[Marxism] Revolutionary Guards and the Iran-Iraq War(was Socialist Men, Muslims, and the "Woman Question")

Yoshie Furuhashi critical.montages at gmail.com
Tue Jul 25 11:01:16 MDT 2006

On 7/25/06, www.leninology. blogspot.com <leninology at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Louis invites:
> >To wrap this up, I would invite anybody else who has something of value to
> >add to do so today. If you have weighed in on Ahmadinejad already, you
> >might want to allow others to join in for the first time. I have said
> >everything I wanted to say. Of course, since Yoshie is obviously very
> >involved with this issue, I will permit her to post without concerns for
> >posting limits.
> >
> >But starting tomorrow at 6am, this thread is *over*.
> Here's my take:
> The Islamists had hegemonised that revolution long before it took place.
> Some, like the much-maligned Foucault, saw that this was going to be the
> case.

Yes, even Janet Afary and and Kevin B. Anderson, who rightly criticize
Foucault emphasizing only the positive, concede that Foucault was more
clear-eyed about the relative balance of forces between Muslims and
secular leftists than wooly-headed secular leftists:

<blockquote>In ridiculing the notion that the secular nationalist or
Marxist left would now take center stage and displace the clerics,
Foucault made a keen assessment of the balance of forces. Indeed, he
exhibited quite a remarkable perspicacity, especially given the fact
that he was not a specialist on either Iran or Islam. Even more
importantly, he noted, a new type of revolutionary movement had
emerged, one that would have an impact far beyond Iran's borders and
would also have major effect on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: "But
perhaps its historic importance will not hinge on its conformity to a
recognized �revolutionary' model. Rather, it will owe its importance
to the potential that it will have to overturn the existing political
situation in the Middle East and thus the global strategic
equilibrium. Its singularity, which has constituted up until this
point its force, consequently threatens to create its power of
expansion. Indeed, it is correct to say that, as an 'Islamic'
movement, it can set the entire region afire, overturn the most
unstable regimes, and disturb the most solid. Islam -- which is not
simply a religion, but an entire way of life, an adherence to a
history and a civilization -- has a good chance to become a gigantic
powder keg, at the level of hundreds of millions of men."

(Janet Afary and Kevin B. Anderson, "The Seductions of Islamism:
Revisiting Foucault and the Iranian Revoluti," New Politics, vol. 10,
no. 1, whole no. 37, Summer 2004,

BTW, have you ever wondered why it's been mainly queers -- Foucault
(gay), Leslie Feinberg (transgender), and me (bisexual, working with
John Mage [gay], in a magazine born thanks to generous donations from
F. O. Matthiessen) -- who have stood up for the Iranians?  :->

> Finally, I agree with Yoshie: we have to work with what we've got.  Unless a
> serious independent leftist alternative emerges in Iran, then the working
> class is going to seek some other vector for the intrusion of its demands
> into the state, and the current Iranian president looks to be that.  I don't
> think he's an ally of the left in the same way that Chavez is at all, but I
> think that we should equally refuse to buy all the 'he's a mad fanatic'
> Orientalist crap coming out of the Western media and commentariat.

"Work with" in the sense of analysis, yes.  In terms of practical
action, we have *nothing* to offer to the Iranians, the Lebanese, the
Palestinians, the Venezuelans, or anyone else for that matter.

That's why I said I'd send flowers to the President of Iran.  :->
Sorry, there's nothing else to send!

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