Analysis of Muammar al-Qaddafi's 'The Green Book'
October 29, 2011
Ashahed M. Muhammad / Libya 360
An open-minded review of Muammar al-Qaddafi's signature treatise on government, "The Green Book," challenges many of the distortions prevalent in the Western media. Qaddafi was not only a pan-African and a nationalist but a political actor with a deep critique of the failures and shortcomings of traditional politics. Qaddafi held that "representative democracy" and "communism" both failed to fully respect the will of the many and proposed a society that, in theory, should promote social justice.
(March 3, 2011) -- Often critical of Arab leaders, Muammar al-Qaddafi has never wavered in his call for Pan-Arab unity, and he has never shied away from supporting revolutionary movements. Recently, his term as chairman of the African Union ended. (Consistent with the policy of the AU, the term of the rotating chairmanship is limited to one-year.) Perhaps no other current leader has been so identified with the move towards a United States of Africa than he. Though considered by some to be odd and unpredictable, in this area, he has shown remarkable consistency.
He called for an emergency African Summit of the Organization of African Unity in September of 1999, which led to the formation of the organization of the continental body called the African Union in Durban, South Africa in 2002. Many African leaders have been slow to move and many Western powers considered it unrealistic.
Qaddafi's consistency and determination has actually reignited the movement towards the formation of a United States of Africa that would make Africa richer, stronger, and more peaceful. Despite his perceived eccentricities, and incessant demonization in the controlled media, "The Great Brother Leader of the Revolution" as he is called by his people, has remained a force on the global stage.
Because of the deliberately dishonest and even vile portrayals of the leader in the controlled media, not much is known regarding Qaddafi's political thoughts and his guiding ideology. He is described in the media as a dictator, yet in "The Green Book", Qaddafi outlines the actual governing foundation that undergirds the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. That foundation is The Third Universal Theory -- which upon critical analysis -- puts many so-called Western Democracies and Republics to shame.
"The Green Book" is broken up into three parts:
Part One: Solution to the Problem of Democracy
Part Two: The Solution to the Economic Problem
Part Three: The Social Basis of the Third Universal Theory
Qaddafi says political decisions in which one candidate is granted victory, simply because they obtained the highest percentage of the vote by the electorate effectively "establishes a dictatorship in the seat of power garbed in the guise of democracy." Especially when three or four losing candidates, whose votes combined would equal a higher total than the perceived winning candidate, split the vote.
He then takes on the parliamentary governmental structure. The mere existence of such, Qaddafi says, "underlies the absence of the people, for democracy can only exist with the presence of the people, and not in the presence of representatives of the people. Parliaments have become a legal barrier between people and their right to exercise authority. They exclude the masses in order to prevent them from practicing politics, and monopolize the control of politics in their name."
Proportional representation by political parties and coalitions, such as what exists in Israel and the United States, Qaddafi says, is "rubbish" which only delivers power to the elites of society, and not the masses.
"Under such systems, the people are prey fought over by the predators: instruments of government compete in their power struggle for the votes of the people they in turn neglect and exploit."
He is also critical of politicians whose "mud-slinging tactics to discredit one another."
"In order to rule, the opposition party must defeat the existing instrument of government. To do so, the opposition must undermine the government's achievements and cast doubt on its plans, even if these plans were beneficial to society, to prove the incompetence of the current governing instrument. Consequently, the interests and programs of society become victims of the power struggle raging among the political parties."
Watching partisan bickering occurring between the Democrats and Republicans in the American political system, it is hard to argue with his analysis. He also rightly notes that political parties can be bribed or corrupted by external and internal interests.
His solution is direct democracy through the establishment of "People's Conferences" in which all society members participate in shaping policy. The masses select their administrative leaders who then represent the direct will of the people and are answerable directly to the people.
In Part II of "The Green Book", he deals with economics, maintaining that, whether a worker received earnings from an individual business owner, or the state, "wage earners are but slaves to the masters who hire them," Qaddafi writes. "To claim that income from a state-controlled establishment is re-injected into society and thus benefits the workers, as opposed to income from a privately-owned establishment which benefits solely the owner, is a true statement only if the general welfare of the society and private well-being of the workers is taken into account."
In this way, Qaddafi appears to take on communism while simultaneously redefining socialism. Qaddafi's solution is to abolish the wage system, which in his view, would "emancipate the human being." A reversion to the natural law and relationship between workers and employers before stratification based on social class and status became widespread is recommended.
"The exploitation of man by man and the possession by some individuals of wealth exceeding personal needs are manifestations of departure from the natural rule. This signals the beginning of corruption and distortion in the life of the human community and is the beginning of the emergence of the exploitative society."
In Qaddafi's world, related to housing, everyone would have adequate housing for themselves and their families and it should be their own, and not the property of another. "A person living in another person's house in return for rent, or even without rent, is not a free person." Relating to income, "there are no wage earners, only partners." Relating to vehicles, Qaddafi calls it an "essential need for the individual and the family" and "no person or party may own private means of transportation for the purposes of renting to others, because this represents controlling the needs of others."
Likewise, land is no one's private property. "Everyone has the right to exploit it for farming or grazing for the duration of his or her life and the lives of their heirs."
Some Black people may be offended in a portion of the book in which Qaddafi writes: "The Black race is at present is in a dire and backward social condition. This backwardness is working in the interest of numeric superiority of this race" resulting from the lack of birth control usage and children born out of wedlock.
This he writes, is going on while other races are "diminishing in number" for a variety of reasons that we all are aware of. To be offended by the fact that one forthrightly states the Blacks masses are in the worst shape economically, socially and politically as well as suffering all manner of health-related problems, indicates that one has bought into the "post-racial" society proffered by many Black and White liberals, as well as White apologists that represent the wishes of their White masters. Besides, in the section preceding the word written above, he writes of the tragedy of slavery and his prognostication is that, "Now it is the turn of the black race to re-emerge. Black people will prevail in the world," he writes.
If there is one recurring theme throughout "The Green Book" it is his emphasis on liberation.
The conclusion of "The Green Book" brings to a close his explanation of the Third Universal Theory which, Qaddafi says, is "a harbinger of the final deliverance of the masses from all the constraints of injustices, tyranny, exploitation, and political and economic subordination. It also heralds the advent of all people's society in which all individuals are free and equal in authority, wealth and arms."
"The example of the new socialist society is to establish a happy society deriving its happiness from being free. Such a society is realized only through the fulfillment of the individual's spiritual and material needs, and this can be achieved by liberating these needs from the control and manipulation of others. Satisfaction of needs should be realized without exploitation or enslavement of others."
Love him or hate him, agree or disagree, historians will not be able to deny his impact on world affairs and revolutionary movements. Muammar Qaddafi's legacy will be an admirable one. He will be remembered as a theoretician, and a revolutionary always willing to provide inspiration, monetary and military resources -- to aid those fighting for self-determination. That is an honorable legacy to leave behind, and more are needed like him in Africa, and in the Arab world.
Human Rights for the Third Millennium
Inspired by the Proclamation of the Great Green Charter for Human Rights on 12th June, 1988, the first Human Rights Charter to be issued by the people gathered in popular congresses, signalling the end of the era of the republics and the dawn of the era of the masses, as well as a new advancement in the definition of human rights.
Led by the Green Book, guide of humanity for the total deliverance from the power of individuals, classes, clans, tribes or parties, and the path towards the establishment of a society for all where all human beings are free and equal in the exercise of power and in the possession of wealth and arms.
Convinced that the rights of Man, cannot be the gift of a person nor exist in societies where exploitation and tyranny are practised, and can only be achieved by the victory of the popular masses over their oppressors and the disappearance of regimes which annihilate freedom,
that the establishment of the power of the popular masses will consolidate their existence on earth, when the sovereignty of the people will be exercised directly through legislative popular congresses and executive people's committees
that human rights cannot be guaranteed in a world where there exist governors and governed, masters and slaves, rich and poor
Aware that human misery cannot disappear, nor human rights be affirmed, except by building a world where the people hold the power, the wealth and the arms; a world where governments and armies will disappear, and where communities, peoples and nations will be rid of all danger of war, a world of peace, respect, agreement and co-operation
On the basis of the above, the Green Charter International was formed to link men and women around the world who wish to achieve, promote and defend the true Human Rights and freedoms of this new age, the era of the masses, which were proclaimed by the free people, gathered in popular congresses in the Great Green Charter of Human Rights as the following:
1. Democracy is the power of the people, not only the expression of the people. We declare that power belongs to the people. It is exercised directly, without intermediary or representatives in the popular congresses and the people's committees.
2. We consider the life of the individual sacred and protect it. We forbid its alienation. Imprisonment can only be exercised against those for whom liberty constitutes a danger or a contamination of others. The aim of punishment is to renew society, to protect its human values and its interests. We proscribe punishments, which attack the dignity and the integrity of the human being, such as forced labour or long-term imprisonment. We proscribe all attacks, physical or mental, on the person of the prisoner. We condemn all speculations and experiments of any kind upon prisoners. Punishment is personal and suffered by the individual following a criminal act on which it is necessarily contingent. The punishment and its consequences cannot extend to the family nor the persons close to the criminal. "One only commits evil to one's own detriment and nobody will assume what he has not committed".
3. We are, in times of peace, free in all our movements and in the choice of our residence.
4. Citizenship is a sacred right. Nobody can be deprived of it or have it removed.
5. We forbid clandestine action and recourse to force in all its forms, violence, terrorism and sabotage. These acts constitute a betrayal of the values and principles of the Jamahiriya, which affirms the sovereignty of the individual in the popular congresses, guaranteeing the right to express opinions publicly. We reject and condemn violence as a means of imposing ideas and opinions. We adopt democratic dialogue as the only method of debate and consider any hostile relation towards the Jamahiriya linked to a foreign instance, whatever its form, as high treason against it.
6. We are free to form unions, trade unions and leagues to defend our professional interests.
7. We are free in our private acts and our personal relations. Nobody can involve themselves therein, except at a complaint from one of the partners concerned or if the act and the relation attack or are prejudicial to society, or if they are contrary to its values.
8. We consider the life of the human being to be sacred and protect it. Our objective is to abolish capital punishment. To this end, the death penalty can only be exercised against an individual whose existence constitutes a danger or is deleterious to society. The person condemned to death may request that his sentence be lightened or, instead of his life, offer a personal tribute. The court may commute the penalty if this decision is not prejudicial to society or if it is not contrary to human values. We condemn the application of the execution of capital punishment by repugnant methods, such as the electric chair, the use of toxic gas or injections.
9. The Jamahiriya guarantees the right to plead and the independence of the judicial system. Each of its members is entitled to a fair and complete trial.
10. Our judgments are based on sacred law, religion or custom, the terms of which are stable, unchangeable and for which there can be no substitute. We declare that religion is an absolute belief in the divinity and a sacred spiritual value. It is personal to each person and common to everyone. It is a direct relationship with the Creator, without intermediary. We proscribe its monopoly and its exploitation for purposes of subversion, fanaticism, sectarianism, partisan spirit and fratricidal war.
11. The Jamahiriya guarantees the right to work. It is a right and a duty for everyone, in the limits of one's personal effort or in association with others. Everybody has the right to exercise the work of their choice. The Jamahiriya is one of partners and not one of paid employees. Ownership, the fruit of labour, is sacred and protected, it can only be attacked in the public interest and with fair compensation. The Jamahiriya is free from the slavery of salaries, stating the right of everybody over their labour and production. Only those who produce consume.
12. We are liberated from any feudalism. The land is nobody's property. Each person has the right to exploit it and to benefit from it by labour, agriculture or animal-keeping, throughout one's life, that of one's heirs, and within the limits of personal effort and the satisfaction of needs.
13. We are free from any rent. A house belongs to the person who lives in it. It enjoys a sacred immunity in respect of rights of neighbourhood: "your close neighbours or distant neighbours". The residence cannot be used to harm society.
14. The Jamahiriya is united. It guarantees everyone a worthy and prosperous life and a developed state of health, so as to achieve a society of healthy people. It guarantees protection of childhood, motherhood, old age and of invalids. The Jamahiriya is the guardian of all those who do not have a guardian.
15. Education and knowledge are natural rights for everyone. Any individual has the right to choose the education and the knowledge, which suits them, without imposed constraint or orientation.
16. The Jamahiriya is the society of goodness and of noble values. It considers ideals and human principles sacred. Its aim is a humanitarian society where aggression, war, exploitation and terrorism will be banished and where there will be no difference between great and small. All nations, all peoples, and all national communities have the right to live free, according to their options and the principles of self-determination. They have the right to establish their national entity. Minorities have the right to safeguard their entity and their heritage. The legitimate aspirations of the latter cannot be repressed. Neither can they be assimilated by force into one or several different nations or national communities.
17. We affirm the right of each person to profit from the benefits, the advantages, the values and the principles, which are obtained by the harmony, cohesion, union, affinity and the affection of the family, the tribe, the nation and humanity. To this end, we work to establish the natural national entity of our nation and support all those who fight to achieve this aim. We reject any segregation between men due to their colour, their race, their religion or their culture.
18. We protect liberty. We defend it everywhere in the world. We support the oppressed, and encourage all peoples to confront injustice, oppression, exploitation and colonialism. We encourage them to combat imperialism, racism and fascism, in accordance with the principle of the collective struggle of peoples against the enemies of liberty.
19. The Jamahiriya is a society of splendour and fulfilment. It guarantees each person the right of thought, creation and innovation. The Jamahiriya works for the development of the sciences, the arts and literature. It guarantees they will be disseminated among the popular masses so as to prohibit any monopoly on them.
20. We affirm the sacred right to be born into a coherent family, where motherhood, fatherhood and brotherhood prevail. Fulfilment of the human being is only in compliance with his nature if it is assured by natural motherhood and feeding. The child must be brought up by its mother.
21. We are, men or women, equal in everything which is human. The distinction of rights between men and women is a flagrant injustice which nothing justifies. We proclaim that marriage is a fair association between two equal partners. Nobody can conclude a marriage contract by constraint, nor divorce in any other way than by mutual consent or by a fair judgement. It is unfair to dispossess the children of their mother, and the mother of her home.
22. We consider servants as the slaves of modern times, enslaved by their masters. No law governs their situation, and they have no guarantee nor protection. They live under the arbitrary nature of their masters, and are victims of tyranny. They are forced, by necessity and in order to survive, to carry out work which ridicules their dignity and human feelings. For this reason, we proscribe recourse to servants in the home. The house must be maintained by its owners.
23. We are convinced that peace between nations can guarantee them prosperity, abundance and harmony. We call for an end to the trade of arms and their manufacture for purposes of exploitation. The arms industry constitutes a waste of wealth of societies, a burden on individual taxpayers, causing the spread of destruction and annihilation in the world.
24. We call for the suppression of nuclear, bacteriological and chemical weapons and any other means of massive extermination and destruction. We call for elimination of all the existing stocks, for the preservation of humanity from the dangers represented by the waste from nuclear power stations.
25. We undertake to protect our society and political system based on popular power. We also undertake to safeguard its values, principles and interests. We regard collective defence as the only means to preserve them. We think that the defence of the Jamahiriya is the responsibility of every citizen, man or woman. Nobody can have a substitute when confronted with death.
26. We commit ourselves to the bases of this charter. We do not allow them to be infringed and forbid ourselves any act contrary to the principles and rights that it guarantees. Each person has the right to plead under the law for the purpose of reparation of any attacks on the rights and liberties that it announces.
DIRECT DEMOCRACY: UNDERSTANDING LIBYA'S POLITICAL SYSTEM
MUAMMAR AL QADHAFI: THE CONSUMATE REVOLUTIONARY
SIMILAR GLOBAL INITIATIVES:
GLOBAL BASIC INCOME
DIRECT PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY LINKS
As a journalist, author and veteran organizer, Ashahed is one of the most influential ideologues and strategists within today’s contemporary and progressive activist scene. Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1971 and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Ashahed, is the Executive Director of the Truth Establishment Institute and Assistant Editor of the influential weekly publication The Final Call.
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