This article was originally published in Greek on January 2, 2018. By K. Maragos for avantgarde. Translated by FT, PK
According to the International Viewpoint, one of the slogans of the anti-government demonstrations that have been taking place for the last 5 days in Iran is the following: «We regret the revolution and overthrow the monarchy» [sic]. Yes, you read that correctly. Protesters who are supposedly struggling for democratic rights in Iran feel nostalgia for the Shah and the monarchy. If one combines these feelings (which unmistakably show the political character of the demonstrators chanting them) with the full support of the US President (who is known for his sensitivity with regard to human rights in certain countries he does not like), the conclusion is reached beyond any doubt.
However, there is a number of fools who are ready to offer every kind of support each time they see people mobilizing «from below». Of course none of all that is driven «from below». The propagandists of the various «orange revolutions» have adopted the vocabulary of libertarian babble to make their work easier. We have seen the results in Libya, Ukraine, Syria, when a significant part of the Left, the anarchy and various libertarians celebrated the fall of the «dictators» while missing the Islamist flunkies of imperialism, the bombings by NATO, Sarkozy and Berlusconi, the fascists in Ukraine and the unwavering support that the entire Empire (US, EU, NATO) gave their coup.
But what makes an even worse impression is that the parrots of this kind of Left do not even bother to check what they are copying and pasting when they reproduce the reports of the CNN or, in this case, its offshoots. The International Viewpoint is the magazine of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International. Of course, the 4th International is not unified. Yet the USFI is the most recognizable and in some way the birthplace of the other centers of the Trotskyist tradition. But we wonder. What does reproducing such slogans, not only without any commentary but with obvious sympathy, imply? Does the International Viewpoint «repent» together with the particular demonstrators for the overthrow of the monarchy and the 1979 revolution? Did we understand correctly or are we hallucinating?
Until now, we had seen the various supporters of the «revolutions» in the Ukraine, Syria and Libya playing various mental tricks that emphasized on the social character of the mobilizations and the objective reasons that caused them (repression, poverty etc.). From this, they automatically drew the conclusion that their character was progressive. When we showed them the leaders of these protests and the organizations that played a crucial role (fascists in the Ukraine, US- and Saudi-backed imperial-Jihadists in Syria), they would tell us that these people had “hijacked” the revolution, like the reformist bureaucrats in the West constantly “hijack” the labour movement. But now they have no problem. No longer are they shy to adopt the political content of the «just and driven from below» mobilizations. They do not limit their analysis to the supposed innocence of the protesters who have objective reasons to revolt, but are politically confused. At this point, seeing someone who is whining about restoring the monarchy does not produce any kind of reflection to the comrades of the International Viewpoint.
In any case, their position is methodologically correct. The mobilizations generally do not happen in a –political– vacuum. Regardless of the reasons someone has (or claims to have) to take the streets, what matters most is where this person sees the solution. Even a fascist may invoke everyday social problems, but our attitude towards him cannot be an endless attempt to discover the social causes that drove him and the fascist gangs to take up arms; our main concern is the target at which these arms are pointed. It goes without saying that this target is chosen according to their worldview (aryan races, racism, anti-communism etc). One can talk endlessly about the deeper social reasons that drive Iranians out in the streets, but one cannot hide that the protesters who are chanting these slogans support a monarchic counter-revolution with the support of the Empire and its regional client states (Saudi Arabia, Israel). And to prevent any possible misunderstanding, when we call it a counter-revolution we refer to the political character of the mobilizations. Because if we consider the massiveness of the protests, then we are talking about a parody. CNN itself was talking about «50-70 students demonstrating outside of Tehran University chanting slogans against the government … The number of anti-government protesters is limited to a few hundreds». A propos, let us point out that, along with the pro-monarchic feelings of these protesters, the most important demand is «to stop Tehran’s interference in Syria and Lebanon. One of the demands that come from all the cities (of Iran) is precisely that: leave Syria, stop the interventions in Lebanon or Gaza, we have to deal with ourselves», Afsin Alavi (a member of the National Council of National Resistance (CNRI) based in Paris) told the French Agency. And now we get the big picture.
These people want Iran to leave Syria, so that al-Nusra, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US can assert full control of the country. They are both monarchists and agents of the Empire. Of course, the left parrots of the imperialist propaganda reproduce the same story but inflate the numbers. If they spoke about a few hundreds, their audience -which is addicted to the “masses”- could get second thoughts. So they are talking about thousands to sound more plausible. They might even think that imperialism does not want a real revolution in Iran, that deep down imperialism actually supports the regime and only wants to impose a specific policy to it. That’s why the West is downplaying the size of the demonstrations. And the «libertarian left-wingers from below» step in to restore the «mass» reality. One wonders whether they are simply stupid or also victims of their own obsession. Of course, as the days go by, everybody can confirm the «mass» character of the demonstrations, and especially their political character. «The current mobilizations seem to be the most massive since 1979 and the Islamic Revolution that overthrew the Shah, slogans in favor of whom are now being heard, such as: ‘Shah Reza rest in peace’”, M. Karhilaki reports for the Greek CNN. And here is a video: let all the comrades who get excited with everything that is driven “from below” watch it and start celebrating, as they usually do.