The Green Book (Muammar Gaddafi)

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The Green Book (Arabic: الكتاب الأخضر‎‎ al-Kitāb al-Aḫḍar) is a book written by Muammar al-Gaddafi, who was the leader of Libya until 2011. It explains his social and political philosophy. He wanted everyone to read the book because he believed that his philosophy could make the world a better place. It was first published in 1975.

Importance[change | change source]

Libya[change | change source]

The Green Book was very important in Libya. Schoolchildren would spend 2 hours a week learning about it.

Elsewhere[change | change source]

By 1993, colleges all around the world were having lectures and seminars about The Green Book.

Contents[change | change source]

The books has 110 pages. It is divided into 3 parts:

  • The Solution of the Problem of Democracy: The Authority of the People (published in late 1975)
  • The Solution of the Economic Problem: Socialism (published in early 1977)
  • The Social Basis of the Third International Theory (published in September 1981)

The book is against both capitalism and communism. Gaddafi was against communism because he thought it was not respectful to religion. Instead, he promoted Islamic socialism.

It also rejects representative democracy.

Summary[change | change source]

The table below gives a chapter-by-chapter summary of the book:

Part Chapter Title Summary
I 1 The Instrument of Government In this chapter, the question "what form of government should be established?" is asked. Such a government should be a direct democracy, but what usually occurs is representative democracies, which do not represent the will of populations who did not vote for existing governments. Gaddafi condemns election systems where the candidate with the most votes wins.
2 Parliaments The basic feature of a representative democracy is its parliament, or assembly. Once elected, members abuse the authority of their constituents during their term of service.
3 The Party Political parties themselves abuse the authority given to them by the people because they focus on maintaining power instead of improving society for all. Worse, political parties are susceptible to corruption.
4 Class Society is split into classes: some of them are political, social, and tribal. A class which acquires political power, also inherits the society in which that power is gained. A former working class eventually becomes the new ruling class. The problem of a plurality or minority ruling the entire society persists.
5 Plebiscites Plebiscites and referendums are not appropriate solutions to the political problem. One's political opinion cannot be reduced to to a yes-or-no vote.
6 Popular Conferences and People's Committees The solution to the problem of democracy is to establish a series of Popular Conferences (or Congresses) and People's Committees, which consist of the entire society and all of its sectors. Working together, these groups administer the government with the participation of all. These groups are also not parliaments in which authority is delegated.
7 The Law of Society The basis of law is in custom and religion, the true source of social rules, and not in written constitutions. The very fact that constitutions are regularly amended is proof that they are weak and not permanent, and are therefore not good tools for government.
8 Who Supervises the Conduct of Society? Just as political power should not be delegated to representatives, policing power also should not be delegated away from society. Again, the structure of Conferences and Committees is the solution. The Whole is the legislature for the Whole, and the Whole is the law enforcement for the Whole.
9 How can Society Redirect its Course when Deviations from its Laws occur? When a minority runs a government, another minority with initiative may seize power through revolution, with the end result being the same: minority rule. The solution to this cycle is again the system of Conferences and Committees: the entire society governs itself. When this occurs, there is only a Whole, and thus no outside enemy to fight.
10 The Press While individuals and companies have the right to express themselves privately, "the press" as a means of expression for society must be controlled by the Conferences and Committees. Otherwise, individuals would again take away power away from others in the realm of ideas.
II 11 The Economic Basis of the Third Universal Theory Unions and minimum wage do not go far enough in achieving equality for all workers. What is needed is the abolition of wage-earning in favor of a "partnering" process of an individual worker with a given industry. Profits must be shared equally not only among individuals, but among all components of a production process.
12 Need Need is a central economic problem. The needs of some may be preyed upon by those who have the means to provide, and thus exploit. Government should eliminate such exploitation.
13 Housing Renting out housing is exploitation and infringes the freedom of the renter. Ideally, everyone should have only one house, because if someone has more than one property, they will be inclined to rent it, thereby exploiting their renters.
14 Income Individual income is essential to an economy. Again, such income should not be wages paid by an owner, but as the result of partnership in an industry.
15 Means of Transportation Transportation should be available to all. It should not be owned by some only to be rented to others, as in the case of taxi services.
16 Land Land should be equally available to all. In general, the economy is a zero-sum game, and components of the economy should therefore be distributed equally among all, to produce equality of outcome. No one has the right to save for themselves beyond their own needs.
17 Domestic Servants Domestic servants are basically slaves. The economic model already discussed in this part of the book can be applied to them.
III 18 The Social Basis of the Third Universal Theory Individuals, families, tribes and nations are social units, and their social ties drive the process of history. Of these, the nation is a central unit, held together by nationalism. Just as the sun would disappear without gravity, nations disappear without national unity.
19 The Family Families, individuals and nations (particularly ethnic nation states) are natural human social categories. The modern state is the opposite of what a nation is.
20 The Tribe The next largest human social unit after family is the tribe. Human social units get less important to people as their size increases.
21 The Merits of the Tribe Tribes are rooted in blood and provide social cohesion. They can monitor themselves due to their numbers. They also ensure the socialization of their individuals, an education more useful than school.
22 The Nation Again, nationalism is a central social category, one closely related to but distinct from other large-scale social categories: religions, states, and empires. The reason why states and empires change and fall is because they cannot match the power of real nations.
23 Woman Women and men are equal as human beings. However, physical differences gives rise to gender roles which are natural and appropriate to the differences between the sexes. Freedom consists in following nature, specifically in women having the ability to raise families without being forced by society to seek work.
24 Minorities Minorities are of two types: those already having a nation, and those having none and who wish to make their own. Either way, their rights must be protected.
25 Black People will Prevail in the World Black people will become the majority because their culture includes polygamy and shuns birth control, and because they live in a climate which is "continuously hot", with the result that work is less important for them than in other cultures.
26 Education School education is a form of tyranny. Education should be made available in whatever ways people wish to learn.
27 Music and Art Humans should eventually speak one language. Artistic and cultural tastes are influenced by differences in language, which influence people's "genes".
28 Sport, Horsemanship and the Stage Watching sports and other forms of entertainment is foolish. People should practice sports directly to get the benefits of athletics for themselves, rather than standing by and watching others.

Reception[change | change source]

A lot of people thought that Gadaffi didn't do a good job writing the book. They thought that the book was a bunch of proverbs rather than something with new and unique ideas or a strong argument.