Selling Iran: Ahmadinejad, Privatization and a Bus Driver Who Said No

A creeping assumption lies just beneath the surface of arguments concerning the disputed election in Iran. Incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is cast as an anti-US populist crusader resisting the materialistic advances of the West. His opponent, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, as his foil — a Western-backed liberal intent on implementing free-market policies. Violent street battles have been presented as a re-enforcement of the Western disposition to see the two idealized positions as the limit of what is politically imaginable. Such arguments conveniently avoid a third force — the people of Iran, whose street politics threaten to move well beyond the confines of the electoral campaigns. Questions remain. Is Ahmadinejad really a populist — the only force preventing a wave of pro-market policies in Iran? Does Mousavi’s campaign mark the limits of the reform movement?

Since his election in 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, under the guidance of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, has overseen a regime dedicated to the privatization of state-controlled industries. The intention of the regime, as stated by the newly appointed Governor of the Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Seyyed Shams Al-din Hosseini, is to privatize 80% of state-owned industries by 2010. This mandate was made real just prior to the disputed elections as a state-owned bank, Saderat, announced it would offer 6% of its shares to private investors (Press TV, 6/8/09). Other significant privatizations during Ahmadinejad’s reign include the postal service, two other state-run banks, Tejerat and Mellat, and, in February 2008, a 5% bloc of shares in the publicly owned steel maker, Foulad-e Mobarakeh, was sold out in eight minutes (Iran Daily, 2/14/08). In total, since 2005, 247 enterprises have been processed by the Iran Privatization Organization, the state-ministry specifically charged with overseeing privatizations (Iranian Privatization Organization website).

Khamenei has propelled the process forward. While Ahmadinejad crafted just enough populist rhetoric to provide headlines, the Supreme Leader issued a letter in 2006 ordering the sell-off of banking, mining, industrial, and transport companies — 80% across the board. Ahmadinejad’s ministers have aggressively followed suit. In September 2008, Labor Minister Mohammad Jahromi described the fact that so many of the country’s resources are located in the public sector as an “obstacle” to growth (Iran Daily, 9/29/08). Heidari Kord-Zangeneh, Ahmadinejad’s deputy finance minister and head of the Iran Privatization Organization, drew pro-market policies together with the myth of anti-imperialism. “We are going to activate our private sector and our private banks,” he exclaimed, “in order to fight against these [US] sanctions.” He punctuated this with a pre-election promise, “I promise that if I am here for the next two years, between 80 and 90 percent of the government will be sold” (Iran Daily, 2/12/08).

Ahmadinejad’s supposed anti-Western approach stops short when it comes to allowing foreign investors to penetrate Iran’s economy. His Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Davoud Danesh-Jafari boasted at a 2008 meeting of the Islamic Development Bank that foreign direct investment in Iran had increased by 138% since 2007. (Iran Daily, 2/17/08) Some 80 projects had been initiated during that period. Key to this capital penetration was the 2004 acceptance of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Article VIII Obligations (IMF Press Release, 9/14/04). Under this provision, Iran agreed to refrain from imposing restrictions on currency transactions and other elements essential to capital flow.

While Ahmadinejad has been the implementer of privatization policies, the reform camp was its architects. Central to this process was the creative violation of Article 44 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This article mandates that key sectors of the economy remain in public hands. It represented the radical-populist edge of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Parliamentary legislation in 2004, near the end of the regime of reformer Mohammad Khatami, created the first breech in Article 44. The legislation called for a “change in the role of government from direct ownership and management of enterprises to policymaking, guidance and overseeing” (Iranian Privatization Organization website). The one consistent voice pushing this process forward is Khamenei, whose tenure as Supreme Leader encompasses both reformer and populist presidential regimes.

The IMF has hailed this process describing Iran in a 2007 position paper as, “Managing the Transition to a Market Economy.” The Fund has had a constant presence in the country since 1945, surviving even the turbulent 1979 Islamic Revolution. IMF officials have employed the usual equation of debt and technical assistance to enforce their pro-market agenda. The next phase, according to IMF planners, of market transition is to “curb the growth of internal demand” through the reduction of state subsidies. Ahmadinejad’s Central Bank appointee, Al-din Hosseini, indicated a shared sentiment, “The government plans to implement a strategy that involves significant reforms, the most important of which is the reform aimed at better subsidy system” (IMF Meeting, 10/13/08).

Pro-market privatizations have been combined with harsh restrictions on worker’s ability to organize in order to advance Ahmadinejad’s neo-liberal restructuring of Iran. Although Iran is technically a member of the International Labor Organization, and thereby mandated to allow free trade unions, workers are restricted from forming independent unions. Under the constitution, they are only allowed to join ideologically-centered Islamic Worker’s Councils, which hold no right to deal with worksite issues or collectively bargain. Despite these legal restrictions, privatization and soaring inflation have resulted in a series of escalating confrontations between workers and security forces.

In March 2007, thousands of schoolteachers spilled out into the streets in front of Parliament demanding that their collective grievances be heard and their salaries increased. They were attacked by security forces and their leaders received prison sentences of up to five years. Such repression did not deter Mahmoud Salehi, a baker, from making his annual demand to celebrate May Day. Salehi was found guilty of “acting against national security” and imprisoned. This year, in a small preview of the post-election street protests, Ahmadinejad’s security apparatus was used to repress 2,000 workers who attempted to organize a May Day celebration.

But the real foil to Ahmadinejad’s pro-market policies is a middle-aged bus driver from Tehran. Mansour Osanloo, acting as the president of the 17,000 worker-strong Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, led a 2005 strike in which drivers refused to accept fares in protest of working conditions and rising fares. The strike was immediately criminalized with Osanloo and fellow leaders placed under arrest. Undeterred, Osanloo led another strike attempt in 2006. He was again arrested and today sits in a cell in Iran’s notorious Evin prison — a living testament to both the courage of Iranian workers and the repressive nature of the regime.

Soon to be joining Osanloo in Evin are thousands of protesters who have also been criminalized by Ahmadinejad and Khamenei’s regime because of their protests over the stolen election. While it is difficult to describe a candidate with as many establishment credentials as Mousavi as a reformer, it is easy to see how the demonstrations on the street have rapidly progressed beyond his campaign. Slogans have moved from “Mousavi get our votes back” to “Death to the Dictator.” With this shift come possibilities for more radical measures. Automotive workers at Khodro Automobile Company have pledged resistance, university students are conducting sit-ins, and the Bus Drivers Union has issued a call for international solidarity.

Meanwhile, somewhere deep inside Evin prison, clandestine communications may be being initiated between a jailed bus driver and a newly minted student radical or an ailing baker and young rock-throwing worker. These actors need little help in understanding that Ahmadinejad’s regime, despite all his populist rhetoric, has worked hand-in-hand with IMF privatizers. After failing to deliver on his populist rhetoric, Ahmadinejad has stolen the election. Now, his only recourse is state repression. On the streets, something far more brilliant is underway — an open-ended emancipation project demanding nothing less than political freedom.

Billy Wharton is a writer, activist and co-chair of the Socialist Party USA. He can be reached at: whartonbilly@gmail.com. Read other articles by Billy, or visit Billy's website.

89 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on June 28th, 2009 at 2:43pm #

    this piece, if accurate/adequate, is an eye opener for me. I did not know that clergy in iran are robbing their people of their inheritance.
    tnx

  2. lichen said on June 28th, 2009 at 6:01pm #

    Thank you for this article, and for the information about the privatization and pro-market policies during Ahmadinajad’s reign, and most of all for for acknowledging and supporting the real players–the public on the street.

  3. Shabnam said on June 28th, 2009 at 6:36pm #

    [Since his election in 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, under the guidance of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, has overseen a regime dedicated to the privatization of state-controlled industries. The intention of the regime, as stated by the newly appointed Governor of the Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Seyyed Shams Al-din Hosseini, is to privatize 80% of state-owned industries by 2010.]
    You have painted Ahmadinejad as the sole designer of privatization program of state industry in Iran which is not true.

    Neither Islam nor Iranian government is against capitalism. One of the ways that Islam was expanded throughout the planet was through trade. In 2004, under the leadership of Mohammad Khatami, ‘the reformist’ with Rafsanjani’s guidance the highest percentage of privatization took place. During the reformists’ rule a change in Article 44 of the constitution became possible. According to the Article 44 of the Iranian Constitution, before 2004, the economy of Iran suppose to be consisting of:
    State control, cooperative, and private; with a sound planning.
    •The state sector is to include all large-scale industries, foreign trade, major minerals, banking, insurance, power generation, dams and large-scale irrigation networks, radio and television, post, telegraph and telephone services, aviation, shipping, roads, railroads and the like; all these will be publicly owned and administered by the State.
    •The cooperative sector is to include cooperative companies (Bonyad) and enterprises concerned with production and distribution, in urban and rural areas, in accordance with Islamic criteria.
    •The private sector consists of those activities concerned with construction, agriculture, animal husbandry, industry, trade, and services that supplement the economic activities of the state and cooperative sectors.

    The above definition never carried out point by point, however, the main engine of Iranian economy was and still is the state. therefore, amendment of 2004 allowed for up to 80 percent privatization of the economy. Ahmadinejad is NOT against privatization but since his election in 2005, the speed of privatization has been greatly diminished due to many factors both internal and external where has produced a great deal of anxiety among business class including Rafsanjani, Ali Larijani and Iranian economists. Ahmadinejad in his speeches has complained about his critics especially Rafsanjani – a corrupt businessman and supporter of Mousavi who has promised him to deliver his privatization policy at the greater speed- believes Ahmadinejad hand out to the poor is “expansion of poverty”, told him that: “on the contrary, helping the poor is justice.”

    Rafsanjani strongly believes that the state must become much leaner and helps the business class to create jobs and ‘opportunities.’ This hand out, Rafsanjani and people like him believe, creates culture of dependency, therefore, it must be abandoned. Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, told him if this hand out reaches your social class, then you would have not complained, but since it reaches the poor and middle class in the form of Edalat shares – Justice Shares – you don’t approve of it. Rafsanjani replied:

    [Justice is not expansion of poverty rather is expansion of wealth where is not possible without economic development. This vision has its own scientific rules and regulations where should be taken seriously not by propaganda.]

    This kind of exchanges show that Rafsanjani wants privatization of e state owned industries in the shortest time but Ahmadinejad wants to do it with greater care not to create dissatisfaction more than is necessary.
    Since his election in 2005, Ahmadinejad has doubled the salary of workers who make minimum wage and has increased the salary of others as well.

    If Mr. Osanloo comes to power, he has no alternative but to have privatization program because our plant is under market economy American Style. How can anyone ignore that? After all, when Lula da Silva, a union leader, socializes the economy of Brazil then Mr. Osanloo will follow the course.
    The 2004 amendment of the article 44 also makes Iran entry to WTO possible, we were told.

  4. Shabnam said on June 28th, 2009 at 6:45pm #

    Please change propaganda to slogan. It should be read as:

    [This vision has its own scientific rules and regulations where should be taken seriously not by slogan.]

  5. Billy Wharton said on June 28th, 2009 at 7:05pm #

    Shabnam,

    I would point you to the fifth paragraph in my article:
    “While Ahmadinejad has been the implementer of privatization policies, the reform camp was its architects. Central to this process was the creative violation of Article 44 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This article mandates that key sectors of the economy remain in public hands. It represented the radical-populist edge of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Parliamentary legislation in 2004, near the end of the regime of reformer Mohammad Khatami, created the first breech in Article 44. The legislation called for a “change in the role of government from direct ownership and management of enterprises to policymaking, guidance and overseeing” (Iranian Privatization Organization website).”

    I think you are missing my overall argument. The question is not whether Ahmadinejad or Mousavi will privatize more or less. They both will. The question is whether popular forces will make a political break through in this moment using street politics. The working class in Iran needs the legal right to defend itself – when workers try now to strike against a privatization or even ask for more wages they are criminalized.

    Unfortunately, all too many leftists in the US have developed a strange affinity for Ahmadinejad – seeing him as a progressive or anti-imperialist. This is at time where the neo-liberal policies he is carrying out are being disgraced globally.

    I strongly recommend that people visit the Iranian Privatization Organization themselves:
    http://www.en.ipo.ir/

    Do not worry it is in English!

  6. lichen said on June 28th, 2009 at 7:42pm #

    There is never any excuse for the crime of privatization, and the fact that, indeed, some countries and some politicians DO resist it and in fact go in the other direction means it is everyone’s responsibility to also do so.

  7. Max Shields said on June 28th, 2009 at 8:14pm #

    Billy Wharton

    I beg to differ with your assumptions, mostly because they defy common sense.

    First, whatever the left is in this country (USA) is about as unclear as the purpose of this uprising in Iran. Most cite just the opposite 1) that the uprising is not “left” and 2) the many so-called left in the US have been supportive of this Iranian “uprising”.

    So, let’s just stay with the narrative as it unfolds and stop with the iffy translation.

    How one could be so delusional as to think that this uprising has anything to do with privitization is just beyond comprehension or that it would consider (if such a fantacy of “take over” were possible) to keep most state-controlled industries out of private ownership is even more absurd.

    First, Mr. Wharton, who cares whether or not Iran privatizes? I mean what the fuck difference does that have to do with the price of tea in China, Billy? Nothing.

    You come on here with your two bit analysis as if Iran is some kind of vision you have for a new world order. Get your head out of your ass.

    Iran is an Islamic state. No one is looking to change that per se. The US/CIA is looking to get rid of this particular regime and the fingerprints are every where.

    Assuming your old enough to remember (and certainly you do remember Iraq/Saddam) you’d have a tad more suspicion about this whole thing.

    Anyone who has delusions about Iran should wake up and smell the coffee. The only thing we’ve got is a guy who is president with limited powers. Who is a nationalist with populist leanings (not to overstate that). It is not a dictatorship nor is it a participatory democracy (none exists in the world, by the way).

    It wants to be free to develop nuclear energy. It may or may not ever develop a nuclear weapon. It has signed on to the NPT and is constantly monitored (unlike the US, Pakistan, India, and Israel).

    It’s not a country I’d move to though a visit is inviting. I’m not particularly enamored by any of the world’s leaders. But I know a bully when I see one. I know who the world’s biggest threat is and who the second biggest threat; and Iran doesn’t even hit the top 25.

    So, take your little “privitization and send it home to mama.

  8. Max Shields said on June 28th, 2009 at 8:20pm #

    By the way Billy if you are a US citizen, start paying attention to what we got here – pretty soon it will cost you to gulp your next breath of air.

    Where does DV find these “writers”?

  9. Billy Wharton said on June 28th, 2009 at 9:32pm #

    Max Shields,

    The remarkable thing about social movements is that they are so very complex. It is often quite difficult to isolate one single factor as the cause of any protest movement. In Iran the stolen election was the trigger that motivated millions of people to go into the streets despite facing the possibility of death. Why? Was it just the stolen vote or where there deeper structural issues at work.

    Elections are stolen all the time. Consider the US in 2000 among others. Yet social protest does not often reach the level of militancy seen in Iran these past few days.

    My argument is that the 1979 revolution in Iran created a new social contract in Iran. Part of this new relationship was based on the notion of operating a strong public sector – to insure employment, public services… This became a part of what was project as “Islamic economics.” Neither capitalist nor socialist – some mixture of theocracy, statism and welfare.

    This new contract was severed – perhaps in the 90s, perhaps at the turn of the 21st century, perhaps as late as 2004. Ahmadinejad presented himself as the savior of the old social contract – a veteran of 79 who would return Iran to its revolutionary-populist roots. This proved to be an empty promise. Ahmadinejad continued along a neo-liberal path.

    The economic situation has worsened since 2005 – privatization plus inflation. However, because the population is left without civil rights, particularly labor rights, they could not shape the direction of society through social protest. Hence you have a social explosion. No need for the CIA, George Soros or any other conspiratorial body to do anything.

    If you are looking for the bloody hands of the CIA, I recommend closer to home – try Hondouras.

  10. Max Shields said on June 29th, 2009 at 5:13am #

    First your use of the word neoliberalism seems less to do with what you say Iran is doing than what runs the US and Western trade agreements – free (lopsided) trade agreements.

    There is controversy around whether Iran’s economy in general is doing better than many or not.

    But, you are missing the whole point.

    First, you write an article about how privitization is happening in Iran and you connect this to the post-election uprising. Yet, there is no movement that has been identified as an anti-privitization movement. In fact, early reports were that most in this crowd of protesters were angry that the economy was not “freer”.

    The US has poured hundreds of millions just over the last few years to destablize Iran’s regime. The MO is fairly clear if you follow these things.

    When the election was called early, it was induced by Mousavi announcement that he had won before the polls had closed. This is a CIA tactic. Once such an announcement is made, if the government had stuck to its usual several days before announcing, it would have allowed Mousavi’s false pronouncement to stand and create the sense that the election was stolen. Even though the government moved quickly, the subversion worked to create the post-election turmoil.

    Here’s one of a couple of articles by Paul Craig Roberts at Counterpunch:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts06162009.html

    His article is very credable if you look at the entire history (particularly vis a vis US/Iran over the last 50 years, Billy.

    Hondouras, yet another example. Americans buy this shit from the left and right regardless of the fact that it’s been repeated time and again. The reason is that it happens over a period of constant and pervasive demonization and so the story becomes easy to fake.

    Can you deny Billy that the US has wanted desperately to change the regime in Iran? That both the US and Israel has threatened Iran with invasion and even the use of nuclear options?

    Why would you not stop and think about this US/CIA as the first suspect rather than some anti-privitization scheme.

    From just about all accounts the people who have been in the street are from the universities. These are not the workers or poor. This does not represent the vast majority of Iranians. This group is known to be enamored with Western materialism. They ARE in fact the promoters of a free market privatized economies.

    So, how in the hell do you fit that square peg into the round hole, Billy?

    Chavez came out for Ahmadinejad because the same kind of subversion had been done to him and countless of other sovereign nations by the US – particularly in Latin America, but hardly exclusively.

    Start there.

    To be clear I have personally in opposition to nuclear energy (as well as armament); and I dedicated to recovering the commons – strongly opposing privitization. But I don’t look at this Iranian uprising to have to do one iota with either. This is the usual leveraging of discontent. There is no nation on the planet with out discontent; but I trust only those upheavals that go counter to the power, hegemony and neoliberalism of US interests. I see nothing authentic in this revolt.

    Catch the film Che if you want to know what a real revolution is about. Twitters wasn’t invented but for sure if it had Batista would have easily defeated a disgruntled group protesters instead of what his army did face: hardened revolutionaries.

  11. bozh said on June 29th, 2009 at 6:46am #

    max,
    i do care about aleged privatization of nat’l wealth in iran. I also assume that privatization of nat’l property wld strenghten cultish rule.

    adopting some aspects of americanism wld, most likely, cause greater gap btwn rich/very rich and poor/poorer.
    ruling class then, whether theocratic or plutocratic, wld have much easier time possessing/ruling iran.
    US does stand as a model of enserfment of domestics and of cowing/kiling aliens.
    thus, from clero-plutocratic point of view americanization may be fervently wanted/needed.

    and, it seems to me, that americanization is spreading and more rapidly than ever before. It seems ?all e. euro lands had quickly privatized much of public property; i.e, followed US model.

    christo-judaic cult, above all else, fears islamic cult. This cld be one cause for its protest against clerical rule. It, it seems, wld prefer a secular rule, headed by a puppet.
    tnx bozhidar balkas vancouver

  12. Max Shields said on June 29th, 2009 at 6:58am #

    bozh, your caring or me caring about privatization is not the issue.

    The issue is what does that have to do with this election and the subsequent riots?

    Why is it that privatization is an issue NOW if it’s been going on in Iran well before the election? Why come to DV and talk to an “audience” who are generally against such privatization when the issue has NOT been privatization in Iran?

    One article on DV takes the election was “fraudulent” tact; another that the regime is privatizing government nationalized industries. What will this group come up with next to make this uprising look like it has some kind of direction (besides that fomented by the CIA)?

  13. Billy Wharton said on June 29th, 2009 at 7:47am #

    Max,

    How many university students do you think there are in Iran? Enough to make up the massive demonstrations which took place after the elections? I do no think so. Please consider as evidence this video of an early demonstration. The CIA simply cannot orchestrate this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or9aiGBh3YQ&feature=player_embedded

    Yes, the US would like to remove the Ahmadinejad & Khamenei government. More importantly they would like to control what comes next. There is a potential in this movement against the stolen election to build something bigger. Key to this, I think, is the role played by working people. It was in 79 and it can be today.

    Understanding the general economic and political context from which a movement emerges is important. It is particularly essential to describe this to Americans who, after years of 9/11 conspiracy theories, have their heads filled with conspiracy driven fantasies. History is a lot more messy than this (thankfully).

  14. Max Shields said on June 29th, 2009 at 9:18am #

    Did you hear, in farsi, the chant – no privatization? I didn’t, but my farsi is a little rusty.

    Billy, you seem to be shadow boxing. Other than a few of us who treat such movements with great skepticism, most agree with you.

    No one said history wasn’t messy. That doesn’t make your argument correct. The sky is kinda blue, doesn’t mean Iranians what socialism or whatever…

  15. fishstones said on June 29th, 2009 at 9:28am #

    Here’s a link to another recent article on privatization in Iran:

    http://www.merip.org/mer/mer250/ehsani.html

  16. bozh said on June 29th, 2009 at 9:59am #

    bears repeating: it takes to omit [{un}knowingly] but one salient fact to present a fictitious reality.
    thus far, as far as i know, the cultish role now in iranian events, had not been even mentioned let alone analyzed.

    without analytic and predictive study of beneficial/deleterious role cults play today or have played for millennia, one is not going, i affirm, to obtain an elucidation about just about any event let alone about an event in iran that we know so little about.

    so, i say bring on that ole ‘religion’; cults/cultishness in my depiction of what really goes on in these churches.
    the three cults have been caught in never ending accrimony, hatred, anger, etc. As long they cling to an a priori ‘knowledge’ or ‘knowledge’ before experience such as ‘knowing’ there is god and what god wants us to do, the three cults will forever remain strongly antihuman and against each other.

    actually there are four major cults, all strongly asocial and fascist. We have sunny, shia, christian, and judaic cultishness; much perilous and deleterious to the low[er] class and beneficial to the ruling plutocratic fascists.

    from this, one can deduce, that christo-judaic cult wld support even fascist, communists, or socialists if they wld revolt against the ulama.
    i also conclude, that, since US is involved in the revolt, cia- being integral part of US governace, is involved. tnx bozhidar balkas vancouver

  17. Max Shields said on June 29th, 2009 at 10:04am #

    From what I’m gathering (and conforms to my understanding of Iran) Ahmadinejad vehmently opposes privatization, contrary to the so-called reformist. Billy, you’ve either been duped or you are attempting to dupe some here. I think you have arsebackwards who represents privatization and who does not.

    Privatization in Iran
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    According to the Fourth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2005-2010), the Privatization Organization of Iran affiliated to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance is in charge of setting prices and ceding shares to the general public and on the stock market. The privatization effort is primarily backed by reformist members of the Iranian government and society who hope that privatization can bring about economic and social change. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a staunch conservative, has on several occasions lambasted the privatization policies and tried to counteract them.

  18. Billy Wharton said on June 29th, 2009 at 10:28am #

    Thank you for making my point for me. As I argued in this article, Ahmadinejad has employed populist rhetoric – especially in press conferences created for foreign journalists, to cultivate the image of being anti-privatization. Problem is that his administration has carried out privatization! Many. Sure the reformers were the architects, but he is the implementer. One further point. Ahmadinejad’s patron the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, was supreme leader when the reformers were in power.

    Please do not take my word for it. Try this more academic presentation of the privatization process:
    http://www.merip.org/mer/mer250/ehsani.html

    As for your point about shadow boxing, several otherwise useful websites and organizations have come out against the protesters. For a collection of these, left and right, see here:
    http://www.ww4report.com/node/7471

    Also, note the general tone of the coverage on the Monthly Review Zine:
    http://monthlyreview.org/mrzine/

    Finally, where did I mention a socialist outcome in Iran. If you find it please forward it to me and I will write my apology. Workers winning the right to have a protest without being jailed for five years is very far from socialism.

  19. Melissa said on June 29th, 2009 at 10:53am #

    Wow. What an enigma in my head. The opposing viewpoints on the spectacle in Iran are so . . . perfectly pitted against one another.

    Perhaps the spectacle (aside from sincere folks who are swept into the appealing rhetoric and emotion, compartmentalization is so effective) is just that. More distractions and carefully crafted theater meant to keep people busy, arguing, divided.

    Chances are, it is another false paradigm (at the root, where the decisions are made and events are propelled into motion) to sell an appearance of struggle and peoples’ efforts, sympathetic politicians and governments.

    Now the arrows begin pointing to the fake money and the fake market. Should’ve known it was all about the money, and the humans involved are used as a patina for the whole smarmy thing. I dislike very much the term “human capital”.

    Melissa

  20. KL5 said on June 29th, 2009 at 12:54pm #

    Billy Wharton – “There is a potential in this movement against the stolen election to build something bigger. Key to this, I think, is the role played by working people. It was in 79 and it can be today.”

    You seem to be open minded, you do not do any boring self-imaging, you honestly and patiently reply to comments according to your world view. And you do not fart around with shameless universal knowledge of things. I appreciate that. But, Mr. Wharton, “stolen election” is a daring description. There had been no objective observers to tell us about the course of iranian “elections”. Why “stolen”? And the “working people”? 70% of them cannot read and write. The “movement” you mean in iran involves bored middle class homeless iranians who dream of U.S. life style. I suspect there is much U.S. meddling behind this “movement”. How do you find my claim?

  21. Billy Wharton said on June 29th, 2009 at 8:36pm #

    There had been no objective observers to tell us about the course of iranian “elections”. Why “stolen”?

    Here is a study conducted by the Chatham House a well regarded source which conducted a statistical analysis of the 2004 v. 2009 data. Some of the conclusions of this study have been accepted by the Guardian Council:
    http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/files/14234_iranelection0609.pdf

    And the “working people”? 70% of them cannot read and write. The “movement” you mean in iran involves bored middle class homeless iranians who dream of U.S. life style.

    According to UNICEF the total adult literacy rate in Iran is close to 85%
    http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/iran_statistics.html

    Again regarding the demographics of the crowd, I submit visual evidence:
    Here is a still of the Azadi Square protest
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_SbiVoGqVHZk/Skk9iI_M0vI/AAAAAAAABPs/UqbsZ7benVw/s1600-h/bydr9ybfmyjngx1y71qp.jpg

    Another protest please note the crowd:
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_SbiVoGqVHZk/SjoluuAU31I/AAAAAAAAA6g/iPMRKvoizEw/s1600-h/5094_637294205142_126616_37304482_7308239_n.jpg

    Finally please consider this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPFyLEb4kfU&feature=player_embedded

    And this statement by the bus drivers union:
    http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/21753

    I am sure that the US has employed a variety of means to attempt to de-stabilize the regime. I am equally sure that the CIA does not have the ability to conduct mass manipulation to the degree necessary to orchestrate a mass popular movement. Internal relations are far more important in this case.

  22. Andres Kargar said on June 30th, 2009 at 12:14am #

    Billy Wharton,

    The issue that is not being addressed here is what would be the situation if Mousavi had won the elections. Let’s go even a step further. What would happen to the Iranian society if the Islamic Republic were, somehow magically overthrown by the crowds of protesters.

    As a traditional Marxist, I do not believe that without an organized, progressive leadership, the people would be pursuing a progressive direction. Organized leftist leadership in Iran? Non-existent.

    The Iranian left failed to grab the power with the downfall of the Shah, in my opinion, because they have no idea what grass-roots organizing is, again in my opinion because of their class roots.

    The Mullahs were masters of grass-roots organizing, communication, and logistics. They won the power and held on to it despite eight years of war with Iraq, numerous coup attempts by Monarchists and/or the United States, sanctions, etc.

    They won the power and held on to it with the help of the poorest of the poor who also happen to be the most religious sectors of the society, and these are the people they have to keep satisfied and to some extent taken care of. That is why Ahmadinejad often talks about distributing the wealth among the poor (which he has done to a degree).

    The ideas of privatization come from, not the ‘uneducated’ Mullahs, but from the ‘educated’ university professors of Iranian universities — the ones who are dazzled by the ‘glory’ of the Western civilization and their ‘reformist’ backers. The article in fact mentions, Rafsanjani, Iran’s richest capitalist, often referred to as ‘pragmatic’ by the Western press.

    So back to the beginning, if the defeated candidate Mousavi had won the elections, the people (in particular the middle and upper classes) would have won many more political freedoms as Mousavi had promised, but Iran’s radicalism vis-a-vis the West would have lessened or even disappeared (which seems to be OK with the remnants of the Iranian left — don’t forget how their counterparts in Iraq collaborated with the US occupation forces).

    I predict that would have also been the end of Iran’s material support for the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. The candidates had indirectly stated that the poor in Iran are more deserving than ‘people of other countries’. (Again with the degree of contempt a section of the Iranian left has for the ‘religious’ Hamas and Hezbollah, that should have been OK, too).

    Obviously, the Iranian government is not a socialist one, and as a capitalist country it will eventually integrate into the world capitalist system as surely as HIV turns into AIDS. What is slowing down the process is the present Islamic Republic regime and its policies.

  23. Carol said on June 30th, 2009 at 1:18am #

    Shabnam that was a very informative and interesting contribution to the discussion. I’d like to read more about the specifics than the posturing that poses for debate by tubthumping Ahmadinejadis.

  24. Billy Wharton said on June 30th, 2009 at 7:27am #

    Andres,

    It is very difficult to consider the theoreticals you propose – what if the left had won in 79, what if Mousavi won a clean election…

    My reading of the left in Iran is that it is fragmented by region/geography and ethnicity. There is a fairly influential Communist Party but it’s influence is limited to the Kurdistan region. There is also a Worker’s Communist Party which seems more active but also has had many of its members forced into exile. Add to this a variety of left formations in the universities and among the organized workers.

    My argument here is that Ahmadinejad has failed miserably at meeting the needs of the poor and working class. Meanwhile the IMF and World Bank have been banging away – encouraging more and faster privatizations. His regime has responded. Far from holding back the tide of neo-liberalism – he is the implementer. Ahmadinejad deserves no sympathy from the left in the US nor any progressive forces world wide.

    The existence of the Islamic Republic is not slowing down the process of integrating Iran into the global capitalist system. It might have, say from 1979 until 2004 (the latest) but from this point forward it has been a free fall. The key point is that neo-liberal restructuring is being done not only by economic planners but by Basij militias. Workers have very limited ability to defend themselves and the countries assets against the privatizers. Hopefully, this spectacular new movement will create some positive change in this regard.

  25. Max Shields said on June 30th, 2009 at 8:50am #

    Billy,

    When you say that the CIA does not have the wherewithall to organize an effective (paraphrasing) destablization you really are missing a whole lot here.

    First, such destabilization is one once CIA and 15 onces of dissidents (in some cases paid for). Couple this with decades of experience in effectively destablizing regimes and hundred of millions of dollars paid for by the US government to make that happen.

    But here’s the clincher: your article is about privatization and tying Ahmadinejad (an avid opponent) to this program AND making some wildass connection to the protesters. Yours is pure fiction – regardless of the election results.

    Just a simple replay of US history (just the last decade or so, we could go back many more): http://www.counterpunch.org/alamin06302009.html

    This is where we should be looking FIRST. The demonization of Ahmadinejad (who is certainly not Saddam) has taken hold in the American psyche through the mass-media. That fact alone, illustrates just how powerful the oppression is here at home. Our riots and protests are simply marginalized by not mentioning them on the news or showing pictures of what may be hundreds of thousands of protesters or more.

    The so-called left is looking at Iranian protesters with the envy of “why can’t we do that here”; and vicariously coming up with narratives to form opinions about the righteousness of these riots. It’s all fiction.

    Iran is what it is and Ahmadinejad is what he is, no more or less. The highly regarded pollsters (from the US) predicated the results that in fact happened. The CIA maneuvered to get the opposing candidate to claim victory before th polls even closed. Forcing the Ahmadinejad camp to come out with results earlier than would normally be the case.

    This is CIA MO. Nothing new. How much of the faux American progressives will back anything in foreign US policy now that Obama is in cannot be discounted.

    Think!

  26. Max Shields said on June 30th, 2009 at 9:00am #

    Billy,

    Just one last point on the CIA. While it has shown itself to effectively destablize; it is messy business and so the outcomes are not very good.

    In this case, the regime will be in place – no change. There will continue to be a rift between the wealther Iranians and the poorer – as is true in nearly every country. It certainly holds true in Latin America.

    Resolving that problem is yet another topic entirely.

  27. dan e said on June 30th, 2009 at 11:13am #

    Thanks to Fishstones for the link to the Merip article which is packed with information which should be equally of interest to readers on both (or all?) sides of this discussion.

    A couple of gems from the piece:
    “In the era of modern capitalism, the enclosure of the commons lies at the origin, often violent, of new cycles of accumulation by newly emerging dominant classes. Thus it is in the Islamic Republic of Iran today.”
    and:
    “Property is not a natural, but a political arrangement.”

    Considering the comments above: Billy Wharton offers a link to the same article, then goes on to make several interesting points. However the conclusions he draws seem pretty shaky. For instance:
    “…the CIA does not have the ability to conduct mass manipulation to the degree necessary to orchestrate a mass popular movement.”

    Let’s give BW the benefit of the doubt and assume that he’s using “CIA” as a synechdoche, that he knows that the apparatus “the US” (my own synechdoche:) deploys to reshape institutions not to its liking in targetted countries is by no means limited to the CIA, nor even to official US government agencies. If that assumption is accepted, the rest of his statement contradicts the evidence of recent history. What about the attempted coup in Venezuela? What about all these “color revolutions”?
    The fact is that the “CIA” is just one instrument of the now-globalized Imperial State Apparatus of which the official US government is but one facet, one key node. A vital node certainly but not the only or even the determinant node.
    When the imperialist coalition comes to a consensus that the political process in a particular country has produced unacceptable results, the imperialist headquarters has a vast array of instruments it can deploy in order to “ameliorate” the situation.
    A key option is manipulation of “democratic elections”, that is, elections structured on the US model. Anyone who has actively participated in US electoral campaigns knows that the TV advertising budget is one important key factor in deciding the winner; another is the degree of skill, experience and creative talent attracted to the particular candidates or ballot issue campaigns.
    Anytime the US state apparatus wants to influence an election in another country, it has unlimited resources with which to hire/deploy an army of skilled experienced trained campaign specialists. As the success of TV advertising demonstrates, it’s easy to manipulate people if you know how & have a big enough budget.
    Your task is made easier if there is a large fraction of the population in the targetted country which can be led to believe it has something to gain by, for instance, “making better use of resources by opening to private investment”.
    Said Imperial State Apparatus has little difficulty persuading masses of US citizens to vote against their own interests – cf. Obamania – so why is it hard to believe it can’t manipulate a substantial minority of Iranians?

    Shaky proposition the second:
    “[Iranian]Workers have very limited ability to defend themselves and the countries [sic] assets against the privatizers. Hopefully, this spectacular new movement will create some positive change in this regard.”
    “Hopefully” indeed. Where is there an indication that Mousavi intends anything of the kind? The fact is that Privatization is a key plank in his campaign platform. Even if we accept that Ahmedinejad’s opposition to privatization is less vigorous in deed than in words, at least he’s not trying to peddle the koolaid Mousavi & Co are selling.

  28. Max Shields said on June 30th, 2009 at 11:27am #

    dan e

    We have, at last, found common ground.

    The plans to destablize Iran have been in place for some time. That is a fact. As such it is where one starts to unravel what’s happening, not by creating fictional narratives hoping they will gell into a reality of some sort.

    It’s like what “caused” the invasion of Iraq? Was it ideology, or resource hegemony (and those are just two of many “causes”). Chicken and egg.

    The point is there are major (US/Israel/Euro) and minor players (Western dissidents/political pawns). They converge to create a “movement” – in this case a destablization. It’s like using a lever to move a large object. Eventually it moves without much help of the lever. The problem is where does it go? Where does it end up?

    But when you are looking to change a regime you continue this multi-pronged effort with the hope of wearing down the “opp0nent”.

    CIA doesn’t have to be overly bright, they just need to be focused on a target. The tricks, tactics and strategies have been developed over the years; and with the help of technology, it is honed. It’s easy to get good at a game when you make up the rules of engagement.

    So, it is overly generous to be giving Billy the benefit of the doubt. The CIA’s fingerprints are all of this. But it is good to see we have found a mutual view of landscape.

  29. Billy Wharton said on June 30th, 2009 at 12:38pm #

    Thanks to dan e. and Max for comments.

    Perhaps we now have reached a fundamental impasse.

    Max, this statement I think is nonsense:
    “The point is there are major (US/Israel/Euro) and minor players (Western dissidents/political pawns). They converge to create a “movement” – in this case a destablization. It’s like using a lever to move a large object. Eventually it moves without much help of the lever. The problem is where does it go? Where does it end up?”

    Believing this leaves a person with two options – first to invest in some grand conspiratorial view of history where 5 guys in Washington D.C. control the fate of the planet or second to support anything that resists as progressive – Ahmadinejad, Milosevic, Kim Il Sung…

    Let’s look at two counter examples – Cuba and Venezuela. Both faced heavy barrages of CIA de-stabilization. Cuba even put down an attempted invasion by dissidents. Venezuela a coup organized by internal dissidents. How could they survive the mighty hand of the US? Because in both instances a popular consensus had been built around a revolutionary project. People were mobilized to defend politically processes they were deeply in support of.

    In the case of Iran we see the reverse. A revolutionary project, one that I am not particularly fond of, is being unwound and with it the consensus which had been built up. The only part of the project being preserved is the repressive part. No wonder then that this society is capable of producing a mass movement for change.

    Finally, dan, yes I did use the word “hopefully” in regards to labor rights and no I am not drinking the Mousavi kool-aid. I will repeat for the millionith time that the masses are out far ahead of the Mousavi campaign at this point. They seem to want far more than he is offering – they are putting words in his mouth which he does not particularly want to speak. This is what social movements do.

  30. Max Shields said on June 30th, 2009 at 1:55pm #

    Billy,

    You quoted me accurately, than made up some crap that is void of what I said. In the words, your paragraph of what you “think” I said is nonsense – that we agree.

    If you stick to what was said, you’ll find it quite accurate.

    Chavez knows full well the distinction between Venezuela and Iran. You are creating a bogus argument. Cuba had a real revolution. People (peasants and others) revolted. There was strict discipline with clear leadership and a well developed and articulated purpose – we all knew who and what.

    Venezuela did the samething with voting and no guns. But again it was an against the will of the oligarchy and the US hegomonic power in the region.

    Iran is clearly not Cuba nor its it Venezuela – which is why this is a phoney argument. Iran vis a vis the US is only similiar in that it threatens US interest in the region. The ideology is clearly different than that in Cuba or Venezuela.

    When US interests are threatened US operatives go to work. Iran was declared part of the “axis of evil” Iraq and Afghanistan have been invaded and occupied. Israel went after Lebanon, Libya gave in to avoide Saddam’s misfortune, BUT Iran actually gained power in the region and the US had choices. The ultimate choice was soft power which is not to be confused with honest negotiation. First, you destablize the government using tactics like the ones used in Chile, Venezuela and elsewhere. If necessary, if feasible (and I don’t think it is) you go for low-intensity warfare. Low intensity warfare is when you train local death squads to butcher the “other side” (the side who is in US interests way).

    So, yes, Iran is not the same ideologically as Cuba. But they have each now felt the boot from the same unipower.

  31. Max Shields said on June 30th, 2009 at 1:58pm #

    Max said, “The ultimate choice was soft power which is not to be confused with honest negotiation.”

    Correction, rather than “ultimate” choice, it was the only feasible choice given the US was bogged down in two wars.

  32. KL5 said on June 30th, 2009 at 2:26pm #

    Basically, the guardian council, a body of 12 clerics as supreme legislative organ, would not allow any Iranian president to deviate fom fundamentals: Islamic guidelines of the state (which entail repression), nuclear technology, support (at least verbal) of palestinians, resisting Israeli hegemony in the Middle East and so on. Those Iranians, who expected that Mousavi would win, marched with the mission „where is my vote?“. As far as I know they did not march for any essential change of the clergy . To make a „movement“ of this event is in my opinion far-fetched. Sure, this event suits U.S. Imperialism fine, it opens more gates to meddle, destabilize and change.

  33. Suthiano said on June 30th, 2009 at 4:19pm #

    Billy,

    As Esam Al-Amin wrote in an article on counterpunch:

    Between 2005-2009, the U.S. Congress appropriated more than $400 million for State Department programs designed to “promote democracy,” among other means of employing soft power in Iran. This was implemented, in part, by funding the activities of Iranian dissident groups. By 2008, Congress included money in the budget that would specifically “go to software programmers to develop programs that thwart internet firewalls erected by the government of Iran, ” and for a program to “provide anti-censorship tools and services for the advancement of information freedom in closed societies.”

    On May 24, 2007, Brian Ross, ABC News’s Chief Investigative Correspondent broke a story about the elements of soft power utilized by the CIA and authorized by Bush. “Current and former intelligence officials told ABC News that the CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount what is known as a black or covert operations to destabilize the Iranian regime, and it is underway,” he reported. He then added, “Those officials describe the Iranian plan as non-lethal involving a campaign of coordinated propaganda broadcasts, placement of negative newspaper articles, the manipulation of Iran’s currency and international banking transactions.” The ABC correspondent stated, “Propaganda was one of the most important tools utilized by the CIA.”

    Three days later, the British Daily Telegraph, detailed CIA plans for “a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilize, and eventually topple” the regime. The report said that the presidential finding gave the U.S. spy agency, for the first time, “the right to collect intelligence domestically, an area that is usually the preserve of the FBI, from the many Iranian exiles and émigrés within the US.” In the report, an intelligence official was quoted as saying, “Iranians in America have links with their families at home, and they are a good two-way source of information.”

    The Telegraph report also stated that the CIA was allowed to supply “communications equipment which would enable opposition groups in Iran to work together and bypass Internet censorship” by the regime. The use of this equipment has surfaced prominently in the recent standoff between the government and the opposition in Iran. It should be noted though that this destabilization program by the CIA is totally separate from the State Department’s $400 million program, and is being funded through the CIA budget. Thus, since 2006, the total figure for Iran’s destabilization program could have easily exceeded $1 billion.

  34. dan e said on June 30th, 2009 at 4:22pm #

    Thanks Max:)

    Also let me take this oppty to thank Shabnam and Mulga M. for many good comments.

    My take is that all the above plus Bozh, also Brian Koontz and a few other DV posters are Strategic Allies. That is we have goals to which the paths run parallel for the foreseeable term, even though they may diverge eventually.
    For instance take the crisis in Gaza. I think nearly everyone who posts comments here on DV considers Israeli policy re Gaza to be criminal, Crimes vs Humanity. We all want the US to stop shipping $$ to Israel gov’t. Different people have come up with different approaches to the Israel problem; for instance the Free Gaza movement has found a way to draw attn to “Israel”s arbitrary trampling of human rts and international law. But my view is that this tactic can be assimilated by the Obama regime without any signif. change in current policy.

    As I see it, a major tectonic shift in the outlook of persons who are instinctively revolted by what Israel does is required before any meaningful change will be possible. Everybody who consciously or unconsciously acts or speaks in ways that support the Zionist agenda must be held accountable.
    This first of all applies to the Democratic Party and the constellation of phoney “leftist” apologists like the CPUSA, CCDS, Social Dems of America.
    Ultimately the spotlight has to fall on the “mainstream” institutions of the organized “Jewish Community”. Is there a synagogue in America in which no “Blue Box” is placed near the entrance to receive donations to the Jewish State?
    It’s one thing to be passively complicit, like so many who bought the Obama koolaid. It is another to be actively complicit by spreading pro-Israeli propaganda, by collecting funds for the Zionist enterprise, or by helping abridge the free speech rights of those who would present another side of the story.
    And now you know why it’s called Dissident Voice:)

  35. Melissa said on June 30th, 2009 at 4:23pm #

    Thank you, Suthiano. -and damn that black budget. My taxes, your taxes. We make this shit happen.

  36. Max Shields said on June 30th, 2009 at 5:49pm #

    This is when DV pays off. We’ve got some sharp posters on this Iranian “the revolution will be televised” bulls***t.

    There is a simple minded notion that thinks that those who see through US infiltration, are somehow routing for the other side; i.e., Ahmadinejad. This is entirely WRONG. It is not about Ahmadinejad or the Iranian cleric; it is about US/Israeli imperialism. This is the sickest imperialism to be emerge. It is deeply racist with genocidal tendencies.

    The people, the citizens behind these monsters, are complicit, detached from the murderous deeds that these to entities impose on the planet.

    REAL privatization is done by imperialists who by their very nature are pedatory, conquering and controlling EVERYTHING in sight.

    To even infer that Iran could begin to reach this level of predatory behavior a nation which is has not aggressively moved against another in centuries, is PREPOSTEROUS!!

    Billy, your article is built on quick sand. It is without real merit. Juxtiposed against a real Imperial Privatizer, it is a mere child, harmless beyond your dreams.

    Does that make Ahmadinejad anything in particular? Not really. He speaks of things few others would dare to and much of it is fact based. But his power does not equate to many leaders in the world. His government is perhaps the most democratic in the region…we can argue the merits of its democracy but what say you about Saudi Arabia or Jordan or Egypt?

    Come now…what we have here is the usual suspects doing the usual mischieve with the usual results…mayhem and ultimately nothing changes.

    But the US will not give up until it has spent itself into bankruptcy. This we know.

  37. Shabnam said on June 30th, 2009 at 6:18pm #

    [My reading of the left in Iran is that it is fragmented by region/geography and ethnicity. There is a fairly influential Communist Party but its influence is limited to the Kurdistan region. There is also a Worker’s Communist Party which seems more active but also has had many of its members forced into exile. Add to this a variety of left formations in the universities and among the organized workers.]

    We are not interested in Zionist ‘socialist’ Trotskyite, like HOPI, who attacks Hamas and Hezbollah, for not being ‘secular’, to protect Zionist state of Israel but its members cooperate and work closely with ‘secular’ entity such as ‘Ex-Muslim” where is led by Maryam Namazie, who was ‘awarded’ Secularist of the Year in 2005 and is a member of the worker-Communist Party of Iran where many, including number of the opposition groups, believe that this party is supported financially by Israel.
    Namazie is currently the secretary of the International Relations committee of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran and a current member of the politburo and coordinating council of the party.
    Namazie is also very active in the circle of Zionists who brainwash people with lies, such as Islamofascism, yet they are silent on ziofascism and Gaza holocaust. These people are aligned themselves with anti Muslim and puppets of neocons such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Chahla Chafig, Irshad Manji, Bernard-Henri Levey, who is a zionist fascist, pose as a ‘philosopher,’ and Ibn Warraq, an Indian pro Zionist who has tried very hard to discredit work of EDWARD SAID, Orientalism, but instead, has made many enemies in the process.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MANIFESTO:_Together_facing_the_new_totalitarianism

    Chahla Chafig – an Iranian ‘feminist’ from the opposition group is also involved with ‘One millions signatures’, a ‘women movement’ supported by the west led by Parvin Ardalan, a Kurd pro west who has received an ‘award’, like Shireen Ebadi close to Payam Akhavan, a Bahia, working as a “human rights’ lawyer close to pro Israel circle in the US and Canada working for both “Document center”, supported by the US government’s grant, and “rights and democracy” supported by the Canadian government, a twin sister of NED – is a regular guest at ‘Voice of America’ preaching on Iranian women liberation but silent on Women in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan or Lebanon, victims of imperialism and Zionism. Chafig is already exposed as a pro ziofascist by an Iranian intellectual and activist, Haj Seyed Javadi, not a communist, by an open letter circulated on Internet. Shafiq and people like Namazie or even Jasmine Matter, the founder of HOPI, not only has expressed hostility towards Islamic liberation movements such as Hamas and Hezbollah but also are silent on GAZA holocaust, instead they are active towards engineering crisis in Iran using their Zionist slogan, “Neither U.S. Aggression nor Theocratic Repression,” is supported by majority of the closet Zionists such as Chomsky, Solomon, Joanne Landy, and others for ‘regime change’ where it caused HOPI to be thrown out of CASMII, ‘Campaign Against Sanction and Military Invasion of Iran’ due to HOPI’s ‘regime change’ hidden agenda supported by the ‘Campaign for Peace and Democracy (CPD) another closet Zionist supported by Chomsky and his ilk from third camp, where Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich wrote an open letter addressing Joanne Landy, and other co-directors of CPD criticizing:

    [Your motives questionable with regards to your petition entitled “Iran: Neither U.S. Aggression nor Theocratic Repression".
    I am fully aware that several scholars and reputable individuals have written to you on the same topic to correct the erroneous statements in your petition, asking you to correct the misinformation which plays into the hands of the neo-conservatives who wish to make war on Iran, but you have chosen to dismiss them.]

    Which ‘left’ in Kurdistan are you talking about? Are you talking about Komoleh, Kurdistan communist party or Kurdish democratic party headed by Mostafa Hejri who sends a congratulating letter to George Bush and thanked him for bringing democracy to Iraq and the region. He asked for democracy in Iran as well. Are you talking about theses traitors? Soon after that, ‘Rahe Kargar’ broke with Hejri’s organization and stop working with Kurdish Democratic Party to protect its image. Mr. Hejri publicly announced that we should appreciate Americans for their work towards ‘democracy’ in the region. Are you talking about those Kurds who call VOA to tell American CIA agent that we will fight for you when you invade Iran if you armed us? Where have you been Mr. Warthon? Don’t you know the Kurdish Democratic Party was supporting Benny Morris in his effort to form public opinion among Europeans and American for a nuclear strike on Iran? The Kurdish Democratic Party like other sell out Iranians including a feminist by the name of Nilofar Bayzaie with a representative from Iranian Green Party living abroad were present at a conference formed by Benny Morris held in Germany and Austria. The Kurds are in the pocket of US and Israel for a long time and helping their agenda in the region, the new Middle East, which in fact is “the greater Israel” according to “Israel strategy of the 1980’s” written by Oded Yinon. Both Arabs and Iranians are saying we DO NOT ACCEPT ANOTHER ISRAEL IN THE REGION.
    I am interested to know which left you are talking about. The ‘left’ in Iran is insignificant. Most of them are living abroad and their websites have been installed by the west intelligent services’ financial aids.

    Are you talking about Radio Zamaneh, supported by Netherland government or Rooz on line or paykeiran, where I believe is close to Mojahedin?
    Are you talking about the sell out Fadaian Khalq where majorities, including the leadership believe in neoliberal policies and some are working closely with the intelligent services of the west? One of the leaders of Fadaian, Farokh Negahdar, who has no influence in Iran told the ‘left’ to get involve to defeat Ahmadinejad in the elections. The ‘left’ including HOPI, Hekmatism, Communist Workers have replaced ‘down with imperialism’ slogan with ‘down with Islamic liberation movements” like Israel.
    Are you talking about the older generation of Iranian ‘left’ like Mahdi Khanbaba Tehrani who is a spokesperson from the ‘left’ opposition at the “voice of America”, VOA, and European Union Parliament, where their Zionist policy towards Iran, Palestine, Lebanon and Sudan is known to majority of people?
    Are you talking about former Maoist, Abbas Milani, a Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution. He announced his support for Mirhousain Mousavi on VOICE OF AMERICA and asked Iranian to oust Ahmadinejad by supporting Mousavi. He is one of the Iranian who was invited along with Nicolas Burns and Sajjad pour, a lier who pose as a ‘Journalist’ and announced Mousavi as the winner on NPR while Iranian people still were voting, on Charlie Rose Show to keep his audience as fool for ever.
    Milani has received large amount money in form of US grant to re-write the Iranian history to tell that 1953 coup was not a coup because Iranian people wanted the Shah back. Albright and Obama have already recognized and confess that it was a coup designed by CIA-MI6 to topple Mosaddeq in 1953.
    Ahmadinjad is not the one who changed the constituition to make the necessary changes for implementation of neo liberalist policy. It was the reformists who did that, and as a result lost credibility. It is, however, interesting to see many Iranian ‘left’ supported Rafsanjani’s camp, Mousavi, the designer and the executer of neo-liberalism in Iran with no shame against Ahmadinejad. At the same time, majority of the workers, the middle class and people in the rural areas have voted for Ahmadinejad because they have seen small increases in their salary while the ‘left’ continue to live abroad to cooperate with Zionism and imperialism agenda against the interest of the people. Iranian people prefer Ahmadinejad to Obama. They have not forgotten Iraq and Afghanistan were taken down with the secular ‘left’ including Kanan Makiya, a Trotskyite, who was described by Iraqi journalist as thief and war criminal responsible for destruction of Iraq on Charie Rose Show.

  38. Mulga Mumblebrain said on June 30th, 2009 at 6:35pm #

    I think Mr Wharton’s thesis is brought into question by his assertion that the election was stolen. I believe that by now we have sufficient evidence, by far, that Ahmadinejad, think what one may of him, won, fair and square. The immediate assertion of victory by Mousavi, and the subsequent cries of fraud, and the lies and disinformation that accompanied them, are straight from the ‘colour revolution’ handbooks. Mr Wharton destroys his credibility, in my eyes at least, in a stroke, by quoting Chatham House, a nest of vipers if ever there was one, in defence of the ‘stolen election’ thesis. I see also that the usual useful contributions have come from Suthiano, Shabnam, Max Shields, dan e et al, refuting Mr Wharton’s implications. I think Mr Wharton really lost me when he attempted to dismiss the US meddling in every country on the planet (even here in Australia, in 1975 when they had a CIA ‘asset’ John Kerr, dismiss a slightly Left of centre Labour Government)as a conspiracy theory or an over-emphasis of US power. This imbroglio has made in the USA, assisted by the UK and Isreal written all over it. I do not buy the argument that Ahmadinejad is exactly the same as Mousavi in selling out the Iranian masses, and I hope that I am correct, as I only support him because he is plainly the lesser evil, by definition as a target of US malevolence, and it is now so clear that he indeed did win the election. If Mr Wharton continues to deny that fact, relying on Chatham House, then I will begin to suspect his bona fides, too.

  39. lichen said on June 30th, 2009 at 7:03pm #

    No, the overwhelming evidence is that there was widespread electoral fraud, and the Iranian people, mostly not students nor middle class, themselves know this; that is why they started their genuine, homegrown movement for civil rights and for, as Billy pointed out, a reinstatement of their social contract against the criminal privatization carried out by Ahmadinajad’s government. You can cheerlead each other’s petty conspiracy posts all you want – it doesn’t make it reality.

  40. Max Shields said on June 30th, 2009 at 7:24pm #

    lichen if you discount all the facts to the contrary, you’re right. On the other hand….

  41. lichen said on June 30th, 2009 at 8:42pm #

    You are the one who is discounting all of the many, many facts to the contrary of your claims, which makes you think you are right, and, indeed, there is nothing more imperialist than thinking you are in charge of someone else’s political movement half the world away.

  42. Andres Kargar said on June 30th, 2009 at 11:48pm #

    Billy Wharton,

    The existence of organized left in Iran is an illusion created by the (upper)-middle-class so-called leftists in Europe and the United States. I prefer to call them (the ones outside the country) as the George Soros liberals because, despite leftist rhetoric, that is their politics.

    The Workers CP you refer to are again a tiny sect mostly outside the country. In my discussions with them, they consistently supported the government of Israel against the Palestinians (and Hezbollah) because they claim the Palestinian leadership has been taken over by religious reactionaries. In their literature, they are not so obvious and formally condemn both sides as “just as repressive” (imagine that).

    Of the leftist forces active during and after the 1979 revolution:

    Fedayeen — the biggest left organization at the time, organized among university students, mostly wiped out inside Iran.

    Mojahedeen — I wouldn’t call them leftist, turned into a mercenary force at the service of the United States & Israel, camped in Iraq.

    Tudeh Party — the actual CP — has been extremely small and inactive since the 1953 CIA coup.

    Kurdish Democratic Party — was pretty organized and substantive during the 1979 revolution, mostly wiped out and involved in Kurdish infighting. There was also a tiny Maoist version of it called Komala.

    Other grouplets, mostly outside the country, such as Workers’ CP that I’m sure is funded by Israel.

    The unfortunate truth is that Monarchists have a bigger following than these people.

    This does not imply lack of leftist thought among Iranians. Au contraire, I found the Iranians to be some of the most politically-motivated people, as I did with the people of Peru or Chile. But organized left, that’s a different story. I can assure you that if the Islamic Republic regime would somehow magically collapse today, the left would not have a chance in hell of taking power.

    Finally, they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating of it. Why would the US imperialism attempt to bring about regime change in Iran, if there’s already a neoliberal government in place there?

  43. phuque yew said on July 1st, 2009 at 12:10am #

    I challenge anyone to know what really happened during and post-election Iran. Billy makes some valid points, but they don’t necessarily support the privatization hypothesis; I generally agree with Max that US-UK-Israeli imperialism has much greater implications for the future of Iran. In any case, many have already written on the fabrication of information, already rampant, but which now, with Twittering, can be used to manipulate reporting almost instantaneously – it’s just another tool used to distend reality. The simple fact is that the CIA has been involved in this sort of work for many decades. Iran is just another regional lynchpin for the US in its attempts to isolate Russia and China from direct access to Middle East oil. Iranian assertion of its own path and policies is an obstacle to US “interests” (not those of its citizens, but only those of its fascist military-corporate axis), and when has the US ever chosen to let sovereign nations impede its pursuit of its own master plan?

  44. Mulga Mumblebrain said on July 1st, 2009 at 1:05am #

    Andres, a very enlightening post. I think this ‘colour revolution’ was actually meant to fail. I know the Yanks probably would have welcomed regime change if they could have pulled it off, and they then would have manipulated things in order to install the little Shah or some other totally compliant stooge in power. However, that failing, Plan B is to further demonize Iran in the eyes of the ignorati of the Western publics, who have been primed with years of the usual brainwashing by the media sewer to hate Iran, Ahmadinejad and the Iranian religious establishment. The level of hatemongering in the Australian media, utterly dominated by Zionasties as it is, has reached fever pitch in its hysteria. Murdoch’s flagshit ‘The Fundament’ ran a piece yesterday (30th) by the bibulous, and judging by his recent output, probably hepatically encephalopathic Christopher Hitchens. It was a really unhinged hate-fest, replete with vulgar abuse, the most unwittingly humorous being Hitchen’s banal projection in abusing the mullahs as ‘scrofulous’.
    This has been the Zionasty plan all along, I would surmise. Do enough to make negotiation unlikely, increase the certainty of further sanctions and the belligerent Congressional Resolutions, penned by the dual (in fact sole, to Israel)loyalty apparatchiks of AIPAC and their bought and sold Congressional stooges, that call for open acts of war like blockades. The aim, of course, is to set the scene for a bloody assault on Iran, with the prospect of war and massacre particularly appealing to the type that take that text-book of genocide, the Book of Joshua, as holy writ. As with Iraq, we had better be on our guard when next Purim comes around. Next February 28th may be a very dangerous period for Iranians, who, after all, were the victims of that ancient orgy of bloodletting commemorated every year as a religious festival. Undoubtedly Ahmadinejad has already been awarded the coveted role of ‘Haman of our Age’ as Saddam Hussein was in the past.

  45. Max Shields said on July 1st, 2009 at 6:47am #

    lichen your comments are silly. I am not “in charge” of anyone’s political movement as you call it. If it’s a movement it will do just fine without me. There are just too many facts to lead to a very different conclusion. No one can speak for others. What we know is the history up until this very moment and to discount it is to invite criticism.

    The argument Billy Wharton lays out just doesn’t fit with the facts. I don’t know if Billy is trying to jump on some kind of free-for-all because of these protests in Iran because he’s an opportunist who’s been waiting to throw this privatization “plum” out; or if he thinks he’s discovered something and so is sharing it. Assuming the latter, there are those of us here who are critiquing the wisdom of his claims. This is not to say that privatization is or is not going on but that an alternative to such a program was not the platform for any of the candidates. And of all the candidates the most vocally anti-privatization has been Ahmadinejad.

    Thus those of us who do not live in Iran do not know the nuances of the body politics. We do know the motives of the US/Israel hegemonic force in the region. We do know the hundreds of millions spent to destablize and the plan to change the regime using soft-power. It’s hard to say that the US/Israel is really interested in regime change as much as turmoil, distraction and attempting to keep the regime on the defense. The bonus for the US/Israel hegemonist is when so-call leftists like you lichen to let down your guard to give the imperialist a free ride. It continues the demonization of Ahmadinejad; keeps it in the news with the repetition of the false interpretation of his words over and over.

    You are playing right into it.

    The imperialism is HERE. You seem bent on imposing your idea of a movement on what’s happening in Iran. You live in the belly of the beast and what are you doing about it?

  46. Billy Wharton said on July 1st, 2009 at 7:37am #

    Max and all,

    I continue to assert my point. There are politics in the Middle East. Politics and history do exist. Both move forward everyday irregardless of the supposed “US/Israel hegemonic force.” You peddle propaganda straight from the Ahmadinejad government – it could be cut and paste. Shame on you.

    Conspiracy theories always do one thing – disarm people. How can one engage in struggle if the outcome has already been pre-determined by some invisible force? The answer is that you cannot. A more likely scenario is inaction or becoming a defeatist who traffics in the conspiracy theory which disabled them.

    In history there are immediate triggers and general causes. The immediate trigger seldom captures much of what pushed people toward one particular action or decision. Rosa Parks was arrested on a bus for sitting in the white section so the Civil Rights movement broke out. This is a relatively flat explanation – it provides no historical or sociological background. Examining general causation allows for a more complex understanding.

    Is the US playing a role in Iran? Sure. Mostly they are making mistakes. Flushing lots of cash down the drain for the latest guerrilla movement that comes into vogue or giving support to a variety of exile incompetents who have no influence in the country. The greatest influence the US has probably comes from macro-economic pressure not cloak-and-dagger plots.

    I think this movement in Iran is built from various problems internal to the regime. If so, irregardless of the CIA or whatever US/Zionist conspiracy you wish to cook up, it will continue – demanding more and intensifying the conflict with a bankrupt regime.

    Americans should try and understand this movement. Draw inspiration, lend support where possible and build movements around similarly universal demands in the US. In the end, there is nothing more revolutionary than freedom.

  47. bozh said on July 1st, 2009 at 9:24am #

    billy,
    we may note that iran, along with israel, pak’n, iraq, US, and afgh’n are evil empires.
    however, US empire is not composed of two, three, or four large ethnic groups as is the above-mentioned empires.
    thus, iranians, et al cannot [ab]use US in same or similar manner as US can [ab]use iran, et al.

    leaving out just this fact, we obtain a fictive reality. In former yugoslavia, we had also an evil empire. And germany and italy have [ab]used ex-yugoslavs mainly because of that fact.

    a curioso about yugoslavs in 1940, is that Cvetkovic-Macek Understanding of ’40 wld have, nevertheless, avoided german and italian invasions.
    however, allies wld have none of that nonsense. Thus a coup was staged in Belgrad by serb army and democratically elected gov’t had been deposed.
    who paid for it mostly? Well peasants, workers, villagers, urban folks, et al.
    It seems 900K yugoslavs lost their lives from all causes according demographic research by a serb and a croat.

    the differences btwn ex-yuga of 1941-45 and afgh’n 01, iraq 03, iran 09 are in the main that along partisans, allies also fought the axis powers and nobody is fighting against nato or US.

    thus, US cannot lose. The results wld be a win for US and loss for asians.
    if for no other reason than that history of the US four + wars wld be written by the same people who clearly saw the differences bwtn partisans and present resistance in the afpak, iraq, palestine, and iran.

    btw, weren’t all US wars “defensive” ? And none was lost? Even in s.e.asia the harvest of about three-four mn people cannot be a loss for US
    It is a loss only for the families of 60K slain US soldiers. From this, i conclude that iran is on the list for dismemberment. I understand US uses mostly CIA for that purpose.

    to conclude, US is not making mistakes in iran, but criminal acts just as germany has done in some euro lands. tnx bozhidar balkas vancouver

  48. Shabnam said on July 1st, 2009 at 10:01am #

    [As I argued in this article, Ahmadinejad has employed populist rhetoric - especially in press conferences created for foreign journalists, to cultivate the image of being anti-privatization.]

    Ahmadinejad has repeatedly said that he wants to implement article 44, where it was changed to by the reformist camp headed by Mohammad Khatami along with former president Rafsanjani, a corrupt businessman to support privatization , but first he should remove impediments for fair implementation of this policy . I agree with Professor Akbar Torab’ view on Rafsanjani published in an article “Iran’s Presidential Elections …and Liberation Theology” on June 29, 2009 at globalreseach website who writes:

    [He does not seem to mind letting the West control Iran’s oil resources in exchange for ruling Iran by himself. In the past, people have called him “King Akbar”. In such situation, if he succeeds, the Islamic Republic could be turned into a Persian Gulf type monarchy or sheikhdom instead of a Western democracy as is dreamed by some Iranian political elites.]

    In fact there was a rumor at the end of Rafsanjani’s presidency that he tried unsuccessfully to change the constitution to allow him to stay in power for the third term.
    Ahmadinejad believes the state sector is neither transparent nor accountable nor competitive. He has repeatedly said these impediments to existing private enterprise must be removed to make opportunity available for greater number of people. He believes execution of Article 44 is not going to help people because its benefits go only to small number of people, the rich who have the capital and the connections.
    He said:
    I am against usury. I am against power of capital over human and I want to bring justice by providing opportunities for all not only for the rich and their families. He believes Banks should perform their real duties meaning to be a tool giving credits to people from different social classes to improve their lives, not only the rich. He believes the system in place is not competent to support speedy privatization with justice.
    He said he supports article 44 but it needs certain policy modification to make it workable for greater number of people.
    He believes the well being of agriculture sect and the rural areas are very important for the Iranian industry to survive. The least we can do, he says, to improve the infrastructure by building roads, schools, health centers and buying farmers’ produce to maintain their survival. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly said: Banking policy must be based on justice and extend credits to small businesses as well. Our banking system is at the service of the rich only. The difference in salary must be diminished.
    Insurance policy must be changed to support small business as well, with the current system only the rich benefit from article 44. We have to improve the infrastructure and until this is not done we should hold on the privatization process.
    He has repeatedly referred to CORRUPTION as an impediment to privatization process and hold Rafsanjani and his family in addition to other families and individuals responsible for the corruption. It is very interesting; however, to notice that Rafsanji is protected by the West while Ahmadinejad has been demonized by the West.
    Contrary to your claim, Mr. Whartan, many believe t the West knew the result before the elections and to stage for velvet revolution using their agents who live mainly in the capital, Tehran to weaken the government for further destabilization process. This fact is recognized by Nasser Zarafshan, an Iranian leftist from the third camp, who lives in Tehran. He says:
    [A Ukraine-type velvet revolution is in the cards to be played by the West in order to dominate Iran.]

    This view is strengthen when Esam Al-Amin (Iran and Washington’s Hidden Hand) reveals the following information:

    [According to Saeed Behbahani, a fierce critic of the current Iranian regime, and founder of Mihan TV outside Washington D.C., the American administration exchanged messages with the campaign of Mir Hossein Mousavi in early June. He claims that, at that time, an unidentified Iranian-American businessman, who is close to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, met with Mousavi’s campaign manager, Mehdi Khazali, in Dubai.]
    Although he did not reveal the name of this businessman but it is more likely to be Hassan Nemazee, is a multimillionaire Iranian-American investment banker who was born in Washington, D.C. Bill Clinton nominated Nemazee to fill the position of U.S. Ambassador to Argentina but he was defeated by Forbes magazine arguing he has obtained many foreign passports, including Argentina. More recently, Nemazee served as Finance Chairman to Hillary Clinton’s 2007-08 presidential campaign, and also donated $50,000 (the maximum amount) to Barack Obama’s Presidential Inaugural Committee. In addition, Nemazee was a bundler for the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee.
    It is obvious that Namazee is close to corrupt Akbar Rafsanjani who is protected by the West.
    Those who claimed the election was stolen have not provided any credible evidence to prove their case. How a candidate who has more than 10 million votes was not legitimately elected. He was supported by the Iranian people to stay in the office for another term since:
    [Ahmadinejad became the first enduring non-cleric president who wanted to pursue the initial goals of the revolution that included economic justice and political sovereignty.]

    Your ‘evidence’ that is borrowed from Chatham House with editorship of Ali Ansari, a fierce critics of the regime is not impartial to give conduct a fair investigation. Ali Ansari a British citizen and supporter of MI6 destabilization policy tell us:

    [Rural area is against conservative candidates. The claim that this year Ahmadinejad swept the board in more rural provinces flies in the face of these trends.]
    Chatham House must remove the veil of ignorance to see the reality in Iran. As professor Torab writes:

    [The election in Iran depicted a class struggle between those who live comfortably in modern urban centers and want Western style social life versus impoverished people in rural areas and smaller cities who seek better life in the traditional Islamic culture. The former had strong support from the West for social change, while the latter relied on the status quo in the country. The affluent Iranians do not like Ahmadinejad but the urban poor and those in the rural areas love him. As has been reported by the Christian Science Monitor, Ahmadinejad is greeted like a rock star when he visits small cities and rural Iran.]

    On provinces supporting Karrubi, Chatham House writes:
    [Interestingly, in 10 out of 30 provinces, mainly former Mehdi Karrubi strongholds, the official data suggests that Ahmadinejad not only received the votes of all former non-voters and former President, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani voters, but also took up to 44% of the vote from those who had previously voted reformist.] and
    [To many reformists, this situation is extremely unlikely. Mehdi Karrubi is a well-known reformist, whose views are diametrically opposed to Ahmadinejad’s on issues of political and cultural freedoms, economic management, and foreign policy.]

    This MI6 report deliberately ignores certain facts. Thus, I should inform the reader of this site that, former mayor of Tehran and Rafsanjani’s close associate Gholam-Houssain Karbaschi who convicted for embezzlement was Karrubi’s campaign advisor in the last elections. He became his advisor to help his own standing, according to many, to help Rafsanjani’s candidate meaning Mousavi. He encouraged Karrubi ‘s supporters to vote for Mousavi, because, he argued, let’s help Mousavi to go to the second round. He told Karrubi’s supporters that Karrubi has enough votes, according to elections 2005 performance, and then let’s help Mousavi to make the second round Karrubi against Mousavi. This analysis is given by Karbaschi to deceive Karrubi’s supporters to cast their votes for Mousavi, Rafsanjani’s candidate. Everyone who is familiar with Iranian politics knows that Karbaschi is Rafsanjani’s agent. Thus, one of the reasons that Karrubi lost so badly is due to this kind of betrayal from his own ‘advisor.’ Another reason is due to Mousavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard , demand asking people from Lorestan province, both Rahnavard and Karrubi are Lor, to vote for YOUR SON-INLAW when you are casting your votes.
    Thus, many believes that those who play ‘ethnic card’ – usually people vote for their economic interest not stupid ethnic divide in Iran despite the fact that Zionism and imperialism is working among the ethnic group using them for destabilization of Iran – voted for their son in-law, Mousavi instead of Karrubi, a 72 years old cleric who did badly in the debates and is described as almost illiterate in the politics and economics of modern world.
    The imperialists and Zionists must understand:
    He was supported by those who believe he has promoted Iran’s technological and defense progress. There are about three million impoverished women in Iran who weave carpets in their homes. Ahmadinejad brought a law to give them full insurance. Also, Ahmadinejad initiated distribution of some government-owned enterprises’ shares called “Justice Shares,” to redistribute state wealth to the low income Iranians. Justice shares are mutual fund shares of the state-owned enterprises that are privatized.

    Ahmadinejad won the elections contrary to what have said by the enemies of Iran including the ‘Zionist Liberals.’ Shame on you all who spread the elections was fraud hoax.
    http://iran-uk.com/article.php?id=38515

  49. Shabnam said on July 1st, 2009 at 11:28am #

    Please look at the agent of Zionism/imperialism who should be in prison due to his illegal activities in Iran but because of international circumstances, Iranian government was forced to let her go and now is fooling western world by spreading lies to form public opinion against Iran. Shame on you.

    http://www.payvand.com/news/09/jul/1001.html

  50. Deadbeat said on July 1st, 2009 at 12:14pm #

    Mr. Wharton puts forth the following argument…
    I think this movement in Iran is built from various problems internal to the regime. If so, irregardless of the CIA or whatever US/Zionist conspiracy you wish to cook up, it will continue – demanding more and intensifying the conflict with a bankrupt regime.

    How ironic where have I heard that kind of fallacious argument raised before. The idea of taking a dismissive tone towards Zionism to bolster one position plays because of the “Left’s” desire to obscure the influence of Zionism both in the U.S. especially and abroad. I agree with Max’s argument that being from the west it is difficult to really analyze the political dynamic in Iran but it is not difficult to understand the history of U.S. Imperialism and Zionism in the region and their mutual goals. On the other hand there is a underpinning class war in Iran as well and it would not be beyond the CIA to exacerbate class conflicts in order to divide & conquer Iran.

    In this case and I appreciate all the contributor making reasonable and cogent arguments I fall on the side of being against the Zionist agenda of destabilizing Iran. IMO the so-called “protesters” are at best trying to advance their “upper” class interest which is neo-liberalism that may open up some social opportunities and have a “progressive” veneer but will functionally impoverish the masses of Iranian citizens. It is not beyond this elite group to also sell out their people by taking U.S./Israeli bribes in order to feather their nest as well.

    Understanding how the “Left” has for years has obscured and denied Zionism I am extremely skeptical of their professed interest in Iranian internal affairs.

  51. Shabnam said on July 1st, 2009 at 12:51pm #

    Please change “in the last elections” to “in this elections”

    [Gholam-Houssain Karbaschi who convicted for embezzlement was Karrubi’s campaign advisor in this elections.]

  52. lichen said on July 1st, 2009 at 3:34pm #

    Yes, this movement, less than thirty percent of them belonging to the middle or upper classes, is a genuine one and I hope that they win justice for their cause; they are an example to anyone who thinks of themselves as an enemy of their government, and the imperialists are the conspiracy theorists here who wish to destroy a genuine democracy, a genuine people’s movement, and instead stand behind a government that kills civilians in the streets and lodge mindless, condescending insults at the demonstrators.

  53. Andres Kargar said on July 1st, 2009 at 11:26pm #

    Democracy at work – opposition MP allowed to speak and read his petition beyond his time in the Iranian parliament:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7l1MruLmgE

  54. Mulga Mumblebrain said on July 2nd, 2009 at 1:16am #

    Deadbeat, I think you have it. I’m now convinced Wharton is a fraud, a covert supporter of Zionist/US subversion masquerading as a ‘Leftist’. We ought to be used to this type by now. The Islamic Republic has just faced a concerted Western destabilisation campaign, just like Ukraine, Serbia, Belarus, Georgia, and China in 1989, based, as ever, on big lies, endlessly repeated, even after they have been exposed. Any ‘Leftist’ who denies this transparent fact is either, in my opinion, a moron, a fraud or a paid or willing agent of US/Israeli imperialism.

  55. dino said on July 2nd, 2009 at 2:34am #

    Before the Iran elections the free world and ,especially Israeli’s propaganda, make clear that election in Iran is a fake that they want only to show that is possible an Islamic democracy.Short after election Obama said that he don’t believe that are differences between the candidates.And suddenly ,when the riots went on what details appeared about the candidates.Ahmadinejad,sure,is a conservative,a rightist,an extremist-populist-fascist,and Mousavi is a democrat,a pure leftist who wants to bypass the nuclear plane,wants -as a true leftist-to step with USA and Israel,and to stop for ever,for ever the provocative rhetoric about Holocaust.Ahmadinejad is a dictator,an fundamentalist islamist and the fact that he and Chavez are in the same camp shows that he is a dangerous rightist,a devoted islamist-neoliberal.

  56. Deadbeat said on July 2nd, 2009 at 3:39am #

    Mulga,

    When I am in unfamiliar territory as I am about Iranian internal affairs I like to observer how the participant present their arguments. As a “westerner” I am familiar with U.S. politics and to see Mr. Wharton label the interest of Zionist destabilization of Iran a “conspiracy” for me is a dead giveaway. Such a notion plays into the phony “Left’s” agenda of obscuring the Zionism’s influence on furthering U.S. Imperialism. That is not something to dismiss as a “conspiracy” but a problem that need to be brought out into the open and confronted.

    In this case, the people of Iran has to fight this battle. What Mr. Wharton should be doing instead is fighting Zionism and Imperialism here in the U.S. If he and the “Left” was doing that then their perspective would have much greater credibility and there would be no skepticism about their position. This is what I mean by solidarity. Had their been trust (s0lidarity) in the first place then Mr. Wharton position would have greater standing. Unfortunately his dismissive tone towards the desire of Zionists to destabilize Iran is more revealing about his and other like him on the phony “Left” who cannot be trusted and whose “opinions” much be thoroughly scrutinized and questioned.

  57. KL5 said on July 2nd, 2009 at 3:49am #

    Mumblebrain – „I think you have it. I’m now convinced Wharton is a fraud, a covert supporter of Zionist/US subversion masquerading as a ‘Leftist’ “

    Good clairvoyance on dv. If you can be so easily convinced, then you aren´t credible or eligible for serious debate. Your easy conviction seems to be based on prejudice. Conviction is a uselss cultish approach. You want to hear what an alleged leftist would like to hear. And why is this rubbish so important here? You can go left, east, right, north, black, yellow, green, … still you can criticize imperialism. You can look at imperialism from all directions, not only from left. Imperialism is evil in all directions. But leftisim seems to be a matter of prestige on dv.

  58. KL5 said on July 2nd, 2009 at 5:59am #

    live and let live, think and let think. If “leftism” does´nt tolerate other ideas and is “convinced”, then it fulfils the requirements of fascism. That´s how Marx and Lenin tried to swim against the current and they miserably failed. It´s astonishing that there are still farters and personally disordered guys who believe that they can be of any assistance for humanity through self-imaging on dv. They enjoy prosperity in capitalism and freedom of speech, at least as long as they don´t represent any serious threat to plutocracy (otherwise they would be detained), but when it comes to change, they don´t move their ass. they keep sitting at their pc and think that the world needs them.

  59. dan e said on July 2nd, 2009 at 1:36pm #

    Wow. I’ve read a lot of incoherent posts here on DV, but this last assemblage of non-sequiturs by this “KL5″ captures my attention. Now that “Neal” and “Jaime” seem to have moved on there’s an opening here for a new Class Clown but hold the phone, looks like the position has been filled:)

  60. dan e said on July 2nd, 2009 at 1:41pm #

    http://www.counterpunch.org/

  61. dan e said on July 2nd, 2009 at 1:46pm #

    Here’s an article which illustrates/corroborates my controversial hypothesis re the political Richter Scale rating of the Zionist Power Configuration:

    How Goldman Sachs and Citi Run the Show
    The Wall Street White House
    By ANDREW COCKBURN

    http://www.counterpunch.org/ July 2, 2009

  62. Max Shields said on July 2nd, 2009 at 4:39pm #

    dan e,

    I read with interest A. Cockburn’s recent piece on the stocking of BHO’s Treasury and all things finance, with Wall Streeters.

    Disturbing is a mild way of putting it. However, I think you need to make a more definitive connnection to Zionism. Cockburn doesn’t make such a connection.

    It is clear that the bunch from Wall Street are the worst sort of leeches and that Obama has created this by staffing the senior staffing (hiring managers) with this parasitic crowd is beyond words. It follows his general path.

    As I’ve said, Obama is the worst thing that could have happened to any attempt at change, and certainly a horrible president who overwhelmingly voted for him – African Americans.

    The parasites can only exist in a willing host.

  63. Suthiano said on July 2nd, 2009 at 5:19pm #

    Article was good by A Cockburn.

    It goes much deeper.

    Henry Paulson isn’t mentioned by Cockburn. Henry joined Goldman Sachs in 1974, working in the firm’s Chicago office under James P. Gorter. He became a partner in 1982. From 1983 until 1988, Paulson led the Investment Banking group for the Midwest Region, and became managing partner of the Chicago office in 1988. From 1990 to November 1994, he was co-head of Investment Banking, then, Chief Operating Officer from December 1994 to June 1998;[8] eventually succeeding Jon Corzine (now Governor of New Jersey) as its chief executive.

    During his time at Goldman he donated $474,440 to campaigns and both parties.

    Of course Paulson has also worked with the IMF.

    Jon Corzine is the Governor of New Jersey and a former United States Senator. In 1975 he moved to New Jersey to work for Goldman Sachs. He became Chairman and co-CEO of the firm where he worked until 1998. He donated to $923,050 political parties and campaigns while co-CEO of Goldman Sachs.

    Mark Carney is the head of Canada’s central bank. He worked with Goldman Sachs for 13 years, and worked in Russia in 1998 to “help” with the financial crisis.

    The web is extensive….

    Charles E. Schumer: Former congressman, current Senator, Schumer was a supporter of the Iraq War Resolution, is an AIPAC member, and is stridently pro-Israel. Donations received from Goldman Sachs: 1990: $15,500, 1992: $10,300, 1996: $42,000, 1998: $107,550, 2000: $99,500, 2002: $124,550, 2004: $58,040. Total: $457,400

    John Kerry: is the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, he was defeated by 34 electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election by former President, George W. Bush. Senator Kerry is currently the Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations under Barack Obama. He supported the Iraq War Resolution. Donations received from Goldman Sachs: 1990: $13,500, 1996: $7,500, 2002: $18,000, 2004: $303,250

    Joe Lieberman: is the junior United States Senator from Connecticut. Lieberman was first elected to the United States Senate in 1988, and was elected to his fourth term on November 7, 2006. In the 2000 U.S. presidential election, Lieberman was the Democratic candidate for Vice President. Lieberman voted for the Iraq War Resolution. Donations received from Goldman Sachs: 1992; $11,500, 1994: $31,250, 2004: $34,000, 2006: 33,950.

    Hillary Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, she was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. She was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2008 election. Clinton voted for the USA Patriot Act in October 2001. Clinton strongly supported the 2001 U.S. military action in Afghanistan. Clinton voted in favor of the October 2002 Iraq War Resolution. Money received from Goldman Sachs: 2000: $88,170, 2004: $55,000, 2006: $138,570, 2008: $410,350.

    John McCain is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, McCain supported Bush and the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. He and then-Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman wrote the legislation that created the 9/11 Commission. He stated that Iraq was “a clear and present danger to the United States of America”, and voted accordingly for the Iraq War Resolution in October 2002. Money received from Goldman Sachs: 1998: $10,400, 2000: $67,320, 2004: $29,000, 2008: $230,095.

    just a sample…

    Might help make the “zionist” connection.

  64. Suthiano said on July 2nd, 2009 at 6:10pm #

    Update:

    Rolling Stone expose: Goldman Sachs behind every market crash since 1920s

    Goldman Sachs has played a crucial role in creating every market bubble since the 1920s — and has profited from not only the bubbles, but from the crash that followed as well, says a new expose in Rolling Stone magazine.

    An article in the July 9-23 issue of the magazine, written by Matt Taibbi, lists five asset bubbles that the 140-year-old investment bank helped create — and one that Taibbi asserts the firm is currently working to make happen.

    The five bubbles the article says Goldman was central to creating are the Wall Street stock bubble in the 1920s, which led to the Great Depression; the tech-stock bubble of the late 1990s, which ended in the 2001 recession; the housing bubble of the past decade, which resulted in the current economic crisis; the oil price run-up last summer, when oil shot up to $140 a barrel, likely helping tilt the entire world into recession; and what Taibbi describes as “rigging the bailout,” when Goldman Sachs’ well-placed alumni inside the U.S. government engineered last fall’s bank bailout in such a way that the company profited massively.

    Taibbi writes that Goldman Sachs has traditionally been a late arrival to market bubbles, getting in once others have started the trend, but, once in, the company quickly ramps up the bubble, predicts its bursting, and then hedges its bets so as to make money from the bubble crash.

    The article, which is not yet officially available online, adds one more bubble to the list: the “global warming bubble,” or specifically, the proposed cap-and-trade legislation that would allow companies to trade pollution credits on an open market.

    Taibbi’s argument suggests the Wall Street bank may well want to turn climate change policy into yet another Wall Street casino game.

    Because emissions caps will continually be reduced, Taibbi argues, pollution credits will constantly be growing in value, and Goldman Sachs wants in on the ground floor.

    Taibbi writes: “The plan is (1) to get in on the ground floor of paradigm-shifting legislation, (2) make sure that they’re the profit-making slice of that paradigm and (3) make sure the slice is — a big slice. Goldman started pushing hard for cap-and-trade long ago, but things really ramped up last year when the firm spent $3.5 million to lobby climate issues.”

    On his blog, Taibbi has begun a discussion of the public reaction to his article. Some commenters have suggested that Taibbi’s understanding of high finance is limited, accusing him of misreading Goldman Sachs’ actions.

  65. Deadbeat said on July 2nd, 2009 at 11:00pm #

    Max Shields writes in his response to DanE …

    As I’ve said, Obama is the worst thing that could have happened to any attempt at change, and certainly a horrible president who overwhelmingly voted for him – African Americans.

    I think Max could have gotten his point across a lot better. How much influence Zionism has on the banking and finance industry is a subject of debate. There is no obvious “smoking gun” like there is with Zionism’s influence upon U.S. Foreign policy.

    However it is clear that Obama ran his campaign with careful accommodation to Zionists while he attacked African American fathers and distance himself from a harsh critic of Zionism — his own African American pastor — Rev. Wright.

    Infering that because African Americans overwhelming voted for Obama and that lets Zionism off the hook is ridiculous. Had Obama been white, Black would have voted in overwhelming number for the Democratic candidate — as they always do.

    Obama however being Black increased the likihood of African American turnout — which did pay off. But the Black vote alone did NOT put Obama in office. Obama needed the votes of Hispanics and white votes UNDER 30. McCain on the other hand WON the white vote.

    HOWEVER Zionism was going to win HANDS down since the top three candidate (Obama, McCain and Hillary Clinton) ALL support Zionism. So to infer that because Obama won 95% of the Black vote means nothing when it comes to analyzing the influence of Zionism upon the U.S. political economy.

  66. Max Shields said on July 3rd, 2009 at 5:25am #

    DB,
    It’s clear who is running this administration economic direction and their deep ties to Wall Street.

    Rahm Emmanuel is a Zionist. I don’t know that Timothy Geithner is.

    If you are saying that if you are an executive at Goldman Saks you are a Zionists, I think there’s a stretch unless you can make a case for the tie between GS and Zionism in some way.

  67. Billy Wharton said on July 3rd, 2009 at 8:21am #

    The last few posts are really sad. The “Zionist Power Configuration?” “Zionist destabilization?” ” Zionist/US subversion masquerading as a ‘Leftist’.”

    Zionists everywhere! Bankers control the entire world! People of the world manipulated through a barrage of psychological ops!

    Is this really a serious discussion? How could anyone conduct any kind of political work with these sorts of conspiratorial world-views? The are so narrow, that I cannot imagine anything developing out of them other than inaction.

    Folks, human beings make history. They do it in such wonderfully complex ways that all the Goldman Sachs bankers, Zionist agents and CIA spooks cannot stop them. There are a million examples occurring each and every day throughout the world.

    What do you think is more imperialist? Spreading conspiracy theories about how invisible forces rule the world or highlighting the efforts of masses of people to change the course of history. Think about it.

    History exists. Politics are possible. Human beings make both.

  68. Max Shields said on July 3rd, 2009 at 9:07am #

    Let’s be clear there are some who want to make a connection with Zionism which is well beyond the scope of your article Billy.

    For the purposes of focused disagreement, Israel was primarily a Zionist imposition on the region. When I use the term Zionism I am not using it to connote “Jews”, any more than I see neocons as a Jewish cabal.

    Whether the names of the people involved in these imperial crimes have some Jewish heritage is irrelvent for these discussions.

    There are die-hard American Zionists who are NOT Jewish.

    There is no disagreement that history is made through a complexity of events; but the narrative – the historical narrative is dominated by the “winners” of wars and those who control the predominate communication machine.

    There are many books with alternative narratives, truthful narratives, but they are not the “predominate” narratives. Today the narrative being spun about Iran is tied for our consumption by the US dominated narrative. This makes it highly suspect.

    Mixing all this up in a stew of confusion doesn’t lend credence to your case Billy.

  69. Melissa said on July 3rd, 2009 at 9:22am #

    Yes, it is nothing new to realize and repeat that the winners write history to their own suiting . . . that “might makes right” attitude.

    If there is a unified effort to silence other narratives in order to advance an agenda that is damaging to others, what would you call it other than a conspiracy?

    Why are we afraid of full and open inquiry? -Or rather, what are the motives of people to silence the debate by marginalizing those that are willing to ask questions, make connections, and dissent? It is more of the same authoritarianism to take it upon oneself to decide how competent others are to discern fact from mythology in the many sides presented. Fascism isn’t a monopoly of the “right” as we can see.

    Peace,
    Melissa

  70. bozhidar balkas vancouver said on July 3rd, 2009 at 9:34am #

    one of the ancient ploys by the ruling classes everywhere and over millennia is to hide under the words complexity or simplicity.

    ruling classes love to hear how life, history is to ”complex”; meaning to say [tacitly tho, so that one does not espy the lie]: Look you ignorant peasants, Stop yammering and recognize that king and his team is doing the best they can for u.
    or, they’ll say, Hey, it is not that simple as you say. Boy, this shuts dwn an inquiry much quicker than jailings, beatings.

    please, folks, don’t fall for this ancient ruse. Shun, please, both the simplicity and complexity when on descriptive level. Neither of these to elevated words belong on this level; they belong on the level of obnubilation, fantasy, deception.
    where is proof of that? We are still killing children and women for money; as always before because the situation is too damn complex and we are doing our best to achieve peace, prosperity.

    when the word “complex” is used, or appears to be used, as WE DON”T KNOW AND WILL NEVER EVER KNOW, then, to me, that is crime; usually against weakest among us.

    who the hell needs to know everything about afpak before ceasing with slaughter of, is it, 99.99% or 100% innocent people.
    ah, bozh, damn u! U’r just simlifying everything. tnx

  71. Don Hawkins said on July 3rd, 2009 at 10:16am #

    Not to the truth but to the easy way out. Always’ the easy way and this time taking the low road leads to anything but easy. Some have taken the knowledge and used it only for foolishness and of course to make money. Not just a group of people but a system and that system of more and then more with foolishness brings us to 2009 on the dot. Still time with a new way of thinking. The knowledge and the truth is needed and soon. What is the truth? One big one is we are destroying the planet Earth to have more and on this path we end up with nothing. Not to bright and the some will say we are trying. There it is again that laughter off in the distance that seems to be getting closer. It’s the best we can do.

  72. Billy Wharton said on July 3rd, 2009 at 10:28am #

    Max,

    It may be, in the end, that Hamid Dabashi’s position is the correct one. He argues that the post-election movement in just one manifestation of an emerging civil rights movement in the country. The movement does not make “sense” to many Western observers since it is a new moment in the region – i.e. protesters are just trying to renegotiate terms within the confines of the Islamic Republic (not overthrow it). For parallels, Dabashi recommends considering the US Civil Rights movement and the anti-apartheid campaigning in South Africa.

    I disagree with Dabashi. Obviously from my article, I think there is serious structural-economic decay which will not allow the Islamic Republic to adapt to the demands of even an internal civil rights movement. Key to moving beyond this, is some fusion between the current protest movement and long-simmering resentment among organized workers.

    Either way, supporting the notion that a Zionist agenda is behind the protests or that it is a CIA-induced manifestation simply re-enforces the nonsense being peddled by the Guardian Council and Supreme Leader. Why would someone want to do that? What is the anti-imperialist purpose of doing so?

    I lived in Mexico for a while. There was plenty of healthy anti-imperialist sentiment there. Yet workers also had the right to assemble and make protests against their government. They did not receive 5 year sentences for assembling during May Day. Having rights did little to diminish anti-imperialist ideas – if anything it enhanced them.

  73. Melissa said on July 3rd, 2009 at 10:29am #

    Yes. This idea that the future will look like the past is nonsense. Yes, “truth” is now another commodity, not an ideal nor an ethic, in too many spheres.

    Overlay the narratives and the money trails of all, and there are still truths that highlight obfuscation. The most important is that I cannot feed my community with green paper or gold coins, or laws.

  74. Max Shields said on July 3rd, 2009 at 10:45am #

    Billy Wharton,

    You can’t make a credible argument based on “me” not understanding Iran the way an Iranian does, when “you” are not an Iranian.

    But, further, what happens here, in the US, where we “know” and “understand” and can discern the nuances, are not agreeable. That is we all have a framework/prism that these things flow and from it a narrative that is woven.

    Head to head disagreements on “beliefs” get us no where, because our belief system dictates our thought process.

    You “believe” that Iran is in the midst of a “civil rights movement”. Perhaps there is agreement on that “belief” here and in Iran. But where are the leaders; where is the purpose that emerges from all this?

    It’s no where to be found. Holding up pictures of a young lady shot and killed, gives no more purpose than did videos of Rodney King being beaten unmercifully by the LA police. There was no movement. What did the crowd want? What did the crowd in Paris want several years ago when there were several days of riots? Who were their leaders. What was their purpose? Was anything resolved?

  75. Billy Wharton said on July 3rd, 2009 at 11:19am #

    “You can’t make a credible argument based on “me” not understanding Iran the way an Iranian does, when “you” are not an Iranian.”

    This is not my argument. My argument is that you do not care to know or, worse, you seem to think of Iran as a impossible place to know unless one lives there. This is a very old idea about the exotic or impenetrable nature of “the other” – unknowable. I find this thoroughly anti-human.

    Second point about leaders. Two response. As a mass public phenomenon, this movement is very young. It needs time to develop itself and put forward leaders and spokespeople. Second, the movement is being conducted against a highly authoritarian government. Unlike the US Civil Rights movement – where the violence against the movement was mostly extra-legal – protesters in Iran break the law by simply stepping onto the street or having a meeting. The black community in the South controlled protected institutions – particularly churches. This is mostly not the case in Iran though things are still in flux.

    Final point. There was and is a movement against police brutality in just about every urban area in the US. These movements have specific demands and are engaged in day-to-day organizing projects. Many of them were created in the aftermath of the Rodney King beating and the shooting death of Amadou Diallo in NYC.

    The questions facing any social movement are:
    - How much space is available withing a particular society to create consistent organized dissent in a democratic manner
    - Can elites resolve grievances within the boundaries of the existing social order?
    - Can dissenters build bases within the existing institutional framework of a society – eg Black Church in the civil rights movement
    - Is the complaint linked to a fundamental structural-economic contradiction
    - How does the dissent relate to global/external trends and resources

  76. Max Shields said on July 3rd, 2009 at 1:20pm #

    Billy, if this is “not” your argument fine. Don’t try to turn the tables and make it mine – it’s not.

    My point is by tracing US/Iranian history over the last 60 or so years we have some understanding of motive in terms of destablization; we also have thoroughly documented records of US interventionism and CIA or CIA-like destablization.

    A “movement” without an articulated purpose, with no recognizable demands or goals, or leadership (in whatever form) is just a spontaneous crowd reaction to something that incited them (whatever that is – the belief that their guy’s election was stolen ? But for the most part it is a hodgepodge of factions which have yet to form a cohesiveness at best. At worst they are plants of US and Western subversives, some directly others indirectly.)

    The Rodney King incident did have an undercurrent of injustice that runs through to today with the police and the racist penal system. But it was a riot which had no resolution. It was bloody and without direction…many of the people horribly injured were bystanders. It does not reflect a “movement”, but rather an outburst that comes and goes.

    Mexico may allow some dissident behavior, but so what? The US allows it from time to time, it curtails it, subjugates it to the fringes to make it non-existing.

    The system retaliates against that which it sees as a threat. If the “threat” has been nullified, there is little reason to bother with it. If it begins to form real impetus, you watch how quickly the Mexican militia are out in full force crushing it.

    If you think the ability to control dissention is the difference between Mexico and Iran, than you’ve lost all sense of reality.

  77. Don Hawkins said on July 3rd, 2009 at 2:26pm #

    “When the first great climate disaster strikes, I hope we will all pull together just as if our nation were being invaded,”

    It’s like the pre-World War II calm in Britain when I was a young man. No one did anything until bombs began to fall. We really don’t notice climate change; it seems theoretical to most of us. When the first great climate disaster strikes, I hope we will all pull together just as if our nation was being invaded. James Lovelock

    James Lovelock is a thinker like you Max. Just like your last comment I wish too that Lovelock is wrong but unfortunately we don’t need Nostradamus on this anymore. Two million to start one voice calm at peace, Capital.

  78. Billy Wharton said on July 3rd, 2009 at 3:12pm #

    Max,

    I could provide you with an equally extensive argument that the history of the region over the last 60 years involves a variety of attempts by capital to control/curtail labor. More macro actions by the US are just the background noise to this larger struggle. Of course, one is limited to around 1,000 words for an article such as the one which was published on DV.

    A wonderful book by the French historian Maxine Rodinson, Islam and Capitalism, stretches back even further. Another interesting work is that of Edward Said entitled Covering Islam. In it, Said argues that there is a constant problem in the US media regarding coverage of the Islamic world. The problem stems from the very structure of the media.

    His primary example is the coverage of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. He compared the coverage of Le Monde and the NY Times. Le Monde assigned Maxine Rodinson to write reports – he spoke Farsi and has deep historical background. The Times assigned a journalist who had just been in Africa, had no language skills or background in the history of the region. As a result, Le Monde offered nuanced reports which illustrated the sharp struggle between the left and Khomeini. The Times tended to reproduce State Department press releases which viewed the fate of the hostages as the primary story.

    In this case, the focus on the imagined role of the CIA/Zionist conspiratorial forces substitutes a blanket macro factor for a serious analysis of internal conditions. It takes a fairly narrow pre-conceived notion and forces it onto a dynamic historical event.

  79. Deadbeat said on July 3rd, 2009 at 3:39pm #

    In this case, the focus on the imagined role of the CIA/Zionist conspiratorial forces substitutes a blanket macro factor for a serious analysis of internal conditions. It takes a fairly narrow pre-conceived notion and forces it onto a dynamic historical event.

    The idea here is not to get into extremes. The Left has spent these past 35 years providing cover for Zionism’s influence on U.S. Foreign Policy. At the same time it is obvious that there is a class struggle going on in Iran. Since there is evidence of the U.S. desire for regime change in the Iran it is not inconceivable that the U.S./Israel could be involved in exacerbating internal class conflicts to achieve its own goals. To assume not means denying U.S. history and the overthrow of Mossadegh. On the other hand to deny class struggle is to deny Capitalism and the desire by the more educated class who may want to feather their own nest at the expense of the mass of Iranian people.

    As a result, Le Monde offered nuanced reports which illustrated the sharp struggle between the left and Khomeini.

    This was well known at the time of the internal struggle of the Iranian Left and Khomeini. Khomeini was a reactionary but the first step in Iranian liberation was to overthrow the Shah. It is a shame that Khomeini had to come to power but if the U.S. hadn’t overthrew Mossadegh there most likely would never have been a Khomeini.

    In this case I have to essentially agree with Max’s position and I believe it is much better for the the Left to struggle against Imperialism and Zionism at home as the most effective way to assist the Iranian people. I am very skeptical of those that have signed on to Hopi since those signatories have unfortunately used their influence to outright deny and to obscure the growing influence of Zionism in the U.S.

  80. bozhidar balkas vancouver said on July 3rd, 2009 at 3:54pm #

    assuming that 99.99% of ‘jews’ fervently want a ‘jewish’ state and ‘jews’ controling US to a high degree, why don’t then ‘jews’ have a state of their own yet?

    even if we assume, that all of palestine +shebaa+golan, are now in ‘jewish’ possession, why can’t ‘jews’ obtain a permit from US to expel all non-judaic shemites from the three regions?

    so, jews are either impotent to get US to OK an expulsion or they are not as influential as people say.

    if US is frightened of an expulsion [because of unforesen results] then US is in control. tnx

  81. Deadbeat said on July 3rd, 2009 at 4:38pm #

    assuming that 99.99% of ‘jews’ fervently want a ‘jewish’ state and ‘jews’ controling US to a high degree, why don’t then ‘jews’ have a state of their own yet?

    That strawman fallacy is “played out” and stale. Zionism is a racist ideology and the problem has been the lack of confronting this racist ideology head on. These kind of strawmen fallacies has the opposite effect of directly confronting Zionism but are used to essentially obscure and to dismiss any real confrontation. Zionism is not about “Jews”. It is about using power to oppress another group. The fact that Zionism is based on “Jewish” hegemony is the way that Zionism inflate their ranks no different than White Supremacy used “whiteness” to inflate its ranks.

    The fallacy that bozh is trying to convey is that the “U.S.” is in control not Zionism is a fallacious argument. It shift the focus into arguing that there is a “cabal” of Zionist running the U.S. which is really a stupid idea and intellectually lazy. bozh uses this intellectual laziness to frame his fallacy into talking point which he can easily shoot down or make his opponent look ridiculous — thus the strawman.

    We know that the ruling class embraces Zionism because they are on record saying such. Let’s not forget Joe Biden famous quote “we are all Zionist now”. Therefore Zionism is not EXCLUSIVE of the “U.S.”. but is an INTEGRATED part of United States’ society. The Left has FAILED on this front by only offering up denials and ridicule rather than really confront this racist ideology. If the Left was really serious about confronting “U.S. Imperialism” as they claim they are then they would be serious about confronting Zionism.

  82. Max Shields said on July 3rd, 2009 at 4:52pm #

    Billy said, “In this case, the focus on the imagined role of the CIA/Zionist conspiratorial forces substitutes a blanket macro factor for a serious analysis of internal conditions. It takes a fairly narrow pre-conceived notion and forces it onto a dynamic historical event.”

    There is nothing imagined about over $400,000 to destablize the Iranian government. You can deny it, you can ignore it. It is real and Obama has added to the pot.

    Why would you call a well known effort to destablize the Iranian government “imagined” and yet you take a massive crowd with no focus, rioting as something that represents not only a cohesive movement, but one that sees Ahmadinejad as the cause for privatizing government run industries. That, afterall, is YOUR argument. Western promoted (internally and externally) rioters don’t want privatization is like saying Mexican don’t want tacos and rice.

    I think you are the one suffering a bout of illusion. Imagination is good but your story lacks substance as I’ve said from the beginning. There’s just too many facts that support the opposite of what you purport.

    I don’t disagree that a non-farsi speaking reporter is not going to get the story, but then, some of the story may extend beyond the boundaries of Iran.

  83. Billy Wharton said on July 3rd, 2009 at 6:01pm #

    Max,

    I lived in Oaxaca, Mexico for a while. No tacos. Rice, I guess, but no real culture around it. Corn was far more important. I think the taco thing might be northern Mexican thing. I was only in Puebla for a little while and I do not think tacos fly very well in Chiapas. I imagine then that there are plenty of folks from Mexico who are not interested in either tacos or rice. It just takes a bit of curiosity to discover this.

  84. Max Shields said on July 3rd, 2009 at 6:23pm #

    Look, taco bread is a central part of Mexican diet. It comes from indigenous maize that’s got a 2,000 year history.

    But of course you know that you’re just playing ignorant…right?

  85. Melissa said on July 3rd, 2009 at 6:25pm #

    giggles

  86. brian said on July 12th, 2009 at 12:27am #

    The following contrary opinions are in circulation about President Ahmadinejad of Iran : he is a privatiser or he is not…

    1. he is not:

    ‘On the face of it, that looks improbable. Deng Xiaoping was always an outward-looking economic reformer as well as a political oppressor. Ahmadinejad is not. He has halted or reversed Mohammad Khatami’s tentative efforts toward a market economy and privatization of state enterprises. It is hard to imagine Ahmadinejad as anything other than a crude populist with scant understanding of economic issues. But Iran’s current leaders may well determine that economic and social liberalization — as in the case of China — can save the revolution, or at least their place in it. We have seen what China has done in the name of Communism. What somersaults might the mullahs and their military backers perform in the name of Islam?’

    2, the there is this, circulating on left wing sites:

    ‘Since his election in 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, under the guidance of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, has overseen a regime dedicated to the privatization of state-controlled industries. The intention of the regime, as stated by the newly appointed Governor of the Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Seyyed Shams Al-din Hosseini, is to privatize 80% of state-owned industries by 2010′

    ‘Meanwhile, somewhere deep inside Evin prison, clandestine communications may be being initiated between a jailed bus driver and a newly minted student radical or an ailing baker and young rock-throwing worker. These actors need little help in understanding that Ahmadinejad’s regime, despite all his populist rhetoric, has worked hand-in-hand with IMF privatizers. After failing to deliver on his populist rhetoric, Ahmadinejad has stolen the election. Now, his only recourse is state repression. On the streets, something far more brilliant is underway — an open-ended emancipation project demanding nothing less than political freedom’

    Now: who knows whats true…What IS true is the Billy Wharton in number 2 hates Ahmadinejad…but then so does Bowring, i suspect. What is clear is that he is popular where it counts: with his own people…hence he is called a populist…what western leader can claim to be a populist…only obama, for now.

  87. brian said on July 12th, 2009 at 1:20am #

    Billy:

    firstly:

    ‘While Ahmadinejad crafted just enough populist rhetoric to provide headlines’

    Thats your perception…and its called demonisation. ‘Crafted’? I dont think so and you cant substantiate that he is not genuine

    and:
    ‘Ahmadinejad’s reign ‘

    ‘Pro-market privatizations have been combined with harsh restrictions on worker’s ability to organize in order to advance Ahmadinejad’s neo-liberal restructuring of Iran. Although Iran is technically a member of the International Labor Organization, and thereby mandated to allow free trade unions, workers are restricted from forming independent unions’

    Like in Venezuela where the free labor unions organised with the business owners/bosses to remove Chavez
    not the word id use as it signifies absolute power….which we know he does not have…

    Then:
    ‘Pro-market privatizations have been combined with harsh restrictions on worker’s ability to organize in order to advance Ahmadinejad’s neo-liberal restructuring of Iran’

    Really? Its strange then that A isa friend of anti-neoliberalHugo Chavez and the govt of venezuela.That he attended the inauguration of an anti-neoliberal Correa of Ecuador.

    What we do see is a concerted effort to have ahmadinejad removed and replaced with…who? If the mass of people vote for Ahmadinejad thats their democratic choice…and its not up to the bill whartons to contradict them, or agitate for his removal…thats not democracy.
    ======================

    ‘I think you are missing my overall argument’

    No its abundantly clear. but its a new approach to claim Ahmadinejad is a privatisor when thats been the claim for mousavi! You do say the election was stolen…it wasnt and theres no mor evidence it was than that A is a nasty privatisor.
    Ive seen many left wing sites support the idea the election was fraudulent from Louis Proyects to Lenin blog….This doesnt make it so,but it does show left wing commentators are no more honest when their desires are crossed.
    ==================
    Now what ive not been able to find are direct quotes from Ahmadinejad on neoliberalism policy. What i DO see is Whartons lies about vote fraud and a demonisation of president ahmadinejad

  88. Hue Longer said on July 12th, 2009 at 6:09am #

    Mulga Mumblebrain on July 1st, 2009 at 1:05am brought up some things that I’ve been trying to get across to those holding the argument, “why would the US try vote fixing (or vote fixing propaganda ) during an election,when the guy they’d get would be the same”? Of course pointing at the plain as daylight US money and smear campaign should raise a very serious “why” as opposed to a dismissive one, but…

    Think tanks don’t take things personal and are never surprised. The only ones who are or who seem to be surprised by “failures” are the “gentlemen” whose job it is to offer- and many time believe the noble lies fed to them before a press briefing. These people don’t gamble because every scenario has been worked out and it’s merely a matter of reacting according to the already worked out solution. If one can imagine a group of small time managers or sports coaches doing this, then surely they can understand that the powers who make up the ruling class go well beyond hoping that their plan works?

    I think that no matter how “bad” US destabilization plans went down in Iran or how “dumb” it was because of only minor differences being reached with success, obvious goals were easily met– Especially convincing good white folks across the planet that Iranians live in tyranny and bombing all of them would be no worse than allowing them to suffer at the hands of evil oppressors. It’s an old and worn script with such recent examples as Iraqis being raped by Sadam’s sons and women in Afghanistan not being able to show their sexy lips…these being true ain’t the point! Making US citz mercy killers is.

    I’ve read that irony used to be far from funny…I feel very sad for those in Iran thinking that they operate outside Empire’s influence and control. As far as US (or Aus or any other client/bitch) citz backing them? It’s like going to a movie and cleansing your own shameful participation and compliance by safely rooting on your doomed hero.

  89. Shabnam said on July 12th, 2009 at 7:12am #

    Ahmadinejad is NOT the architect of privatization in Iran. Rafsanjani, a corrupt cleric businessman who supports Mousavi and his campaign with his enabler Mohammad Khatami former president, who has extensive secret relations with the West are the main architect of privatization, Market economy, in Iran. It was during Khatami’s presidency with guidance from Rafasnjani’s camp where they were able to change article 44 of the constitution to allow privatizing the wealth of the nation, up to 600 billion dollars, to benefit the rich including themselves. It was Ahmadinejad who slowed down the paste of privatization process arguing that there are many impediments in the system to be corrected before speeding privatization process where benefiting only the rich and their cronies. Thus, he tried to silent his opponents by giving the oil money in the form of Edalat shares to the public and honoring his promise where was made during his elections campaign in 2005 that “I will bring the oil money to your dining table.” This policy has been very successful since many people who voted for Rafsanjani in 2005 have switched their loyalty to Ahmadinejad and voted for Ahmadinejad in 2009. This policy and other assistance to the poor in form of increases in salary and hand like giving land for 99 years under affordable condition made his enemies, the Iranian rich cooperation with the enemy in the West, to stage a coup in a form of ‘color revolution’ to bring him down and hand out the presidency to Rafsanjani and his puppet Mousavi to protect his own interest and the West interest by privatizing the wealth of the Iranian people, up to $600 Billions, by increasing the paste of privatization of 80 percent of the economy following Milton Friedman policy. Other clowns who were running in the elections promising the same think. Rezaie, another conservative candidate, is a strong supporter of Market economy and follower of the Friedman’s vision so Karrubi who was surrounded by corrupt and Rafsanjani’s puppet as a ‘advisor’ but in fact as spy to have Karrubi under control of Rafsanjani and other figure like Abbas Abdi, a former hostage taker and now nothing but a puppet of the West.
    This election shows that Noam Chomsky and his phony “left” who believe the Iranian elections was ‘fraud’ are not supporting Iranian people rather they are using the Iranian 5th column in Iran and abroad to form public opinion against Iran to help Israel and the US agenda in the region. This policy is helpful to secular Zionist ‘left’ including a liar by the name of Benny Morris who is advocating a ‘nuclear holocaust’ against Iranian people to remove the imaginary Iranian ‘nuclear weapon’ while leaving Israel’s stockpile of nuclear bombs intact ready to able Israel to establish ‘Greater Israel’ according to Oded Yinon directions.
    http://www.zmag.org/zspace/commentaries/3922