Thursday, June 18, 2009

Iranian Revolution: Open Thread I

Alan Woods: How Can Can The Movement Go Forward?

An Open Letter To Mir-Hossein Mousavi

Maryam Namazie



jams o donnell said...

What is going on is far beyond just a protest about a blatantly rigged election (70% of expatriate in teh UK voting for Ahmadinejad? I think not!)

Many of the protestors on the streets want real change. what is being offered is now not enough. It has become the focus of so much anger and frustration.

What happens next remains to be seen. Things are up still in the air.

Anonymous said...

The Russians and their agents the Iranian Communist Party supported the Shah. They didn't lead opposition.

LOL! The Commies didn't start opposing the mullahs until 1982, when almost the entire leadership of the Iranian Communist Tudeh Party were exposed as Soviet agents during Iran-Contra... then headed off into the Kurdish hills to fight for another "revolution," this time under a "Maoist" banner (front).

Anonymous said...

The Mek and PMOI will not be assuming control after this revolution, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

Face it Ren, your boys blew it in '79 and will blow it again.

Anonymous said...

Proof that the Marxists were in Khomeini's pocket the whole time.

Frank Partisan said...

Jams: It is going beyond just the electoral question. The problem is that people will stay in the street, only so long.

Alan Woods in my first post about Iran, said it was like 1905 Russia in Iran, not 1917 yet.

In Venezuela struggle has been going on ten years, That is unprecedented.

FJ: I don't have much to say about various guerilla groups and Stalinsts.

In Iran only the urban working class, can bring down mullahs. The rural areas, need to follow the worker's lead. Guerillaism without urban support is a losing strategy (FARC).

Again Stalinism is a counterrevolution against Marxism. Stalin claimed Marxism was compatible with common religion being a basis of statehood.

I'm sure whoever Ted Grant supported, was worthy of support. His writings on Iran, were the best on the left.

It's no surprise to me, if a Stalinist group capitulates to mullahs.

I'm more interested in this post, in news updates.

Anonymous said...

Again Stalinism is a counterrevolution against Marxism. I'm beginning to understand the nature of these 'seemingly' fine distinctions you make. Thanks for bearing w/me.

Anonymous said...

More here.

Gert said...

Here's an Iranian blogpost I rather liked.

The more I read about this thing, the more I feel like Manuel in Fawlty Towers: "I know NOFFINK!"

I see a lot of Westerners 'playing revolutionary' with something they clearly don't know much about and that goes from Jams to me to Ren (probably) to Galloway and just about everyone in between. Rarely has an 'issue' aroused such an extremely wide field of views, an indication that the blind are leading the blind, IYAM.

The Sentinel said...

I agree Gert; this is clearly a very complex issue that only really Iranians will fully understand.

But I do think two things are true: 1) Despite quite a few on the left salivating over this situation, this is not even remotely some kind of "communist / socialist" uprising and 2) The intelligence services of many countries will be heavily involved in stirring up as much trouble as possible.

In fact the Ayatollah openly said in his speech that many countries were fomenting unrest in Iran and named Britain as the most "evil" of them whilst the crowds chanted "Death to the UK" - I found it a little ironic as, whilst I have no doubt that MI6 will in there with the rest of them, I am sure that at least two other countries will be in there just that little bit more.

But then, to go back to Gert's point, this is a very complex situation and we are not now (or ever really) fully in possession of all the facts, let alone contexts.

Gert said...


"In fact the Ayatollah openly said in his speech that many countries were fomenting unrest in Iran and named Britain as the most "evil" of them whilst the crowds chanted "Death to the UK" - I found it a little ironic as, whilst I have no doubt that MI6 will in there with the rest of them, I am sure that at least two other countries will be in there just that little bit more."

I think I saw the segment or a similar one. I believe they were referring more to how British broadcasters seem to present the case of vote rigging as far too open and shut.

After 1953 (in which Britain was involved) and the West's general siding with Saddam in the Iraq-Iran conflagration, I think even the average Iranian has had enough of Western colonial meddling in Iran's internal affairs.

It's legit to ask whether British (or French or Western) audiences would be as keen to jump to the vote rigging conclusion if the country in question was a 'Western Enlightenment style' liberal democracy or a US puppet regime...

jams o donnell said...

Britain being singled out as the greatest evil is no surprise given the history of Britain's games in Iran and Persia. This goes well before Mossadeq.

Britain is still the default bogeyman although the US has overshadowed the UK in more recent times. Kamenei is as likley as anything to be tapping old emnities.

Tarring the opposition as dupes of the enemy is a ploy that is as old as time but it works most times

Try the novel My Uncle Napoleon by Iraj Pezeshkad. Very funny but in its humour it gives an excellent idea of the Iranian view of Britain.

As a bonus the deition I bought a couple of years ago has a foreword by Azar Nafisi

jams o donnell said...

Not sure what to make of this:

Makhmalbaf has been a key davocate for the Mousavi campaign

Frank Partisan said...

FJ: Thank you.

Anonymous: I don't get it?

Gert: I admit Egypt and Iran are priorities. I agree with the point made by the Iranian blogger. Count the Arab States as forgetting Palestinians.

Sentinel: My earliest post compared this uprising to 1905 Russia, not 1917.

I think foreign powers is a secondary issue. It's in fact the mullah's line.

Jams: British imperialism left a mark for generations. Wherever there is a disputed border.

The Sentinel said...

"My earliest post compared this uprising to 1905 Russia, not 1917"

Fair enough; I wasn't actually referring to you though, more about some other blogs and sites really.

Frank Partisan said...

Sentinel: Believe or not, locally on the left, many are so anti-imperialist, they can't tell which way is up. They believe my enemies friends are my enemy, or however you say it.

ravin said...

time is the wisest counselor

Gert said...


"they can't tell which way is up. They believe my enemies friends are my enemy"

My enemies' enemies are my friends, is what you're looking for. See e.g, US support for Taliban/al Qaida against USSR in Afghanistan.

Still, I believe a good dollop of people on the anti-imperialist Left are honestly just waiting to understand what is going on before 'taking sides'. For this some are already getting flak: Alex Stein claims I've gone beyond parody and the Eustonites will revive their old slanderous claim that we've gotten into bed with Islamism.

And yet, look at Mousavi: what do we know about this man, other than the fact that at the time of the Revolution he was hardly a reformist, now was he? So unless he's now a reformed character, Westerners are simply projecting their own desired outcomes onto him.

Slightly O/T:

Your friend Maryam Namazie strikes me as a bit of a busy-body:

"She is spokesperson for the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain."

If she believes Sharia Law in Britain is a problem then in all likelihood she's been watching too much Fox Noise or Pat Buchanan. I don't think we need an Iranian Communist emigré to help us with that 'task'.

"She is Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain which aims to break the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam and to oppose apostasy laws and political Islam."

Ditto, really: apostasy laws, in Britain? Has she got the right country? Any repercussions for apostates of Islam in Britain would be illegal under British Law. What more do we need? In essence we need British subjects, whether Muslim or not, to abide by British Law, I think that's something we can handle here all on our own. Thanks all the same...

The Sentinel said...

"If she believes Sharia Law in Britain is a problem"

Oh its coming all aright, Gert.

In fact it is already here.

"ISLAMIC law has been officially adopted in Britain, with sharia courts given powers to rule on Muslim civil cases.
The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.

Rulings issued by a network of five sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.

And we find that the same legislation that allows Beth Din courts and Sharia courts does not even have to be based upon English law:

"Crucially, the legislation does not insist that settlements must be based on English law; all that matters is the outcome is reasonable and both parties agree to the process. And it's in this space that religious courts, applying the laws of another culture, are growing in the UK.

"The court cannot force anyone to come within its jurisdiction. But once someone agrees to settle a dispute in the Beth Din, he or she is bound in English law to abide by the court's decision [...]

Faisal Aqtab Siddiqi, a commercial law barrister and head of the Hijaz College Islamic University in Warwickshire, says he has already adjudicated in a number of contractual disputes.

"Because we follow the same process as any case of arbitration, our decisions are binding in English law. Unless our decisions are unreasonable, they are recognised by the High Court."

And (most bizarrely) we even have our highest so-called Christian so called leaders calling for Sharia law to implemented in the UK and says it is inevitable:

"The Archbishop of Canterbury came under fierce attack last night from the Government, his own Church and other religions after he advocated the adoption of parts of Sharia, or Islamic law, in Britain"

Which prompted this:

"Politicians in Brent are calling for the resignation of a councillor after he advocated the introduction of Sharia law for British Muslims on a website, including the death penalty for women who commit adultery.
The remarks were a response to The Archbishop of Canterbury's comments made earlier this month in which he said the adoption of Sharia law in the UK seemed unavoidable.

Councillor Atiq Malik, (Democratic Conservative Group)..,"

Oh the irony of that last line!!!

Gert said...


You're rather making my case for me. Sharia is another one of these things Westerners understand relatively little about and which in the minds of some conjures up images of Taliban-style savagery.

And yet, in many Muslim countries Sharia is applied only at the level of civil court, for relatively petty disputes and certainly not for dealing with actual crime.

The use of Sharia (or Beth Din) courts in accordance with British Law isn't a problem in my opinion and has in any case been going on for some time now.

The only drawback I can see is that application of Sharia isn't conducive to assimilation and can promote ghettoisation of religious communities. But assimilation is something that cannot be 'enforced', only encouraged. Those who prefer to live in a self-styled ghetto but don't break the law, well... don't break the law! A few British Jewish communities have been established here for a very long time.

The Sentinel said...

I am really not sure how you figure that I'm making your case for you, Gert?

Sharia law is one of things "that westerners know little about" (not really true anymore) because it didn't originate in the western world, has no basis or affinity in the western world - either culturally or legally - and does not belong in the western world at all.

Some islamic countries may choose to implement sharia law-lite but they are not being true to the radical basis of sharia law as espoused its four sources. (The first two sources are the Qur’an and the Sunna, and the other two complementary sources are consensus (Ijma) and analogy (qiyas)

Sharia law is defined as a "system of divine law; way of belief and practice" - that is, it is all encompassing. It is not meant to deal with low level civil cases and that is just the first stepping stone to its general implementation.

There should be one law for all in the UK, and the UK has ancient natural laws and millennia old common laws (the worst crime of murder, for instance is an offence against common law) that encapsulate the spirit of the British, their culture, ideas and traditions.

Those who want to live under sharia law should go to countries where sharia law encapsulates the spirit of their own culture, ideas and traditions.

Gert said...


Those who fear Sharia British style are fearful of cultural erosion. But cultural erosion is part of culture itself, forever in flux, constantly changing, absorbing as well as exporting.

As a Conservative you see that as a threat. It never was and will never be.

The Sentinel said...

Well, Gert, this isn't "cultural erosion" but cultural replacement - cultural supplanting - and the only way that such a radical departure from a base culture is ever achieved is by dominance and / or subjugation.

But I tell you what Gert, a comment I just read on another blog that I frequent addresses this issue far more eloquently and succinctly then I can:

"Immigration is a violent experience and it has to be. This is one of the most underestimated aspects of the problem.

Either immigrants inflict voluntarily this violence upon themselves, changing their mores, their language, their culture, their community of reference, their future and even their past ; or they won't do it because it's too painful (and it truly is), and they will inflict the corresponding violence upon their hosts.

PC talk about "tolerance" and even "integration" totally fails to address this unescapable, human issue : choosing to change what country you belong to is like jumping off a cliff.

It's for ever. You cannot go back. Think of it : being an immigrant means you accept that your children will be strangers to you, that they will not speak your language, that they will adopt the way of life of a foreign country and laugh at your own.

Instead of you teaching them how to speak (which you've already done once), it will be them teaching you (if all goes well). This is so counter-intuitive as to be extremely painful. Think of a river flowing back.

Either this, or you condemn yourself, your children and their children to live in a ghetto, unable to communicate with the surrounding population, and feeling they will never belong.

Which inevitably breeds physical and political violence of the worst sort. Then violence will grow exponentially, because growing is what populations do. Next thing you know, civil war looms.

Unfortunately, the prevailing "anti-racist" ideology worldwide prevents both parties, immigrants and hosts, to realise this and act accordingly.

That's what comes from the folly of thinking that importing people is just a variant of importing tons of steel or whole containers of electronic trinkets."

tony said...

Renny.I just finished reading this in today's UK INDEPENDENT.You read it?

Frank Partisan said...

Ravin: Thank you for visiting.

Gert: I can appreciate a wait and see position. I would add events are moving fast. Autoworkers have shut down factories. The mullahs are throwing down the gauntlet.

The movement is getting ahead of Mousavi.

The Eustonians haven't been correct on anything yet. Why start now?

Maryam has been an influence in my political development. I have a different strategy and tactics, to lead to the same end. The group in Iran she is a member of, are often arrested with my group. There are tactical differences. One difference is that she is not a Leninist/Trotskyist.

I'm against Sharia, and believe one law for all.

Tony: That was a good article. His work has been good.

Sentinel: I don't at all agree with you about immigration. Integration is a dialectical process. You obtain traits from immigrants, and visa versa.

There is fear mongering going on in Europe, about Muslim migration. Immigrants do learn to survive, the language of their chosen country. You need to in order to get work and food.

In the US the crime rate of citizen Latinos outweighs immigrant.

I don't want this thread to be about immigration. OK to have a rebuttal. I want Iran news first.

Gert said...


You're negating the entirely positive experience of millions of immigrants around the world who'd simply laugh at what your blogger writes. I've been an immigrant three times now and it's enriched my life enormously. Experiences differ of course from person to person. Your blogger's 'concern' for these immigrants is fake and not in good faith.

Fears about immigration are as old as immigration itself.

The Sentinel said...

The lastest new of 10 shot dead in Iran makes the situation now critical and history shows us that the next few days will be the most important yet.

When a country turns it arms on its own demonstrating citizens it crosses the line between being representatives - elected servants - of the people and moves into being malevolent despotic oppressors and history also shows us that most police and soldiers will not obey orders to fire upon their own people for long, if at all.

(On a slightly different scale, during the '84 miners strike in England, the police has to get in officers from other areas to 'deal' with the strikers.)

The next few days will determine if Iran will slide into open civil war or will become a festering malcontent state instead.

On an off topic note, I discovered today one of the murdered private security contractors in Iraq who was named and who's body was released yesterday after two years as a hostage was someone I had served with in the army. It is a small world sometimes.

But as a brief rebuttal, the point I raised about immigration in this debate was purely and only in reference to Gert's instance that Sharia law was not a threat in the UK and Europe, when it is already being implemented; and I used that quote to illustrate the very real problems of people from radically different and often diametrically opposed cultures face when settling into the new host country, not about anything broader in the immigration issue, including crime.

But seeing as you have mentioned crime as part of your rebuttal Ren, I will too as a very brief rebuttal to that contention: Those citizen Latinos too were yesterdays immigrants, so much so that there was so few in 1980 that the Census Bureau did not make a category for them; in 2005 with 45 million Latinos now in the US, a report extracted from the official crime statistics discovered that whilst the Black crime rate is 8.1 times greater than the White crime rate and is also 2.4 times higher than the extremely high Latino crime rate, Latinos commit violent crimes at roughly three times the white rate, are 19 times more likely than whites to be members of youth gangs and are three times more likely to be in prison.

In was also discovered in 2005 that illegal aliens killed more Americans then the Iraq war.

And I have already previously demonstrated on this blog the enormously disparate dominance of the crime rates in the UK and (Northern) Europe that immigrants have - especially those immigrants that are culturally further removed from their host countries.

And so on just that basis alone Gert, while you claim that "millions of immigrants around the world" would laugh at that quote, I can assure you that there are many millions more in these countries who do not find it even remotely funny.

When you emigrated to Britain from Belgium, did you feel the need to demand Sharia law and other radical departures from British culture? Or did you find that beyond some pretty much basic differences, the British and Belgians are culturally similar?

And lastly Gert, how, in all reality can you even remotely begin to judge that the commentator's "'concern' for these immigrants is fake and not in good faith?" On what evidence?

Gert said...


"When you emigrated to Britain from Belgium, did you feel the need to demand Sharia law and other radical departures from British culture? Or did you find that beyond some pretty much basic differences, the British and Belgians are culturally similar?

And lastly Gert, how, in all reality can you even remotely begin to judge that the commentator's "'concern' for these immigrants is fake and not in good faith?" On what evidence?"

Whether or not two countries are culturally similar is immaterial: immigration always requires some adjustment but an immigrant looks at the bigger picture, drawbacks and benefits of the immigration included.

I believe your blogger is one of those anti-immigration nuts that likes to put a humanistic veneer on his intentions: 'it's traumatic for the immigrants, you know!'

Bar relatively few who don't integrate well, most immigrants are quite happy in their host countries.

The blogger is using the wrong argument and I doubt very much that he's doing so in good faith...

I don't 'demand' Sharia law, I just don't see it as a problem, as long as it's in accordance with British Law.

The Sentinel said...

The following video is of the fatal shooting of a woman called Neda who was out on a peaceful protest with her father in Tehran on Saturday when she was shot by a Bassij rifleman from a rooftop - the Bassij I believe are govenemnt sponsered religious miltia men.

This killing could have immese consequences and has enflamed protesters.

Be warned though, the video is very graphic.

Gert, the whole point is that huge numbers of immigrants never even try to integrate (and in the UK successive government have billed Britain as 'multicultural' in any case) and those who try the least or are the least bit interested are invariably those from cultures that are far removed from the hosts; thus we can see in every major British city (and in Europe) huge voluntary enclaves divided up into the various ethnic immigrants in their native dress, speaking their native tongues, etc. with many areas bearing no resemblance to Britain at all (in London some of the street signs are even in the foreign language of the majority ethnicity of that area) and one in seven UK primary school pupils do not speak English as a first language and over 300 languages spoken in London schools alone.

The immigrants might be very happy in the host country without having to integrate but I can tell you that many of the indigenous populace are not in the least bit happy at the way their country is being changed; you may not see Sharia law as a problem in the UK but I can tell you that most of the ordinary Britons do, and for good reason:

A recent survey revealed that forty per cent of Muslims in the UK wanted to live under sharia law; 36 per cent believed that a Muslim who converts to another religion should be punished by death; Forty per cent of Muslims said they would want their children to attend an Islamic school and one in eight young Muslims said they admired groups such as al-Qa'eda that "are prepared to fight the West".

And incidentally that blogger is from Lima in Peru, not really the bastion of anti-immigration nuts, I suspect.

Frank Partisan said...

I'm not interested in going in circles about immigration. In general I think Gert is correct about the refugee experience. What was said about Muslims, apply to everyone who came on our shores.

In the US we are seeing reverse immigration. People are returning to Mexico.

Yesterday at an antiwar coalition meeting, my group tried to get support for a demo in support of the Iranian working class. If looks could kill. We were never so isolated.

Later this week, I'll have to post about Chavez's position, which is incorrect.

Anonymous said...

Lets face it, it's all over but the killing.

The Sentinel said...

"Lets face it, it's all over but the killing."

It does look very much that way.

amused said...

Have you always been a Putz or is this a recent illness?

jams o donnell said...

You might find the live blogging at Revolutionary Road of interest. It sounds that the protests have not quite ben silenced.

Ducky's here said...

What Iranian revolution?

This is a long way from a revolution and seems to be more of an internal squabble in the Supreme Council.

People want some sense of control over their government but there isn't anyone on the horizon who is remotely revolutionary.

Frank Partisan said...

Sentinel: I think tyhe situation could change, when workers enter in an organized way.

David: Your blog is obnoxious. The world isn't bipolar.

Jams: They are good on this issue. They have no program.

Ducky: Mousavi tells them to stay off the streets. What do the masses do? It's a revolution. Revolutions are a process. Venezuela started the process in 1978.

Frank Partisan said...

Ducky: This is a better answer. Lenin outlined four conditions for a revolution:

1) Divided ruling class. check
2) Vacillating middle class. check
3) United working class. check
4) Revolutionary leadership. Uncheck

Gert said...

David#999's blog: portrait of a one-dimensional man...

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