The Green Book is a three-part collection of political thoughts, social and economic theories and day-to-day how-to guides by Libya’s Muammar el Qaddafi. The book sums up Qaddafi’s “Third Universal Theory,” designed to be an alternative to capitalism and “atheistic communism.” It also expounds on the role of women, men, “black people,” music and education in everyday life. In Qaddafi’s words, “THE GREEN BOOK presents the ultimate solution to the problem of the instrument of government, and indicates for the masses the path upon which they can advance from the age of dictatorship to that of genuine democracy.
Two models stand out as inspirations for Qaddafi’s Green Book. The first is Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Philosophy of the Revolution (1954), where Nasser lays out his ideas about pan-Arab nationalism and his intention to be not only the Arab world’s leader, but Africa’s, too. Nasser was Qaddafi’s foremost influence as Qaddafi was growing up. The second model for the Green Book is Mao’s Little Red Book (1964-76).
The Green Book is a collection of three volumes published between 1976 and 1979.
Book One: Published in 1976, the first volume, “The Authority of the People,” is Libya’s equivalent of The Federalist Papers—a series of essays on government theory and how best the people should govern themselves.
The volume expounds on the failure of parliamentary democracy and the failure of tribal and class systems, and their replacement by what Qaddafi calls “Popular Conferences and the People's Committees.”
Book Two: The second volume, “The Solution of the Economic Problem: Socialism,” was published in 1978. It calls for the end of a wage- and rent-based economy, to be replaced by self-employment or economic partnerships.
“Wage-earners are but slaves to the masters who hire them,” Qaddafi writes. The solution? “The ultimate solution lies in abolishing the wage-system, emancipating people from its bondage and reverting to the natural laws which defined relationships before the emergence of classes, forms of governments and man-made laws. These natural rules are the only measures that ought to govern human relations.”
Book Three: The third volume, “The Social Basis of the Third International Theory,” was published in 1979. Jana, the Libyan news agency, reported at the time that people converged on bookstores “in orderly queues” to pick up their copy.
On blacks: “The population of other races has decreased because of birth control, restrictions on marriage, and constant occupation in work, unlike the Blacks, who tend to be less obsessive about work in a climate which is continuously hot.”
On music and art: “Humans, being backward, are still unable to speak one common language. Until this human aspiration is attained, which seems impossible, the expression of joy and sorrow, of what is good and bad, beautiful and ugly, comfortable and miserable [...]--all will be expressed according to the language each person speaks spontaneously.”
On sport: “Boxing and wrestling are evidence that mankind has not rid itself of all savage behavior.”