Thursday, 11 April 2013


Has Vijay Prashad dropped his terrible analysis on Libya?

Sukant Chandan
Sons of Malcolm

Above is an excellent interview/conversation with brother Vijay Prashad conducted by Prabir Purkayastha on the question of Syria and how the regional interests and powers work with imperialism against them. Brother Vijay is sharp, and insightful in an anti-imperialist outlook on the issue. For those who may not know, Vijay Prashad has written the best account yet of the history of the Bandung revolutionaries which brought about the birth of the Non-Aligned Movement. The NAM was the coalition of resistant GlobalSouth countries led by our leaders such as Nehru, Nkrumah, Nasser, Tito, Sukarno and others.

I had a few debates with Vijay in the summer of 2011 when nato were blitzing Libya acting as the air support to their death squads on the ground, 400 now of which are terrorising Libya. Vijay at the time, and still in his recent book on Libya and the Arab sting, supported the movement in Libya against the Jamahirya which was led by Muammar Gaddafi.

In Vijay's book on Libya he still peddles the myth that somehow their were pro-people forces in the Libya rebellion who had any strategic say in the course of events in Libya. But in this video above Vijay does not peddle any of that kind of stuff, rather he seems to go along with the view that Libya was not too different to the imperialist and allies project against Libya. Indeed he agrees with Prabir that those recruited into death squads ('jihadis' to some, which is an abuse of the concept and obligation of Jihad) from places like Tunisia (Prabir states that 10,000 Tunisians are fighting in Syria in death squads, if I heard correctly, would be good to see the sources for that figure) and Libya return to create devastation in line with imperialist interests.

So where is all the white-wash of the Libyan pro-nato rebellion from brother Vijay? Perhaps like so many other people, Vijay has decided against trying to fit this terrible mistake on Libya into holes which dont allow it to fit in, as the reality has gone so hard against some of those foolish to think that which started openly in Feb 2011 was anything but a total nato job. Many, like the imperialist media, have gone silent or very quiet about Libya when before they were supporting the nato objectives or nato and their death squads directly. Some have tried to twist recent history and make out they did not take an awful position on Libya. And some still maintain that Libya has been 'liberated', making them sound just as colonial as bush and blair and the others. I do not know what Vijay's reflections are on all of this, as he seems to not want to have an open and honest discussion with me since the last one we had in the summer of 2011 in which Vijay just stopped discussing with me on his wall as he seemed to run out of any decent explanation as to what was obviously a imperialist job on Libya.

Now Vijay is discussing much more accurately what is happening in Syria. But was Libya any less of a strategic project than that they are conducting against Syria now? Of course not, one of the main differences is that it was a strategic operation to achieve imperialism's interests more in Africa, whereas Syria is directed more at the Levant (historic Syria or Sham) and the region.

One could say it is great that Vijay seems to have dropped his terrible position on Libya, but I am not sure he has although this video seems to indicate in that direction. However, even if people like Vijay have dropped their terrible positions, one cannot really say it is great, as too many losses have occurred in Libya and related countries, to really celebrate those who have developed a position very late in the day, positions which should be A B C to any decent minded humanistic people, never mind anti-imperialists of the Global South. That all being said, I have great respect for brother Vijay and the other colleagues like Prabir and Aijaz Ahmad.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is true that Vijay Prashad was not very good in hindsight on Libya. However, at the time he was by far the loudest mainstream voice against the U.S./EU/NATO intervention/ occupation/resource colonization. The American left was terrible, only a few Pan African groups (notably The December 12th Movement and Nation of Islam) and Worker's World did anything in the U.S. I saw (admittedly I am northeast based).