C'est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons, pour nos frères, La haine à nos trousses, et la faim qui nous pousse, la misère. Il y a des pays où les gens aux creux des lits font des rêves, Ici, nous, vois-tu, nous on marche et nous on tue nous on crève.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Iran and the Left

A theme has developed in the wingnut media, namely, that 'the left' has neglected Iran. This is presumed to indicate either hypocrisy and double standard ('They always criticise Israel!') or tacit sympathy for Ahmedinejad, the Ayatollah, and the mad mullahs who run the regime.

The evidence for this charge lies solely in the claim that leftists have been mute on Iran. They probably have been mute in the News Ltd media, since they don't exist at all within Murdoch empire, but a quick click on the links of my blog, and about thirty seconds googling revealed anything other than silence or complicity when it comes to the Iranian autocracy:

Lenin's Tomb is probably the foremost socialist blog in the UK, if not the world, excluding the large group blogs. Bloggers Richard Seymour and Yoshie have repeatedly tackled the issue of Iran, the elections, and the uprisings. Significantly, this extensive coverage has also encompassed critique of the deceits and conceits perpetuated regarding this crisis by the ruling elites in the Anglophone media.

Slavoj Žižek has published a widely-circulated text supporting the protestors in Iran, and calling for the downfall of the current regime. From a rather different leftist perspective, Chomsky has given this interview on the subject.

In Australia, Mark Bahnisch made some cautious remarks in support of the dissenters. Quiggin looked at things with reference to Obama. Slack @ndy has compiled pro-protestor links, anti-regime, and has criticised a presumed concordance between Ahmedinejad and Chavez. Green Left Weekly expressed solidarity with the dissenters of Iran.

In the US and beyond, there has also been plenty of critical comment on the topic of Iran's sham elections and their aftermath. Minnesota-based Trot Renegade Eye lent his voice of solidarity. Counterpunch has been providing almost daily coverage, including these two pieces. AlterNet had provided a number of pieces on this topic, particularly attacking the lack of freedom of speech. Marxism.com has published multiple pieces int he past week or so - see the link here. Zmag has sharply attacked the democratic pretensions of the regime, as has Socialist Worker.

Now for some general remarks. The above pieces are all well worth reading. Many are sceptical about the possibility of the protestors effecting lasting change. Even greater scepticism is reserved for Ahmedinjad's opponent, Moussavi, whose 'reformist' credentials are regarding by many commenters as dubious, at best. (Interestingly, Žižek is an exception here). All the same, each and every piece is concerned with the welfare of the protestors, and none supports the existing regime in any respect whatsoever.

Another point worth noting is that, roughly speaking, the further left you go, the more decisive the statements you are likely to find in relation to Iraq. Centre-leftists and social democrats such as Bahnisch and Quiggin are far more equivocal than are the socialist and anarchist commenters above.

It goes without saying that everybody of value in the left supports the opverthrow of the existing Iranian regime, and wishes the demonstrators success in their task of liberating Iran.

Finally, the attempt by rightists to pretend that the left are somehow opposed or indifferent to the uprisings in Iran is sheer chutzpah, occasioned by years of controlling both politics and the mainstream press. Not only do these clowns attempt to falsify the past, they are now, increasingly, it seems, trying to distort history as it happens. They must presume that leftist audiences are as stupid and apathetic as their own. It is an ongoing fight to ensure that these deceptions are rectified.