Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

February 20, 2010

The latest idiocy from Edward S. Herman and David Peterson

Filed under: Iran — louisproyect @ 6:50 pm

A typically long-winded piece (4500 words) by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson in defense of the Ahmadinejad government has just shown up on MRZine, the 24/7 website for Islamic Republic handouts. Herman and Peterson used to peddle their wares on ZNet but apparently editor Michael Albert either finds their views so out of whack with his own or worries that their inclusion might result in a loss of contributions during annual fundraisers. Unlike ZNet and Counterpunch, MRZine doesn’t have one of those running tabs of reader contributions. Perhaps if they solicited donations on the basis of firing the boneheaded editor Yoshie Furuhashi, I might be enticed to send in a couple of hundred dollars.

The occasion for Herman and Peterson’s latest is a full-page ad in the New York Times sponsored by the Eli Wiesel foundation—unfortunately recovered from the Madoff losses apparently—to call for a military attack on Iran signed by 44 Nobel laureates, a “substantial fraction Jewish”. Nice to see these two nitwits stumbling into James Petras territory.

Once they have made the case for opposing war with Iran, they address “the important question of what the people of Iran really want. ” Given Herman and Peterson’s impeccable credentials as scholars of Iranian society, politics and history and their clear mastery of the Persian language, I could not wait to hear how the two experts would channel the innermost thoughts of the Iranian population. Mostly, their expertise turns out to be an ability to read polls. Since time after time they reveal solid support for Ahmadinejad, how dare we question the results?

They begin by debunking the idea that there was ballot-stuffing of the sort widely reported to have taken place in the last election in Afghanistan since 3 American polls predicted an Ahmadinejad victory:

Then, during the run-up to the 2009 election, an opinion poll completed by three U.S. groups just three weeks before the vote found that, for those Iranians willing to commit themselves, Ahmadinejad would beat Mousavi by better than a 2-to-1 margin (34% – 14%), a slightly higher ratio of victory than the official election results as reported by the Interior Ministry on June 13 (63% – 34%).

In just about every article that relies heavily on polling data to support the notion that Ahmadinejad was the democratic choice of the people, there is not the slightest engagement with the electoral system in Iran, which is patently anti-democratic. Including this latest bon-bon from Herman and Peterson.

If you search the article for a reference to “Guardian Council”, the unelected body that has the real power in Iran, you will find none. Nor will you find a single reference to Ali Khameni, the Supreme Leader of the Guardian Council who enjoys a lifetime tenure thanks to his ability to translate the Quran into political diktat. His brother Hadi Khamenei once said that the Guardian Council’s vetting of candidates was undemocratic. Just to show him that they mean business, the Guardian Council rejected Hadi Khamenei’s candidacy for a seat in the Assembly of Experts for “insufficient theological qualifications.” Brilliant. MRZine’s own Assembly of Experts now defends this system that rules the brother of the Supreme Leader as insufficiently Islamic as sufficiently revolutionary and democratic.

What really galls me, however, is the facile comparison between Sandinista Nicaragua and the Islamic Republic in which the protestors are implicitly compared to the contra:

It is important to keep in mind, however, that economic sanctions, U.S. and NATO-bloc wars in countries to Iran’s east and west, ongoing U.S. and Israeli military threats against Iran, and foreign-organized terrorism and subversion inside Iran, all have proven costly and painful to Iran’s citizens, and had feedback effects on their attitudes towards their government (as was true in Nicaragua while it was under attack by the United States during the Sandinista years, 1979-1990).  There have also been significant Western (though mainly U.S.) attempts to “educate” Iranians, including programs that subsidize dissent and “democracy promotion.”  The so-called “Green Movement” is particularly notable for its links to foreign support groups and media, and its high degree of orientation towards Western audiences.

Are Herman and Peterson aware that this Islamic Republic whose reputation they are so intent on burnishing was the very same government that invited Ollie North to Tehran to discuss how a deal could be struck that would divert cash to the Nicaraguan contras? The “anti-imperialism” of the Islamic Republic had about as much authenticity as a three dollar bill.

I would also remind our two pinheads that the single most violent and counter-revolutionary intervention in Iran’s modern history has not been from the “civil society” NGO’s whose movements are monitored carefully by Iranian secret police and whose members have been put on trial time and again for espionage.

It was the CIA’s coup against Mossadegh that most Iranians regard as the worst violation of the country’s sovereignty. And guess who backed that plot? Was it an early version of Tehran’s secular elite that MRZine hates so much? No, good readers, it was the Shi’ite clergy, the very same people who now run the Guardian Council.

The Ayatollah Kashani was Iran’s most powerful cleric in the early 1950s and would become a mentor to the Ayatollah Khomenei. After Mossadegh instituted some reforms that would reduce the power of the clerics, Kashani decided to make a pact with the devil in order to thwart Mossadegh. Mossadegh’s decision to give women the right to vote was apparently the straw that broke the camel’s back.

In an article titled Mossadegh, Islam and Ayatollahs that appears on a website commemorating the life and career of Iran’s great progressive leader, we learn:

This coalition of oppositional clerics saw their livelihood more threatened within a progressive democratic regime than a monarchial system–even with the foreign presence in the country. To justify their acrimonious actions, they claimed that Mossadegh’s government was anti-Islamic, threatened the legitimacy of the monarchy, and risked the Tudeh (communist) party takeover of the country. The distribution of CIA-provided “Behbehani dollars” among mullahs and knife wielding mobs, in addition to Kashani’s ability to summon in a short time a large contingent of his supporters to the streets, helped to turn the tide against Mossadegh and his government.

Taking off their gloves, the professor emeritus of finance and his obscure writing partner opine:

We are not quite sure what to call this toxic mix of opposing the majority will of a foreign country’s citizens and doing so in the name of “democracy,” while feeding into the regime-change program of the United States and Israel.  But strong currents of Orientalism as well as imperialism are clearly running through it.

Well, I don’t know about that. But speaking in terms of toxic mixes, I’d prefer not to make amalgams between these two with their observation about all the Jews who signed Wiesel’s letter and David Duke getting an invite to Iran to discuss whether that many Jews got killed under Nazi rule. Maybe later on, but not now.

35 Comments »

  1. It seems to me that the Islamic Republic of Iran looks very much like the autonomous state described by Marx in The 18th Brumaire (shades of Islamo-fascism!), and that the Green reformers are the Tehranian bourgeoisie secretly backed by the U.S. (the same as all the other colored revolutions). So, which side are Marxists supposed to support? Shouldn’t we say “a plague on both their houses”?

    Comment by Alex — February 20, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

  2. Just to be clear, do you operate under the impression that the people of Iran are clamoring for American Freedom Bombs to rid them of the mullas and Ahmadinejad?

    Comment by Coldtype — February 20, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

  3. My question was @ Louis.

    Comment by Coldtype — February 20, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

  4. Wow I’m really surprised at how sloppy the left’s thinking has gotten on Iran. As Americans it is clearly our first duty to oppose any American aggression or threats against that country. That seems basic. But why this headlong rush to glorify a capitalist government that routinely represses the left, women, ethnic minorities and workers?

    Sure, the US media’s version of what Iran is like is a caricature straight out of the cold war. But just because everything is not as the US-hate-everything-Islamic rule book says doesn’t mean that leftists should set aside everything it knows and believes. It’s not necessary to glorify the Islamic Republic to defend it against attack.

    Comment by ish — February 20, 2010 @ 9:09 pm

  5. Just to be clear, do you operate under the impression that the people of Iran are clamoring for American Freedom Bombs to rid them of the mullas and Ahmadinejad?

    no.

    Comment by louisproyect — February 20, 2010 @ 9:50 pm

  6. Lou, you write: “Given Herman and Peterson’s impeccable credentials as scholars of Iranian society, politics and history and their clear mastery of the Persian language, I could not wait to hear how the two experts would channel the innermost thoughts of the Iranian population.”

    That’s the most mordant comment I’ve read about them in a long time. Kudos. And Yeah, treading into Petras’s territory is pretty sickening.

    Why is it that these “luminaries” keep bloviating about countries they know nothing about, but utterly avoid dealing with their own good ol’ USA. Would it not be more enlightening, for instance, to have Herman & co. offer clear propositions to change our socio-economic system — right here at home — rather than sign petitions (wink-wink Petras, Chomsky, et al) on how Cuba or Venezuela ought to conduct their affairs, and defend any tin-pot authoritarian who *seemingly* oppose the dreaded US imperialism?

    No worry, comes 2012, Herman will remind us that voting for the lesser evil is a matter of urgency because there are various degrees of evilism!
    :-)

    Gilles
    Swans.com

    Comment by Gilles d'Aymery — February 20, 2010 @ 10:41 pm

  7. Those MrZine people write as if someone accused them of being imperialist class collaborators so they passionately support anything that has found itself at the opposite end of American stick regardless of how reactionary it is. This is what Lacan called “discourse of the hysteric”. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_discourses ). OK guys, I believe you really are against American imperialism, calm down, there there.

    Comment by Mehmet Çagatay — February 21, 2010 @ 7:57 am

  8. What kind of sick person signs a petition calling for a nation to be attacked? Under these extreme circumstances the left have to stand firmly with the Iranian nation against the imperialist vultures. Can you hear the drums?

    Comment by James — February 21, 2010 @ 11:34 am

  9. I agree with the comment by James on February 21,2010; the left must stand under these circumstances firmly, with Iranian people against the imperialist vultures, who work as twins; I mean USA and Israel. Their threat of attack on Iran is because both these vultures want to cover-up Israel’s nukes as if they don’t exist. Both oppose justice for Palestinian people and do not give up its vile occupation. Both condone the onslaught on Gaza just last year with the bigger of them shamelessly supplying lethal phosphorus bombs on the innocent. Both oppose UN’s report submitted by Richard Goldstone. Even though I might not defend the methods of the ruler in Iran for whatever his ‘oppression’ might be, I do not believe in his opponent either! How can so-called Marxists be so sure of his credentials or who has propped him up! Are the twins so ‘clean’ from what we witness in their flirtation with Egypt? They got this Arab state to build an iron wall and even bar humanitarian aid to this gulag they have created of a prison of Gaza? I am not a worshipper of Marxists but a pragmatist, yes, I have some admiration for what Marx wrote but anything goes these days under interpretation of this great writer!

    Comment by Joke! — February 21, 2010 @ 12:24 pm

  10. the left have to stand firmly with the Iranian nation against the imperialist vultures.

    I take it this means supporting the beating, jailing and torture of bus drivers in Tehran attempting to form a trade union?

    Comment by louisproyect — February 21, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

  11. Sometimes you have to get off the academic fence and take sides. Unfortunately practical struggle demands it. Now if you think defending Iran against the imperialists equates to support for their repressive practices then so be it. I find it hard to imagine how you could muster anti war mobilisation with that attitude. And in that case you may as well be on the imperialist’s side.

    And we do have a very recent precedent here, it is not just paranoia. We in the UK had the same beating of the war drums in the run up to the war in Iraq, with a tiny number of idiot leftists telling everyone how evil Saddam was. When war was declared, it was us on the anti imperialist ‘ultra’ left who mobilised 2 million to march against the war and the leftist equivalents of you were nowhere to be seen.

    So how this can have slipped the memory so quickly makes me wonder who the real idiots are here.

    Comment by James — February 21, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

  12. the left have to stand firmly with the Iranian nation against the imperialist vultures.

    Okay, I guess that means that you backed the suppression of the bus drivers. Thanks for the clarification.

    Comment by louisproyect — February 21, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

  13. “I guess that means that you backed the suppression of the bus drivers”

    Ye I wrote a letter to Ahamdinejad and organised a petition demanding it. The irony is your position probably does more harm to the bus drivers than my direct action.

    From your replies I will assume your position to be “We don’t stand with the Iranian nation against the imperialist vultures”.
    As the Iraq war showed, this means you stand with the imperialist vultures against the nation of Iran. I won’t bother looking out for you on the protest marches.

    Comment by James — February 21, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

  14. Good for Louis for being able to distinguish between defending Iran against attack by US/Israel, and defending an undemocratic regime against popular portest.

    Two things occur to me.
    call for a military attack on Iran signed by 44 Nobel laureates, a “substantial fraction Jewish”. Nice to see these two nitwits stumbling into James Petras territory.
    I’m not substantially disagreeing with your point, but it is noticeable that supporters of Israel are allowed to refer to Jewishness, whereas opponents doing it is anti-semitic.
    this Islamic Republic whose reputation they are so intent on burnishing was the very same government that invited Ollie North to Tehran to discuss how a deal could be struck that would divert cash to the Nicaraguan contras?
    Did the Iranians have any idea the cash was being diverted? Again I wouldn’t argue with your substantial point, though I might say that their anti-imperialism is inconsistent rather than fake, their position in the imperialist system putting them in real opposition to the US and its allies.

    Comment by skidmarx — February 21, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

  15. Did the Iranians have any idea the cash was being diverted?

    Perhaps not. But even if they didn’t, it certainly undermines their reputation of being “anti-imperialist”. The Reagan administration did of course deserve the reputation of being the worst imperialist bullies of the 20th century up until that point. Of course, the Iranians also collaborated with American imperialism in Afghanistan in 2001 so this is not a new story exactly.

    Comment by louisproyect — February 21, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

  16. “Imperialist vultures” Seriously? Are we having a fifties re-enactment week? Israel is really happy with Ahmadinejad, by the way. He makes such a great enemy, and he undermines the Palestinian cause by tying it to Holocaust denial.

    Comment by christian h. — February 21, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

  17. “Good for Louis for being able to distinguish between defending Iran against attack by US/Israel, and defending an undemocratic regime against popular portest.”

    Skidders, the problem I have have with these ‘neutralists’ is that 99% of their output is concerned with criticising Iran and 1% with ‘defending’ Iran against US/Israeli attack.

    As for Iran being in collaboration with imperialism, I think a man who knows a thing or two about anti imperialism, Hugo Chavez, has clear ideas on this point.
    But it is true that imperialist nations have influence at one point or another over other nations (Afghanistan being a prime example), this after all is a feature that makes them imperialist. I fail to see what point we can infer from this.

    Comment by James — February 21, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

  18. “Israel is really happy with Ahmadinejad”

    What is your source for this?

    “He makes such a great enemy, and he undermines the Palestinian cause by tying it to Holocaust denial.”

    Not in my mind he doesn’t. The Palestinian cause is as solid as it ever was. You would have to be flakey in the extreme to see this as undermining the cause. Typical ‘neutralist’ mindset.

    Comment by James — February 21, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

  19. As for Iran being in collaboration with imperialism, I think a man who knows a thing or two about anti imperialism, Hugo Chavez, has clear ideas on this point.

    Hugo Chavez is an outstanding anti-imperialist but we have to think for ourselves. He also endorsed the idea that 9/11 was an inside job. He was wrong on that, as well as being wrong on Ahmadinejad’s “revolutionary” credentials. In terms of demonizing Iran, I have made my position clear numerous times: refuting the idea that gays were being hanged; attacking my boss Lee Bollinger’s treatment of Ahmadinejad; answering Joanne Landy’s petition drive on Iran, etc.

    More to the point, I am trying to build ties to the Iranian Marxist movement that is united in its opposition to Ahmadinejad. For people like James, this movement does not exist. Politics is reduced to the contradictions between Empire and Iran, whereas there are multiple contradictions. In 1940 Trotsky opposed both the war drive against the USSR and Stalin. This is the kind of education I got in Marxism, not the stupidhead apologetics of people like James and MRZine.

    Comment by louisproyect — February 21, 2010 @ 3:57 pm

  20. The Stalinist mindset is really quite amazing. James displays it all right here. The veneration for the great leader (“Hugo Chavez agrees with me, I must be right!”). The mistrust in the working class and reliance on rival imperialisms.

    Although his absolutely childish contribution in comment 18. seems to be all his own. Let me enlighten you, James: my support for the Palestinian cause isn’t in the least weakened by the BS your boy Ahmadinejad spouts. Sadly, you and I together won’t really make much of a difference. See it’s not that A. denies the holocaust that’s the problem (as far as the Palestinian cause is concerned). It’s that his line of reasoning suggests that if the holocaust happened (it did in case you are wondering) Zionism would be justified. This is right out of the Zionist play book, and it’s a propaganda coup for Israel. In addition, his use of the Palestinians as a weapon in Iran’s internal politics subverts support for the Palestinians in Iran itself.

    Comment by christian h. — February 21, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

  21. What really galls me, however, is the facile comparison between Sandinista Nicaragua and the Islamic Republic in which the protestors are implicitly compared to the contra’

    I think that should annoy anyone. Khomeini’s counter-revolution drowned the Iranian working class in a vat of its own blood and ruled in the manner of a fascist regime thereafter. That’s not to say that in the event of an imperialist invasion the working class would not conclude military agreements with the regime, maintaining as far as possible its own operational independence, to repulse the invaders. Needless to say the `Green’ movement are hardly calling for US and Israeli bombers to come and drop as much ordnance as they can muster on Tehran. The opposite in fact as that would kill them and strengthen the regime. I would say the movement is emboldened by the US debacle in Iraq and the fact that it is bogged down in a hopeless adventure in Afghanistan.

    Comment by David Ellis — February 21, 2010 @ 5:24 pm

  22. Christian,

    You haven’t revealed your source for this assetion, “Israel is really happy with Ahmadinejad”

    And it would be good if you could reveal your source for this “his use of the Palestinians as a weapon in Iran’s internal politics subverts support for the Palestinians in Iran itself.”

    As someone who hates childish contributions you really need to justify these statements.

    “Sadly, you and I together won’t really make much of a difference”

    Spoken like a true revolutionary socialist!

    On Hugo Chavez, it is telling you think he is Stalinist or should be associated with him. Maybe you could justify this statement also, why tag him with the label “Great leader”? Sounds like the sort of bullshit spouted by right wing neo liberals to me.

    To respond to Louis I think Chavez is correct on his strategic alliance with Iran but wrong on 9/11. I am happy to stand with him in the stupidhead apologetic alliance.
    A nation under a state of siege from the imperialist world degenerates to some extent. (A good example of this can be found by following this link: http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/samuel-farbers-latest-folly/)
    Iran’s clerical leaders can use it as a call for national unity, can use it as justification for repressive measures and as a pretext for ruthlessly putting down the ‘green revolution’. Your Marxist Iranians really don’t stand much of a chance in these conditions. This is why your ‘neutralist’ position is flawed.

    I noticed you did a review of the battle of Algiers. It should be noted the FLN brought in some very strict Islamic practices to instill discipline into the anti imperialist forces. It also acted as an effective unifying and mobilisation force. I think the film used the scene where the kids pushed the drunk down the stairs to illustrate this point.

    Comment by James — February 21, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

  23. Oh James, learn to read. You are the Stalinist, not Chavez. You are the one looking for the Great Leader, I certainly don’t blame Chavez for that. Let me guess – in the 80ies you probably were a follower of Enver Hoxha? To be serious though, it is outrageous that you would put Algerian liberation fighters in the same category as Iranian clerical capitalists.

    Comment by christian h. — February 21, 2010 @ 6:06 pm

  24. This:

    “Spoken like a true revolutionary socialist!”

    is disturbing by the way. In my book, the revolution will be made by the working class, not by a small band of self-declared revolutionaries in alliance with capitalist regimes.

    Comment by christian h. — February 21, 2010 @ 6:14 pm

  25. “In my book, the revolution will be made by the working class, not by a small band of self-declared revolutionaries in alliance with capitalist regimes.”

    That is something we can both agree on. Lets just hope they don’t have your attitude, “What can I do to change the world”.

    On Chavez, you do associate him with Stalin by inferring my support for him as Stalinist. (You wouldn’t throw this at someone who name dropped Gordon Brown would you).
    But responding to your objection I will rephrase the question your honour, What is it about Chavez that would make him attractive to Stalinists?

    Comment by James — February 21, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

  26. You are the Stalinist, you tell me. I’m pretty certain if Gordon Brown stepped up to praise the anti-imperialist credentials of A., you wouldn’t hesitate to make him your witness either.

    Also: as I said, learn to read. We can do things to change the world. We can’t change it alone though, so whether something A. does affects your attitude is completely irrelevant. It’s just a puerile display of egocentric thinking (“I don’t care if A. infers that Zionism could be justified by the holocaust, so why should anyone else?”).

    Comment by christian h. — February 21, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

  27. Christian,

    the reason you connect Chavez, Great leader and Stalinist is because that is how Chavez is perceived as propaganda by his enemies. You may not even know you are doing it but you are. This is no casual coincidence.

    And Christian you still haven’t provided the sources I asked for to back up your assertions. You are indulging in pure
    speculation without any evidence to back it up. I actually think they are wrong by the way.

    Comment by James — February 21, 2010 @ 7:20 pm

  28. Thanks for the mind-reading James, but you should stick with whatever it is you’re doing – you aren’t any good at it. I know it’s a common mode of argument on the absurd left to claim that anyone who disagrees must have been falling for imperialist propaganda (Ed Herman has always been an expert at this, even when he was largely right on the issues, for example about Yugoslavia), but what gets me is that you seem to think it still convinces anyone.

    I’m not connecting Chavez with Stalin. I’m noticing your Stalinist mindset. You are the one who absurdly claims that just because Chavez says something, it has to be true – pure Stalinism. Let’s make an analogy here that flatters Chavez (too much, but that’s for another day): Lenin wasn’t responsible for the Lenin cult. Criticizing the Lenin cult didn’t make anyone anti-Leninist no matter what the Stalinists then said. And in the same way that the Lenin cult was a creation of Stalinists (without making Lenin a Stalinist obviously) so the Chavez cult (repeating history as farce for the umpteenth time) is a creation of Stalinists (without making Chavez himself in any way a Stalinist). It is very telling that you can’t see the difference.

    Anyway, apologies to Louis, this is my final contribution on this thread – it’s been hijacked enough.

    Comment by christian h. — February 21, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

  29. The government of Iran is more transparent, in one respect, than that of the United States in that there is a specified and named Guardian Council that the Iranian public is aware of.

    In the U.S. we can only observe the cause and effect of our own ‘Guardian Council’ without a general acknowledgment of its existence much less have a name this group can be commonly referred to as we would, say, refer to the upper chamber of Congress as the ‘Senate’.

    When can the United States back away from its claims of being a democracy and present to its people the reality of its own as yet unnamed oligarchy and the power it wields over this country’s elections and economy?

    As long as Americans fail to understand the system in which we live there is no chance of changing it.

    But then, the oligarchy understands this only too well.

    In its presidential as in its other elections, U.S. “democracy” is “at best” a “guided one; at its worst it is a corrupt farce, amounting to manipulation, consistent with the larger population projects of propaganda in a controlled and trivialized electoral process. “It is an illusion,” Shoup claims – correctly in my opinion – “that real change can ever come from electing a different ruling class-sponsored candidate.” (Laurence H. Shoup, “The Presidential Election 2008,” Z Magazine, February 2008).

    Comment by Glenn — February 22, 2010 @ 5:10 am

  30. I think I made a mistake in getting involved with polemics in this website. I still insist I agree with most of what James’s comments are and disagree with so-called ‘Marxism’ of the author. My lesson to you is do not interfere with politics in any country, let the people of Iran decide. UK and USA went against UN resolution and invaded Iraq, was it their business to remove Saddam as they made excuses and many others to follow? I was a proud one of 2million who protested prior to this in UK. I will defend the people of Iran against the imperialist thugs I have mentioned. I close my comments, here on this subject!

    Comment by Joke! — February 22, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

  31. the problem I have have with these ‘neutralists’ is that 99% of their output is concerned with criticising Iran and 1% with ‘defending’ Iran against US/Israeli attack.
    When I’ve seen anti-war protests in London, SWP placards saying “Don’t attack Iran” have often been prominent. When there has been discussion about Iran, obviously the question of which side you are on is prominent, though even that is not to criticise Iran, just to say that the Iranian protesters are preferred to the Iranian state.

    Louis – would you accept that a similar position could be reasonably held in relation to Cuba or Venezuela?

    Comment by skidmarx — February 22, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

  32. Opposition to a putative colonialist war against Iran must be key to socialist strategy; as should be support for popular revolution within Iran, against the clerical regime. Considering the Iranian state to be somehow ‘revolutionary’ in anything resembling a socialist sense is utterly absurd. I can’t see how James could possibly believe that.

    Comment by Tom — February 28, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

  33. At this point in the deteriorating relationship between Iran and US and NATO and their lapdogs, it behooves us to stand united against an attack on Iran, which would/will be devastating, with far-reaching repercussions. Mistakes were made by progressives leading up to the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq (Gulf War I and Shock & Awe): discussions about the vicious nature of the government in question, which basically led to a neutralization or weakening of a concerted opposition to the upcoming attack.

    Those who fell for CNN-whipped propaganda about the need to liberate Afghan women and oppressed Iraqis were useful idiots. The social and political situation in both countries, not to mention their infrastructure, is more disastrous as a consequence of the attacks than it had ever been and they, like Serbia, are contaminated for aeons to come by depleted uranium. If this is what rabble contributors want for Iran, they’re free to desire it, but may the blood of the unborn suffering generations be upon their heads.

    Meanwhile, please stop piling on the justifications for intervening in Iran.

    Rational thinkers need to separate the internal difficulties that the Iranian people are desperately trying to work through (totalitarian control by the religious extremists, repression of the secular left and of minorities from gays to Baha’i) from the trumped-up reasons for war that Israel and the U.S. are trumpeting. Intervention and the destruction of the country will not help gays, or Baha’i, or women, or Jews, or Sunni,or socialists, but will at the end of the day leave them more vulnerable and dispossessed than ever.

    And I would be inclined to doubt the legitimacy, or the intelligence, of any group claiming to be Marxist that advocates an attack on its own people by the No. 1 war criminals of our age who want to reduce Iran to the level of Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Comment by Hoodeet — August 4, 2010 @ 1:33 am

  34. Edward S. Herman and James Petras are more profound than Louis Proyect and Giles d’Aymery: their arguments are stronger and wittier (and I’ll check out David Peterson too). Anyone who’s not an idiot would understand that the contradictions between Empire and Iran are the main contradictions, whereas the other contradictions are secondary. Anyone who’s not a stupidhead who ends by supporting U.S. imperialism’s overwhelming military might and zionazification would subscribe to the “lesser-evil” principle. Any “good alternative” in Iran that opposes “the evil” Ahmadinehjad is weak in front of the U.S. at the moment. Ahmadinejad DOES resist the US dictates. One may not like the domestic policies of Ahmadinejad’s Iran, but Iran doesn’t pursue criminal and despicable policies outside its borders the way America does. I find nothing more despicable than an arrogant and murderous empire which thinks of itself as morally superior to all the other countries in the world and therefore pretends to be the only state given the green light to invade any other state. I’ll drink champagne if this terrorist superpower collapses. And I don’t need to hear any hypocrite moron patronizing me with statements like “oh yeah, the U.S. is evil, but have you thought of what might happen if another empire takes over and it’s worse?”…
    I’m somewhat releaved to know that in the U.S. empire there are intelligent people like Edward S. Herman and James Petras who know how to analyze the imperial barbarism of the zionazi wars and power relations in general. When it comes to analyzing power relations, some “Marxists” prefer an infantile approach.

    Comment by Maria Şerban — October 6, 2010 @ 11:14 pm

  35. [...] Herman and David Peterson had responded a few months ago to my February 20, 2010 article titled The Latest Idiocy from Edward S. Herman and David Peterson. Apparently they would not extend me the common courtesy of letting me know that I was being [...]

    Pingback by In response to Edward S. Herman and David Peterson « Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist — March 10, 2011 @ 6:53 pm


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