[Marxism] Forwarded from Poulod

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jul 21 19:54:39 MDT 2006

Yoshie wrote:
>BTW, have you ever considered a possibility that a major part of
>Iranian society may be as religious as Nicaraguan, Venezuelan, and
>many other societies, though apparently less conservative than
>Salvadoran society?

This is not the issue. The issue is that women in Iran were *forced* to 
adopt religious garb. As I said in my initial post, we are opposed to 
either the French government or the Iranian government dictating to women 
what relationship they must have to the scarf. We are for religious freedom.

Maybe I am a bit closer to these issues being married to a Turkish woman 
who worked in a shelter in Istanbul for battered women, in most cases the 
victims of patriarchical Islamic backwardness from eastern Anatolia. It is 
revolutionary to confront this shit, not to adapt to it. The pasdaran that 
Ahmedinejad used to belong to would confront women on the streets of Tehran 
who were not dressed properly and harass them. This is not "liberation 
theology". It is hooliganism. Nothing remotely like this ever took place in 
Nicaragua or Venezuela. It is sheer sophistry for Yoshie to conflate these 
different realities.

I hate religious authoritarianism. My mother was always proud of a photo 
that she got from my grandmother, a devoutly religious woman. The photo was 
of my grandmother's mother who was raised in a deeply ignorant and 
repressive shtetl ruled by the local Jewish version of our ayatollah, a 
rabbi. The photo showed her in a special head covering that repelled my 
grandmother. So she took a pen at one point and drew over it in the photo. 
 From my great-grandmother to me, there's been a steady progression against 
forced religious customs.

My in-laws lived in Uskudar, a very picturesque neighborhood, but got fed 
up with the increasing presence of strict Islamists, especially Hasan who 
loves his raki. They moved to Kadikoy just to get away from that crap. In 
Uskudar today, there are moves to ban alcohol. That really sucks.

Tehran is not that different from Istanbul. There is a huge educated middle 
and working class that hated being policed by the Shah. Can you imagine 
their anger when the discovered that the pasdaran were nearly as intrusive 
and even would use Savak methods against their leftist enemies, including 

Socialists have to take a stand on these things, it seems. To repeat 
myself, we are for religious freedom. But our basic message is resistance 
to all forms of idealist obfuscation, whatever its origins. 

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