize the economy and preparations to join the World Trade Organization WTO.
The IMF “welcomed the initiatives made by the authorities to merge Libya in the regional and international economics.” He praised “Libya’s determination to join free trade agreements with the Arab states and to joining the World Trade Organization.” ArabicNews
In contrast to the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China and Cuba; but similar to Tanzania, Angola, Mozambique and Guinea; Libya has never claimed to be a dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry, or “socialist” in the “Marxist-Leninist” sense, nor even “African Socialism.”
Gaddafi promoted a version of the Maoist doctrine of a patriotic “block of four classes.” “The people” were exhorted to a love-communism, in which members of different classes were to forgo their economic, material interests and conflicts of interests. It was to be a society in which material individuals of material classes were to forgo their mutually exclusive class and therefore individual interests, in a society where they lived, and worked together (http://www.geocities.com).
Gaddafi rejected the materialist analysis of empirical reality of techno-economic relations of production determining classes. Interests of individual members of classes determine political self-consciousness. By this, articulated in his The Green Book Gaddafi nevertheless presented a kind of socialism. Its vision was a version of Islamic/African socialism, ideologically articulated in the “Green Book”:
In the Green Book, as a Muslim, Gaddafi proceeds from the Idealist metaphysic: it is not material social existence that determines political ideologies but political ideas that determine material and social existence. Gaddafi’s The Green Book rejects materialism, and together with the Libyan bourgeoisie opposes workers as a class coming to dominate society.
According to Gaddafi:
The class political system is the same as the party, the tribal, or sectarian system, i.e. a class dominates the society in the same way that a party, tribe or sect does. The class, like the party, sect and tribe, is a group of people from the society who share common interests. Common interests arise from the existence of a group of people bound together by blood relationship, belief, culture, locality or standard of living. Also class, party, sect and tribe emerge from similar factors leading to similar results, i.e. they emerge because blood relationship, belief, standard of living culture and locality create a common outlook to achieve a common end. Thus emerges the social structure in the forms of class, party, tribe or sect that eventually becomes a political conception directed toward realizing the out-look and ends of that group. In all cases the people are neither the class, the party, the tribe nor the sect; these are no more than a part of the people and constitute a minority. If a class, party, tribe or sect dominates a society, the whole system becomes a dictatorship Geocities
By his The Green Book Gaddafi wanted to, wants to at once declare himself a “revolutionary,” and promote socialist ideas and policies while at the same time separating himself from the “Red Book,” Mao and Communism. Mao, or rather the Chinese Communist Party rejected the bourgeois romanticism of revolution as adventure and publicly associated himself, the Chinese Communist Party with Stalin, and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Ditto: Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese Workers Party, and the openly Marxist revolutionary, Ernesto Guevara.
Gaddafi came to hold government power as a revolutionary part and parcel of the wave of revolutions and national liberation movements of the 1960s and 70s:
Libyan political and military leader, born into a nomadic family. He abandoned university studies to attend military academy in 1963, and formed the Free Officers Movement which overthrew King Idris in 1969. He became chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, promoted himself to colonel (the highest rank in the revolutionary army) and became commander-in-chief of the Libyan armed forces. As de facto head of state, he set about eradicating colonialism by expelling foreigners and closing down British and US bases. He also encouraged a religious revival and return to the fundamental principles of Islam.” Biography
The proletarian’s revolutionary advances and retreats several times before the final assault, when the conditions cry out for radical restructuring of the total society. There is and has been a continuous class war. Politically, the successes or failure depends upon the subjective correlations of military forces.
The workers and peasants revolutionaries in the liberation wars of the 20th century were inevitably led by socialist, communist, and workers parties: the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution won State Power, but the revolutionary wing of the German Social-Democrats was defeated and 1919 and surprised in the 1930s-40s. In China the Chinese Communist Party organized and led a People’s Liberation Army, whose military victory inspired workers and peasants throughout colonial Asia and Africa.
The success of the Vietnamese workers and peasants over the French colonists inspired revolutionaries in French colonies in Africa, as in Algeria and Guinea. U.S. imperialism replaced Japanese and French imperialisms in Korea, Vietnam, and Cambodia; the workers and peasants in Vietnam however roundly defeated them. Deep in Africa workers and peasants in Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique and in Guinea Bissau waged successful wars that gained them political independence. The Cuban workers and peasants drove the U.S. puppet regime from power, and reorganized the economy based on nationalization and workers and peasants committees.
Gaddafi was part of this revolutionary wave which sweep the planet. The revolutionary government of Libya provided political, and financial support to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and to the African National Congress. It was because these national liberation organizations were called “terrorist,” that U.S. imperialism and Zionism labeled Libya a “terrorist state,” and has sought its destruction by U.N. and U.S. economic sanctions, and U.S. bombing campaigns. Libya needs a nuclear arsenal of its own, to deter imperialist aggression and invasion/occupation.
An arms race however is a costly enterprise. Together with the Soviet Union’s costly support of guerrilla liberation forces in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and support for governments under attack by forces armed and financed by the U.S., the arms race drove the Soviet Union to neglect its domestic needs, and ultimately into bankruptcy. Libya, notwithstanding its oil monies cannot not successfully compete in an nuclear arms race with Israel, which is funded and technologically aided by the United States.
During the so-called Cold-War years 3rd world countries with savvy leadership were able to play one camp against the other: the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries, and conversely. Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Nasser of Egypt, Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia, Sukarno of Indonesia and Castro of Cuba played the leading role. Egypt under Sadat was to capitulate to U.S. imperialism and Zionism but Libya led by Gaddafi was brought into the non-aligned community and together with Syria is a leading supporter of the Palestinians.
Presently the major competition in the world is economic. The United States is in competition with the European Union economically dominated by Germany and France. Now that the United States and Britain are in military control of the economies of Afghanistan and Iraq, it is in the interest of the European Union to modernize Libya and bring it with its oil reserves into a mutually supportive relation with the European Union bloc.
Presently: Libya’s main partners are Italy, making up about 40% of the export market and 18% of the imports, Germany with 20% and 12%, Britain with 6.5% and 3%. While the trade with neighboring countries is of importance, it is inferior to trade with European countries.
The United States is a declining technological and economic power relative to the advanced technologies and aggressive economic powers of Europe and East Asia (including China, Japan, and South Korea). Nonetheless, along with Russia, the U.S. remains one of the dominant nuclear powers (paxamericaindecline).
It is in the economic interests of the American capitalist class to, as much as possible monopolize the world’s weapons capability to manufacture, and sell to the government to politically dominate the world, to the extent that that is militarily possible (nucleartheatre).
However, it is the advanced economic technology, and relative lack thereof in Libya that is behind Libya’s “confessions” of its responsibility regarding the Pan Am explosion and the bombing of an integrated Discothèque in Berlin, Germany.
Libya’s aims are initially to rehabilitate its civil aviation industry and to expand its oil investments. To do this Libya needs technology manufactured in Libya, Western capital investment.
China is an example of how this works. However where relatively cheap labor is the attraction of self-expansion of capital from the West into China, it is access to Libya’s vast oil reserves that is attracting capital investments in Libya.
“The yearly output of petroleum in Libya exceeds 500 million barrels per year, while the amount of natural gas was at the level of 10.3 billion m. Libya has a large production of refined products, petrochemicals and construction materials” (Libya).
Libya’s Foreign Minister, Shalgam, who significantly is an economist, said that Libya’s strategic goal is to increase its oil production from 1.2 million to 3 million barrels a day over the next 15 years. In convincing Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi to go ahead and try to settle the Lockerbie matter, Shalgam said that Libyan economists had convinced Qaddafi that Libya would recover its $2.7 billion outlay within 20 months if U.N. and U.S. sanctions were lifted (Wrmea).
Libya is selling off state ownership of natural resources and minerals, along with basic industries, railroads in order to rebuild, and modernize. The Libyan’s annunciation that it will give up its “weapons of mass destruction” was not motivated by “Gaddafi’s fear of Bush,” having already withstood the bombing by the Reagan government and in spite of it continued financial support of the ANC and PLO. The motivation is economic rejuvenation in connection with the European Union.
It is a classic example of the choice of guns versus butter issues. In this instance it made more sense to the Libyan government to undermine the U.S. intention to keep a wedge between Libya and the E.U., which with U.S. forces in control in Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq the E.U. needs Libya’s oil in its economy, just as much as Libya needs European technology in Libya and the African Union.
U.S. imperialism and its propaganda machine are able to force a distance between the European Union and Libya’s oil by presenting Gaddafi as a “terrorist sponsor” and maker of “weapons of mass destruction.” Now that the Pan Am incident behind them: by the renouncing of constructing of WMDs Libya is able to undermine the American undermining of the E.U.-Libya economic cooperation.
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By M. Al Gathafi
Republished in a new translation, “The Green Book” provides fresh insight into the thinking of Muammar Al Qaddafi, and his Third Universal Theory for a new democratic society. Outlined first is his theory for direct democracy in society, or Jamahiriya, focusing on the authority of the people, renouncing representation or delegation of authority, and recognizing the need for organization of the people at lower levels of society. Part Two suggests an economic revolution, transforming societies of wage earners into companies of partners by applying a political and economic theory of social organization that gives the ownership, and regulation of production, distribution and exchange to the community as a whole. Part Three launches a social revolution, presenting solutions to man’s struggles in life, and the unsolved problems of man and woman, as well as tackling the situation of minorities by laying out sound principles of social life for all mankind.
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By Muammar Gaddafi and Edmond Jouve
This breezy but well-researched history takes a not-so-critical look at a man described by Nelson Mandela as “one of the greatest revolutionary legends of our times” and by President Ronald Reagan as “the mad dog of the Middle East.” The leader of Libya since 1969, Gaddafi’s life story is revealed through the interviews and research of Jouve, an expert in Third-World Africa who first met Gaddafi in 1979. Told from Gaddafi’s point of view, this book portrays him as a leader of conviction and consideration, committed to peaceably bettering the lives of his countrymen, historically threatened by the influence of the Zionists and the Western traditions they bring to the Middle East with them.
Jouve details this anti-Zionism largely without critical commentwhich may bristle Western audiencesexcept for that provided by Gaddafi himself, who in 2004 gave up his nuclear weapons in order to reconcile with the West, a move Jouve says is “the result of deep thought and soul-searching.”
Whether or not you believe in his transformation (and to be sure, Jouve doesn’t provide any reasons why you shouldn’t), Gaddafi’s perspective is well represented here and should satisfy anyone interested in man, the march of Islamic democracy, or the perspective of an “enlightened Muslim” on Israel, the West, democracy and terrorism.
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Gaddafi Turns US and British Guns on His PeopleFebruary 22, 2011He came to power back in 1969 with a coup, and throughout 1970s he developed a reputation not for what he was doing but because of his rhetoric of pro-Palestinian Arab nationalism, and even at some point Pan-Arabism. He was the odd man out. He was dashing, and he had these female guards thathe was flaunting them here and there. But most of the power really came from petrodollars, and that he remained in power as such, petrodollars that have continued to keep him in power. In fact, these lucrative contracts with both American and British arm manufacturers that you just mentioned, in millions of dollars, the same bullets that now are being used to mass murder the demonstrators are the result of those petrodollars. Muammar al-Gaddafi went from being the “mad dog of the Middle East” (you recall former president, late president Ronald Reagan called him, back in 1986) to being considered a person of personality and experience under President Bush because of the rapprochement, and also because he kind of addressed the issue of his involvement, or his government’s involvement, or people on his payroll’s involvement with the Lockerbie terrorist act, and also for abandoning their nuclear project. Hispresumably, he’s having nuclear project. Once that was sorted out, American and British arm manufacturers were released to sell him as much arm as he wanted, without any consideration for the consequences. . . .
So the period of 1970s is a period of postcolonial anticolonial uprisings, and he, true to his reputation, was very much involved in those activism. But you have to keep in mind that this was an entirely different period. It was in the immediate aftermath of European colonialism, and European colonialism not only destroyed the infrastructure and robbed them of their minerals and resources, but did not leave behind any foundation for democratic governance in the aftermath of colonial domination. So Muammar al-Gaddafi in 1970s represented this so-called charismatic revolutionary figure that had come to power in solidarity with revolutionary movements and uprisings in Africa and Latin America, but in effect becoming an autocrat and a tyrant in his own country, and nobody paid any close attention to him.
Hamid Dabashi is a professor of Iranian studies and comparative literature at Columbia University.TheRealNews
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The myth of invasionIrregular migration from West Africa to the Maghreb and the European UnionBy Hein de HaasIMI research report October 2007Although there has been an incontestable increase in regular and irregular West African migration to Europe over the past decade, available empirical evidence dispels most of these assumptions. First, trans-Saharan migration of West Africans to North Africa is not as new, massive and Europe-focused as is commonly suggested. While having much deeper historical roots in the trans-Saharan trade, migration of (former) nomads, traders and refugees to Mauritania, Algeria and Libya since the 1970s set the stage for contemporary trans-Saharan migration. Against the background of economic decline and warfare in West and Central Africa, Libyas new pan-African immigration policies are essential in understanding the major increase in trans-Saharan labour migration over the 1990s.
Since 2000, a major anti-immigrant backlash in Libya probably contributed to a diversification of trans-Saharan migration routes and the increasing presence of migrants in other Maghreb countries. Confronted with a persistent demand for irregular migrant labour in Europe, more and more sub-Saharan, mostly West Africans started to cross the Mediterranean. However, the public perception that irregular migration from Africa is massive and growing at an alarming rate is deceptive. Illegal crossings of the Mediterranean by North Africans have been a persistent phenomenon since Italy and Spain introduced visa requirements in the early 1990s. The major change has been that, in particular since 2000, sub-Saharan Africans have started to join and have now overtaken North Africans as the largest category of irregular boat migrants. Recent West African migrants are increasingly settling in Spain and Italy, where they enter flourishing underground economies. Even when apprehended, many migrants are eventually released. Many have acquired residency through recurrent regularizations.
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African migrants become easy target for racist violence in LibyaMonday, 21 February 2011Leaving aside the fact that fear of an African invasion is entirely unfounded, what Gaddafi has been much more keen to hide is that Libya is an important migration destination in its own right, and that his guestworker policies are the main explanation behind a massive increase in the number of African workers in Libya. Most African migrants have come from countries such as Niger, Chad and elsewhere in West Africa to work as low-paid labourers in the oil industry, construction, agriculture and service sectors. African workers tend to do the most dangerous and dirty jobs. Not many people know that most African migrants do not use Libya as a passage to Europe, but that they have come to Libya as part of Gaddafis guestworker schemes or as illegal labour migrants. According to several estimates, Libya hosts 2 to 2.5 million immigrants, representing 25 to 30 percent of its total population. This includes about half a million Egyptians; several tens of thousands of Moroccans, Tunisians and Algerians; and 1 to 1.5 million sub-Saharan Africans (for further information see The Myth of Invasion). Since the 1990s, Gaddafi has actively stimulated immigration from sub-Saharan countries such as Chad and Niger as part of his pan-African policies. These immigrants from extremely poor countries were easier to exploit than Arab workers. From 2000 onwards, violent clashes between Libyans and African workers led to the street killings of dozens of sub-Saharan migrants, who were routinely blamed for rising crime, disease, and social tensions. In an apparent attempt to respond to growing domestic racism, the Libyan regime hardened its policies towards African immigrants. Measures included lengthy and arbitrary detention of immigrants in poor conditions in prisons and camps, physical abuse, and the forced expulsion of tens of thousands of immigrants. Gaddafi has been happy to conclude agreements with Italy and other European states to violently crack down on immigration in exchange for lucrative trade and arms deals. This has led to blatant violation of international refugee law. In many ways, it has served European countries well that Libya has not signed the Geneva refugee convention and is not concerned about human rights at all. Of course this repression has not stopped migration, but mainly facilitated exploitation of African migrants in Libya, whose position became even more vulnerable. While the Gaddafi regime has tried to put the blame on immigrants for all sorts of social problems, their cheap labour force has served Libya very well economically.
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African Migrants Targeted in Libyafrom Al JazeeraDozens of workers from sub-Saharan Africa are feared killed, and hundreds are in hiding, as angry mobs of anti-government protesters hunt down “black African mercenaries,” according to witnesses. About 90 Kenyans and another 64 citizens from South Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and Burundi landed in Nairobi on Monday, according to officials. “We were being attacked by local people who said that we were mercenaries killing people. Let me say that they did not want to see black people,” Julius Kiluu, a 60-year-old building supervisor, told Reuters.
“Our camp was burnt down, and we were assisted by the Kenyan embassy and our company to get to the airport,” he said. Rights organizations say that thousands of workers are stranded in camps and private homes, protected by their colleagues as their governments fail to evacuate them from the chaos. . . . Hundreds of black immigrants from poor African countries, who mainly work in Libyas oil industry as cheap laborers, have also been injured in the violence. Some were unable to seek medical treatment for fear of being killed. Saad Jabbar, deputy director of the North Africa Centre at Cambridge University, confirms Africans have become targets.
“I tell you, these people, because of their scheme, they will be slaughtered in Libya. There is so much anger there against those mercenaries, which suddenly sprung up,” Jabbar said. About 1.5m Sub-Saharan African migrants work in Libya as low-paid laborers in the oil industry, construction, agriculture and service sectors. Rights organizations say some anti-Gaddafi protesters wrongly associate African workers with state-sponsored violence.
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By Todd Vogel
In a segregated society in which minority writers and artists could find few ways to reach an audience, journalism gave them access to diverse U.S. communities. The original essays in this volume show how marginalized voices attempted to be heard in their day. The Black Press progresses chronologically from abolitionist newspapers to today’s Internet and reveals how the black press’s content and its very form changed with evolving historical conditions in America. The essays address the production, distribution, regulation, and reception of black journalism, illustrating a more textured public discourse, one that exchanges ideas not just within the black community, but also within the nation at large. The contributors demonstrate that African American journalists redefined class, restaged race and nationhood, and reset the terms of public conversation, providing a fuller understanding of the varied cultural battles fought throughout our country’s history. Dayton Library / Questia
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By Henry Lewis Suggs
P.B. Young, the son of a former slave, published the Norfolk Journal and Guide , a black weekly, for more than 50 years, until his death in 1962. From a circulation of a few hundred in 1909 to a circulation of 75,000 during the 1950s, the Guide became the largest press in the South. This book explores P.B. Young’s personal history and charts his positions on a variety of social issues.
Historians have largely neglected the Guide and its editor. Henry Lewis Suggs, mainly using Young’s personal papers (heretofore closed to scholars) and the files of the Guide, fills that historiographical void . . .The book will almost certainly remain the definitive study of P.B. Young.David B. Parker,
Another neglected figure in black history has been rescued from obscurity in this biography of Plummer Bernard Young . . .Suggs has thoroughly researched his subject.Theodore Kornweibel, Jr.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 19 June 2012