An Analysis of Muammar al-Gadhafi's Green Book

By Ashahed M. Muhammad | Last updated: Jun 18, 2010 - 3:16:14 PM

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( - Often critical of Arab leaders, Muammar al-Gadhafi 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.

Gadhafi'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 Gadhafi's political thoughts and his guiding ideology. He is described in the media as a dictator, yet in “The Green Book”, Gadhafi 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

Gadhafi 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, Gadhafi 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, Gadhafi 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,” Gadhafi 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, Gadhafi appears to take on communism while simultaneously redefining socialism. Gadhafi'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 Gadhafi'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, Gadhafi 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 Gadhafi 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, Gadhafi 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 Gadhafi'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.

(Ashahed M. Muhammad is an author, researcher and the director of the Truth Establishment Institute.)