Srećko Horvat on the Refugee Crisis, the “Arab Spring” and on Gaddafi and Assad

I am sorry to be the advocatus diaboli here, but look at the current refugee crisis. This is the boomerang of the so-called „Arab Spring“. Although many of these movements, from Egypt to Tunisia, really started as genuine protests, they were soon taken over by the same old forces that unite to prevent any sort of real change. And if you take Libya or now Syria you will see that the very term “Arab Spring” is completely misleading and even wrong. What happened in Libya was nothing but a “coup d’état.”

Now documents have been leaked that directly suggest a link between the concession agreements between Libya and the largest oil industry corporations in the world. They show all the unpaid debts for the exploitation of Libyan oil, in terms of the extension of these contracts based, quite reasonably, on Gaddafi’s proposal and the “response” of the West to these proposals – namely bombs and destruction of Libya. The debt that five major world companies owed Libya at this time exceeded a figure of tens of billions of dollars. Gaddafi has offered these companies to agree on their method of payment of the debt, even proposing a re-structuration of debt.

But only a few weeks after Gaddafi’s constructive offers, the so-called “Arab Spring” began in Benghazi. And then, what happened after this business was finished? Tens of thousands of so-called “freedom fighters” from Libya were first transferred to fight for uranium in Mali and then most of them were sent to Syria to take off the head of Assad. Weapons that were used in Libya for the “Arab Spring” were thus transferred to Syria.

And now this boomerang is coming back to Europe in the form of hundreds of thousands of refugees. So, not only would I not use the term “Arab Spring” anymore, I would be very cautious to speak about “revolutions” as well. Yes, you are right, we live after the “End of History” and it is again possible to imagine different alternatives to capitalism.

But capitalism, as capitalist interventions in Libya or Syria show very clearly, is stronger than ever, it can – as in the case of Egypt or Tunisia – pretty quickly use genuine protest energies and turn them against themselves. Or it can even – as in the case of Mossaddegh in Iran on 1953 or Salvador Allende in 1973 – orchestrate “revolutions” just in order to bring capitalism back into town.

part of an interview in October 2015