Libya: For a constituent assembly to take the revolution forward.

Socialist Resistance welcomes the continuing advance of the Libyan uprising and looks forward to the completion of the revolution. The uprising has the potential not only to carry through the democratic liberation of Libya people but to act as an important boost for the rebellion in the whole region. It has from the start been not only a genuine uprising of the of the Libyan masses but a product of, and an integral part of, the wider rebellion in the Arab world which began, and continues to be centered in Egypt and Tunisia.

SR’s position from the outset has been full support for the Libyan uprising against the Gadaffi dictatorship and opposed to the involvement of NATO. We advocated instead the arming of the rebellion itself – preferably by the Arab regimes.

The dangers to the revolution at the end of the military phase, however, are now considerable. Our fears over NATO’s involvement have increased as the conflict has continued. This has not just involved the use of NATO air power against Gadffi’s defenses but the involvement of special forces on the ground from at least Britain and France and probably the USA.

The offensive against Tripoli was planned in conjunction with NATO, which provided the intelligence and air support. Cameron and Sarkozy are organising their influence on post-Gadaffi Libya in which oil contracts are a central subject. Libya has not only the seventh biggest oil reserves globally (with a trillion dollar a year capacity), but a scarce grade, suitable for aviation fuel.

NATO, or the Western powers operating through it, hope to hijack the revolution. In these circumstances it is urgent for the revolution to establish its political and military independence in the process of the transition of power and to end the involvement of NATO and the Western Powers as the new regime is established.

To this end we support the TNC’s call for genuine elections to a Constituent Assembly that will decide on Libya’s future constitution. We call on them to give this process the upmost urgency and start the preparation for such a convention. No decisions which affect the future shape of Libyan society – the social character of the new government or the legal system for example – should be decided in advance of a constituent assembly.
We also call on the Transitional National Council (TNC) to stand by its earlier decisions of opposing any NATO forces on the ground and therefore end all military intervention now, including the withdrawal of NATO military advisors.

To fill the political and administrative vacuum we support the formation of local committees and other structures separate from the Gadaffi state and for the maintenance of the armed people. No to the disarming of the people! We favour the bringing to proper and fair trial those charged with war crimes and atrocities – no to vengeance killings. In particular the TNC must ensure that the persecution of black people stops immediately.
We also call for the defense of and immediate funding of any social gains, welfare provision, health service, etc against privatisations.

All the assets of Gaddafi’s regime held outside of Libya should be handed over to the revolutionary forces, without strings or conditions, so that they can rebuild their country and meet the people’s needs. No to any “structural adjustment programmes” requiring privatisation and favorable treatment for western corporations.
All oil and commercial contracts with the Gaddafi regime should be cancelled, and zero-interest credit should be given with no strings to the Transitional National Council. ?There should be no imperialist forces in Libya nor the establishment of military bases. ?The form of government in Libya is to be decided by the Libyan people, with no outside interference, by means of a Constitutional Assembly elected through universal suffrage and full democratic rights for all. Mass popular mobilisations of the Libyan people will be necessary to continue the struggle for a society based on democracy and social justice, not private profit.

The fall of the Gadaffi regime is celebrated not only in Libya itself, but throughout the region because his dictatorship had all the normal trappings of a repressive regime. The existence of some elements of a welfare state in Libya no more made his rule defendable that the situation in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
We call for the completion of the victory for the uprising, which is underway and for, an end to the NATO intervention, and for the future of Libya to be determined by the Libyan people themselves free of pressure and exploitation by the Western powers.

This is statement was agreed by the SR NC on Saturday September 17th.

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