[Marxism] re: Winning" and "losing" in Iran and everywhere

M. Junaid Alam junaidalam1 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 11 00:28:22 MDT 2006

"Why is there a need to set these two goals against each other? Were
higher wages
for bus drivers supposedly a drain on funds that were meant to arm

Of course not, that would be absurd, and I did not mean to be interpreted as
asserting that. It should be clear from the context of my post that I was
making a very different point:

"Lenin's pamphlet is very impressive considering the problems he immediately
faced. But ten years after he wrote it, he authored 'The split in
socialism,' where he launched all kinds of nervous questions and tentative
formulations about a labor aristocracy, a turn of Western workers away from
class struggle, and the general failure of the working-class to respond to
capitalism in the way Marx predicted. When are the rest of us going to catch
up to the method of Marx, by upgrading our analysis to beyond the
predictions of Marx? When are we going to take stock of the massive and
evident, hypnotic, psychological and social power of religious, national,
and ethnic impulses, instead of treating them as mere road bumps on the road
to an idealized pure class struggle? Orwell was correct in 'Notes on
nationalism' when he pointed out that nationalism almost always supercedes
international solidarity. That is confirmed on either side: (A) masses
siding with imperialism against other more oppressed masses, and (B) those
other more oppressed masses siding with whatever socialist - or upper-class
elements available - that will lead them into struggle against imperialism."

Let's face it. The regime survives based on substantial support from the
people. Religious conservatism, subsidies for some of the poorer workers and
government workers, and commitment to regional ambitions - and aspirations
to become the banner state of the Muslim world - are the elements are tapped
into by Ahmedinejad. At the end of the day, people on the whole are going to
take more pride and place more importance in throwing sand in the face of
Zionism - and therefore forestalling the next phase had Lebanon gone
swimmingly, ie. attack on Iran - than they are on the wages of some bus
drivers. The regime, capitalist in its economic character, takes note and
gives no quarter where it is not necessary to provide it.

The contours of history have not been carved out along clear class lines. We
already know this, but seem not to integrate it into our thinking. The
insertion of the Jewish settler-state and the antaganosms kindled by its
chauvinistic behavior, the 500-year decline of Muslim civilization and the
ascent of one that has committed itself to destroying civilization itself,
incites in people fears, desires and designs that weigh far more heavily on
human consciousness than trade-union concerns. If that was not true Iran
would be a Persian Sweden and it would be the Islamists languishing in
jails. Precisely to the degree to which the Western workers have accomodated
themselves to imperialism to be saved from the 'barbarians' by *whoever the
saviors will be*, their victims and intended victims have accommodated
themselves to anti-imperialism *whoever is taking up their defense*.

Thirty years ago some melange of socialists-nationalists allied with USSR
were leading this charge. Guess what? They fell flat on their fucking faces.
All of them. So they have no credibility. These variants of Islamism,
however, have proven more enduring. And why should that surprise any of us?
Was it the seed of Marxism planted in Arabia and Persia and the world over
from India to Spain 1400 years ago? People return to what is elemental when
the ideology their oppressor presents to them - 'modernity' - is shown to be
one-sided and hypocritical, and when some offshoot of it - socialism - fails
to deliver and collapses entirely after a few decades.

Doubtless a time will come when the Islamist wave shows to the masses not
only its advances, but its hardwired limitations, opening up prospects for
renewed socialist projects on a higher basis. But that day is not now, and
will not come, until imperialism stops inciting and fertilizing the Islamist
breeding ground - or, less likely, delivers it some soft kisses of death by
taking its hands off the Middle East, thereby forcing extremism to moderate
and bend to the concerns of people who would now have ordinary human
concerns as their top priority.

M. Junaid Alam

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