I am confused

Either it is ‘left’ to provisionally accept that the people of Iran have chosen Ahmadinejad as their president, rejecting the claims of the western media, which because of its bourgeois pro-liberal democracy and/or Islamophobic bias, and intensified by its automatic enthusiasm for social networking technology, is supporting a tiny elite segment of the middle class against the rest of the population in a purely ideological operation that may even be a psyop of some kind — while nevertheless ‘wishing all the best‘ to the protesters (who may not all fit the stereotype), confident that if carefully parsed this position is not self-contradictory —

or it is ‘left’ to do the near opposite: unconditionally support the protesters as a 21st century revolutionary vanguard while ignoring the western media, which because of its bourgeois elitist bias has blindly conflated all of rural and working-class Iran with support for Ahmadinejad (just like it was said to be only dumb country folk who ‘voted’ for Chavez), an ideological move thinly disguised by its hyper-empirical posture of  awaiting absolute proof.

This is as good an argument as any against a cavalierly voluntarist attitude toward the post-Althusserian notion that “there is no outside of ideology.” Maybe that claim should be understood to mark a historical problem and not a simple statement of fact.

Just so I’m not accused of the ideological academic neutrality of free-floating petty bourgeois intellectuals, I grudgingly (there’s no serious way to do otherwise) favor option A.


new real news:

the evil new york times is liveblogging the major protest happening right now. (Canavan‘s got that and other links elsewhere on the blog)

And 3arabawy, who I’ve been stealing a lot of links from, has lots more good ones, continually updated.


Not that anyone needs me to link to this, but lenin’s latest on this is really good. Takeaway point:

The idea that the protests are just a flash mob for the crooked neoliberal sector of the elite is unsustainable. The question of whether, in practise, all these protests do is strengthen one faction of the ruling class will be decided to a large extent by the protesters themselves. There is a huge generational shift underlying these protests, and that means that even if the present wave were to fizzle out – which I don’t think is likely – it is likely to recur in even more militant forms.


If legit, this is something:

Members of the Assembly of Experts are reported to be considering making changes to the Iranian system of government that would be the biggest since Ayatollah Khomeini set up the Islamic system in the revolution of 1979, by removing the position of the supreme leader.

Clerical leaders are also said to be considering forcing the resignation of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following over a week of unrest since he was elected in what senior opposition leaders claim was a fraudulent election.


6 Responses to “I am confused”

  1. My inclination is towards option B, as you know from reading my blog, with the caveat that I think it fairly likely Ahmadinejad inflated a margin of legit victory and with what I hope is appropriately healthy skepticism replacing your “grudgingly.”

  2. I also tend toward option “A” (good of you to sort out these issues) — but you are not mistaken in thinking that both options are endorsed by different elements of the “left”. There is extreme disagreement now among leftists — just quickly peruse some of the more prominent left publications, and you see roaring support for the protesters, and those who are far more skeptical. We don’t have a unified perspective on this because there are so many interlocking issues, and coming to a decision means that you have to unlock and separate some of them, look at what you have, and say “these don’t matter as much, so I will drop them and go with the rest of what I am holding.”

  3. Unlike a situation where our own governments and our treasury are overtly in play, (the coups, failed and successful, in Venezuela and Haiti, the hued revolutions of former SSRs) here US and NATO involvement is not avowed, so the only possible issue is who one “roots” for, basically meaningless, and actually the offered teams are evidently not really the players. There’s no reason Ahmadinejad’s rigging of an election cannot coincide with (or even be a response to) a neoliberal ruling class offensive in Iran which, since the petroleum business is such a huge element of its economy, has all kinds of urgent policy dilemmas of the non-sexy financial sort to determine going into this global depression.

    The pity is that USAians are so much readier to understand both foreign conspiracies to fix elections and foreign capacity to mobilise crowds in the street and underake lightening pr efforts, than they are to recognise that merikans too, backward as we are in nefariousness and ambition, innocent of the will to decieve and the capacity to keep secrets, with a freedom loving population of individuals too chaotically atomised to be manipulated as a mass, possess the technology to do such things too. It’s amazing how certain kinds of contemporary phenomena of politics and spectacle are so easy for american spectators to grasp when the story is set in exotic furrin lands.

  4. Perhaps the point is – who cares what is left? Make up your mind, go for it – but don’t go for it as a member of the “left”.

  5. I’ve found it hard to choose either option. Lenin’s take is a good one, though.

  6. traxus4420 Says:

    i realized i forgot to include ‘leftists’ who are still arguing in favor of the state. not that it matters; every hour these early polemics become less and less relevant.

    everyone’s comments are right on, thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: