Iran-a-mania

Interpretations of the results are forming into two camps, broadly-

  • Red corner- Ahmadinejad did win, middle class reporting misses the working class & religious support for him
  • Blue corner- Or, Mousavi won and there’s a huge fraud licensed from the top.

In the Red corner-

Pulse: Abbas Barzegar believes Ahmedinejad won the election fair and square, and that Iranian and Western commentators indulge in wishful thinking when they find this incredible. ”Observers,” he writes, ”would do us a favour by taking a deeper look into Iranian society, giving us a more accurate picture of the very organic religious structures of the country, and dispensing with the narrative of liberal inevitability.”

Newsweek: Chris Dickey- It appears that the working classes and the rural poor—the people who do not much look or act or talk like us—voted overwhelmingly for the scruffy, scrappy president who looks and acts and talks more or less like them. 

In the Blue Corner-

Informed Comment: Juan Cole- Some comentators have suggested that the reason Western reporters were shocked when Ahmadinejad won was that they are based in opulent North Tehran, whereas the farmers and workers of Iran, the majority, are enthusiastic for Ahmadinejad. That is, we fell victim once again to upper middle class reporting and expectations in a working class country of the global south. While such dynamics may have existed, this analysis is flawed in the case of Iran because it pays too much attention to class and material factors and not enough to Iranian culture wars. 

Mondoweiss: Safavi-Naeini- Back to Iran, on June 13th, Khamenei, without agreeing to meet with Mousavi, Karroubi and Rafsanjani, validated the election results, essentially removing all legal ways by which the results may be disputed. He did this the very next day. Usually he takes 3 days, to insure there are no irregularities.

It is good to peruse the Angry Arab’s Western Primer on Elections in Developing Countries at the same time though the results were just very odd. What is for sure is AIPAC painted Mousavi as a bad guy when it thought he would win just as much as they paint Ahmadinejad as Lead Amalek. HOPoI concludes neither are much good although Ahmadinejad is going to make life more difficult for the overwhelmingly young nation that finds the moralising demagoguery he resorts to a massive constraint on their lives, (especially with the Revolutionary Guard having such social power)…

“The disapointment and disorientation of people in Iran that I’ve spoken to is unmistakable,” said Parsi. “Khamenei, most experts agree, is addicted to the perception of legitimacy for himself and the system. But this coup does away with any chances for such legitimacy.

“Which then raises the question,” Parsi continued, “Is he too under pressure from circles in the [Revolutionary] Guard?”

I think it’s entirely possible everyone is right, our media can/does favour middle class environs, and it is also likely authoritarians will not respect peoples’ votes.

26 Responses to “Iran-a-mania”

  1. libhomo Says:

    Ahmadinejad might have wanted to be more like Bush. He already was a corrupt, beligerent, and hateful religious extremist. But, he had never occupied his office illegally as the result of a stolen election.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    in 1997 and 2001, Mohammad Khatami won 70% of votes cast, let’s say 14 million of them!
    Do you think it is plausible that Ahmadinejad, who has been ragging country’s economy to the ground has managed to take away from that avery CORE of the reformists?!

    No, both sides are NOT right BECAUSE:
    the speed with which the vote was announced was unprecedented
    the state department employees were not allowed in the ministry
    the brutalized forces were already “prepared for power maneuver” according to IRNA, as soon as AN’s win was projected
    the monitors were kicked out of the vote count
    ballots were missing
    head quarters of Mousavi were closed by tear gas, intimidation and etc.
    newspapers are closed
    leaders of reformist movement were arrested in hordes …

    Rick, there is NO room for doubting he fact: fascism is out of closet in Iran … those who uncloseted it are not the members of IRI … and this is benefitting Israel for sure …

    Ahmadinejad and Khamenei shoudl have stayed away from this trap … they are all now caught in a big SHIT!

  3. naj Says:

    Rick, i typed a long message and it was lost somehow …
    there is no doubt he has stolen the vote
    there is no doubt this is benefitting Israel
    there is little doubt they had control over this RUSHED and crude way election was stolen=>intention to provoke was all designed in the way the results were announced.

    the IRIers are smarter than that to be caught SO red handed … this is not what they planned for, but a trap they couldn’t stay away …

    Rick this IS fascism … and it need to be confronted forcefully, by people of IRan … you can help us by staying vigilant and making sure this doesn’t gve capital to the zionist campain of “war with IRan”

  4. RickB Says:

    Naj, Rescued the comment!
    I’m trying to reflect the breadth of, well confusion I would say. What it seems like is an establishment (revolutionary decaying to fascism) deciding to harden its hold on power by various means. And absolutely I will not give any ground to any pro-attack arguments, as the Bush regime demonstrated, when such a government is in power threats are just used to strengthen its hold so a worse situation results and the possibility of being attacked.

  5. harpymarx Says:

    How is Ahmadinejad a fascist? The man is a reactionary bourgeois demogague but how does that make him a capitulator to fascism?
    The political situation in Iran is fluid and contradictory, and different dynamics operating as well. I think the two positions argued in the ‘red’ and ‘blue’ corners as you put it can be right. The western bourgeois media are pushing Mousavi while Juan Cole has made a very good point about the elections and fraud.

    But back to this issue of fascism, people are very angry and appalled by the re-election but to describe the regime as fascist is incorrect. Essentially it is violent counter-revolution orchestrated by the bourgeoise. There’s counter-revolutionary elements to the Iranian theocracy but it is not a fascist regime in the same vein as Italy, Spain and Germany.

    • RickB Says:

      I think our media are pushing Mousavi more as a stick to beat Iran with rather than any real support for him or knowledge though.

      As for fascism, I think what is happening right now has the appearance to those on the receiving end even though if it’s political actuality is different. When any movement falls into authoritarian means it begins to flirt with the big F perhaps?
      I think maybe sometimes things won’t fit into established patterns, I have no idea where this might be a week from now.

      • harpymarx Says:

        “When any movement falls into authoritarian means it begins to flirt with the big F perhaps?”

        Well, you could use that argument against Britain as it has social authoritarian dynamics. But it is not fascist nor it is anywhere near towards that. There is a complete step change. Fascism has to have a distinct political movement, without restraint and contantly on the attack. There is an more constructive comparison with Iran and Republic of Ireland under Éamon de Valera, in the early years.

        I just think you need to be clear in your analysis when it comes to fascism and what you mean.

        • opit Says:

          I’ll bite.
          Fascism must mean something different than a kleptocracy employing dual party tyranny in a state founded on a treaty imposed by a conquering nation which turned it into an open slave state ( serfdom – Battle of Hastings 1066 ).
          Certainly that was abridged in 1215 when the Executive ( heridtary nobility ) rebelled against the blatant unbridled abuses of imprisonment and torture without restraint…
          Oh. We don’t have the protections of Magna Carta operating in the was against an emotion anymore, do we ?
          No. Iran isn’t like that.

  6. harpymarx Says:

    Well, what I meant to say is Britain under NL with its social authoritarian dynamics.

    Opit, kleptocracy is a new one on me….

  7. Dave (The Void) Says:

    Actually, I don’t agree at all. Ahmadinejad’s victory was to be expected, and in line with polls http://leninology.blogspot.com/2009/06/ahmadinejad-won.html

    Mousavi’s support comes overwhelmingly from the middle class, and his economic policies would have opened up Iran to the West. Just as the BBC, or whoever, always manages to find an inordinate amount of anti-Chavistas whenever there’s an election in Venezuela and then finds itself shocked at every single result, so it’s happened here that the Western media jumped at what it hoped would be another Orange/Rose “revolution”. It’s not even entirely deliberate – all the Iranian contacts of your average journalist will be overwhelmingly of the upper or middle class, and the poorer majority of Iranians will be virtually invisible from Broadcasting House.

    Of course the repression of the middle class youths protesting on behalf of Mousavi is bad news for everyone. It represents a lockdown on political expression and limits everyone’s room for manoevre. But that doesn’t mean we should get carried away with what their movement represents: it has very limited support in Iran and, not unexpectedly, much greater support in the West.

    • harpymarx Says:

      Dave, I kinda have sympathy to what you argue but do you really discount what Juan Cole says about the electoral fraud? Where did those votes go?
      I agree that the western media have been using Mousavi (and he is not that great either though he has been described as a ‘reformist’….) and that there are class dynamics to the elections but I think it is much more complex than the post you quote from Lenin’s Tomb.

      Oh, and I agree entirely what you say about the media, Venezuela and anti-Chavistas.

  8. Ali Says:

    Thanks Rick for follwing up on this situation in Iran.
    There are many reasons that rule out a healthy election:
    1) The sms network of the whole country went down 12 hours before the start of electin and is still down!
    2) Most of the reformist webpages are down or filtered inside the country. A huge wave of Censorship started on the day of the election
    3) Although we have had a record turn out but the result of election has been announced so fast, that is in a few hours!
    4) Karrubi and Mousavi haven’t even got the majority of votes in their cities. As both of them are from special ethnic backgrounds that is almost impossible.
    5) the massive oppression that started right after the results. Police even is trying to show the protestors as violent by destroying the cars and putting fire on cars.
    Look at this photo, left corner down. the Soldier is breaking the window of a car!

  9. RickB Says:

    The only things I can say for sure are-
    Iran’s enemies are enjoying this.
    The post result lockdown is helping no one.

    • harpymarx Says:

      Maybe so but Rick you still need to examine the actually existing political situation on the ground. Its fluid, complex and contradictory dynamics at play.

      Yes, the repression being dished out is helping no one and the impact it will have on the western imperialists (rubbing their hands in glee no doubt).

      I assumed you would have appreciated a debate on your blog about the current political situation.

  10. RickB Says:

    I am acutely aware of UK and US interference in Iran historically (and perhaps now). I think we can be most useful keeping abreast of developments while making clear our awareness and opposition to the outside forces with dark agendas.

    The question of the legitimacy of the election is still open, but there are problems, without question our govts, lobby groups and spooks will be polluting the media with their tales. But a good number of Iranians too are outraged at the way the election was held, but then the victory rally was huge compared to the protests, is that a reliable sign or a sign of good organising by MA’s lot and an effective crackdown? We can certainly act to stop our ruling elites from misusing the situation for their ends though.

    I notice Bibi made his defenceless-bantustans-scam speech at the same time!

  11. harpymarx Says:

    Yes, I agree Rick.

    Sorry if I have seemed to offended, wasn’t my intention just interested in debating ideas about the political situation. Maybe I should just duck out this debate now.

  12. RickB Says:

    No not at all, I’m trying to make sense and filter out dodgy info like a mad thing! Naj has said the other candidates are united in calming the street situation down
    http://iranfacts.blogspot.com/2009/06/iranians-courage-on-display-dare-you.html
    I think the divide and conquer ideas of outside forces will go nowhere.

  13. Dave (The Void) Says:

    Well, I’ll say from the start I’m not an Iran expert and I accept that I could be wrong. But the fraud story still sounds pretty hard to believe.

    Firstly, the differences between the two candidates are not all that on questions of political reform. The state bureaucracy reserves the right to rule candidates out from standing in the first place, and in fact ruled out I think 400 candidates next to the 4 it allowed to stand. And the first thing Mousavi did, upon losing, was to appeal to the Supreme Leader while Ahmedinejad talks in terms of being the outsider in a corrupt ruling elite – all of which seems to me to count against the thwarted-colour-revolution story and makes me question Juan Cole’s “hardline vs reformist” dichotomy.

    Add to that the fact that many of the reforms M talked about revolved around controls on the internet – something that will mean more to the westernised middle class than to others – and that both accept the framework of the IRI constitution and much of the social conservatism that goes with it,. Especially when you consider the advantage to the incumbent in somewhere with the level of state controls on the media like Iran, M would need to massively engage the majority within Iran in order to come close to winning.

    I think the “populist vs liberal” think sums up a lot more what’s at stake – especially in light of the economic crisis – than the “hardline vs reformer”. And to me, that makes it seem perfectly consistent for most people to vote A while most of the Western media would lineup behind M. Juan Cole sees it differently, so I’m not surprised he draws different conclusions.

    Add to that the advantage to Ahmedinejad as the incumbent (whom it will not have been made easy for the press etc to have opposed).

  14. Dave (The Void) Says:

    Sorry, that came through a bit garbled.

    Well, I’ll say from the start I’m not an Iran expert and I accept that I could be wrong. But the fraud story still sounds pretty hard to believe.

    Firstly, the differences between the two candidates are not all that on questions of political reform. The state bureaucracy reserves the right to rule candidates out from standing in the first place, and in fact ruled out I think 400 candidates next to the 4 it allowed to stand. And the first thing Mousavi did, upon losing, was to appeal to the Supreme Leader while Ahmedinejad talks in terms of being the outsider in a corrupt ruling elite – all of which seems to me to count against the thwarted-colour-revolution story and makes me question Juan Cole’s “hardline vs reformist” dichotomy.

    Add to that the fact that many of the reforms M talked about revolved around controls on the internet – something that will mean more to the westernised middle class than to others – and that both accept the framework of the IRI constitution and much of the social conservatism that goes with it. Especially when you consider the advantage to the incumbent in somewhere with the level of state controls on the media that exists in Iran, M would need to massively engage the majority within Iran in order to come close to winning.

    I think the “populist vs liberal” thing sums up a lot more what’s at stake – especially in light of the economic crisis – than the “hardline vs reformer”. And to me, that makes it seem perfectly consistent for most people to vote A while most of the Western media would lineup behind M. Juan Cole sees it differently, so I’m not surprised he draws different conclusions.

  15. Dave (The Void) Says:

    Also I don’t think it’s very convincing to pretend 2005 never happened in the way that Juan Cole does. Are “youth” and “women” such homogenous categories? Can the “boycott” really explain everything away when turnout changed so little from the previous election? While obviously I wouldn’t want the state smashing up my protest any more than the next man, I really find this whole fix story a little too convenient.

  16. RickB Says:

    Absolutely the “hardline vs reformer” is putting too much difference into them I think (not least because of supreme leader/state organs as you say). “populist vs liberal” is much better (although ‘liberal’ is stretching it!) I think though post result the behaviour of the Revolutionary Guard and Basij (MA’s chums in them at least) has then added an authoritarian aspect that makes MA look a lot less palatable (even to many who voted for him perhaps). So maybe the first nuance is between result and how MA acted subsequently. Yes, what seems to be emerging is power blocs in conflict, but ideology is not foremost in what differentiates them perhaps. There’s also the young demographic which makes the state efforts at control even less wise.
    

  17. Dave (The Void) Says:

    I think though post result the behaviour of the Revolutionary Guard and Basij (MA’s chums in them at least) has then added an authoritarian aspect that makes MA look a lot less palatable

    Certainly, and I hope you’re right that it will provoke some anger against the ruling class in general. Although I do wonder how much of this state repression stuff is decided above the President’s head. Is it really just a matter of A’s chums, or is this how the Iranian state operates? Certainly “reformist” Khatami repressed protests too.

    • RickB Says:

      Well he always has to have an ear cocked to what the SL wants, but this suggests it has evolved to something more-

      In confronting these potential rivals, Khamenei can rely on a new generation of power brokers in the Islamic Republic that have few large personalities from the early days of the revolution and owe their loyalty more directly to the Supreme Leader. Ahmadinejad and his supporters, namely in the Revolutionary Guard and Basij, are the leading members of this new generation. Khamenei has, especially in the last few years with Ahmadinejad’s help, cultivated a strong relationship with these groups by largely aligning with their interests and policy preferences. This has been evident in a whole range of areas. In economic and industrial policy the Revolutionary Guard have played an increasingly significant role in key industrial sectors such as oil and imports. Other core areas of convergence include political and foreign policy issues such as the support of Ahmadinejad in opposition to the reformist movement and the unwavering support of the nuclear program.

  18. RickB Says:

    Another comment popped up! It’s possible he did win but won by so much because he also engaged in a fraud as an insurance policy (as NL about postal voting *cough*). His victory was within that polls figures but still the stories do show some skulduggery. At least there is real mass dissent on the streets, maybe if Bush had been met with that they might have faltered in 2000. And it should/could mean MA’s authoritarian crap will probably not be so encouraged. Might even lead to some new arrangements for a freer society (although dark predictions have been made. I hope they are not made real).

  19. opit Says:

    I see I startled HarpyMarx.
    Kleptocracy is simply Plutocracy via Mafia : a Chameleon employing media and educational control. Those Illuminati kids might well be describing our entrenched ‘nobility’. Now narcotics,etc. make a fine secret income to buy off everyone and his ddog.
    Don’t know if I’d be too free saying that around London docks!

    Russia and China seem perfectly content to have Ahmadinejad as token leader. He does speechify well – and his comments at the conference in Russia are interesting. It is no more than fair to note that Cuba and East Germany – relatively insulated from ‘Western’ influences over the years – are weathering the economic meltdown and loss of ‘free trade’ better than those who have WalMart distribution systems and devastated local infrastructure.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: