Monday, June 22, 2009

"Iran, Gucci Anti-imperialism and Movement Anti-intellectuals"

End portion of article below; whole article (via here:
It is one thing to defend the Iranian state from outside assault and interference, all necessary and laudable, one thing to recognize the occasional political usefulness of the Iranian state on the world's stage, which is real enough if often exaggerated, one thing to admit that the replacement of the Shah's kingdom of thieves with the Islamic Republic was a positive historical development with real material gains for the Iranian working class, and quite another thing to cheer the crackdown on dissent and to root for state violence against a mass movement of people demanding basic civil and political rights, especially rights that our Gucci anti-imperialists enjoy in their safe(r) abodes. Furthermore, in so far as divide-and-rule is the lifeblood of imperialism, the pitting against each other of different forms of oppression, the demand that we chose exclusively, whether one is pro-Palestinian OR pro-civil rights in Iran, but not both, whether one is against Islamophobia OR for womens' rights, but not both, and so forth, in short, imposing whichever struggle we fancy to be more important on others and demanding that they put their demands for liberation on hold, is not anti-imperialist. On the contrary, it deepens the divisions on the basis of which imperialism flourishes.

As outside observers it is not our role to decide between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi. Nor it is our role to certify or decertify the elections or solve the legitimation crisis of the Iranian state. It is reasonably clear that much of the popular support behind Ahmadinejad is based on legitimate concerns and claims, including fears that Mousawi wished to deepen exploitation and collaborate with the West. It should be equally clear that the millions of working people who are now braving state violence in the streets also have legitimate concerns and claims, including true self-determination, which is not only freedom from U.S. imperialism, but also freedom from state violence and basic civil rights, including the right to form independent trade unions and parties that militate for real economic transformation and not just palliative populism.

As outside observers, we have two obligations now. First, we need to keep our own states from using the events in Iran to advance imperialist stratagems. But we also need to show solidarity with the struggle for greater freedom in Iran. And not much is demanded from us. All that is asked for is, as Hamid Dabashi phrases it,

the active solidarity of ordinary people around the globe to be a witness to their struggles and demand from their media an accurate and comprehensive representation of their movement (Hamid Dabashi)

All we are asked for is to respect the Iranian people, all of them, both those who voted for Ahmadinejad and those who didn't, and not to confuse their voice and their interests with that of either their unelected ruling clique or the foreign "support" that seek to exploit them.

Is that too much to ask from the radical left?

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