[Marxism] Models

Yoshie Furuhashi critical.montages at gmail.com
Sun Aug 20 10:03:45 MDT 2006

On 8/20/06, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:
> Sayan: "But this is precisely what Marx did -- he spent long hours
> studying, and analyzing, and understanding, capitalism, which was both
> powerful and influential."
> But that was with the goal in mind of overthrowing the system. Marx studied
> capitalism in the way that scientists study cancer cells. They want to
> understand how they mutate and metastasize with an eye to eliminating it.
> Yoshie studies the Islamic Republic or Iran because it is an attractive
> model. She fervently hopes that the model might spread to the rest of the
> Middle East.

I've said time and again: Venezuela ought to be a model for Iran, both
in its domestic and foreign policy, especially with regard to
commitment to participant democracy at home; and Iran ought to play
the same role that Venezuela has played in regional integration on a
basis other than neoliberal capitalism, extremely difficult as it is
for Iran to do so, for the Middle East is far more important to the
multinational empire than Latin America is and the Middle East is
therefore far more under the control of the multinational empire than
Latin America is (just about the only remaining areas of the Middle
East where considerable capacity to challenge the empire exist are
Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine).

On 8/20/06, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:
> 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.

That hardly "goes without saying."  I'm one of the few who have
published _anything_ on domestic factional struggles that are rooted
in class contradiction in Iran in publications on the Left available
to the general public, rather than in scholarly journals unavailable
to and unread by leftists as well as the general public.  Publications
on the Left have generally not paid attention to changes in women's
conditions, understanding of sexuality, and so on in Iran about which
I have written for MRZine, my blog, various left-wing discussion lists
on the Left, and so on, nor have they disseminaated empirical data on
such matters as well as general history, politics, and economy of
Iran, collected by credible scholars and institutions, that i have
made efforts to publicize.

On 8/20/06, Sayan Bhattacharyya <ok.president+marxmail at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 8/20/06, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:
> > 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.
> If I'm not mistaken, strikes are illegal in Cuba and independent
> unions are not allowed to exist. Am I wrong about this? Please correct
> me if I am wrong.
> If this is correct, why is this not a deal-breaker for support to
> Cuba, but is a deal-breaker for support to Iran?
> What am I missing here?

Try telling Muslims that the difference between socialist and Islamic
states is that the former allow independent unions, strikes, etc.
whereas the latter don't -- no Muslim would believe you.  It's a
useless exercise to contrast an idealized fantasy of socialism with
actual Islamic government and movements.  Socialists ought to have the
courage to admit that formerly and actually existing socialist states
have generally had worse records on civil and political liberties than
Iran, running larger prisons, holding larger numbers of pre-trial
detainees, etc. than it does: see, for instance, data from the
International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College, University
of London:
 Otherwise, our criticism of non-socialist states' records on civil
and political liberties is merely hypocritical.

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