Yesterday I received an email that has the merit at least of encapsulating all of the arguments from the “anti-imperialist” supporters of President Ahmadinejad, including Yoshie Furuhashi, Edward Herman/David Peterson, Sam Marcy’s followers of one stripe or another, James Petras and others not important enough to mention. The letter appears below. My reply is interspersed in italics. I would only preface the letter with an observation that “Margo White” is probably a phony identity. Frankly, I never understand why people conceal their true identity since one of the greatest pleasures I get out of writing crank letters to people like Avishai Margalit is the knowledge that they will wince at the sound of my name.
Not knowing you at all, I risk overstepping here. However, as an American with a long and deeply rooted understanding of Iran (I lived there before, during and after it’s revolution 1977-82), I am always alert to the ongoing, increasingly disguised, machinations of the US elites to regain control of that country, one way or another.
It is, therefore, in that context that I want to suggest several concerns. One is that I agree with you, the Leveretts are questionable sources of ‘peoples’ support in Iran. They are clearly well connected in US establishment circles and, as such, cannot possible be on the side of the Iranian people.
Well, that at least puts you one step ahead of MRZine which features the Leveretts on almost a daily basis.
However, while I agree with your skepticism about the Leveretts, I am astounded that you offer Mina Khanbarzadeh as a “real Marxist”! Read her articles! She is a supporter of the very same ‘Green Revolution’ nonsense that is sponsored by Soros, aka, CIA-US. Where on earth do you get the idea that she’s a ‘real marxist’??
I get that idea from reading her articles. (By the way, her last name is Khanlarzadeh.) Here, for people who have never had the pleasure of reading her laser-beam critiques of the Ahmadinejad government and its useful idiots in the West, are some of her greatest hits:
I should add that Mina’s views on the Green Movement can hardly be interpreted as uncritical support. She wrote in the article above:
Some believe that the Green Movement aims to revive justice and the citizens’ socio-political freedoms, and that the class discourse takes the movement off its path and is in conflict with the principles of the movement. This claim is erroneous since individuals from different classes are active in the movement, and obviously class demands do exist in the movement, even if not expressed explicitly. To explain what I mean, let’s look at the women’s movement: one of the weaknesses of the women’s movement is that it is presented as a class-less phenomenon, and the demands of working class and poor women are less frequently heard in the women’s movement. Doubtless, changing of discriminatory laws will be to the eventual benefit of all women from all social classes; however, the issue remains that in order to expand the movement to different social strata there is no way other than to include class in the movement’s discourse.
Now if only the Quran-thumping Yoshie Furuhashi or the prolix Herman/Peterson duo (the Batman and Robin of the radical left?) could muster the analytical power to interject class into their own discussions of Iran. Everything in their world is reduced to the White House and the Iranian government, bus drivers of Tehran be damned.
Most of all, Mr. Proyect, while I have great respect for anyone who was supportive of CISPES and other progressive organizations in the 70s’ and 80s’, I am nonetheless astonished that anyone could fall for the “Green Revolution” business and claim that this is consistent with progressive politics. It is a US sponsored movement, aimed at destabilizing Iran, making it appear that Iran cannot govern itself and must have, therefore, some kind of ‘regime change’ facilitated by the US. It is the same old brutal US power play for the Eurasian landmass. Learn some history!
I have learned from history, namely from Leon Trotsky. Although I found his efforts to build a new International largely a mistake, I do think his analysis of Stalin’s USSR to be useful for how to relate to Iran’s Islamic Republic, not that the bazaari capitalist mode of production deserves the kind of fan club gushing found at MRZine. During the 1930s, Trotsky defended the Soviet Union against imperialist attack even while he was dissecting the bureaucratic crimes of Stalin and his epigones. In fact, he was a better defender of the Soviet Union than the CPUSA, which argued from the same perspective of Furuhashi and company in the 1930s. It did not serve the Soviet Union’s defense for it to have put its top military leaders on trial for collaborating with the Nazis in the Moscow Trials. It does not serve Iran’s defense for Ahmadinejad to invite a Ku Klux leader to Iran for a conference on whether the holocaust took place.
Furthermore, I have a somewhat different agenda than the “anti-imperialist” brigade so anxious to burnish Ahmadinejad’s reputation in the West, like latter-day followers of the feckless Foucault who fell in love with the Ayatollahs because they were radical but not Marxist. My purpose in life is to unite Marxists worldwide, although I have no delusions of grandeur that I am some kind of Leon Trotsky. My aims are more modest. On the Marxism list I moderate, I am anxious to make connections with the Iranian left that is not content to serve as a tail on the kite of political Islam. These comrades, although small in number, have the future in mind for unless socialism triumphs on a worldwide basis, humanity has no future.
As I will point out in an article I have pending on the Fourth International, Leon Trotsky decided to launch this movement in the most inauspicious conditions. In fact, as Isaac Deutscher relates in “The Prophet Outcast”, the Polish delegation warned that it was doomed to fail since Stalinism and fascism were such powerful forces (it should be mentioned that Deutscher—as he relates in a footnote—wrote their proposal.)
Today, after nearly 30 years of neoliberal assault, the tide is turning. A general strike in Turkey and Greece, the rise of a revolutionary Maoist movement in India and Nepal, the growth of the radical movement in Latin America are all signs that the long period of reaction is finally coming to end, no doubt a reflection of the fact that capitalism is not working. As people come to Marxist conclusions during these stormy days, my goal is to offer solidarity to them and to create a means of communication so that our movement can take shape globally. There is nothing more important to me.
Most of all, the ONE lessons that all these Americans who are currently posturing as ‘friends of the Iranian people’ have failed to learn is to STAY OUT OF IRAN. It is not the business of Americans, progressive or otherwise, to ‘take sides’ in Iran’s internal politics. If you had ever bothered to live there and really KNOW the people and their country, you would appreciate and RESPECT the extraordinary complexity and sophistication of their politics and their system — and honor their RIGHT to sort things out for themselves.
It doesn’t MATTER, Mr. Proyect, if you or I — or any other Americans — like the Islamic Republic or not. It is the IRANIANS who will sort it out, or not. It’s THEIR country.
Margot White, JD
human rights attorney
I am for staying out of Iran if that means opposing Israel’s designs on nuclear facilities or punitive sanctions. But I will be god-damned if I stop condemning the jailing and torture of bus drivers trying to start a trade union in Tehran.