[Marxism] Models

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Aug 20 09:00:06 MDT 2006

Walter wrote:
>There is something of a difference between the Iran
>of Ahmedinijad and the Saudi Arabia of the kings of
>our time. Not to recognize that difference would
>result in a sort of powerless passivity. Not that
>one would have to endorse the Islamic Republic and
>its form of government.

Of course there is a difference. There are also differences in Iran with 
various factions vying for power over the past 10 years or so, reformists 
who advocate privatization; clerics who are socially conservative but 
resist opening up to the West, etc. There were also differences in the USSR 
throughout the post-Stalin era, with market socialists vying with 
hard-liners, etc. That goes without saying. Even in the most monolithic 
system, the elites have to have a way to contend with each other. Personal 
dictatorships of the kind that both Stalin and Hitler exemplified are 
highly unwieldy.

In any case, we have no business writing propaganda for any politician who 
has not repudiated the underlying foundations of the Islamic Republic of 
Iran. Socialists are fundamentally opposed to theocracy, even ones that are 
paternalistically benign. Marxism is totally dedicated to preserving the 
democratic gains of the bourgeois revolutions while extending them into the 
social and economic arena. For all of the comparisons between Chavez and 
Ahmadinejad, Venezuela remains fully committed to democratic rights. Those 
rights allow the working class to press its own demands.

One of the things I find disturbing about Nestor, Lou Paulsen and Walter's 
special pleading for political Islam is that it neglects the importance of 
the kinds of basic freedoms that the Bolsheviks fought for in Czarist 
Russia. I can only imagine what Lenin would say about leftists who try to 
burnish the reputation of a government that puts bus drivers in prison 
because they go on strike. Lenin used to stay up late at night studying the 
Czarist law codes in order to find a loophole that would make a strike legal. 

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