Monday, June 29, 2009

One world is busy being born. Another’s busy dying. The uprising changes everything.

My Tyee column today takes a look at the prospects for solidarity with the Iranian uprising in the context of deeply reactionary currents in Left politics, and the implications for a profoundly hopeful politics of internationalism and unity. I'll have more tomorrow, and I'll link to it from here (UPDATE: It's in the National Post today with the headline Tehran's Worst Nightmare. More background here).

(NB More on the stupefaction on the Left, noticed from a decidely left-wing point of view: "The voices that we hear today from part of the Left are tragically reactionary. Siding with religious fundamentalists with the wrong assumptions that they are anti-imperialists and anti-capitalists, is aligning with the most reactionary forces of history. This is a reactionary left, different from the progressive left which has always been on the side of the forces of progress." Here.)

What's dying is a cynical "anti-imperialist" politics that divides the world into two camps, with American-Israeli imperialists on one side and a "resistance" of plucky Islamists on the other. It a politics that divides the world's workers against themselves, and absurdly situates the brutal, antisemitic despot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the same camp where the western "Left" pitches its tent.

What's busy being born is a new kind of politics, informed by the best and bravest traditions of the Left, but enlivened by its own "post-ideological" underpinnings. The students, workers, feminists and liberals of Iran are leading the way, learning as they go. The pro-democracy movement is practically leaderless. It's now taken on a life of its own.

The uprising changes everything. Not just in Iran. But in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, Europe, North America, everywhere.

Here are some friends:

As always, Justice for Iranian Workers. Also Arash Abadpour, now at the University of Toronto, is a keen observer of the Iranian pro-democracy movement, and his Persian mirror is one of the most popular blogs in Iran. His English language blog is here. For updates on events in Iran and solidarity events in Canada, make a friend of Pouya Alagheband on Facebook. One of the best bloggers for links to analyses and context is our comrade Jeff Weintraub, who blogs here. Also highly recommended for commentary and insight are Mehrtash and Azarmehr.

Here is a little thing you can do to help.

Meanwhile, Anti-Utopia (From Tehran with Love), asks: "Where is my vote? Where are my friends?" And in Boston, Martin provides a translation from Maariv, where Ben Caspit and Ben-Dror Yemeni ask similarly unsettling questions: "Where did all the people who demonstrated against Israel's brutality in Operation Cast Lead, in the Second Lebanon War, in Operation Defensive Shield, or even in The Hague, when we were dragged there unwillingly after daring to build a separation barrier between us and the suicide bombers, disappear to? We see demonstrations here and there, but these are mainly Iranian exiles. Europe, in principle, is peaceful and calm. So is the United States. Here and there a few dozens, here and there a few hundreds. Have they evaporated because it is Tehran and not here?"

In Tehran, Morad Farhadpour and Omid Mehrgan provide something of an answer: "Global public opinion and, especially, the body of (leftist) intellectuals, Inspired by recent events in the middle Asia and east Europe, mostly regard this Iranian mass protest as another version of the well-known, newly invented, neo-liberal, U.S.-sponsored, colour-coded revolutions, as in Georgia and Ukraine. . . .the question, which has confused the western (left) intelligentsia and has caused the most varied misunderstandings regarding Iran, is whether Ahmadinejad is a leftist, anti-imperialist, anti-privatization, anti-globalization figure. The common answer is a positive one. . . the fact that millions transcending their identity and immediate interests joined a typically universal militant politics by risking their lives in defence of Mousavi and their dignity, should be enough to cast out all doubts or misguided pseudo-leftist dogmas."

But Ahmadinejad need not feel too lonely. At least the Nazis still like him.

Stand with the people of Iran. The people will win, and here's Andy Madadian and friends. Stand by me:


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