Sunday, June 24, 2007

Iran's Clerical State Escalates its War Against it Own People

The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has launched a new "crackdown" on its own citizens in the name of "national security" and religious moral purity. The crackdown continues and extends the arrests of trade unionists, student activists, and women's rights activists that the regime, which uses its own version of a religious "culture war" to cover up its failures to deliver on any of its promises to the rural and urban poor, has been carrying forward for months.

Since I have written about this regime in PA online before, particularly its reactionary adventurer president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his high profile association with European neo-Nazis as a sponsor of "Holocaust denial" anti-Jewish racist propaganda , let me say that Ahmadinejad is really not the point here.

He, as U.S. media, and I confess myself in my own PA writings, have either ignored or not made clear, is not the central figure in the regime. He is more of a prime minister for the religious "supreme leader," Ayatollah Khamenei, successor in that post to the founder of the clerical state, Ayatollah Khomeini, out of the 1978 revolution. It is Khamenei who holds both the juridical and through his leadership in the clerical power structure, real power.

It is important that the left generally and the Communist movement particularly condemn both these actions and the regime in a principled way, without fear that this will help the Bush administration and its allies, who are using this heightened repression against Iranian people to increase their war preparations against Iran, just as Khamenei and the clerical regime is using those preparations to arrest tens of thousands of people and engage in grotesque public humiliations of people caught in public violating their religious code of personal conduct in the name of "national unity" and "national security."

This is not about "West and "East," about different "cultures." Civil liberties, as defined in principle under the United Nations Charter of Human Rights after the Second World War (which the U.S government resisted because of its fear that this would interfere with segregation) here are universal standards which, while they have to be adopted to specific circumstances to be effective, must be defended by the left and especially by the Communist movement.

First, we should make it clear that the "Islamic Republic" has continued many of the brutal repressive policies and institutions that it inherited from the Shah's U.S. supported twenty-five year dictatorship. Just as the weapons it received were U.S., even its "National Security Council" takes its name from its former U.S. master.

Its propaganda of national security and national unity, even of conservative culural religious "purity", mimics in important ways both European fascist movements and regimes and for that matter the U.S. "McCarthyism" whose Internal Security Act, political and cultural blacklists, and very small by the Islamic Republic of Iran's standards, were used to suppress the leading forces of the left and advance the cold war.

Some on the left are confused by Ahmadinejad. particularly, who meets with Hugo Chavez and other anti-imperialist world leaders whom the Bush administration targets one week, and then aids and abets Hitler fascists and other enemies of humanity the next.

We should really see this for what it is, the political maneuvering of a brutal reactionary regime which, in its largely defensive conflict against a globally brutal U.S. imperialism, undertakes such action in its own interests. In essence, the regime is far closer in its relationship to its own people and what it represents globally to Ahmadenijad's European fascist friends than it is in any way to Hugo a socialist oriented anti-imperialist, like Hugo Chavez, except of course having at this moment a common enemy.

Just as no one on left supported or remained silent about the domestic and global crimes Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the 1970s because they ended U.S. opposition to seating the People's Republic of China, signing a Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with the Soviet Union, and advancing a concept of d├ętente, all of which were positive steps and all of which they undertook to advance both U.S. imperialism and their own power in the U.S. as they saw it, no one on the left should remain silent about the intensified repression in Iran today.

The ruling classes of the capitalist world have no interest in either the rights or the social welfare of the Iranian people. How could they, given their role in overthrowing the last secular parliamentary regime that Iran had because its elected leaders nationalized Iranian oil and largely creating, supporting, and profiting from the Shah's brutal twenty-five year dictatorship.

Even the press accounts concerning these events highlight the three American citizens who have been arrested and are being held in preventive detention, not the tens of thousands of Iranians whom the regime is boasting that it has "detained" in its mass arrests.

The broad left's support for the democratic, secular, and working class forces in and outside of Iran should be unequivocal. Communists and all friends and allies of Communists particularly should focus their support of and solidarity with the Tudeh Party of Iran, remembering that the Tudeh Party since its inception has been the most advanced for in Iran fighting for a secular democratic and socialist state and society and still is.

We should also make the point that the Shah's regime, the present clerical regime, and the CIA from Truman to Bush have all sought to destroy the Tudeh Party inside and outside Iran, with the CIA playing an open role in that regard under the Shah's regime, and, according to analysts of the early history of the clerical regime, supplying the clerical regime with lists of names of Tudeh Party members and supporters to aid in their repression.

We should also trust in our ability to explain such matters to working people and in the ability of working people to act in their own interest to extend the fight for peace and democracy, which capitalists and their media twist into a policy that justifies war to control the world's natural resources and labor.

Norman Markowitz


Thomas Riggins said...

Norman: thank you for this article. I was going to take this on but I could not have done it so well as you. But, what does Tudeh think about this? And you need editing. The way your article appears, I mean, the lines are all broken up, it looks like a mess, no paragraphs, etc. Its painful to read. You should ask either J or me to form it better. Also, you should googel nyc indymedia and publish your article there-- you can edit it to your liking and influence another big audience that should be hearing from you. Tom

john m. said...

Thank you Professor. Excellent commentary on a situation that can be confusing for American progressives.