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   Usually the Left's POV is pretty cut and dried.  We are for healthcare, against Republican hypocrite perverts, for Chavez, against waterboarding, etc.  But I STILL don't know who the good guys and the bad guys are in Iran.

    Chavez says that the Iranian protest is just another "Color Revolution". Petras claims that Ahmadinejad truly does have the support of the salt-of-the-earth people in the countryside. The Guardian claims that Mosauvi is practically the next George Washington. So. Who exactly is right, er, I mean, Left? And will this be the issue (aside from Obama of course) that tears the Left apart?

If Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, had wished to show that the state could be responsive, he would have avoided the harsh language he used yesterday at the Friday prayer meeting at Tehran university. He would have said, or at least hinted, that the election results could be reconsidered. He would not have threatened demonstrators. He would not have attacked foreign powers. He would, in short, have faced up to the fact that his problem is that huge numbers of Iranians will not accept his mere assertion that the results were genuine. If he ever had that kind of authority, he does not have it now. They deem him to be a liar.

  And here's what Paul Craig Roberts has to say:

The claim is made that Ahmadinejad stole the election, because the outcome was declared too soon after the polls closed for all the votes to have been counted. However, Mousavi declared his victory several hours before the polls closed. This is classic CIA destabilization designed to discredit a contrary outcome. It forces an early declaration of the vote. The longer the time interval between the preemptive declaration of victory and the release of the vote tally, the longer Mousavi has to create the impression that the authorities are using the time to fix the vote. It is amazing that people don’t see through this trick.

   But no matter who is right, er, Left, in this matter, it still breaks my heart to see so many people injured and killed in Tehran.

All of Iran could be falling apart right now -- and this is a true tragedy, no matter what the cause or who is right or wrong. And at this point in time,  I don't freaking CARE which side is right and which side is wrong in Iran.  I only care that a country I have traveled in and have become deeply attached to is currently being torn apart.

Originally posted to jpstillwater on Sat Jun 20, 2009 at 10:58 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    quoted waaaaaaaay too much.

    "ENOUGH!" - President Barack Hussein Obama

    by indiemcemopants on Sat Jun 20, 2009 at 11:03:10 PM PDT

    •  Want me to quote Craig Paul Roberts too? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm up for that:

      The claim is made that Ahmadinejad stole the election, because the outcome was declared too soon after the polls closed for all the votes to have been counted. However, Mousavi declared his victory several hours before the polls closed. This is classic CIA destabilization designed to discredit a contrary outcome. It forces an early declaration of the vote. The longer the time interval between the preemptive declaration of victory and the release of the vote tally, the longer Mousavi has to create the impression that the authorities are using the time to fix the vote. It is amazing that people don’t see through this trick.

      As for the grand ayatollah Montazeri’s charge that the election was stolen, he was the initial choice to succeed Khomeini, but lost out to the current Supreme Leader. He sees in the protests an opportunity to settle the score with Khamenei. Montazeri has the incentive to challenge the election whether or not he is being manipulated by the CIA, which has a successful history of manipulating disgruntled politicians.

      There is a power struggle among the ayatollahs. Many are aligned against Ahmadinejad because he accuses them of corruption, thus playing to the Iranian countryside where Iranians believe the ayatollahs' lifestyles indicate an excess of power and money. In my opinion, Ahmadinejad's attack on the ayatollahs is opportunistic. However, it does make it odd for his American detractors to say he is a conservative reactionary lined up with the ayatollahs.

    •  An Iranian blogger explains the Basiji thugs (0+ / 0-)

          Naj runs a very good blog about Iran.  She posted my stories from Tehran last fall -- but that's not the the best reason to check out her blog at

      Monday, June 22, 2009
      Neda's (and other martyr's) Memorial:
      Just a quick note.  Today, The People had planned to remember their martyrs by a silent sit-in vigil in "7 Tir square".

      Basijis (of course many basijis, who would have been the true guardians of Iran are resigning in protest of sullying their names in recent events) have been bussed-in to prevent people from forming large crowds. (pepper spray, tear gas, and batons--add to it body odor, FREAKINGLY ugly faces, and disgustingly thuggish manners).

      Instead, people are turning on their car's headlights ...

      They have been successful in intimidating people into inaction, but it is not the fear of death really, it is the indignity of dying in the hands of such gangsters ... please do not believe these who engage in beating of people subscribe to ANY high moral or religious ground ... they are gangsters, on a payroll ... they are as much representative of Iranians 'rural and religious' as those deranged teens who open fire on their highschool classmates in American schools are representative of an American youth ...

      We must resist stereotyping the true believers of Islam and Islamic revolution with these ugly men who are brutalizing their fellow countrymen ...

      Communications are cut ... I have no news of my family ... and I Am very very very worried ...
      Posted by Naj at Monday, June 22, 2009  

  •  For Chavez? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Delirium, bigjacbigjacbigjac

    Is the left's POV really that cut and dried on Chavez?

    Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
    A yam.
    What a Yam!
    And that's all that - A yam.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Jun 20, 2009 at 11:07:45 PM PDT

    •  I certainly wouldn't characterise it that way (4+ / 0-)

      He was given some benefit of the doubt early on, but I think he's been bleeding left-wing support for a while. Rather than trying to set up any sort of viable socialist party that can outlive him, he seems to have gone out of his way to try to purge any potential rivals, so his party is still pretty weak, and he seems to regard himself as personally indispensable. More recently, he's stooped to attacking the oil-workers' unions, trying to blame the state oil company's weakening finances on them being "greedy" (a classic corporate move).

      "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

      by Delirium on Sat Jun 20, 2009 at 11:18:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  depends on what side you look at it from (4+ / 0-)

    People like Chavez and George Galloway are coming at it strictly from the perspective of supporting anything that is a US counterweight in the international arena. That's not really "left" so much as it is a particular side in a geopolitical game, forming an odd alliance of lefty and righty states unified only really by their opposition to the US's role.

    If you look at it from the perspective of what would lead to a more progressive Iranian society, I find it hard to think that Ahmadinejad stacks up well against almost any possible competition. His strong roots in the security services and role in expanding the morality-police militias and shutting down newspapers make him a classic police-state authoritarian conservative. Mousavi is probably not a liberal, but he gives every indication that he'd at least be a Khatami-style reformist, making the state a bit less repressive.

    "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

    by Delirium on Sat Jun 20, 2009 at 11:10:25 PM PDT

    •  It's more nuanced than that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As a fervent believer in the people in the streets in Iran, and also a fervent believer in the people in the streets in Venezuela that have stopped various coup attempts against Chavez, I don't see the position of George Galloway and Chavez's to be coming from the same motivation.

      I skewered the position of the Galloway types in this essay for Narco News and Counterpunch this week:

      What the Left Should Be Learning from Iran.

      I think the Galloways and Petrases have lost their way, much like the wayward leftists that continued to support Mussolini and "that other guy in Europe" long after it became clear that their purportedly "left" experiments had crossed the dark side into fascism.

      Chavez's situation is different.

      Chavez's "position" (which really isn't much more than a few statements to the press and has no real effect on what happens in Iran) can be understood better in light of A. public opinion in Venezuela and B. geopolitical realities of OPEC (oil producing) nations.

      1. The People: When the Venezuelan people look at events in Iran right now, those events sound like the efforts by Western media and Washington to charge electoral fraud and support coups d'etat against their victories. It's akin to a war veteran who after bloody battles hears a car backfire and jumps from his chair thinking it's a gun going off. Chavez, like any democratically elected president, is going to inform his responses to world events in accordance with the public opinion of his citizenry.
      1. The Venezuelan Economy: Venezuela is so totally dependent on oil (and its price) for its economic well-being, and Chavez has played a key role internationally in raising the price of oil in order to benefit his economy. He's become an important player in OPEC, which sets that price, and has carefully cultivated positive relationships with all OPEC states, of which Iran is an extremely important member.

      While I strongly disagree with Chavez's immediate position (one that is likely to moderate over time), I can understand it.

      I don't, however, find much nuance in the Petras-Galloway position, which is also based on a false set of "facts" - mainly this idea that millions of Iranians in the streets are somehow dupes of manipulation from Washington and Tel Aviv. The objective conditions demonstrate otherwise. They're being knee-jerk dinosaurs, and are on the wrong side of history, just as wrong as those that cheered the coup attempts in Venezuela.

      •  thanks for the analysis (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Field

        That makes sense; I can see Chavez's position from that respect.

        Galloway's article actually surprised me (in a bad way) in its knee-jerkness. I wasn't that surprised he was taking the side he did, but I thought he might have made some sort of argument for his position. But this is the entirety of his argument for why the ballots were in fact counted:

        The counting, too, was awesome. And, by the way, there were observers from all four camps present throughout these stages.

        Not the world's most convincing refutation of fraud claims...

        "See a world of tanks, ruled by a world of banks." —Sol Invictus

        by Delirium on Sun Jun 21, 2009 at 12:21:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  19th & 20th century frameworks are breaking down (4+ / 0-)

    and it's true on the left as well as the right.  In fact, one of our few advantages at this point in time is that our old frameworks seem to have broken down before the right's, which means the right (which in my usage includes much of what in AMerica is considered "centrist" or even "center-left") are still clinging to fantasy that their ideological, political and strategic models are working.  Meanwhile certain elecments of the left have been able to move ahead ideologically and politically; e.g., instead of Chavez, Zapatistas.  I do give Chavez "critical support" simply because he's been put in the "whipping boy" chair by the corporate neo-colonialists, but in his practice he doesn't offer anything really new, anything that hasn't alredy been tried and already failed.  Time to let go of all caudillismo, of the left as well as the right.

    Iran is one of the great nexus points of this breakdown, because that was the place some of these realignments got their earliest start.  While the overthrow of Mossadegh and the installation of the Shah was classic 19-20th century rightism, the revolution which in turn brought down the Shah was on the one hand anti-imperialist and actively involved most of the Iranian left, but was also heavily infested by a socially reactionary far right, which eventually gained hegemonic control of revolutionary Iran.  

    One of our big problems in analyzing the situation today is that Iran has largely been sealed off from much of the rest of the world, by both its own authoritarians, and by the state and corporate actors of globalism who sought to quarantine the fragment that wouldn't allow itself to be swallowed up in the neoliberal consensus.  I suspect it will only be if  the reformers prevail, then we'll see which elements of that movement (if any) fit into a new, more decentralized and libertarian left in the fight against neoliberal neocolonialism and the universalization of precarity.

    "When the government becomes a lawbreaker, it invites every man to become a law unto himself." ~ Justice Brandeis

    by ActivistGuy on Sat Jun 20, 2009 at 11:22:10 PM PDT

    •  Framework breaking down... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim W, bigjacbigjacbigjac

      Yes, Vietnam showed up this -- that military might just isn't enough and a high body count doesn't mean that you win wars.  But will the old framework be replaced with something better -- and if so what?  And if so, WHEN?  We need new paradigms now.  If the human race is to survive.  Revolutionary -- evolutionary -- jumps are called for here.  I just don't see it happening anywhere  right now.

  •  Ahmadenjad & Khamenei are bad guys.... (3+ / 0-)

    They made that abundantly clear on Friday & Saturday.

    I really don't know if you could call any of the opposition "good guys" -- they're united by being sick of the authoritarian brutality, and that's about it.  It's a grand coalition, and that's why I think it will win.  What happens after it wins I have no idea.  Remember the aftermath of 1979.

    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

    by neroden on Sat Jun 20, 2009 at 11:59:09 PM PDT

  •  this a movement that has gone beyond being (2+ / 0-)

    about the election. if that was indeed what it was about to begin with.

    "Michele Bachmann is like the demi glace of wingnuttia." - Chris Hayes, Countdown, 2/18/09

    by rasbobbo on Sun Jun 21, 2009 at 12:14:42 AM PDT

  •  I think I got it now.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim W, DeeDee001, bigjacbigjacbigjac

    After reading an e-mail from an Iranian posted on Novekeo, I think I understand the situation over there a little bit better.  Iranians appear to be pissed off because they are tired of the old religious dictatorship that is hoarding the oil money and making the ladies wear unstylish clothes.  Plus the government is cutting off cell phones and dismantling satilite dishes too and that pisses Iranians off even more.

       However.  According to the Novekeo source, Iranians are also quite angry because Voice of America and the western press are feeding the flames of dissent, and Iranians also feel that America is taking advantage of this internal debate to attack Iran.  But make no mistake.  If Iran is under threat from outside, ALL Iranians will rally to the cause. They all remember what America did in the 1950s and what America did to Iraq. And Obama had better keep his mouth shut too.

  •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

    for increasing my understanding of Iran.

    A little bit.

    It is a start.

    We must constantly learn, or we will die.

    Of course we will die someday, anyway.

    But I want to learn until I die.

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