[Marxism] Ahmadinejad, an Islamic Feminist (was Reflections on Iran)

Einde O'Callaghan einde at gmx.de
Sat Jul 22 14:15:01 MDT 2006

dwalters at marxists.org schrieb:
> Einde writes:
> "Maybe on a purely legalistic level, but as far as I can judge from the coverage
> here and various items posted here and elsewhere this isn't the case in a large
> proportion of the US, e.g. rural North Dakota."
> Yes, in some places like rural North Dakota, it's hard to get a legal abortion.
> But, mostly because of non-governmental social prusseres (like threats of
> violance, etc) that keep a small number of abortions clinics operating in these
> areas. But this is not a 'large proportion'...it's miniscule. Most women do have
> access. The focus is on these conservative out-of-the-way places because even
> though these places service very few women at the best of times, it's the
> governmental challenges that are provoking attention, like the recent ban in
> North Dekota.
> There is no doubt that there is a 25 year long offensive attacking abortion
> rights. But let's examine that? It's not just a "legalistic level" if it was
> such, with no practical application, there wouldn't be that much attention to
> it. That's because women WON the right to choose an abortion and *in general*
> it is very practical get one. Iranian women like many women around the world
> *do not have that right, period*. It is WORSE in Iran than the U.S.
> There were, in 2000, 1,819 abortion providers in the United States. They preform
> *hundreds of thousands* of abortions *every year*. This doesn't sound like too
> much of a hinderance to the right to choose. Just ask our version of the
> Iranian theocracy here: the Christian Right/Right-to-Life movement. It is
> *exactly* the relative ease with which one can get an abortion here in the US
> that pisses them off so much.
> The following issues involving access to abortion right now, IMO, are:
> 1. The continuing attack, both physical and legal, against abortion providers.
> 2. The inability of poorer women to secure financing for abortion (on par with
> the general problem of poor access to medical care in general).
> Comparing the *massive political advances* made by the Feminist movement in
> defense of womens reproductive freedom in opposition to the establishment in
> the US in comparison to the way women are treated in Iran is simply absurd, the
> objectively anti-Imperialist credentials of the Iranian theocracy
> notwithstanding.
My point was merely that Louis's choice of abortion as a measure of the 
relative level of women's rights/women's liberation is not particularly 
useful as a critique of the Iranian regime, as otehr regimes that are 
viewed as far more liberal by Western intellectuals are equally if not 
kmore restrictive on the questioon of abortion.

We also relly do have to examine whether the justified critiques of the 
regime come from bourgeois feminists, who would oppose the regime even 
if it had a pristine putre record on women's rights, or from within what 
I woulod call teh proletarian women's movement. If people don't know the 
difference they should read the critiques of bourgeois feminism by Clara 
Zetkin and Rosa Luxmenburg.

In pre-1979 Iran women from the Westernised elite were relatively 
liberated, i.e. they didn't have to wear the veil under the Shah or they 
could go to university without too many problems, but these "rights" 
were only available to the elite not to the mass of women from the lower 
classes. Now, I understand, there is a far higher proportionb of Iranian 
women who receive a university education, in cluding many from 
"under-privileged" backgrounds. These women are most likely to have a 
very different estimation of the nature of the regime, than feminists 
with roots in the earlier pro-Western elite.

this isn't to pasint the regime with "proletarian or progressive 
colours", merely to point out the dangers of uncritically accepting a 
"feminist" critique of the Iranian regime simply because it is a 
feminist critique - we've seen where a thoroughly justified but 
undifferentiated critique of the Saddam regime has led the main 
Communist Party of Iraq, i.e. into the Quisling government.

Einde O'Callaghan

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