It’s heartening to see a groundswell from the far left against ultra-left parties who will not support the Iran protests because of their delusion that Ahmadinejad somehow is an ally. (And maybe because they see this as a way to recruit for their parties.) But the sick truth is, too much of the far left is backing the thugs in the Iranian government because, y’know, Ahmadinejad doesn’t like the US so that makes everything he does ok. But the tide could be turning…
The post-election crisis in Iran has prompted individuals and groups on the left to reduce it to an imperialist plot to foment a “color” or “velvet” revolution. In doing so, they are following the lead of Ali Khamenei, the country’s most powerful leader and a man who has never run in an election himself.
As might be expected given its Manichean brand of Marxism that divides the world between the “imperialist” and “anti-imperialist” camps, the Workers World Party stood firmly behind Ahmadinejad. After denying that fraud took place, they made the elections sound like a referendum on the world revolution.
Ah yes, the true believers. Only we possess the truth. And everything is always completely black and white, with shades of gray never permitted.
Looking at a society where it is codified into law that a women is worth half a man, where the morality police prowl the streets arresting men and women for such “unIslamic” behaviour as holding hands, where stoning is still an allowed punishment for adultery, where children can be hanged, where being gay is a crime, I found the stance of my so called comrades on the left to be unforgivable. I also found it ridiculous. I honestly could not believe that anyone could look at this society and say that people had chosen to live like this – but it became clear that is exactly what they believed. And worse than that, despite the desperate cries for freedom we are seeing now, some of them still do.
“It’s not our place” has got to be one of the most despicable abdications of morality, of socialism and of internationalism that has ever been concocted by anyone on the left. They refuse to demand the same justice and equality for people living in Iran as they demand for those of us living in the west.
How colonial of them.
Speaking to supporters Hugo Chavez called Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ”a courageous fighter for the Islamic Revolution, the defence of the Third World, and in the struggle against imperialism”. The Venezuelan government, “in the name of the people,” hailed the “extraordinary democratic development” that resulted in Ahmadinejad’s victory according to a foreign ministry statement.
These staggering statements by the Venezuelan government appear to be based on the delusion that Ahmadinejad is some sort of anti-imperialist because of his denunciations of US imperialism. My enemy’s enemy is my friend, seems to be the guiding light of Chavez and the Venezuelan state. It would be perfectly correct to demand that the US government keep its nose out of the Iranian political crisis, but offering political support for the Iranian regime is choosing the wrong friend and can only compromise the Venezuelan government in the eyes of an Iranian democratic and workers’ movement, and other workers around the world.