By Luc MICHEL,
Président of MEDD-RCM
Theorist of the European Direct Democracy
And of the “Communitarian Socialism”
"But who will drive the masses to seize power and achieve their own political, economic and social goals?
Who will defend the new regime? "
How was implemented Direct Democracy in its “Jamahiriya” version? Its steps inform both its revolutionary process and its ideological foundations. "The trajectory of the Libyan regime since 1969 can be regarded as a constantly renewed attempt of “revolution from the top”to promote the government from below, ie the direct government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
THE FIVE PHASES OF THE LIBYAN REVOLUTION :
From an institutional perspective, it is possible to distinguish five phases in this kind of permanent revolution from the top:
- First phase, Arab nationalism:
Until 1973, the regime, which harbored the intention of the union with the Egyptian neighbor, wanted to follow the model of the Arab Republic of Egypt. The Provisional Constitution of the "Libyan Arab Republic" (LAR) proclaimed the sovereignty of the people and entrusted the exercise of power to a collegial body, the " Command Council of the Revolution” (CCR), itself assisted by a Government under its control. During this period, the "revolution", through the CCR, endowed the people of a single party on the Egyptian model, the Arab Socialist Union (1971), and offered the possibility of direct contacts with the rulers, " real happening where the crowd questioned the head of State or ministers who answered questions as well as interruptions.”
- Second phase: the Cultural Revolution:
On April 15, 1973, when the union proclaimed between the LAR and Egypt (August 1972) went unheeded, a speech by Colonel GADDAFI in Zuara expressed and aroused the tensions within the CCR as noticeable since December 1969 .
Like MAO and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the Colonel called for "people’s revolution". He particularly urged the masses to form themselves into "people’s committees" to fight against bureaucracy (removal of administrative officials, occupation of radio and television stations …)
- Third phase: the Power of the People:
This new phase, whose orientations have been recorded in the first volume of the GREEN BOOK published in September 1976 by GADDAFI saw, during the Congress of Sebha in March 1977, the advent of the Jamahiriya.
The way was thus open to a revival of the revolution from the top to the government from below, advocated by the Colonel. This will be, revolution in the Revolution, the “establishment of people’s power” on March 2, 1977.
- Fourth phase: the "Revolutionary Committees"
But the lack of organized support for the Revolution led to the creation of "REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEEES": "From 1979, year of the abolition of the Command Council of the Revolution, a new impetus was given to the revolution by the top with the development of "revolutionary committees", originally created to "facilitate" the establishment of the system of people’s congresses and committees. The "revolutionary committees", whose members are co-opted from the unconditional supporters of the colonel, lack of formal powers but guide the exercise of the "people’s power". Muammar GADDAFI defines their role: "It is up to the people’s revolution to destroy the traditional instruments of power, the role of the revolutionary committees being to push for this revolution. The Revolutionary Committees are the melting pot in which the revolutionary forces are found and organized. Their job is completely different from the political organizations that preceded them in history and which campaigned to take power instead of the masses. The Revolutionary Committees are a unique strength in its kind, in that they do not propose to take power but to encourage the masses to make revolution to take power themselves and exercise ad vitam eternam .
- Fifth phase: "Jamahiriya Socialism"
Finally, "This revolution from the top making a reconciliation between the State and a-statism has found its principle of unity in "socialism", in egalitarianism that may avail itself of Islam and eliminate disparities between regions . At its various stages of development, the regime has sought to maximize the distribution capacity that allowed the oil revenues. It was from this point of view, it reaches its climax when, with the release of the second volume of the GREEN BOOK in 1978, private property and wage labor were abolished and the economy state-controlled.”
THE JACOBIN ROOTS OF THE LIBYAN DIRECT DEMOCRACY:
FROM ROBESPIERRE TO GADDAFI
The Libyan Direct Democracy largely mirrors the experience of the Direct Democracy in the First Commune of Paris (1792-1794) and of the Committee of State Security. References are public and many in the revolutionary government of Robespierre. To mark the arrival of French President Chirac in Jamahiriya in 2004, the walls of Tripoli were covered with posters, incredible for the French, paying tribute to the French Revolution, to 1793 and the Incorruptible.
The role played by Muammar GADDAFI in the Libyan institutional system corresponds closely – what nobody seemed to see before me among the analysts of the Libyan system – to that played by ROBESPIERRE between the Paris Commune and its sections, the Convention, the people of Paris, the Jacobin Club and the Committee of State Security. At once inspirer and ideologist, spokesman and supreme arbiter.
For whom is familiar with the Libyan system and its actual operation, the presentation by Francois Furet (in PENSER LA REVOLUTION FRANCAISE (THINK THE FRENCH REVOLUTION) of the role of Robespierre in power from 1793 to Thermidor makes invariably think to that played by Gaddafi, the Leader of the Revolution in Libya:
"He carries an extraordinary syncretism between the two democratic legitimacies. Idol of the Jacobins (…) He alone has mystically reconciled direct democracy and the principle of direct representation, settling in at the top of a pyramid of equivalences which his word guarantees, day after day, the continuation. He is the people in the sections, the people at the Jacobins, the people in the national representation; and it is that transparency between the people and all the places where one speaks in his name – starting with the Convention – that must be constantly established, , controled, as the condition of the legitimacy of power, but also as his first duty. "
He claimed to adhere to Islam but claimed to reform it by denouncing its interpretation by the retrograde religious establishment and rejecting the Sunnah, considered questionable for the benefit of the Koran alone. In doing so, he, true to himself, blamed intermediaries, and more, he worked in favor of State autonomy, the political references to Islam mostly being in the Sunnah .
His vision is there also neo-jacobine, of an Arab form of secularism in fine. One of many observers of the Jamahiriya, Alain LELUC spoke in GEO magazine of "a socialism between Marx and Allah." Let us hear an Arab voice – identifying the Arabs to Islam, as will also do the ba’athist theorist (Syrian Greek Orthodox) Michel AFLAK - to socialism, where Islam plays the role of national and cultural referent. In a process reminiscent of the role of the Russian Nation (also with the use of Orthodoxy) in the Russian-Soviet "National Bolshevism" of STALIN in the Years 1941-45.
Socialism which means "building a modern nation" around citizens become " revolutionary producers " from a command economy”, writes Alain LELUC. It sounds like much more JEAN THIRIART than MARX …
As for “Allah”, the religion, as ferment of the Arab identity, is put at the service of the Jamahiriya and its political and social project.
FROM THE FIRST COMMUNE OF PARIS OF 1792-94
TO THE LIBYAN “REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEES”
The influence of Robespierre and the first Paris Commune also appears in the role and functioning of the "Revolutionary Committees", which is clearly in line with the Paris section movement of 1792-94.
"But who will drive the masses to seize power and achieve their own political, economic and social goals? Who will defend the new regime? "questioned GADDAFI himself.
The "revolutionary Committees", whose members are co-opted from the unconditional supporters of the colonel, lack of formal powers but guide the exercise of the "people’s power". In fact controlling the workings of the "people’s" authorities and the "permanent revolutionary court", they act as “watchdogs of the revolution”, according to hostile observers to Jamahiriya (Burgat, Hinnebusch).
As under the Jacobin regime of 1792-1794, the self-purge is an important renewal. So in 1986, in the context of the U.S. bombing of Tripoli aiming at the person of GADDAFI (and presumably coordinated to a failed coup according to some observers), the revolutionary committees have been the subject of a purge. The colonel, writing in the weekly of these committees, denounced the confiscation of power by a "party" and called to the formation of a "party" to eradicate this "cancer" and to make "a qualitative leap, a new revolutionary transformation." Similarly, a movement against the bureaucracy and the adoption of bourgeois attitudes of the staff of the "revolutionary committees" was completed in 2002-2003.
THE DIRECT DEMOCRACY IN EUROPE: THEORIES AND PRAXIS.
An old idea which is the alternative of the 21st century!
Conference of Luc MICHEL
For the INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON DIRECT DEMOCRACY
Organised in SEBAH (Libya) by the “Center of the Green Book”
From February 26 to March 3 2007
Luc MICHEL, For the INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON DIRECT DEMOCRACY
Organised in SEBAH (Libya) by the “Center of the Green Book”
From February 26 to March 3 2007
On the Banner : The power of the People has been established and could not been destroy !