Monday, March 24, 2008

1. The disqualifications of many reformists before the recent parliamentary elections in Iran were inexcusable, but these reformists and their supporters are really loathsome. I told a friend who shares my contempt for this bunch that these so-called reformist politicians remind me of US Democrats in lacking two things: convictions and something else that rhymes with mesticles.

Later this same friend sent out an email outlining his problem with Akbar Ganji and reformists more generally, and I think that his concise and incisive comment is so right-on, that I asked if I could copy and paste it here, citing him only as an anonymous scholar and friend. So here it is:

The reformists and their entire intellectual and political vanguard of theorists had their days in the sun from 1997-2001. since then they've been totally and utterly irrelevant (and i think the smarter among them know this). for two reasons i think: 1- the reality of american power, which has been much more brutally visible since 2001, even though reformists should've known about it before then. khatami's "dialogue" and all talk of democracy and republicanism and human rights in the mode of 97-01 basically amount to a steaming pile of shit after 9/11. 2- reformists never ever were able to get a handle on a decent discourse of social justice. they were and still are interested in nothing more than a political "emancipation" of the middle class. ahmadinejad and his ilk have stolen the show on the social justice discourse, even though it is populist and they may not produce any results in the end. i still think though that they haven't lost their steam and they will be able to stay dominant (and their discourse hegemonic) for the next four or five years at least, even without intervention of the guardians, the sepah, rahbar, etc.

i'm not saying anything new or different from everything that's been said by many others since 2001, and especially 2005. until reformist thinkers are able to produce some kind of critique of state and society in iran that is also cognizant of the problems of empire and capital on the one hand, and is understanding of the religious feelings of a vast segment of the iranian population on the other (the way marxists never have been), they're not going to get anywhere. until then, ganji and his ilk are going to be an irrelevant bunch of losers. and they'll for ever have to do the rounds of europe and north america begging for patronage and trying to please the self-satisfied young secular middle class "activists" (of whom maybe we are some of the more disgruntled) whose lot is not much more than intellectual and political masturbation on weblogs and discussion boards and email lists.

2. Thank you, Harry de Winter from Another Jewish Voice, for being brave enough to state the obvious about the latest Islamaphobe-Fascist, Geert Wilder: "If Wilders had said the same thing about Jews (and the Old Testament) as he does about Muslims (and the Koran), he would have been ostracized a long time ago and accused of anti-Semitism."

3. Following a steady increase in attacks against occupation forces in the last few weeks, the announced US casualty count in Iraq just hit 4,000. After months of repeating the administration's line that the surge is "working," somnambulist pundits and reporters are on pause, waiting for the recent developments to be re-framed and handed to them. Expect the "analysis" to include a whole lot of references to eye-ran and the eyeranian president, I'mgonnaneedajob.