[Marxism] Democracy, Etc. (was Iranian Privatization)

Yoshie Furuhashi critical.montages at gmail.com
Mon Aug 21 21:48:26 MDT 2006

On 8/21/06, Walter  Lippmann <walterlx at earthlink.net> wrote:
> For some
> people, though, "democracy" (in quotes for emphasis, not
> to be snide) seems now to be the must urgent of issues.

As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing wrong with upholding
democracy, civil and political liberties, civil and human rights, and
so on, provided that we apply the same standard, after taking the
level of development into account.  However, there exists a current of
thought here -- expressed by Lou but also several others -- that says
that it's one thing for a socialist government not to put democracy,
civil and political liberties, civil and human rights, and so on into
practice, but it's another thing for Iran or any other state that does
not claim to be socialist not to put them into practice.  That's the
sort of double standard that makes people who are not socialists yet
think twice about trusting socialists' claim to be defenders of such

To my knowledge, North Korea is less democratic and allows fewer
liberties than Iran, but it claims to be socialist, and if one looks
at the ownership of its means of production, probably its level of
state ownership is higher than Iran's (though that needs to be
empirically determined), and capitalist restoration in North Korea is
far from complete, due to external threats to it, so it may be said to
be socialist by some standards.  But it doesn't look like Iranians --
or anyone else for that matter -- are longing to live under a state
like North Korea's.

Cuba is much more liberal and democratic than Iran and North Korea,
but would Iranians who long for democracy, if asked, really desire to
replace the Iranian government by a Cuban-style government?  Much as I
love Cuba myself, I honestly doubt that.

That's why I've been saying that Venezuela ought to be the model for
Iran, as well as the rest of the Middle East.

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