[Marxism] Models

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Aug 20 10:39:53 MDT 2006

>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.

I don't think it should be posed in this manner. The overarching question 
is the mode of production. Cuba has abolished capitalism, while Iran has 
not. For that matter, I am not sure what the point is of recommending 
Venezuela as a model for Iran. Venezuela is a capitalist country, isn't it? 
Our interest in Venezuela is not just that it dispenses oil profits to the 
poor, but that its leader has defended socialism far and wide and even 
hails the hated Lenin. There is a certain *dynamic* at work in Venezuela 
that is not at work in Iran. Facile comparisons between Chavez and 
Ahmadinejad are useless unless we take into account the relationship of 
class forces. In Venezuela, the peasants and the workers are pressing 
forward with support from the President. In Iran, there are no open 
struggles against the bazaari and the mullahs. Why? Because the cops and 
the revolutionary guards would drown them in blood, just as they smashed 
the student protests in 1999.

Moreover, the problem is that "telling Muslims" anything is rather a moot 
point when it comes to Iran. You can get beat up, tortured or killed for 
talking up socialism in Iran. I keep harping on this question of democracy, 
even though people like Yoshie, Lou Paulsen and Walter Lippmann might think 
that democratic rights are some kind of imperialist conspiracy hatched by 
the NED. If the Iranian people are not free to discuss ALL ideas, then how 
in the world will socialism get a hearing? Yoshie goes on at length about 
the wonderful Iranian elections that allowed a wider variety of viewpoints 
to be put forward by candidates than exists in the USA. She neglects to 
mention that this does not include anything that is remotely radical or 

We need political democracy and we need social and economic democracy. If 
you want mullahs to arbitrate what choices are permissible, then at least 
don't confuse that with the Marxist project.

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