More criticism of the pseudo-anti-imps

16Jul09

True anti-imperialism means breaking with the pseudo-anti-imperialists whose corpses weigh down the anti-capitalist movement today. The question of the Iranian uprising demonstrates this like no other question. Several important articles linked to and extracted below the fold.

From Ent:

* Seth Freedman: The Press TV pantomime (The Guardian)
* Babak Kia: Backing popular upsurge key task for international left. Crisis of the Iranian regime and popular mobilisation (International Viewpoint)
* Farooq Sulehria: Ahmedinajad and the anti-imperialism of fools (ESSF)

“Anti-imperialism stands for — as anti-imperialism should — liberation. It is liberation for all the exploited, from all sorts of exploitation. Anti-imperialism includes national liberation, women’s emancipation, democratization, political and economic empowerment, respect for religious minorities, and self-determination for oppressed nationalities. Anti-imperialism is freedom for all oppressed, from all oppression.

In contrast, Ahmedinejad, or Osama ben Laden for that matter, offer an anti-imperialism that does not tolerate these values. Theirs is an anti-imperialism that chokes minorities, strangles smaller nationalities and reduces women to bodies-sans-minds hidden under thick burkas.

One cannot be a liberator and an oppressor at the same time. The anti-imperialism that upholds Ahmedinejad as its poster boy does not solve this contradiction. We have seen this anti-imperialism in Afghanistan under the Taliban where it was reduced to the burka and massacre of minorities. Al-Qaeda is the non-state portrayal of this brand of anti-imperialism: bombings, kidnappings, hijackings.

The anti-imperialism currently on display in the Muslim world is symbolic and not of substance. It signifies a new phase in the relationship between two estranged lovers, fundamentalism and imperialism. It is the product of the process run by imperialism in collaboration with fundamentalism, to eliminate genuine anti-imperialism in the Muslim world.”

Also:

Ein weiterer Text zur Kritik an MRZine, Galloway, Petras & Konsorten auf ESSF: The Tragedy of the Left’s Discourse on Iran von Saeed Rahnema

“The most bizarre case is the on-line journal MRZine, the offshoot of Monthly Review, which in some instances even publicized the propaganda of the Basij (Islamic militia) hooligans and criminals. The website has given ample rooms to pro-Islamist contributors; while they can hardly be considered to be on the left, their words are appreciated by the leftists editing the site. One writer claims that the battle in Iran is about “welfare reform and private property rights”, and that Ahmadinejad “has enraged the managerial class”, as he is “the least enthusiastic about neo-liberal reforms demanded by Iran’s corporate interests”, and that he is under attack by “Iran’s fiscal conservative candidates”. The author conveniently fails to mention that there are also much “corporate interests” controlled by Ahmadinejad’s friends and allies in the Islamic Guards and his conservative cleric supporters, and that he has staunchly followed “privatization” policies by handing over state holdings to his cronies.

One of the most shocking pieces is by the renowned controversial Left writer and academic, James Petras. In his piece “Iranian Elections: ‘The Stolen Elections’ Hoax”, Petras conclusively denies any wrongdoings in the Iranian elections and confidently goes into the detail of the demographics of some small Iranian towns, with no credibility or expertise in the subject.

On the basis of his limited understanding of the situation, Petras declares that “[t]he scale of the opposition’s electoral deficit should tell us how out of touch it is with its own people’s vital concerns.” Firstly, like many others he cannot distinguish among different groups and categories of this “opposition”, and worse, is telling Iranian women, youth, union activists, intellectuals and artists, that their demands and “concerns” for political and individual freedoms, human rights, democracy, gender equity and labour rights are not “vital”. It seems he’s telling the Iranian left: rofagha (comrades), if you are being tortured and rotting in prisons, your books are burned and you are expelled from your profession, don’t worry, because the “working class” is receiving subsidies and handouts from the government! Professor Petras and those like him will not be as forgiving if their own freedoms and privileges were at issue.

The left has historically been rooted in solidarity with progressive movements, women’s rights and rights for unions and its voice has been first and foremost a call for freedom. The voices that we hear today from part of the Left are tragically reactionary. Siding with religious fundamentalists with the wrong assumptions that they are anti-imperialists and anti-capitalists, is aligning with the most reactionary forces of history. This is a reactionary left, different from progressive left which has always been on the side of the forces of progress.”

And from Bob:

I think it is important to keep on maintaining clarity about the political battle about solidarity for Iran, and continuing to combat those on the left and right who seek to defuse our solidarity. The violence in Xinjiang province is an instructive case study in solidarity. On the one hand, the Islamist groups (rightly) calling for solidarity with the Uighar people neglect the (mainly Muslim) oppressed of Iran. On the other hand, leftists remain silent and confused about Xingjiang. As Voltaire’s Priest notes, “One could safely assume that there would be far more banner headlines if the oppressor state involved was the USA. But, as with certain bloggers’ treatment of the inspiring protests in Iran, for some on the left a state’s opposition to the Great Satan trumps the blood of the working class as a cause for support and solidarity.

Similarly, the coup in Honduras is already amassing more column inches on the American left than the crushing of the uprising in Iran. I flicked over to CounterPunch (strapline: “Tells the facts, names the names”) and scan through three days worth of posts. Two articles on Honduras, only one on Iran. Ah, but the article on Iran is not actually about Iran. Iran is pretext to talk about Israel and the Israel Lobby. (Same period: six articles on Israel.) Common Dreams? Three articles on Honduras, none on Iran. ZNet? Four on Honduras, none on Iran. Over here, Socialist Unity?* Two on Honduras, none on Iran.

As Azarmehr notes of totalitarianism’s useful idiots, “They pick and choose their issues according to their agendas which has nothing to do with human rights or people suffering.”

From Shiraz Socialist:

“The Morning Star, organ of the remnants of the old Stalinist Communist Party of Britian, is usually a reliable source of “my enemy’s enemy” fake-”anti-imperialism” and “left” anti-semitism. Amazingly, they carried this very sensible piece about Iran. The explanation is, of course, that their comrades in the Tudeh Party – unlike the middle class “anti-imperialists” who frequent the MS letters column, SOAS academia and blogs like Seymour’s Tomb, have to live and operate under the clerical fascist regime.

Since his last “election,” Ahmadinejad has postured around the world as a great leader, boasted of his conversations with God, denied the nazi Holocaust, trampled on human rights in his country and jailed his opponents.

But above all, he is a willing and enthusiastic representative of the Iranian theocratic and mercantile class.

This is the same class that has trampled on the anti-imperialist ambitions of the ‘79 revolution, repressed working-class and student organisations, engaged in brutal tortures and executions and severely restricted the rights of women.

It now dresses in pseudo anti-imperialist clothes, but the reality is that the president has no clothes.

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One Response to “More criticism of the pseudo-anti-imps”


  1. 1 More criticism of the pseudo-anti-imps « Anti-German Translation | Twitterosity

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