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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Buried Treasure of the Revolutionary Tradition Re-Emerges Yet Again in Revolutionary Libya

Via Democracy Now!
In the liberated city of Benghazi, where pro-Gaddafi forces have been ousted, Libyan people are now organizing a self-government structure to manage the city. One group calling itself the Coalition of the February 17 Revolution—which is made up of doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors, workers, students—just established a city council to manage the day-to-day activities of the city. Democracy Now! correspondent Anjali Kamat speaks with two female Libyan attorneys who are very involved in the coalition.

Hannah Arendt described the emergence of democratic workers and citizens councils in the aftermath of almost every modern revolutionary situation as the "buried treasure" subsequently squashed either by counter-revolutionary forces or the emerging establishment of the post-revolutionary period (the Bolshevik domestication of the peoples' Soviets, the squashing of the workers' councils in the Hungarian Spring are exemplary instances). In this ever re-emerging democratic treasure, however, Arendt discerned the endlessly renewed and endlessly promising evidence that human beings are absolutely capable of consensual self-government and profoundly eager for the pleasures and dangers of life in concert.

It is interesting that in the absence of the long nonviolent and democratic education, agitation, and organization of the Egyptian youth movements, nonetheless the Libyan revolutionary movement have incubated an archipelago of citizen councils in liberated city after liberated city, everyday citizens have taken up the equitable provision of public services and diverse deliberative bodies, and are calling out together for a united, democratic Libya whose capital is Tripoli.

1 comment:

jollyspaniard said...

It's inspiring stuff, I expect and hope they prevail.