THE Greek prime minister Yiorghos Papandreou met with his government’s Defence and Foreign Ministers last Thursday to discuss Libya following talks last Wednesday in Athens with the US State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Europe and Asia Philip Gordon.
After meeting the Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, Gordon thanked him for Greece’s role in evacuating thousands of foreign workers, mostly Chinese, from Libya. Gordon said ‘Greek frigates’ were patrolling the Libyan coast adding that ‘Greece has helped a lot’. He referred to ‘military assistance’ offered by Greece to the US as six US war ships are due to dock at Souda Bay, the huge NATO air and naval military base on the island of Crete just a fifteen minutes jet’s flight from the coast of Libya.
US and NATO military chiefs are preparing the Souda Bay base, and the large UK military air base in Cyprus, as centres of action against Libya and the revolutions in northern Africa and the Middle East.
Gordon stated that Greece’s geostrategic importance had increased following recent developments in the eastern Mediterranean and he praised the Greek government for taking ‘difficult and courageous steps’ to rescue the economy.
Speaking to the Vouli’s (Greek parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee, the Greek Foreign Minister Droutsas said that ‘national interests’ would guide the Greek government in how the Souda Bay will be used. Right wing Opposition deputies attacked Papandreou for being a signatory member of the Gadaffi Foundation; Droutsas replied that ‘we condemned right from the start the violence in Libya by the Gadaffi regime,’ and he added that the prime minister has resigned from the Foundation ‘as soon as events in Libya developed.’
The representative of the KKE (Greek Communist Party) demanded the ‘immediate shut down of the Souda Bay military base’.
Droutsas said that the proposed 4bn Euros EC’s aid to northern Africa was ‘insufficient’ and revealed that Greece has proposed the establishment in Athens of a ‘Centre for Democracy’ to train Arab politicians in capitalist democracy.
Droutsas pointed out that the Greek government is ‘getting ready to meet the huge challenges of a possible migration wave and the rise of a radical Islam’. Events in northern Africa affect Greece which has over 1bn Euros invested there, Droutsas said.
A demonstration called by left wing parties and groups in Athens on Thursday night declared solidarity with the ‘uprisings in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia’ and demanded no imperialist intervention in northern Africa and the shut down of the Souda Bay military base.
The Greek Trotskyists of the Revolutionary Marxist League (RML) distributed their leaflets calling for the mobilisation of workers and youth in Greece to shut down Souda Bay and overthrow the Papandreou parliamentary junta servile to US and Zionist imperialism. The RML called on Libyan workers and youth to defeat the reactionary pro-imperialist leaders of the uprising, and to form Councils of Action and go forward to the socialist revolution.
Statement by the Revolutionary Marxist League, Greek section of the International Committee of the Fourth International.
• No to the imperialist interventions in Libya!
• Shut down the Souda Bay military base!
• Forward with the permanent revolution in the Arab countries!
• For the victory of the socialist revolution!
THE revolutionary uprisings in the Arab countries, that started last December in Tunisia, have spread out throughout north Africa and the Middle East. The leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, vassals of imperialism, have been overthrown and all the autocratic regimes imposed or supported by imperialism are threatened.
Today’s revolutions are the result of the world economic crisis of capitalism which brought huge price rises in foodstuffs and sky high unemployment. Youth are in the vanguard of the uprisings and are the force of the transformation of the uprisings into permanent revolutions.
The autocratic regimes in collaboration with imperialism, Zionism and the European Union are attempting to put down the uprisings. In Tunisia and Egypt the army and intelligent services are propping up the reactionary regimes and protect Israel.
But the revolution in Tunisia forced the resignation of the French Foreign Minister and has a wide appeal to the European working classes. The imperialists are doing all they can, politically and military, to destroy this huge revolutionary wave which threatens the control of the oil fields.
They are preparing a military invasion in Libya, the centre of operations being NATO’s Souda Bay military base on the island of Crete, with the assistance of the Papandreou government which ‘has offered military support’ to the imperialists as the American Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Philip Gordon revealed in today’s visit to Athens.
We call on workers in Greece and throughout the world to mobilise against the political and military interventions of imperialism in Libya and elsewhere. HANDS OFF LIBYA! The Souda Bay NATO base must be shut down! NATO and Zionist troops must be thrown out of Crete and Greece!
In contrast to the feudal regimes imposed by imperialism in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan and elsewhere when these countries were declared independent, in several other countries (Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Iran) anti-imperialist armed revolutions nationalised the oil fields and kicked out the companies and military bases of imperialism.
The military interventions of the American, British and French imperialism, especially in Egypt, Iran and Libya, failed abysmally due to the strong anti-imperialist stand of the working masses in those countries. But the anti-imperialist regimes were transformed into collaborators with imperialism as their nationalist leaderships and opportunist policies opposed the development of the revolution and its completion as socialist revolution. Stalinism played a treacherous role in those countries by refusing to build a united front with the revolutionary forces and did not call for socialist revolution.
The leaderships of these anti-imperialist regimes, such as those in Egypt, Algeria, Libya and elsewhere, under the pressure of capitalism and nationalism capitulated and developed into collaborators of imperialism. Egypt signed a “peace treaty” with Zionism against the Palestinian Revolution.
Today imperialism, counting on the high prices of foodstuffs, unemployment and oppression in the Arab countries and under the banner of democratic freedoms, attempts to direct the rage of working masses and youth not against the feudal royal regimes in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman and elsewhere, but against the anti-imperialist regimes in Iran and Libya.
Suddenly they have discovered a ‘humanitarian crisis’, ‘chemical weapons’ and ‘crimes against humanity’ in Libya, when even a month ago they embraced and sold arms to the ‘madman’ Gadaffi! But as the historical defeats of the US-British imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan prove, a military intervention in Libya would develop even further the revolution in the Arab countries.
In Libya part of the ruling regime sided openly with imperialism and organised a reactionary uprising which is supported by section of the Libyan masses opposed to high prices and unemployment. In demonstrations they wave the flag of the previous royal regime. The opposition ‘National Committee’ leaders are actively supported by imperialism as in Iran. British, French and German commandos are operating in Libya and attempt to control the oilfields. This uprising is due to the reactionary pro-imperialism policies of the Gadaffi regimes in recent years. This regime allowed the imperialist oil companies back into Libya and imposed privatisations; this brought riches to those sections of the ruling class doing business with the imperialist companies, while it drove workers and youth to unemployment and poverty. Gadaffi’s other big mistake was his support for Ben Ali and Mubarak.
But the working masses in Libya must defend the gains and achievements of the 1969 Revolution against imperialism and the oil companies.
To fight in a United Revolutionary Front against the leaders of the reactionary uprising and at the same time they must campaign for the political power of a workers’ and small peasants’ revolutionary alliance demanding: drastic price reductions of foodstuffs and daily goods; wage and pensions rises and jobs for all; kick out imperialist forces and companies; workers’ control and management of oilfields; independent workers’ trade unions; full support for the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt; establishment of Workers’ and Small Farmers’ Councils (Soviets) and a Workers’ and Small Farmers’ government based on these councils. For permanent revolution for the victory of the socialist revolution! This must be the programme of a Trotskyist party in Libya, a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International.
We call on all workers and youth in Greece to organise a political indefinite general strike for the overthrow of the parliamentary junta of Papandreou-IMF-EC, servant of imperialism and ally of Zionism and to build the Revolutionary Marxist League into a mass Trotskyist party in Greece for the socialist revolution and for the overthrow of capitalism. The Papandreou government has imposed mass unemployment and oppression in Greece, has destroyed health and education and is allowing the migrant hunger strikers to die.
Down with the parliamentary junta of IMF-EC-Papandreou!
For a socialist workers’ and small farmers’ government!