Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Marxists Must Stand Firm Against Ahmadinejad

July 12th 2009, by Maziar Razi - London Progressive Journal

Open letter to the workers of Venezuela on Hugo Chávez's support for Ahmadinejad.

Honourable workers of Venezuela,

The Revolutionary Marxists of Iran are aware of your achievements as part of the Bolivarian Movement and have always supported this movement against the widespread lies and the open and covert interference of imperialism. In order to defend your invaluable movement and to confront the attacks and interference of US imperialism in Venezuela, labour and student activists in Iran have set up the ‘Hands Off Venezuela' campaign in Iran and during the past few years have stood together with you in confronting the imperialist attacks. It is obvious that your achievements were gained under the leadership of Hugo Chávez and, for this reason, you reserve deep respect for him.

In terms of his foreign policy, however, Chávez has made a mistake. With his support for Ahmadinejad he has ignored the solidarity of the workers and students of Iran with your revolution, and in a word, made it look worthless. Most are aware that two weeks ago Ahmadinejad, with the direct support of Khamenei, committed the biggest fraud in the history of presidential elections in Iran and then, with great ferocity, spilt the blood of those protesting against this fraud. You just have to take notice of the international media reports to be aware of the depths of this tragedy. All over the world millions of workers and students, and also those of Marxist and revolutionary tendencies (which mostly are the supporters of the Bolivarian revolution), protested against these attacks.

In of spite this, Chávez was one of the first people to support Ahmadinejad. In his weekly TV speech he said: "Ahmadinejad's triumph is a total victory. They're trying to stain Ahmadinejad's victory, and by doing so they aim to weaken the government and the Islamic revolution. I know they won't be able to do it." And that "We ask the world for respect." These rash and baseless remarks from your President are a great and direct insult to the millions of youth who in recent days rose up against tyranny. Some of them even lost their lives. Many of these youths came out on the streets spontaneously and without becoming infected with the regime's internal disputes, or becoming aligned with the policy that US imperialism is following for taking over the movement. In addition, the remarks of your President are an insult to millions of workers in Iran. Workers whose leaders are today being tortured in the prisons of the Ahmadinejad government and some of them are even believed to be being punished with flogging. Workers who were brutally repressed by the mercenaries of the Ahmadinejad government for commemorating May Day in Tehran this year are still in prison.

So far Chávez has travelled to Iran seven times and each time he has hugged one of the most hated people in this country and called him his "brother". He does not realise that the economic, social and political situations of Venezuela and Iran are going in opposite directions. Although both countries have seen a similarly significant boost to their oil (and gas) revenues the contrast between the ways in which this extra money has been used by the two governments could not be more marked. In Venezuela this income is used for building hospitals, schools, universities and other infrastructure of the country, but in Iran it is used for lining the pockets of just a few parasitic capitalists.

On the one hand, in Venezuela, we have seen the nationalisation of an increasing number of companies and factories, the free provision of healthcare, education, civil liberties and so on. By contrast in Iran privatisation is on the government's agenda, even at the cost of trampling on Article 44 of the Constitution of the country and using the excuse of inefficiency and low productivity of state companies and factories. All these advances of the workers and the poor in Venezuela have given them greater control over the way they work and the way they live. Most importantly, the expropriation of factories and the encouragement of workers' control and participation have transformed the character of the workers' movement in Venezuela, advancing it by many stages. The Bolivarian movement and the policies of the government have brought about a huge shift in the balance of class forces in Venezuela in favour of the working class. Not only has the government encouraged the Venezuelan workers to build the Unión Nacional de los Trabajadores as an alternative to the Confederación de Trabajadores de Venezuela (CTV), but the workers have become involved in running and managing factories and other enterprises. The whole world knows that your government has even drawn up a list of 1,149 closed-down factories and given their owners an ultimatum: re-open them under workers' control or the government will expropriate them.

In Iran, on the other hand, on top of the lack of many basic democratic rights, the workers are also without any independent trade union rights. Today the workers of Iran do not even have a confederation like the Confederación de Trabajadores de Venezuela. All they have are the Labour House, the Islamic Labour Councils and other anti-working class bodies tied to the state.

But this has not always been so: the overthrow of the Shah brought about many freedoms for workers including, in some cases, control over production and even distribution. Then, however, through repression the Islamic hierarchy managed to take back all the workers' gains. The leaders that your President hugs killed thousands of workers, destroyed the workers' movement and pushed it back by several decades. In Iranian society even the ‘yellow' pro-boss unions - that the Shah had tolerated - became and remain illegal. Even a CTV-style trade union confederation is illegal in Iran.

In Iran the official (and underestimated) unemployment rate stands at 10.85 per cent, with unemployment among the youth (15-24 year-olds) standing at 22.35 per cent. Even when workers are employed they are often not paid - in many cases for more than a year. Even those who get their wages face an impossible task in paying for the basic necessities of life, because their wage is not enough for living costs. For example, with the rent for a two-bedroom flat at $422 a month, a civil servant on $120 wages, or a teacher on $180, or even a doctor on $600 a month struggle to survive. It is no wonder that some 90 per cent of the population live below the poverty line.

The capitalist government of Iran has no fundamental disagreements or contradictions with US imperialism. It is in a ‘cold war' with America and when it receives enough concessions, it will quickly enter into political dealings with the US and will turn its back on you. Indeed, the Iran regime has already helped the Americans in their military invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq - and installing the puppet regimes of Karzai and Maliki through significant trade, security and other deals. The capitalist government of Iran, despite the current apparent differences, is busy in close negotiations with the Obama government on resolving the problems of Afghanistan. This government, despite the "anti-imperialist" rhetoric, is heading towards re-establishing old links with the US. Ahmadinejad's selection demonstrates the final turn of the regime towards resolving its problems with imperialism. Despite all the "enmity" and "anti-imperialist" gestures the regime is ready to resolve all its differences with America. The government of Iran wants to turn Iran into a society like Colombia (in Colombia thousands of trade unionists have been killed so that multinational companies can exploit workers and plunder the country's natural resources without any obstacles). It is not without reason that the Iranian government has been implementing the bankrupt neo-liberal prescriptions of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and counting the minutes until it joins the World Trade Organisation.

The close and regular links of your leader, Chávez, with the leaders of this regime will eventually make the Iranian masses turn their back on the great lessons of the revolutionary process in Venezuela. Winning the hearts and minds of the masses in Iran and similar countries is the best long-term solution to breaking Washington's stranglehold on Latin America. Your leader's closeness with the capitalist government of Iran, a government that has the blood of thousands of workers and youth on its hands, shows that his anti-imperialist foreign policy has a major flaw. Being close to reactionary regimes will never be able to bring the anti-imperialist foreign policy to a successful conclusion. Only the unity of the real representatives of the workers and toilers can confront imperialism.

Stand together with the Iranian workers and condemn the foreign policy of your leaders. Support for Ahmadinejad means support for the repression of Iranian workers and youth. Challenge the flawed positions of Chávez and reject them. Support for the government of Ahmadinejad, especially after the recent events, is at worst an open betrayal of the toilers of Iran and at best a political blunder in foreign policy.

London Progressive Journal



Anonymous said...

Chavez doesn't give a cr*p about world wide "socialist revolution". 21st Century Socialism is all about setting up a private caudillo club and Bolivarian Empire in South and Central America.

jams o donnell said...

I look forward to the day when Chavez stops spitting in the face of the Iranian people

roman said...

Interesting open letter to supporters of Chavez from the Ahmadinejad opposition in Iran. It exemplifies the paradoxical loyalty typically found in the political leadership of diametrically opposite governmental ideology. This loyalty seems to be based solely on the fact that both leaders are rabid anti-liberal capitalist AKA USA.
Take the USA out of the equation and those same leaders would have only hostility between them.
Strange bedfellows, indeed.

tony said...

Yes.'My Enemies Enemy Is My Friend'.Playground Stuff.

Frank Partisan said...

FJ: Chavez is if anything, too democratic. How many votes have there been in Venezuela?

Roman: You stated clearly my main point. Some on the left don't understand that.

Jams: Every public event in Iran, has protesters now.

Obama is not thrilled with the protesters either. Their example could spread to the Arab states.

Frank Partisan said...

Tony: Exactly.

Desert Mystery said...

Chavez's friendship with Belarus, Zimbabwe and Lybia should also be questioned by Venezuelan workers.

Whats the point of befriending such regimes!

SecondComingOfBast said...

Ren, it looks like some capitalist swine is spamming your site. You'd better be careful, that's an on-line version of the black market that helped bring down the USSR. If you ain't careful, Graeme and Gamboner are going to be sneaking around behind your back buying tv stands.

Anonymous said...

Chavez is if anything, too democratic. How many votes have there been in Venezuela?

...votes and voters don't decide anything. Those who count the votes decide everything.

Gert said...

That there is a strong element of 'my enemy's enemies are my friends' in Chavez' attitude to Iran is undeniable. We're going to see more and more of that in the new 'multipolar' world order.

But I remain as yet unconvinced by the notion that Iran's regime is 'totalitarian'. Not a liberal democracy, sure. A mixture between theocracy and democracy, sure. Human rights violations, sure.

A country where democratic elections were so hotly disputed and enjoyed an incredibly high turnout cannot be logically called 'anti-democratic'.

But you really need to look at world public opinion in the immediate aftermath of the disputed election to see that every political strand in the entire world projects onto Iran whatever it wants to see there. So you have Americans (mainly Conservatives) and Zionists both clamouring for action against 'nuclear Iran' and Iranian Marxists also denouncing the regime. Opinion among Iranian emigrés also varies wildly.

And for better or for worse, Ahmadinejad genuinely enjoys a lot of popular Iranian support...

I believe the clerical regime will ultimately fall: so many highly educated young people will not stand the 'moral policing' and partial suppression of free speech forever. But outside attempts to bring that about are the worst of what we could do: Iranians are notoriously paranoid about past (and present?) Western meddling in Iran's internal affairs.

Nevin said...

Gert, I agree with your comment. Many countries around the world are paranoid about US's involvement in their country, one way or another... Venezuela is one of them. Let us not forget the coup against Chavez a few years back....

Gert said...


Yes, coups always come back to haunt us. But these people isn't learning, is they?

Anonymous said...

The USA had NOTHING to do with the coup against Chavez in Venezuela. It did NOT attempt to warn Chavez and prevent the coup in advance of events. THAT is non-interference in the internal politics of a nation in the best possible sense of the word...

jams o donnell said...

On the subject of coups didn't Chavez mount one himself?

MN Roy said...

At least Chavez, unlike the liberal-left that takes its cue from Obama and Clinton's "human rights" crusade, has enough sense not to support some CIA-Soros style "color" counter-revolution mounted by the Musavi-Katami-Rafsanjani wing of the capitalist mullahcracy and carried out by a bunch of yuppie students. Could be that Chavez remembers the role that those same elements have played in aiding the counter-revolution in his own country. Not that Aj'ad's wing of the regime is any better or worthy of any support, but that shouldn't make a reactionary movement a cause celebre for desparate radicals looking for anything to cheer on due a lack of struggle thanks to the "Obama era." Better to promote the worker-peasant-student struggles against the US backed coup in Honduras, which have received little coverage from the left compared to Iran.

Frank Partisan said...

Desert Mystery: See Roman's remark. The problem is my enemy's friend is also my enemy.

Pagan: I expropriated that capitalist.

Gert: I agree with you about 80%. There are more undemocratic countries.

Still Iran often executes teens etc. The left was massacred there in the 80s.

Jams: Chavez did lead a coup, he was jailed, and he learned from it.

Chavez freed the people who plotted against him.

FJ: The elections in Venezuela, have been monitored by every group of observers under the sun. They have fair elections.

The US didn't know about the coup?

Nevin: I agree.

MN Roy: Thank you for visiting.

I think Honduras gets less news, because its a small country. The ramifications of mass protest in Iran, can effect more.

The socialist group I'm associated with, is about the only socialist group, that supports the Iranian protesters.

Obama was not happy with people in the streets. he wants a stable Iran, he can do business with, to help him out of Iraq. Obama is quiet about the protesters.

It's not a color revolution. It's like Russia 1905. Even a secular, bourgeoise government would cause revolutionary movement throughout the area. Not a CIA conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

Chavez freed the people who plotted against him...

LOL! The cops they scapegoated are all currently serving 30 years in prison, and the leader of the coup is in currently living in exile in Columbia. So just who did Chavez free?

The elections in Venezuela, have been monitored by every group of observers under the sun. They have fair elections. As fair as the elections in Iran and Afghanistan... so fair that after a Constitutional Referendum, the vote counters never posted the actual vote totals as required by the Constitution they sought to modify...

btw - Why did they throw out the election monitors from Spain last go round. Oh, that's right, the monitor from Spain was threatening to actually be "impartial"...

Anonymous said...

btw - You might want to explain to your readers why Hugo's currently blocking a visit to his country by the OAS's Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Anyone besides me think that Hugo has something to hide?

Well, he won't be hiding it for long. Big march on 21 November coming up... they're going to present a million signatures "requesting" that the Caudillo of Miraflores honor his previous commitment to hundreds of hunger strikers to let the commission visit.

Frank Partisan said...

FJ: The students are defending people accused of graft and corruption.

The OAS delegation is related to the long settled RCTV situation. RCTV played an illegal role in the coup, end of story.

You failed to tell your readers, the hotel you talked about, is still "part of the Hilton family of hotels."

Anonymous said...

No it's not. Chavez is changing the name.

"Accused"? The cops that got 30 years were all scapegoats chosen to be punished because some cops fired upon some Chavez supporters. They were the "bosses" who were supposed to immaculately resolve a coup d'etat. There was no graft or corruption...

The OAS delegation has nothing to do with RCTV and everything to do with human rights violations since Chavez has taken over.

btw - Please explain to your friends how Lina Ron, captured flagrante delicto in the act on film, is now free walking around town again after leading a gas attack on another television station (Globovision) two months ago... you said she wasn't a "Chavista"...

Anonymous said...

...still a part of it "for now".

On Wednesday, the US-based Hilton chain said it was "evaluating" Venezuela's seizure of one of its hotels. A Hilton spokeswoman told AFP that, in the meantime, the facility "remains a member of the Hilton system of hotels."

Venezuela's Minister of Tourism, Pedro Morejon, on Wednesday said the Hilton and its facilities were in an "advanced state of disrepair" and that the government would refurbish them.

"We're going to socialize the hotel," the minister told VTV television, adding that its future facilities would include a "training center for tourism."

He also said that all current Hilton Hotel employees would not be out of a job.

"We're going to change its name," said Chavez. "We'll give it a local sounding name because the Hilton brand is so international."

It is not the first time the Chavez government has checked into a Hilton and stayed for good.

Caracas has already seized the Hilton in Caracas, re-christening it the Hotel Alba, a reference to the Venezuelan-led leftist regional alliance Alianza Bolivariana para las Americas (ALBA).

The Hotel Alba is no longer a "Hilton" either, it's now a 4th rate hotel that nobody stays at because it sucks.

Anonymous said...

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — President Hugo Chavez's government began taking over management of a Hilton-run hotel on Venezuela's Margarita Island on Wednesday.

Tourism Minister Pedro Morejon said a 20-year concession granted to the company has expired and the government "has taken legitimate control of an asset that belongs to all the people of Venezuela."

Nope, it's no longer a "Hilton".

SecondComingOfBast said...

ANybody that invests money in that fucking hellhole after that deserves what happens to them.

Gert said...

Farmer has two anti-Chavez agitprop blogs: his own and Renegade Eye's. Two for the price of none!

SecondComingOfBast said...

Did anybody happen to see "Parks And Recreation" last night? It skewered Chavez and his entire system, but good. Knowing that penny ante asswipe he'll probably deliver a seven hour rebuttal speech about the evils of American propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Nah, he'll just ban it like he did The Family Guy series.

Clint said...

While I admire what Chavez has done in Venezuela and believe 99% of the attacks against him are groundless, we shouldn't forget that he is the head of state, which means that he's committed to maintaining state power. As such, he's going to be necessarily be involved in some unsavory activities - like forging alliances, brandishing military force.

In other words, he's going to have nationalist tendencies that will contradict the priorities of a stateless popular movement.

I don't think that can be avoided, so my feeling is that we shouldn't heap too much praise on a head of state - nor should we reasonably expect them to be perfectly aligned with our priorities.

Anonymous said...


Yeah, I'm sure that you felt bad for Stalin, too.

Anonymous said...

btw - Ren, Venetur is going to assume management control of the expropriated Margarita Hilton on 11/3. Still sticking to your story that the Hotel is still part of the "Hilton chain"?

Clint said...


Yes, Chavez=Stalin, very good.

Anonymous said...

Nope. Chavez+Stalin=Statists

Anonymous said...

You failed to tell your readers, the hotel you talked about, is still "part of the Hilton family of hotels."

Update 11/4 - The expropriated Margarita Hilton has been officially re-named The Macanao. Still care to claim that the hotel is still a Hilton, Ren?

Anonymous said...

The Macanao is the new "crown jewel" in the "Caribe" chain of socialist hotels run by "Venetur". Do you know what a "caribe" is, Ren? It's apltly named.

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