On February 22, 2011, self-proclaimed “internationally renowned political theorist” and Distinguished Fellow at the policy center Demos, Benjamin Barber, released a statement announcing his resignation from the governing board of the Gadaffi Foundation.
Barber announced his resignation from the Gadaffi International Charity and Development Foundation, headed by Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi’s son Saif al-Qaddafi, in protest at the “country-wide repression of protesters by the most barbaric means, and the public declaration of the Foundation’s honorary chairman, Saif Qadaffi, endorsing the repression and rationalizing the massacre of protesters.”
While Muammar Qadaffi’s brutal repression of rebel forces may have been too much for wee Benjamin to stomach, the “internationally renowned political theorist” had no problems taking Gadaffi’s money when the dictator’s habitual sadism was less well publicized.
Even while leaving his master’s employ, Barber still had kind words to say about his former idol.
Remember, Gadhafi is no Mubarak or Bashar al-Assad, a second or third generation bureaucratic heir to once revolutionary dictatorships. He is a founding revolutionary cut from the same cloth as Nasser and Castro, and his revolutionary rhetoric, if seemingly incoherent and irrelevant to the modern world, is authentic, rooted in the (mostly) vanished world of colonialism, imperialism, socialism and people’s democracy.
Barber worked with and for the Gadaffi clan for several years.
Benjamin sits enthralled while Muammar reads from his wondrous “Green Book”
In a Washington Post article in August 2007, “Gaddafi’s Libya: An Ally for America?,” Barber wrote:
Written off not long ago as an implacable despot, Gaddafi is a complex and adaptive thinker as well as an efficient, if laid-back, autocrat. Unlike almost any other Arab ruler, he has exhibited an extraordinary capacity to rethink his country’s role in a changed and changing world.
I say this from experience. In several one-on-one conversations over the past year, Gaddafi repeatedly told me that Libya sought a genuine rapprochement with the United States …
In all my public and private conversations with Gaddafi, including a roundtable moderated by David Frost and televised by BBC in March during which Gaddafi responded to unrehearsed questions, Gaddafi acknowledged his history of enmity with the West and did not deny Libya’s erstwhile involvement in terrorism. But he spoke of a new chapter for Libya and backed it up with a commitment to societal change. He insisted that in the Libya that comes after him there would be no new Gaddafi but self-governance.
Barber was also among a small group of “democracy advocates and public intellectuals,” including Joseph Nye, Anthony Giddens, Francis Fukuyama and Robert Putnam, working under contract with the Monitor Group consulting firm to “interact with Col. Gaddafi on issues of democracy and civil society” and to help little Saif “implement democratic reforms and author a more representative constitution for Libya.”
In other words, Barber was Col. Gadaffi’s PR man – a paid “shill” for a proven terrorist and socialist dictator.
To be fair, Barber’s loyalty to Gadaffi probably went beyond money. As a socialist himself, no doubt Barber really did believe he was advancing the radical cause by easing Gadaffi’s relations with the U.S.
Benjamin Barber’s affiliation to Demos is significant because the New York based “think tank” is an official partner of the notorious Washington DC based Institute for Policy Studies.
Once described by security expert Brian Crozier as the “perfect intellectual front for Soviet activities which would be resisted if they were to originate openly from the KGB,” I.P.S. has been strongly opposed to military action against Gadaffi’s regime.
A few years later an equally obscure San Francisco communist radical named Van Jones would also join the Demos Board. Small world isn’t it?
Demos 2009 report “Flying blind,” page 3
Despite being so horribly disappointed by comrade Qadaffi, Benjamin Barber hasn’t given up on socialism.
Less than a month after pulling the plug on comrade Qadaffi, Barber spoke at Democratic Socialists of America’s Left Forum 2011, at Pace University New York, on a panel entitled: “The Future of American Liberalism?”
Mr. Loudon’s Obama Files articles are also listed at NewZeal.