MIA: History: ETOL: Documents: International Communist League/Spartacists—PRS 3

21 March 1986

On Libya

Written: 1986
Source: Prometheus Research Library, New York.
Transcription/Markup/Proofing: John Heckman, Prometheus Research Library
Public Domain: Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line 2006/Prometheus Research Library. You can freely copy, display and otherwise distribute this work. Please credit the Marxists Internet Archive & Prometheus Research Library as your source, include the url to this work, and note the transcribers & editors above.

From Spartacist League/U.S. Internal Bulletin whole No. 49, January 1988. Dick Fraser addressed this 21 March 1986 letter to Jim Robertson.


One of my failings has been a reluctance to apply energy to analysis of International problems—usually until the problem virtually hits me in the face. Such is the case with Libya, to which I have paid only the attention due to newspaper articles.

While in the hospital in January, I happened upon a broadcast interview with Qaddafi. It is possible that due to your travels you missed it, although it was reported in full in the LA Times, so I will recapitulate my recollection of the memorable parts.

First, I must say that he makes a good appearance. Serious and firm, occasionally a little emotional, but subdued. For the most part spontaneous, as opposed to the studied and rehearsed and posed delivery of our aging juvenile actor.

Very early in his presentation he talked about Reagan’s tirades, calling them “stinking crusaderism,” which I thought was a nice way of putting it. He went on to talk about the sanctions, saying that they were not hurting Libya, and if they should do so, “we’ll go Communist. That’s what happened to Cuba. Castro wasn’t a Communist but you made him go that way.”

He made a telling point on Reagan’s anti-Semitism in his dealings with the Arabs.

Only a few hours later, I caught a semi-documentary on Libya from PBS. Without my being aware of it, there has been a considerable revolution going on there. Libya is the only Arab country where the oil revenues are shared by the people. The Libyan workers and peasants have the highest standard of living of all Arab countries. A revolutionary step towards women’s liberation has taken place. Libya is the only Arab country which has almost completely violated Moslem orthodoxy in this area. In the metropolitan areas they claim to have approximated equality of women. Showed women in the armed forces in combat training. There is resistance to this in the interior from the orthodox hierarchy.

I presume that you have given some thought to Qaddafi, as the Healyites seem to have had some dealing with him. However, I was very impressed with what I heard and read, and I would suggest that either yourself or some member of your International apparatus in Europe investigate getting an interview.

It becomes clear to me now why Reagan is so afraid of that man. He is not afraid of the Soviet Union, but is merely awaiting the time for a first strike capability. But Qaddafi he is afraid of because in spite of the fact that he is somewhat isolated in the Arab world, principally because of his flouting of orthodoxy, he has nevertheless become a principal spokesman for the Arab world.