Iran: The Twitter 'Revolution'
The recent election in Iran has become a phenomenon given unusual attention by amerikans who read the news. One must ask why these amerikans are so upset about potential election fraud on the other side of the world? You didn't hear such concern about the recent Mexican election. In that case it was a country bordering the united $tates, and there was actually evidence of widespread fraud. With the treatment of an incident last week where the Honduran president was abducted and flown out of the country in a coup, it is even more evident that the media and its followers are more upset about the fact that their candidate didn't win then that there was any unfairness involved.
The Iranian election warrants particular attention from the Maoist movement because of the campaign against Iran, and the Muslim world in general, that has been carried out by Amerikan imperialism as well as groups calling themselves feminists, and some even calling themselves Maoists. While years of struggle have occurred against these allies of imperialism, many of our readers behind bars will be new to this.
For years now, the so-called “Revolutionary Communist Party (USA)” has been organizing mass demonstrations in cities across the country on International Wimmin’s Day, targeting Iran. At one rally, this writer witnessed middle-aged men in business casual attire carrying massive banners calling for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. When asked what group they organized with they claimed to just be a couple guys concerned about the issue. The main topic of the rally was wimmin’s rights.
As one Maoist writer pointed out, the Jerusalem Post (6/23/2009) printed an article entitled, "It's about the women" in response to the post-election protests in Iran, which stated:
“Women are the ones arrested in Iran for having an ankle showing or for wearing lipstick. After three such arrests, women go to prison. At the fourth arrest, they get a public lashing.”
The author correctly comments,
No doubt some Iranian wimmin are indeed afraid of their own Muslim culture. Yet there is no proof that the portion of Iranian wimmin so afraid is higher than the portion of Amerikan wimmin afraid of sexual harassment on the street if they show ankle or wear obvious lipstick. There is also no doubt that large portions of wimmin in both Iran and the united $tates are completely comfortable with the culture they display when walking down the street.(1)
In other words, this is not about wimmin's rights, as much as many try to pretend it is. If it was they would be attacking patriarchy not oppressed nations whose leaders don't succumb to u$ economic interests.
Our readers should know that millions of dollars were sent to anti-government organizations in Iran in the last few years by the U.S. State Department(2), while Seymour Hersh reported that U.S. special operations forces were conducting exercises inside Iran's borders. One can see why the u$-backed candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, might have expected to win the recent presidential election. But a number of polls showed high approval rates of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and showed him winning the election by a similar margin. While anti-Ahmadinejad activists got support from corporations like Facebook and Twitter and their users to get their opinions out, 65% of Iranians don't have access to the internet(4), which likely overlaps greatly with the rural majority who reportedly voted for Ahmadinejad.
In one online discussion of the Iranian elections an apparent anti-imperialist commented, "It’s interesting that some “Western progressives” here are essentially accepting the Western media and government propaganda spin on the Iranian elections–the same Western media and governments they supposedly oppose."(3) It is interesting, in that it exposes the common interests between amerikans and the corporate elite when it comes to issues most important to imperialism.
However, we should not ignore a couple of things that made this embracing of the corporate line a bit smoother. First, many supposedly independent organs have been rallying amerikans against the Islamic Republic of Iran for years. Second you have supposedly independent activists on Twitter reporting from Iran. For amerikans, the individual is the ideal unit for change, far superior to a self-proclaimed revolutionary organization or a corporate news source. Amerikans trust individuals more, even when there is no accountability of who these individuals are. So when CNN says that the elections in Iran were rigged, there is corroborating evidence from "alternative" sources to let one believe it.
Will amerikans support People's War when the proletariat uses Twitter? The obvious answer is no. Twitter serves a certain class with certain interests. The world's exploited majority are not well-represented on the internet. Amerikan liberals would like to think that their little gadgets, paid for with the blood and sweat of the Third World, are increasing democracy and humyn rights. It is only at the fringes that the proletariat is making use of these tools that are still in the hands of the rich. (Rather than a Twitter Revolution, one starts to wonder if this is just one big Twitter advertisement.)
Those who acknowledge that Mousavi does not represent the progressive demands of the masses of Iran are countering that those in the street are who they are supporting. One commentator pointed out:
"Just being in the streets does not make a protester revolutionary. Just as putting down such protests, in itself, does not make one a reactionary. Fascists have had street protests. And, communists have broken up street protests."
It is the most radical of the petty bourgeoisie who fall into this trap of seeing all rebellion as good without considering the greater context or the outcome. These individualists idealize "spontaneous" uprisings, even when they're backed by millions of dollars of u$ funding and years of psychological warfare by the CIA-run media.
As many of the better commentaries have pointed out, this "Green Revolution" being touted in the corporate media is the latest in a long line of "revolutions" that are backed by the the imperialists to replace the governments of mostly former-Eastern Bloc countries with leaders favoring Washington-centered neo-liberalism. While they have all received great praise in the media, none has received such mass response from amerikans in general as Iran. The key difference has been the Islam factor, and the use of gender aristocracy attacks on Iran from a range of amerikans, including the u$ State Department, pseudo-feminist organizations, and phoney Maoist parties.
Gender issues have been used by colonialists and imperialists to attack Islam (ie. the oppressed nations) throughout the last century. There is no reason to believe that such attacks are suddenly progressive.
Amerikans are being rallied around "barbaric" incidents in the Muslim world, while ignoring the fact that u$ imperialism is still the number one imprisoner, torturer and killer in the world. No one else comes close.
(2) One request was for $400 million dollars according to Seymour Hersh. Recently, it was reported that U.S. Congress apparently approved $66 million of it.
(4) Schleifer, Yigal. Why Iran's Twitter revolution is unique. Christian Science Monitor, June 19, 2009.