[Marxism] MRZine stumbles over its own feet

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Aug 2 12:44:58 MDT 2010

Today, I noticed what appeared to be the latest bit of 
pro-Ahmadinejad apologetics directed ostensibly against those on 
the left who are troubled over a woman being stoned, etc.

Eskandar, The Ruh of Brown Folks
When presenting yourself as a spokesperson for the 70 million 
people of Iran, please remember to abide by the following rules. 
Otherwise, your television appearance may be canceled.


So I took a stroll over to the "Ruh of Brown Folks" blog to see 
what they were putting down. Perhaps MRZine's editor was a bit to 
eager to see these folks on her side of the barricades in light of 
the following:


Iran and “Anti-Imperialism”

Some leftists have written excellent commentary on the events in 
Iran, but unfortunately many others have written what basically 
amounts to cheerleading the Iranian state as it brutally crushes 
dissent. The cheerleaders describe themselves as 
“anti-imperialists” and can be divided into two camps, secular and 

On the secular side, there are those whose approach can be 
described as “Stalinism without a Stalinist state.” As Stalinists 
opposed Poland’s Solidarność movement because they feared it would 
help Western capitalists undermine the Polish People’s Republic, 
today these reactionaries oppose the protests because they fear 
they will weaken Iran in the face of imperialist aggression. I 
understand this position very well because it is not so different 
from my own. For years, I have put my own issues with the Islamic 
Republic of Iran aside and defended my country against its 
detractors, particularly those who are ill-informed and/or apply 
double standards to Iran. However, those who wish to stand in 
solidarity with Iran should recognize that just as Iranians have a 
right to self-determination without foreign interference, they 
have also have right to struggle against domestic repression. Some 
of these “anti-imperialists” deride the protesters as somehow 
inauthentic, claiming that “true Iranians” support the regime. 
Their notion of what constitutes a “true Iranian” is essentialist 
and Orientalist, often straight out of a Bernard Lewis fantasy: 
“real” Iranians are poor, devout Shi’a who shun Western ways, 
believe in the values of the “Islamic revolution,” and hail 
Ahmadinejad as their populist savior. This is not only grossly 
inaccurate (one of Ahmadinejad’s strongest bases of support is the 
bazaari class, and many of his supporters sport designer jeans and 
sunglasses), it also reinscribes the utterly false divisions 
created by Western media coverage of the elections. The Western 
media likes to portray the Iranian opposition as secular, 
pro-Western, middle class, fashionable, English-speaking, 
Twitter-using youth, and the “anti-imperialists” decry the 
protesters as a bunch of wealthy North Tehran brats who want to 
foment a “Cedar/color revolution” in Iran. However, the truth is 
that both the opposition as well as Ahmadinejad’s supporters are 
incredibly diverse groups of people: both have members of all 
ages, religious and political orientations, ethnic and class 
backgrounds, etc. This fact has largely been ignored both by the 
Western media and by these “anti-imperialists.” The protesters 
should not be castigated just because of how they’ve been 
portrayed by the Western media, and the so-called leftists should 
know better than to take such portrayals at face value. (As a side 
note, I wish everyone, mainstream journalists and leftist bloggers 
alike, would stop discussing the clothing of Iranian protesters, 
counterprotesters, Mousavi’s wife, and so on. It is mostly 
irrelevant and not indicative of ideology or background, but 
Westerners are obsessed with the clothing of “Middle Easterners,” 
especially that of women.)


I should mention that in the sentence above:

 >>The cheerleaders describe themselves as “anti-imperialists” and 
can be divided into two camps, secular and religious.<<

There is a link for "secular" that points to comrade Furuhashi's blog.

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