Ahmedinajad and the anti-imperialism of fools
A columnist in the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv told his readers on the day of election in
It seems Israelis haven't many Iranian friends. Or perhaps Israeli advice wasn't heeded. Hence election procedures were doctored and results slightly engineered, but not in view of
1. That Ahmedinejad's re-election is not a break but a continuation of the regime. In Mohammad Khatami (president from 1999-2005), the Iranian regime found its Niktia Khrushchev. Ahmedinejad proved himself
2. That the Iranian regime's opposition to
4. That the Ayatollahs (along with the House of Saud, which supported and promoted Wahabist groups), by fostering and patronizing Shia groups in other Muslim countries, have divided the Muslim world along sectarian lines, thus undercutting working-class and resistance struggles. In fact this religious sectarianism has weakened the anti-imperialist forces.
5. That sections of left are now finding radical aspects about the Ayatollahs is recent. When this regime was established, the left all across the world was united in declaring it a reactionary regime. For the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, both the
6. That the economic policies of this regime, like that of the pro-US Saudi dictatorship, serve the interests of imperialism.
Not merely is Ahmedinejad's anti-Americanism, anti-Israel policy highly questionable but declaring him an anti-imperialist blatantly trivializes anti-imperialism.
Anti-imperialism stands for -- as anti-imperialism should -- liberation. It is liberation for all the exploited, from all sorts of exploitation. Anti-imperialism includes national liberation, women's emancipation, democratization, political and economic empowerment, respect for religious minorities, and self-determination for oppressed nationalities. Anti-imperialism is freedom for all oppressed, from all oppression.
In contrast, Ahmedinejad, or Osama ben Laden for that matter, offer an anti-imperialism that does not tolerate these values. Theirs is an anti-imperialism that chokes minorities, strangles smaller nationalities and reduces women to bodies-sans-minds hidden under thick burkas.
One cannot be a liberator and an oppressor at the same time. The anti-imperialism that upholds Ahmedinejad as its poster boy does not solve this contradiction. We have seen this anti-imperialism in
The anti-imperialism currently on display in the Muslim world is symbolic and not of substance. It signifies a new phase in the relationship between two estranged lovers, fundamentalism and imperialism. It is the product of the process run by imperialism in collaboration with fundamentalism, to eliminate genuine anti-imperialism in the Muslim world.
In the Muslim world, it used to be radical nationalists, socialists and communists -- until they were eliminated -- who epitomized anti-imperialism. Nasser of Egypt, Sakarno of Indonesia, Mossadeq of Iran and Bhutto of Pakistan: all these names embodied anti-imperialism in the Muslim world for four decades.
These towering personalities of the Muslim world did not fall from the skies. They were products of a radicalized period.
This cream of the crop of the Muslim world, in a polarized cold war era, endangered the structures that imperialism had carefully built and ruthlessly maintained. This secular nationalist leadership and its communist backers had to be eliminated.
Mossadeq was overthrown in 1953. The CIA removed this Iranian aristocrat, a direct descendant of Qajar dynasty, in collaboration with Iranian religious elements. The CIA spent five million dollars to help the pro-West mullahs rent a mob, restoring the Shah of Iran to the throne.
A decade later, an example was made out of Bhutto. A khaki-green mullah-military alliance, backed once again by the CIA, sent him to the gallows. Meanwhile, Anwar Sadaat effectively rolled back the Nasser-era process in
In all these cases, there is a clear connivance between fundamentalism and imperialism. With radical nationalist leaders dead and communist or socialist parties eliminated, the political arena was wide open for Imam Khomeni, Osama bin Laden, Mullah Muhammad Omar or their local clones.
What does the current quasi-anti-imperialist crop have to offer: occupation of a
An anti-imperialism that does not threaten to nationalize oil (Osama declares that oil is an asset owned by Arabs but opposes its common ownership), stand for land distribution or allow the working classes to organize trade unions -- such "anti-imperialism" does not bother the Empire. It is an anti-imperialism based on the repression of women, religious minorities, small nationalities, trade unions, peasant organizations, and political parties. Thus it actually functions to carry imperialism's needs: repression of the masses.
It is countries that oppress their masses and lack trade unions and workers' parties that best suit multinationals. The so-called anti-imperialism of these religious forces thus actually serves imperialism in the current global scenario. It is, at best, the anti-imperialism of fools.