Independent Media Centre Ireland

Direct Democracy: The Libyan Experiment

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | other press author Thursday September 22, 2011 13:39author by An Draigneán Donn

Libya is not only a republic. Officially, it does not call itself a ‘Jumhuriya’. Instead, it is described as a ‘Jamahiriya’, meaning a republic with a system of direct democracy. Not too many non-Libyans are aware that this North African country, conquered several times in the past - and which lost thousands of its citizens, including the legendary hero Omar Mukhtar, as martyrs, to colonialism - has been experimenting since the late 1970s with a governmental policy and practice that enables it to credit its own society as being ahead of a number of Western regimes that have habitually claimed to be the cradle of democracy.

A very interesting article, which shows that the NATO attacks on Libya are an attack on the development of genuine democracy, i.e. Direct Democracy, and an attempt to regress Libya to the kind of representation scam we have in Europe, which negates democracy:

Direct democracy: The Libyan experiment

by Prof. Dr. Türkkaya ATAÖV

The General People’s Congress held its first meeting in 1976, and “People’s Authority” was declared to have been established in early 1977. Since then, the Libyans claim to have announced the dawn of the era of the masses, or popular direct authority, as the basis of their political system. The man on the street, as much as the elite, believes that that the people exercise their authority through the popular congresses, the people’s committees and other bodies, and ultimately through the General People’s Congress.

Libya conceptualizes sovereignty and democracy in a different way. It has created institutional arrangements to give practical effect to these concepts. These institutions function in their own prescribed way to implement the notions of sovereignty and democracy so conceived. Short answers to these questions should be as follows: The decisions taken and implemented should reflect the sovereign will of the whole people, and not that of any class, clan, fraction or individual; they should be implemented in a way which reflects the sovereign will of the whole, not any part of it. The people, locally and nationally, should participate directly in decision-making and in the implementation of decisions, and should use their right to control the results. Hence, direct rule, not representation.

Full article:

Comments (26 of 26)

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author by An DDpublication date Thu Sep 22, 2011 13:43author address author phone

Another very interesting article:

author by An DDpublication date Thu Sep 22, 2011 18:38author address author phone

Libyan Direct Democracy is explained in this video:

author by An DDpublication date Mon Sep 26, 2011 16:24author address author phone

Its very telling that one of the first places NATO bombs in any town or district in Libya is the Halls and centers where millions of people have met since 1977 to ruled themselves through Direct Democracy. Direct Democracy is no good to the Rothschild usurers or the Bilderbergers, who buy pro-politicians, so Nato must crush it. However, the people of Libya, having grown used to Direct Democracy, are not likely to surrender it so easily. I believe it will remain the driving force of resistance to Nato terrorism and theft in Libya.

author by SNpublication date Mon Sep 26, 2011 18:27author address author phone

Helena Sheehan was in Libya at the start of the revolt. Heres some of what she wrote.

I arrived on 18 February. I had intensive discussions about the form of government, the distribution of wealth, the role of women and many such matters, although all discussions came back to the current protests, which were escalating in the east of the country. I was trying to assess the arguments and relative strength of both sides. My hosts told me that that it would all blow over, that it was just a fashion imitating Tunisia and Egypt, that it was not true that security forces were shooting peaceful protesters.

As well as hearing conflicting voices on the ground, I was comparing the picture emerging on international news with that on state tv, which was dominated by happy singing and dancing, pro-regime demonstrations and montages of the glories of Gaddafi in his multicoloured regalia. The demonstrations in Tripoli, particularly the big frenzied and carnivalesque ones I saw in Green Square at night, seemed ever more obscene as the bodies piled up in Benghazi. I heard the meglomaniac speeches of ‘the leader’ and the arrogant threats of his son Saif al-Islam, who doesn’t even hold state position. One monarchy had replaced another. Gaddafi had even named himself king of kings of Africa. What did this have to do with the left?

Meanwhile, my lecture was postponed twice, as some of the professors involved were involved in a crisis committee set up by the government. Then the uprising came to Tripoli. I heard gunfire and saw burning buildings. Construction workers, hotel staff and guests began to flee. Then my academic hosts abandoned me, my hotel evacuated me, my return flight was cancelled. The scene was not only one of the regime versus the rebels, but marauders moving into the breach between the end of one regime and the beginning of another. Eventually I made my way to the airport, where there was an apocalyptic encampment in the rain of migrant workers unable to get into the airport and inside were many thousands more fleeing in terror.
In those 22 hours in airport hell, I saw the true face of the regime and heard the voices of its victims. These were people who lived and worked in Libya, both Libyan and foreign. These displaced people had seen their neighbours disappear or die, their students expelled, the whole population terrorised for decades and now terrorised further for finally rebelling.

The gap between the theory of direct democracy and coercive autocracy was stunning and utterly indefensible. As I took in all the displacement, destruction and death, all ambivalence evaporated.

Related Link:
author by Jon Wienerpublication date Mon Sep 26, 2011 18:40author address author phone

Gadaffi has a track record of paying professors to give him good PR so the opening article by the good professor should be taken with a pinch of salt. See this article from The Nation. Naomi Klein and Alexander Cockburn are columnists with The Nation.

Professors Paid by Qaddafi: Providing 'Positive Public Relations'

Jon Wiener

Joseph Nye of Harvard’s Kennedy School wrote in The New Republic in 2007 that Muammar Qaddafi was interested in discussing “direct democracy.”

Anthony Giddens of the London School of Economics wrote in the Guardian the same year that Libya under Qaddafi could become “the Norway of North Africa.”

Benjamin Barber of Rutgers University wrote in the Washington Post, also in 2007, that Libya under Qaddafi could become “the first Arab state to transition peacefully and without overt Western intervention to a stable, non-autocratic government.”

Great minds think alike? Actually, no: all were being paid by Libyan money, under a $3 million per year contract with a consulting group which promised to “enhance the profile of Libya and Muammar Quadhafi” in Britain and the US.

One more thing: none of them said in The New Republic, the Guardian, or the Washington Post that they were being paid by Libyan money. That seems to be a clear violation of journalistic ethics—at least that’s what the then-editor of The New Republic, Franklin Foer, told David Corn of Mother Jones about Nye: “If we had known that he was consulting for a firm paid by the government, we wouldn’t have run the piece.”

Documentation about their employer, the Monitor Group, founded by Harvard faculty members, was obtained from a Libyan dissent group by David Corn and published at A 2006 letter from the CEO of Monitor, Mark Fuller, to an official in the Libyan government, published by Corn, declared, “Libya has suffered from a deficit of positive public relations and adequate contact with a wide range of opinion-leaders and contemporary thinkers. This program aims to redress the balance in Libya’s favor.”

Benjamin Barber, now Walt Whitman professor emeritus at Rutgers and a senior fellow at Demos, a pro-democracy think tank (and a longtime contributor to The Nation—see “America’s Knowledge Deficit,” Nov. 10, 2010), is the author of many books on democracy, most recently Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole.

Barber’s op-ed for the Washington Post was headlined “Gaddafi's Libya: An Ally for America?” In it he described his meetings with the dictator, who he called “surprisingly flexible and pragmatic.” He said he was convinced Libya could become the first Arab state” with “direct democracy locally and efficient government centrally.”

author by An DDpublication date Mon Sep 26, 2011 18:51author address author phone

It rare to find a professor that is not in the pay of somebody. In the West, they are usually in the pay of Bilderberg World Government, via their local regimes. That doesnt mean that what they write isn't often very useful.

author by An DDpublication date Mon Sep 26, 2011 19:02author address author phone

"One more thing: none of them said in The New Republic, the Guardian, or the Washington Post that they were being paid by Libyan money."

This is a very disingenuous statement. Do professors being paid by British or US money state that fact in every article they write?

By the way, I see you have made no attempt to contradict what is written in the OP - only to slander and cast aspersions on its writer.

author by An DDpublication date Mon Sep 26, 2011 19:06author address author phone

SN, your little article doesnt even address the question of Direct Democracy, not to mind refute its existence in Libya. Your writer heard some panic when Tripoli was bombed by NATO. How does that refute Direct democracy? Or is your whole point of posting on this thread just to get the thread off the reality of Direct Democracy and onto Nato Nazi terror?

author by Posterpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:05author address author phone

You do not really address any of the points made in the articles about Professors being paid to praise Gadaffi. You also have a habit no matter what the story of posting multiple comments in response to anyone who questions your world view. Sometimes up to five comments in response to one comment as in another Libyan story. Readers could be forgiven for thinking that you are trying to drown out your opponents arguments.

author by An Draighneán Donnpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:25author address author phone

The above posters provided no evidence that Gadaffi has paid any professors to praise him. Nor have any of the professors mentioned praised Gadaffi. These professors may have received monies from the Libyan state. Noam Chomsky receives money from the American state - so do all the US right wing professors. Does that mean that we should never listen to anything Chomsky has to say again? Because he receives money from a state? That is ridiculous.

The above posts, which I responded to were either posted through complete ignorance of the world, or through a cynical attempt to down play the great progress that the Libyan people have made on the journey to real democracy, i.e. Direct Democracy. This is not progress that Gaddafi has made, but that the Libyan people themselves have made.

NATO wants to return them to representational slavery, like we have in the West, were a small committee like the Bilderberg Group make the policies, and puppets like Obama and Bush and Cameron and Blair put the policies into force.

author by Posterpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:41author address author phone

Chomsky gets no money from the US Govt unless you are talking about his professors salary. It is disingenuous to compare this to professors being paid by Gadaffi to write pop pieces about Libya.

author by An DDpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:49author address author phone

He still gets money from a state. The Libyan state has every right to pay people to do work. Nowhere is it suggested that the Libyan state paid professors to lie. Nowhere is it suggested that these professors did lie. If they praised Libya's economy, it's because Libya's economy was highly praiseworthy - before the Natoo Nazis bombed it back into the usual state of an African country. Nor have you and your alter-egos above provided any evidence that the OP was written for money from the Libyan state. If it was not, then you are merely trolling on this thread, wasting my time, and wasting the time of the readers of this thread. Please provide your evidence - or go and troll somewhere else.

author by Posterpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:52author address author phone

I have provided evidence in the article above about the professors who took Gadaffis money. You may not be impressed by it but I'm sure that viewers here will make up their own mind about it. The fact that I disagree with you does not make me a troll.

author by An DDpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:55author address author phone

So why have you given yourself three different names on this thread, if you believe you have something substantial to say?

author by An DDpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:57author address author phone

By the way, the list of professors you give has having received monies from Libya does not include the writer of the opening article, so you are just trolling and wasting time.

author by Posterpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 13:00author address author phone

Why not use your real name?

As I have already wrote, if Libya pays some professors then its possible that your prof was also paid foe his glowing article. Viewers will make up their own minds as to the credibility of the articles you reference.

author by An DDpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 13:10author address author phone

Poster, Liege, or whoever you decide to be at any given moment, you have, at least, had the honesty to admit that you are talking bollix.

author by Posterpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 13:18author address author phone

Now that is just abuse. Calling something bollix does not counter any of my points. I think your arguments are wanting but I won'y abuse you. Again the readers here will make up your minds as to whether using the word bollix is a devastating use of rhetorical debate.

author by An DDpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 13:20author address author phone

Sometimes a simple word is the best description of a simple thing.

author by Posterpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 13:22author address author phone

So one word of abuse beats rational argument? I don't think that Indymedia readers are that silly.

author by An Draighneán Donnpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 13:27author address author phone

An interesting insight here:

NATO’s Terror Attacks Are Increasing Support For Libya’s Direct Democracy And Decreasing Support For Anti-Democratic Monarchist “Rebels”

author by An DDpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 13:32author address author phone

This is why Debt-free Libya's Direct Democracy HAD TO BE STOPPED by the BANKSTERS.

U.S. Debt – $14 TRILLION

Libya’s Debt – ZERO

author by Posterpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 13:33author address author phone

The article is from July 26 so its not exactly red hot news. It doesn't seem to be accurate either. But then again with the NATO bombing we'll never know what might have happened.

author by An DDpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 13:42author address author phone

I think we can all agree that only slaves would vote for others to rule them. Freedom-loving people can never be satisfied with anything less than Direct Democracy. Libya hadn't yet fully developed this great idea of freedom to its ultimate potential, but was well ahead of the rest of the world. Cuba is probably the next most developed country.

There are two types of people in Libya who wanted to overthrow Direct Democracy:

1) Pro-American Neo-Liberals, like Jumil, who want to transfer public ownership into private hands, for the enrichment of themselves and their cronies.


2) Fanatical Islamists, who want to return Libya to Sharia law.

author by Posterpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 13:45author address author phone

What about people who want open fair elections?

author by An DDpublication date Tue Sep 27, 2011 14:11author address author phone

They had open fair Direct Democracy all the time. What they didn't have was Rothschild rentboys like Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy ruling over them in the interests of a tiny elite. Why would any self respecting human being want to "elect" another person to rule him or her? Are you so weak willed that you can't rule yourself? Are you so poor in thought that your vote shouldn't count on the issues that matter to you?

Maybe representation is good enough for you. But, its not good enough for me, and, I suspect that it will not be good enough for the Libyan people either. They will not give up their Direct Democracy and hand over their freedom to Jumil and other self seeking tramps.

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