[Marxism] Fighting the Last War (was Ahmadinejad, an Islamic Feminist)

Yoshie Furuhashi critical.montages at gmail.com
Fri Jul 21 20:05:17 MDT 2006

On 7/21/06, kersplebedeb <info at kersplebedeb.com> wrote:
> Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:
> > The Iranian people have not lost most of what they have gained, unlike
> > the NIcaraguans.
> >
> > Western leftists have a tendency to overlook the same problem that
> > existed or still exists in socialist countries as what exists in Iran.
> > Abortion is a good example.
> i am happy to agree with Yoshie here - western leftists do sometimes
> have this annoying habit of ignoring problems in socialist countries.

Especially when it comes to civil and political liberties, women's
rights, and so on.  When they spot good things happening on those
fronts in socialist countries, they are the first to trumpet them, but
when they see bad things happening, they try to sweep them under the

> To say that the Iranian people have not lost most of what they gained is
> a misformulation. In some ways they lost more than what they gained,
> certainly far more than they could have gained had the left seized
> control of the revolution.

The question is why they couldn't win.  The simple answer is not
enough Iranians supported them.  Why they didn't can be in part
explained by the level of social and economic development in Iran back
then (i.e., much less urban and much more agricultural back then,
whereas Iranian leftists were mainly urban and industrial or
intellectual), and in part by the choices Iranian leftists made

It seems to me that lots of Iranian leftists in the diaspora are still
fighting the last war they lost and trying not to make the same
mistake -- thinking that they can first support Khomeini and other
clerics and then later "take over" the political direction of the
revolution -- again.  The problem of fighting the last war is that we
never have an opportunity to fight the same war twice.  Today, mainly
situated in the West, Iranian leftists in the diaspora have no
influence on politics in Iran, just as you and I don't.  They should
focus on changing the government here, especially considering that
many of them are now citizens of their adopted countries.

> > The same goes for the Iranian Revolution.  You ought to listen to
> > women who stayed in Iran and even voted for Ahamadinejad, too, a far
> > larger number than left-wing women in the Iranian diaspora.
> >
> > Then and only then can we evaluate both the vices and virtues of the
> > Iranian Revolution objectively.
> this is a good point - but only in a very limited way.
> Some of these women who say "nothing good" about the Iranian regime not
> only did not fight against the revolution, they fought for it. That's
> the thing - some harsh critics of the regime are the same people who
> fought against the Shah.

Almost any revolution since the beginning of modern bourgeois
revolutions has been made by a revolutionary current composed of
multiple, often contradictory tendencies.  Eventually, one of them
tends to vanquish the others, and those who belonged to the others
either change their colors or go into exile.  The Iranian Revolution
has been no different.

> While i did hear of deplorable and racist abuses of indigenous people
> from the Sandinistas at one point in ther evolution - and i will not
> makes excuses for these errors - I never met or heard of any Nicaraguan
> women who had to go into exile because they held the kind of left-wing
> positions that are non-negotiably basic to the left as i understand it.

Well, I suppose Nicaraguan women mostly didn't think that women's
rights such as the right to abortion were non-negotiable, just as
Iranian women mostly didn't.


More information about the Marxism mailing list