Jun 17, 2009

Marg bar Dictator

(Death to the Dictator)

I talked to a U.S. born Iranian friend of mine who is also an anarchist-communist, and asked his take on the election and protests. His perspective was Moosavi was no progressive or democratic alternative to Ahmadinejad. My friend also said that Moosavi was going to loose as all previous polls showed Ahmadinejad winning by a 2:1 margin.

While Moosavi was able to rally tens of thousands of people - urbanites, students, youth, pro-western and free market business interests, Ahmadinejad has wide and popular support amongst the poor and rural masses that dwarfs the opposition. A combination of fundamentalist politics, charity to the poor in the form of social-economic aid, and opposition to the West/US, have helped solidify Ahmadinejad's political position and to maintain his favor with Grand Ayatollah Khāmene’i - for now - even if Khāmene’i has called for inquiries into the election.

So what then do the protests mean? The value of the opposition and protests is to democratize Iranian society and give voice to the anti-fundamentalist forces despite thses opposition forces being a myriad of tendencies whose varying visions may ultimately be in contradiction to each other as is illustrated by there being both bourgeois and Western trends functioning in the same periphery as a revolutionary "Left" tendency as well as thousands of young people who are just tired of being harassed and repressed. The protests should be supported as being an expression of the anti-theocracy, anti-fundamentalist, and pro-freedom desires of mass sectors of Iranian society.

As for an outcome, the opposition may ask for - in return for putting the breaks on the protests - a Zimbabwe type scenario, that being where Moosavi is brought into a governmental configuration with Ahmadinejad. There is no exact example of this in contemporary Iranian history, but it may be the only pragmatic way the Iranian ruling classes see of ending the protests. I think that such a scenario would stabilize Iran but in doing so would extinguish the actual progressive and radical potentials that the protest movements and demonstrations represent.

Here are some links to various news and analysis on the Iranian situation. As always, threewayfight does not necessarily endorse the political conclusions of these articles or links.

from the forum Anarchist Black Cat:

Paul: On the one hand you have the, for lack of a better term, "Pro-market" wing - i.e. wealthy business men (aligned with Rafsanjani) and their small business and monied middle class allies who are frustrated with the Republican Guards creeping takeover of the economy. Mousavi's economic programme is definitely oriented in this direction.

You also have the pro-democracy and pro-liberalisation students who rioted in 1999 and 2003.

But still, both of these together do not add up to the mass upsurge we have seen in the last days. I speculate that the spontaneous mass mobilisation is more to do with an anti-Basij tendency than the pro-market one. In effect the attack on the Basij base was both manifestation and manifesto. Bob Fisk made the point, in a comment quoted by Al Jazeera:

But Fisk said not all the protesters were supporting Mousavi, many were simply making a statement about the vote.

"I don't think they [the demonstrators] are all supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi, they are objecting to the presence of Ahmadinejad as the president. They don't believe he won those votes," he told Al Jazeera.

and form the Maoist website, Kasama:

Mike Ely: We have long strongly and correctly opposed the sinister threats of both the U.S. and Israel against the people of Iran. And certainly these are moments when we all need to redouble those efforts together. There is no excuse for allowing these events to become some sick new justification for a criminal U.S. grab for Mideast hegemony.
At the same time, there now come to us, from this major country groaning so long under the bloody hand of the Shi’ite fundamentalists, the cries of people rising up and demanding radical changes. We need to find the ways to politically support them — and to popularize the revolutionary, secular and socialist currents that may well contend and grow among them.
In times of tight repressive governments, outbreaks among the people often involve exploiting cracks (and in-fighting) within the establishment. Liberal reform movements almost always intermingle with more deeply revolutionary currents.


Anonymous said...

Like you, I am not expert on Iran. But it seems pretty clear that the election was rigged and that the opposition was in the lead. You don't have to believe CNN. Take a look at Juan Cole's site, for example.
Another good analysis of the conflict between elites, is here.