Monday, 22 June 2009

Anti-imperialists and the Iran crisis

What attitude should anti-imperialists take to the current upheaval in Iran? There's some anxiety that supporting the protests might be misconstrued as backing any action against the current regime - which could potentially include US or Israeli military intervention. It could mean lining up with Western political leaders or - perhaps even more embarrassingly - Nick Cohen (aaaagghhh!).

Of course, it's possible to be inspired by the brave demonstrators - and want to see them prevail - without lending any kind of support for the warmongers or their craven media apologists. The background to these protests is complex and messy; Mousavi, the 'opposition' leader, is no heroic revolutionary figure but a champion of neo-liberalism. Yet it should be clear that protestors are driven by genuine and justified outrage at abuses of democracy, which in turn reflect deeper grievances and a yearning for greater freedom.

It's been said before - and we should say it again - that those who do the liberating do the ruling afterwards. 'Liberation' by external armies and air forces, bringing rhetoric of humanitarian intervention and the reality of bloodshed and destruction, leads to colonial occupation. Liberation by the people themselves opens up much more exciting possibilities. How it develops is up for grabs, but it is in the self-activity of the masses that we see new opportunities develop.

For a more detailed analysis, I recommend Naz Massoumi's excellent new commentary on the Iranian elections crisis.

1 comment:

  1. "If your on Twitter, set your location to Tehran and your time-zone to GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location/timezone searches. The more people at this location, the more of a logjam it creates for forces trying to shut down Iranians' access to the internet. Cut, paste & pass it on."