I appreciate this analysis, Comrade Artesian, and especially how you
have drawn the focus back to economic conflict. Many thanks.
You asked in an earlier email how I imagined a real revolutionary
movement presenting itself in Iran. This is a crucial question, and
I suppose that first and foremost I'd expect it to manifest itself in
Farsi. The fact that English is the first language of those most
active in this 'revolutionary' movement makes me skeptical about its
constitution. This is especially true in Iran, where one certainly
wouldn't expect affinity with western media to be a determining
criteria for leadership.
Allow me to flip the question around and ask you to think like...
Z-Big: if you were working with an unlimited budget to destabilize
and ultimately change the regime in Iran, how would you do so in the
context of an electoral contest such as the one that just occurred?
Like virtually every political crisis, the unfolding events in Iran
have their roots in the state of the economy - the global economy.
So the moves made by the government of Iran over the last few years
to build alliances and wrest control of the economic system away from
the 'West' merit our attention. While these moves (i.e., pushing a
shift in the world reserve currency away from the dollar, fortifying
the SCO, and creating military alliances around issues of nuclear
development and defense of the Straight of Hormuz) obviously
perpetuate global capitalism, they do so in a way that denies the
US/Europe access to crucial markets and limit their ability to
accumulate. Obama and Co. see this as a threat necessitating a
At the same time, the US-centered economic system writhes for oxygen
and the need for more war seems more evident.
Henry the K opined on this today:
No doubt the events of the past week please Netanyahoo and Co. to no
end, too, as they lick their chops in anticipation of their orgasmic
fantasy - regional war.
The economic crisis engulfing global capitalism frames the Iranian
election in a much wider context than the simplistic dichotomy forced
upon us by the Green Armbandits.
It's no surprise that theocratic rule by religious zealots is unjust
and repressive (just as rule by Cargill and Boeing and JPMorganChase
is unjust and repressive), and we ought to support those opposing
that regime insofar as the concrete political demands empower the
people of Iran. Yet to those of us living in United States, our
principal political work ought revolve around exposing and resisting
the machinations of our own ruling class's intervention in Iran.
Doing so provides genuine radicals the space necessary to oppose the
regime. But insofar as the left here has fettishized the
'democratic' impulses of the YouTube/Facebook/Twitter silliness, we
The evocation of Mossadeq in Iran is quite promising because it
demonstrates an historical consciousness absent from the Mousavi
lovefests (or at least in the views of their English-speaking
spokespeople). Until recent days (as the CNN-based movement seems to
have weakened), the protestors have shown me very little that
separates them from their candidate, a craven despot who orchestrated
a crackdown of popular (and revolutionary) organizations as Prime
Minister back in the day.
This isn't to say that a dynamic movement cannot arise and transform
itself. But this e-mail is not aspirational.
I understand the link you draw to Chicago '68, and the hypothetical
you pose with regard to supporting pro-Democrat activists from mobs
of hooligans is correct: we must defend them without endorsing their
line. And insofar as the Iranian left has done this, I commend them.
But their approach should not define how we respond, because the
context of their response is far different than the context of ours.
We aren't reacting to the moves of a theocratic government.
I find the Ukrainian presidential election of 2004 that thrust
Yushchenko into power a more apt comparison. In that case, you had 2
corrupt candidates struggling to steal as much of the vote as
possible, a premature declaration of victory by the NED backed
candidate, and cries of vote-rigging by rent-a-mobs that ultimately
produced a 'victory' for 'reform'.
As I recall, the response of the left in the states was a bit more
impressive back then because, well... because of GDub.
Do I think that the "entire" struggle playing itself out on the
streets of Tehran is orchestrated from Alexandria, VA? That's silly.
But, like Obama's electoral campaign, this movement - however rooted
in the masses - is hierarchical in its structure and coordinated in
Western-controlled media. Just because the masses are involved
(and to what extent they are is still a mystery to some extent) does
not mean have the freedom to operate that they need. To treat this
development as something other than it is on the basis of NY Times
agitprop is a mistake that we should not make.