Sunday, February 27, 2011 Tags: , , 0 comments

Gaddafi and the Third Universal Theory

Colonel Gadaffi

Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi also known simply as Colonel Gaddafi was born on June 7, 1942 to nomadic parents in the coastal city of Sirte.  He went to Benghazi University to study geography, but later dropped out to join the army.  He was an ardent admirer of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser and his Arab socialist and nationalist ideology.  In 1969 at the age of 27 he led a group of Libyan army officers, belonging to the Movement of Free Officers, Unionists and Socialists in overthrowing the monarch King Idris. He was accorded the title “Leader and Guide of the Revolution” after relinquishing his post as prime minister in 1972. Having ruled Libya for 42 years Gadaffi is now one of the longest serving rulers in history.

In the 1970’s Gaddafi began formulating the Third Universal Theory. He was inspired by the anarchist philosophers Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin.

The Third Universal Theory

Third Universal Theory was based on the ideas of Arab unity, independence, economic egalitarianism and cultural authenticity with Islam at its center.   It was conceptualized on the premise that the two dominant and opposing socio-politico-economic ideologies- capitalism and communism- have been proven invalid. It rejected the class exploitation in capitalism and class warfare in communism.  It sought to abolish class differences.

Gaddafi believes that religion and nationalism are the two paramount drives that moved forward the evolutionary process, the first being basic to individual, whereas the latter to society.  He emphasized that nationalism is the basis for the survival of nations.  Nations whose nationalism is non-existent are subject to ruins.
The Green Book

The Third Universal Theory is the official ideological doctrine in Libya. Its key provisions are outlined in the Green Book, which is divided into three parts:
1.       Addressing Democracy (People Power)
2.       The solution of economic problems (Socialism)
3.       Public aspect of the Third Universal Theory

People Power

This political aspect of his theory rejects traditional forms of democracy such as parliament, political parties, and referenda.  

Democracy, means the rule of the people, therefore parliament cannot speak on behalf of the people, according to Gaddafi. The system of elected parliament is demagogic because votes can be bought and manipulated.

The party, according to the Green Book, is a modern tool of dictatorial rule. Parties are established groups of people to exercise their interests.  Moreover, parties are corruptible and can be bribed from the inside and outside.

Referendums are also described as a falsification of democracy. Voters can only say “yes” or “no”, therefore the result doesn’t reflect their true desire.

It was stated in this book that the “only means of people’s democracy are the people’s congresses”.  People must represent themselves in the decision-making forums such as Libya’s Basic People’s Conferences. In the Jamahiriya (meaning “state of the masses”), the entire population is divided into people’s congresses that elect people’s committees, which in turn form the second round of the People’s Congresses. Issues are addresses at the People’s Congresses. Accordingly, the outcome and decisions are carried out in the reverse order.


The second part of the book contained the economic aspect of the theory. It proclaimed that the employee has a right to any product produced by them. In 1977 Libya established the principle of self-government in the economy. Enterprises were transferred to the collective management, thus eliminating private ownership of businesses by upper and middle classes.

The final result of economic reforms in Jamahiriya should be “the achievement of a new socialist society”, wherein profit and money cease to exist and the production fully meets the material needs of all the members of the society.

Public aspect of the theory

Different aspects of life, including religions, education, sports, women and languages were addressed in this portion of the book.

According to the book, “Every nation should have its own religion and should recognize the importance of a continuous social chain ( family- tribe- nation-the world).”

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