[Marxism] Iran’s Holocaust conference and the dead end of bourgeois nationalism

Carl Webb carlwebb at gmail.com
Sat Dec 23 21:50:38 MST 2006


Iran's Holocaust conference and the dead end of bourgeois nationalism

By Bill Van Auken
23 December 2006

In his year-end press conference, President George W. Bush once again
condemned the Iranian government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for
the officially sponsored conference of Holocaust deniers convened in
Teheran earlier this month, declaring that it "heralded a really
backward view of the history of the world."

This is from a US president whose administration frankly discusses the
options of supporting a sectarian civil war that would result in the
"the uprooting or extermination" of Iraq's more than 5 million Sunni
Arabs and of provoking a region-wide Sunni-Shia war that could claim
millions more victims (New York Times, Dec. 17, "The Capital Awaits a
Masterstroke on Iraq").

The denunciations of the Iran conference have been nearly universal.
Leaders of governments in Europe and America as well as the
Vatican—all of whose predecessors actively collaborated in the
Holocaust, ignored and covered it up or worked strenuously to prevent
its survivors from entering their territories—were among the loudest
critics.

The hypocrisy underlying such condemnation is plain. The aim of
Washington and its allies is to use the issue to provide one more
justification for another war of aggression in the Middle East aimed
at securing domination over the region's vast energy supplies.

Having said that, the conference convened by the Iranian regime was as
shameful as it was reactionary.

It managed to turn Teheran into a temporary Mecca for the jetsam and
flotsam of Holocaust denial and outright neo-fascism. Such unlikely
friends of the "Iranian revolution" as David Duke, a former "Imperial
Wizard" of the Ku Klux Klan and self-described "white nationalist,"
were provided a platform courtesy of the Iranian government to spew
their anti-Semitic and racist filth.

Held under the banner "Review of the Holocaust: Global Vision," the
conference was billed by Iran's Foreign Ministry as a venue "for
suitable scientific research so that the hidden and unhidden angles of
this most important political issue of the 20th century becomes more
transparent."

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki declared, "The aim of this
conference is not to deny or confirm the Holocaust."

Other Iranian officials presented the questioning of the Holocaust as
a means of countering the policies of Israel and the US in the region.
President Ahmadinejad declared at a press conference held after the
conference had begun, "The creation of the Zionist regime and turning
the Holocaust into propaganda has become an instrument for the United
States and Britain to dominate the Middle East,"

There are many areas of this most horrific chapter of the twentieth
century as well as its political and historical causes that bear
serious historical study. Included among them is the way in which this
historic crime has been utilized to justify the illegal acts of
dispossession and repression carried out by the Israeli government
against the Palestinian people.

The fact that the Nazi regime pursued its "final solution" by
organizing and executing the slaughter of six million Jews, however,
is documented by a vast amount of empirical data—both Nazi and Allied
alike—as well as the living memory of its survivors. Its reality is
not open to question.

The collection of intellectual charlatans and outright fascists who
make up the so-called "Holocaust revisionist" movement utilize
fabrications, lies and obstinate denial of voluminous evidence to spin
their fantasies about the non-existence of the Holocaust or the
supposed inflation of the numbers exterminated in the Nazi death
camps.

All of this historical falsification has one central purpose: the
political rehabilitation of fascism.

That Ahmadinejad's administration would ostensibly attempt to counter
the very real threats to Iran posed by Israeli aggression and US
militarism by facilitating the work of those who vindicate the record
of the most criminal imperialist regime in history is a measure not
only of the bankruptcy of the Iranian regime, but the historic dead
end confronting bourgeois nationalism the world over.

The conference was convened under conditions in which plans for
Israeli strikes against Iran are already well-advanced and as the US
was reportedly preparing to deploy another aircraft carrier in the
Persian Gulf for its own possible attacks.

The effect of the repugnant spectacle in Teheran was to hand Iran's
enemies a propaganda weapon to help prepare such military action,
while alienating the broad layers of workers, students and
intellectuals worldwide who oppose the US war in Iraq, the Israeli
assault on the Palestinians and the threat of a further spread of
aggression to Iran itself.

Whatever the populist and even "anti-imperialist" demagogy of
Ahmadinejad and his co-thinkers, the Holocaust denial conference was
organized not to challenge either US imperialism or the Israeli
regime, but rather to divert and disorient the growing anger and
militancy of the Iranian working class and of the working masses
throughout the Middle East.

The effect of their politics is to isolate the Iranian working class
from the international working class, including the workers of Israel,
while helping to drive the latter into the arms of Zionism.

The Iranian regime does not oppose imperialism as a world system, but
merely seeks to forge a more advantageous relationship between this
system and the privileged bourgeois social layers that it represents.
It has collaborated with US interventions in both Afghanistan and
Iraq, while at the same time attempting to exploit the divisions
between the European powers and Washington over the Middle East, all
in an attempt to further the aspirations of the Iranian ruling circles
to assert their interests as a regional power.

Ahmadinejad's resort to right-wing populist demagogy and appeals to
outright anti-Semitism are a manifestation of the incapacity of Iran's
bourgeois regime or any of its factions to provide a progressive
solution to the deep social and economic crisis confronting Iranian
working people, who face mass unemployment and a steadily rising cost
of living, while benefiting little from the country's oil wealth.

The growing popular dissatisfaction with the present regime has found
significant expression in the immediate aftermath of Teheran
conference. This was seen in angry student protestors confronting
Ahmadinajad with chants of "down with the dictator" and "Forget the
Holocaust, do something for us."

And, while the conference was apparently aimed at least in part at
whipping up the regime's right-wing religious base in advance of
December 15 elections for local councils and the Assembly of Experts,
a powerful clerical body, candidates aligned with Ahmadinejad suffered
defeat, indicating growing popular discontent.

The retrograde and repugnant politics of the Iranian regime expressed
in the Holocaust denial conference is only one of the sharpest
manifestations of the universal inability of regimes based on the
national bourgeoisie—from Iran to Venezuela to Cuba—to wage a
consistent struggle against imperialism.

None of the pressing problems confronting the masses in these
countries, and indeed in any of the countries that historically have
been oppressed by imperialism, can be resolved under the leadership of
any section of the national bourgeoisie or on the basis of national
policies.

More than ever before, in the context of the unprecedented global
economic integration created by capitalism in the present epoch, the
struggle against imperialism together with the wars and social
inequality that it produces can be successfully waged only through the
independent and unified political mobilization of the international
working class against capitalism and the outmoded nation state system.

For the working class of Iran, this means the building of a new
internationalist party in direct opposition to the anti-Semitism,
xenophobia and anti-communism promoted by the present regime, fighting
to forge links with workers throughout the region, including in Israel
itself, in the common struggle for a socialist federation of the
Middle East.


http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/dec2006/iran-d23.shtml


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