[Marxism] Iranian Privatization (was: Models

Lou Paulsen loupaulsen at sbcglobal.net
Mon Aug 21 13:56:55 MDT 2006

Lou Paulsen wrote:
>I think it is certainly true though that Ahmadinejad had the APPEARANCE at 
>election time of an anti-privatization candidate.  And he has, as Yoshie 
>said, stalled the process somewhat.  Do we know that Danesh-Jafari is 
>really Ahmadinejad's "hand-picked" candidate?  As opposed to being chosen 
>by Khamenei or as the result of some compromise?  I'm not saying that 
>because I have a great deal of faith in Ahmadinejad's  standing firm 
>against privatization, but because I really don't know what to expect and 
>am looking for clues.

Louis Proyect:
But isn't that what is wrong with Iranian politics? It is like trying to 
decipher policy developments in the Kremlin during the late 1950s. 
Everything is filtered through the theocratic maw. Khamenei, who is 
supposedly really running Iran, tells the world that "This government 
[Ahmadinejad] is the most favorite government of Iran since 100 years ago". 
But it is Khamenei who is pushing for the very policy that Ahmadinejad is 
opposed to. That's why Iran needs DEMOCRATIC FREEDOMS, so that workers can 
press for their own demands without having paternalistic leaders speaking 
on their behalf. Lenin fought for democratic rights not because he had a 
fetish for such things but because they would facilitate the struggle for 

Me again:
Louis, honestly, I am FOR democratic freedoms for the workers in Iran, and for that matter since you bring it up my party and I were FOR democratic freedoms for the workers in the USSR (this analogy works much better than your last one).  (And Poland, for that matter - we supported the original shipyard strike in Danzig.)  I will dig up Sam Marcy's writings on "Glasnost'" and "Perestroika" for you if you want.  We were FOR the elements of "Glasnost'" which were really about "openness" and which could be used by the workers.  But we were AGAINST "Perestroika" in as much as it turned the whole Gorbachev project into a historic betrayal, and now how much is left in the way of "democratic freedoms" in Putin's Russia? 
That doesn't mean that workers' parties in Iran should not fight for democratic freedoms.  In fact it probably means that they SHOULD do it not only because they're good for the workers' struggle but also so that the forces liable to imperialist influence won't get hold of the issue and make it their own.  But we see what happened after the 1999 student protests, which we also supported, see this editorial: www.workers.org/ww/1999/edit0722.php.  Two things happened.  First, the government put down the protestors.  Second, as far as I can see, most of what is left of that student movement for "democracy" is in the hands of right-wing emigrés. The question of the socialist party, or at least of some rigorously and consciously independent working-class force which has been inoculated against the neoliberal virus, is so crucial!  In its absence, or where it is insufficiently strong, the imperialist bourgeoisie has been almost uniformly successful in subverting the movement
 directly or indirectly, as in Poland, as in the USSR, as in Iran on several occasions, as in a whole lot of other places you could name as well as I.  And if you say that it's hardly fair to blame the workers and students in these countries for not having revolutionary socialist parties immediately at hand considering that the governments they are struggling against have crushed such parties or them from organizing, well, there's no blame to it - history is just miserably unfair.
Lou Paulsen

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