[Marxism] Iranian Privatization (was: Models

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 21 21:07:40 MDT 2006

Thanks for clarifying what seems to me to be the very key
to the entire issue. The Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT
a fascist, rightist-reactionary regime, as the government
of the United States would have the world believe. It's a
conservative, nationalist government, but one which is at
this point in sharp opposition to the United States and
the Israeli governments. In that confrontation, there is,
or ought not to be, any difficulty taking sides. For some
people, though, "democracy" (in quotes for emphasis, not
to be snide) seems now to be the must urgent of issues.

Between the Iranian government and the population of Iran,
they have their own issues to resolve among themselves and
there's not much more to say. It one thing to write about
the conflicts and contradictions inherent in any society,
including Iranian society. That's what Marxists should do.

It's quite another to shriek about "democracy" as abstract
virtue, at a time when Washington is doing the same thing.
It's how you discuss these matters that determines whether
this same analysis helps us better understand Iranian life,
or helps in some way to "manufacture consent" for a war by
Washington against Iran. It matters not what someone writes
on a blog somewhere. What matters is how plans for political
action are laid and carried out. When Yankee radicals fight
for "democracy" in the abstract in faraway places, my first
instinct is to ask what's the urgency about that? Democracy
was the issue for which the ANC fought in South Africa: the
right of the overwhelming majority, who are black, to rule
their country, not the tiny minority of whites. The best
way to promote democracy everywhere is to get some of it
in the United States, a country which is always in favor
of democracy, when it can use that to be against what the
workers want and need. Here in Cuba, Washington says that
it wants "democracy". In Saudi Arabia, they couldn't care
a bit about "democracy". 

What Bert Cochran wrote about socialism and democracy in
1955 was fine for its time, but has nothing to do with 
today's struggles, or at least, the connection wasn't 
indicated when Cochran's comments were reproduced.

Walter Lippmann

The clerical regime in Iran is not fascist - in that it did
not originate in reaction to a left-led labour movement but
as part of a revolutionary movement against a reactionary
monarchy - nor does it seek to displace Western imperialism
with its own empire, as was the case in Germany and Italy.
It expresses the anti-imperialism of an oppressed nation,
and on that basis it's foreign policy is deserving of
unconditional support. But that, IMO, does not translate,
by extension, into unqualified support for the regime and
its domestic policies, which seems to have been a source of
widespread confusion in the current discussion.

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