Shaheryar Ali

 

Understanding the issue of Gay liberation in Islamic Republic is a theoretically difficult and problematic notion for a variety of reasons!  Whilst the level of historical development as with other post-colonial states, ensures incomplete modernization, the existing union with international capital, forces a post modern sensitivity through out urban centers of Islamic Republic. It is still theoretically problematic to assert the existence of either “Gay” community or Gay liberation in the country. The pattern of “Men Having Sex with Men” and their women counterparts remains largely “pre-Modern” in the sense which Foucault elaborates as an “aberration” rather than “specie” (as is the case in industrialized societies). The pattern which exists mostly in the Islamic Republic takes form of Man/boy, Senior/junior and Macho/effeminate polarities and enjoys a level of social acceptability in almost all parts of Islamic Republic especially outside major urban centers but it could be dominant pattern even in these. The practice does not seem to induce “gay label” on the participants, which is especially true for the dominant polarity (man/senior/Macho). A common binary opposition which has been defined in these contexts is the one based on “performance” (Active vs Passive) where the “active partner” appears to enjoy a level of societal approval as this role is understood to be enshrined in the “Masculine identity” in many parts of the country. This also seems to suggest the “gay” label is only extended to receiving partner. This is the argument that one listens most from the urban gay activists but have always been a problematic notion for me to understand. Urdu has no word for “Homosexual” or “gay” nor does any of the regional language. “gando” the word commonly referred to in this context denotes some thing else. It does not strictly or exclusively denotes a passive partner. In Pre modern pattern “bacha” and Londa” are more important in this context. One can argue the extant of specificity these terms have as londa in vernacular denotes simply a “lad”but has been used in sexual context as well. Mir the foremost Master of Urdu poetry said “ Mir bare saada hein jis sabab bimar hue! Ussi Attar ke “londe” se dawa lete hein! Moreover there are no words for “Top” in in Urdu as such apart from words coined by urban chatters. Which represent more of constructed jargon than language! Language has been understood as “house of being” so I am not very convinced about this binary opposition. The trap here is too fall for what West has taught us.  The discourse on these matters is heavily laden with orientalist connotations. What is very conveniently forgotten In this regard is the fact that the same sex relations historically were more socially acceptable in East than in West. The Baghdad which is frequently alluded too by our moslem romantics was not only rich in philosophy science and Jihad but also in hedonism. Mutawakil had herm of thousands of castrated Roman lads and one Caliph had to explain to a visiting Mufti who was astonished to see his highness surrounded by cute youth that “he has never untied his trouser cord for what has been forbidden”. The European travelers to Ottoman empire were horrified to observe the openness of same sex relation in baths of Consentinople. Europe of middle ages remembered the Arabs and muslims as “sodomites”. Literature is full of such episodes. One ironic example is that of a Austrian lad who went to a handsome Turk prisoner of war and was utterly disappointed on his refusal failing to understand how a Turk not be a sodomite! Kohat observed frequent same sex wedding in Raj. Photographs exist in private collections. The “modern gay scene” is limited to only a handful of people mostly exposed to European society and westernized or semi westernized families. They are not representative of most of the “People who have sex with Same Gender” (PSSG) in the Islamic Republic. In absence of gay community the efforts to “liberate gays” might reduce the “social immunity” which a wide number of PSSG seem to have in Islamic Republic.

The so called pride event in USA embassy has in my opinion exposed these people to risk of death, social alienation and torture. The behavior which is indigenous will now become “western disease” which needs to be eradicated. Any one who is properly integrated in Pakistani society (not the isolated modern or semi modern Islands in Islamabad Lahore and Karachi) knows that homoerotic behavior is a significant part of local discourse and is not noticed or bothered much unless it crosses over from its designated sphere ie It is not worn on ones face or pumped up as a pride event.  Rather is often a matter of laugh, taunt or dislike by friends and usually does not lead to much serious consequences. (Apart from few cases in recent past which are result of more Gay visibility and emergent homophobia). The strategy of modern gay liberation in a society where modern lifestyles have not been universally accepted can be counterproductive. The orientalist approach in this regard must be discarded. The movement must be integrated with movement to secularize the country. The queer activists need to integrate themselves to the wider political struggle in the country. They need to be part of the rank and file of the resistance movement.  Winning the respect and acceptance of their colleges and comrades they need to introduce the agenda of sexual liberation in the emerging political leadership of the country. Not only this, they need to become part of this leadership.

The example of 20th century has explained to us the limitations of the identity politics in general. Whilst African communists and ANC were able to end apartheid in South Africa at level of the bourgeois state, the segregation in the society has not been abolished. The overwhelming number of Africans still lives in abject poverty without any access to the social standards which a White South African enjoys. Xenophobia has emerged as a dangerous consequence of the discontent which the “liberated” Africans feel. Same could be said about USA where the historic civil rights movement apparently ended the legal segregation but failed miserably to achieve social integration. An African American has become president of USA but the socio-economic and health indicators of the most advance nation of the world demonstrate a divergence which is startling to say the least! The poverty and health indicators of parts of USA are comparable to African states. African Americans are still more likely to have no access to health care and are more likely to be in prisons than the white Americans.

Though Gay rights have been granted in Europe and USA, Homophobia in the society effectively nullifies these gains. Homosexuals still face discrimination, exclusion and violence in USA and Europe. The most problematic aspect of this is the fact that these legal reforms tend to discriminate on a class basis. Where more socially advantaged classes seem to get benefit from these reforms but those from under privileged classes suffer exclusion. From the perspective of a social activist who is interested in emancipation it presents itself as an existential dilemma , where one tends to stand at the same point where he started before the “victory”. The criticism we are offering to the “liberal” model here is frequently misunderstood and sometimes described deliberately by our liberal friends as “deference” of the Question of Rights! This essentially is not the case!  This is essentially is a criticism of the political approach which deferred the question of “Human emancipation” indefinitely in favor of certain legal protections which practically have favored a small minority of oppressed communities thus resulting in actual increase in discrimination and social segregation. This is a criticism of the fragmentation of progressive movement which plays one oppressed community against another! Jews vs Blacks Vs Hispanics in USA.  Women vs Gays etc and favors the dominant sections of society to effectively remain in control. This is the criticism of the approach which sees “reforms’ as the endpoint of the struggle rather than emancipation. Reforms are certainly desirable and should be encouraged but only in a context of a holistic political agenda which seeks to unite people in struggle for socio economic emancipation or we will keep having “victories” without effect and ‘changes” without change!

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Shaheryar Ali

Qul Erzun Erz e Kerbala—-Kul Yom-un-Yom-e Aashura

Every land is Kerbala and every day is day of Aashura

Muhammed Baqir

“Its the story of a night , of murder ,of army invasion , of mutilation of bodies , of imprisonment of ladies, of fire, of suppressed cries , of lashes, of torture, of hangings, of resistance—this is common between Kerbala and 4th April and thats why both have merged as a symbol in Urdu poetry”

On 4rth April , this state took revenge from the people for threatening its existence during the revolution of 1968-69. The dark night which started still continues. The evil still rule. Party once again under threat. One after one they put daggers in our heart. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto , Shahnawaz Bhutto , Murtaza Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.
Asif Ali Zardari is besieged in presidential palace repeating the mistake which killed each of our leaders. The mistake of reconciliation with alien classes. From his death cell Zulfikar Ali Bhutto wrote “i made a fatal mistake , that tried to reconcile the two classes , there can be no reconciliation between the oppressed and oppressors. Asif Ali Zardari its time to read the “foundation documents of Pakistan Peoples Party”. Its time to enter in final struggle or you know as you yourself said “you are sitting on the chair of martyrs”. The ruling classes have not allowed a single chairman of PPP to live—
Ahmad Faraz wrote this revolutionary poem about our great Army. What have it done to us , from Bengali Genocide to Balochi genocide. What it is doing today. A masterpiece of resistance poetry , it speaks of imperialism both British and American and their mercenaries “our Army”
The initial remarks about Faraz in the video should be understood in context of “inter-left” sectarianism between NAP and Bhutto otherwise Faraz always stood for oppressed nationalities, this very poem is its proof. It should be “war cry of the people”

This second poem is “Mohasra”. “The Siege”. It was written on murder of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Zia’s fascist dictatorship. Considered one of the best pieces of Resistance poetry ever written in Urdu and truly captures the dark ages of Zia and the most heroic struggle of Pakistani Left. A sharp criticism exist in the poem on opportunism shown by a section of writers from the Left who attended “Ahel e Qalam” conference under Zia.
Faraz called them “gadagaran e sukhen” and it contains those great lines which gave hope of revolutionaries in death cells.
“usse maloom nahi tareekh kiya sekhati he
keh raat jub kisi khursheed ku shaheed kare
tu Subah ik naya Suraj tarash lati he—-“

Nadeem Farooq Paracha , popularly known as NFP is the closest to “Hippie,socialist,anarchist” Youth icon Pakistani Left wing youth will ever had. He is perhaps the only journalist in Pakistan who i respect unconditionally these days. NFP calls himself a old fashioned “socialist”.His political positions on issues are far more advance than the traditional Left of Pakistan. Apart from politics NFP is the most original cultural theorist. I have seen his work on development of “Pop music” in Pakistan and read his articles on issues of culture and have been impressed. NFP has also done a great work on history of Youth politics in Pakistan and its one of his most important contribution. PPP is one strange phenomenon for Pakistani Left, their relationship with PPP is either scarred by Ultra-Leftism or sheer Oppertunism and class-colaboration.What needs to be understood is that PPP is the traditional mother party of Pakistani working class but it neither was nor will ever be a revolutionary Party. NFP speaks about Benazir Bhutto. An emotional subject for most of Us. The article was taken from “Dawn” with Thanks.SA

By Nadeem F. Paracha
In 1986 when Benazir Bhutto arrived to the thunderous cheers of a mammoth gathering in Lahore, I too travelled by train with a dozen fellow students from my college to witness the spectacle.

The late Benazir Bhutto’s first death anniversary was observed on Dec 27, 2008. I decided to follow it on the news channels. The moving programmes left an emotional lump in my throat.

But the emotion was not of sadness alone. It was also of resigned pessimism and a bit of anger. As the channels paid glowing tributes to Benazir, and anchormen and even politicians from the right-wing parties unloaded long speeches about how she was being so dearly missed, I couldn’t help let out a cynical chuckle. Because I am convinced, had the woman been alive today, the same media would have been smearing her with all kinds of taunts.

I remember how awfully she was treated by the media in the 1990s, but more so, I also remember the squarely reactionary and snide remarks by anchormen about her when she returned to Pakistan last year with the help of a “deal” with Musharraf.

Thinking this I boycotted the viewing of television for the rest of the day, and instead decided to have a chat with my chawkidar whose late father was a big Bhutto supporter in Bahawalpur. After all, Benazir’s legend was born in the struggle, passion and love of the common man, and not in the seasonal studios of television talk shows.

Benazir Bhutto was a vital figure for my generation. In the 1980s, she was to us what her father had been to the youth in the late 1960s. Our romance with Benazirism reached a milestone when she arrived in Lahore in April 1986 from London where she had been forced into exile by the Ziaul Haq dictatorship. He had failed to implicate her in the 1981 plane hijacking case undertaken at the behest of her brothers, Mir Murtaza and Shanawaz Bhutto.

The hijacking of the PIA plane, pulled off in the name of Al Zulfikar, involved a group of militant youth belonging to the PPP’s student wing, the People’s Students Federation (PSF). As a reaction, by 1985, a number of PSF members, all belonging to the poor, downtrodden families, were eliminated. The oldest of them was in his 20s and the youngest was said to be only 17. None of them had been part of the hijacking drama.

Hundreds of PSF cadres and youth belonging to other progressive student groups were hauled up, severely tortured and humiliated. I am an eyewitness to a spat of disappearances from the college where I studied between 1984 and 1988, and from where I too was picked up in 1985.

I was taken to the then notorious “555 thana,” in Karachi’s Saddar area. I was grabbed by my unruly Che Guevara hair, kicked, punched and abused, then taken on a tour of the thana’s “special rooms” where two cops showed me the sight of a college comrade hanging upside down from the roof and bleeding from the nose. “See,” shouted a cop. “This is what we do to anti-Islam dogs and communist agents like you!”

I was lucky because at the investiture of the first Benazir Bhutto government in 1988, we saw the sudden scenes of young men (and some women) exiting from jails, looking twice their age and both physically and psychologically tortured. Most of them had been kept in torture cells for more than six years! Their parents had given up on them, and thought they were dead.

In 1986 when Benazir arrived to the thunderous cheers of the mammoth gathering in Lahore, I too travelled by train with a dozen fellow students from my college to witness the spectacle. It was a scene legends are made of, as we struggled in the thronging milieu of simple, emotional, working class Pakistanis, to catch a glimpse of a frail young woman shouting out rhetorical challenges at the dictator and his army of Maududi-quoting officers and people-bashing mujahids.

Her father’s populism and oratory had bagged him his share of what are called jiyalas, the highly emotional men and women, mostly from the downtrodden classes, to whom the PPP is almost like a religion. That great April 1986 rally saw the birth of the Benazir jiyalas. And I have no problem in confessing that as a volatile intermediate college lad I became one as well. Especially after the day of the rally when PPP activists came together in the streets of Lahore and four young PSF members were shot dead by the cops.

Our group was chased all the way to the Lahore Railway Station, and we had to literally jump inside a moving Karachi-bound train from the train’s windows! Many of us carried these memories well into the 1990s. During the tumultuous “decade of democracy” in which Benazir became a favourite target of the official desk-top jihadis (such as former ISI bigwigs), and their religious and industrialist lackeys; my generation of Benazir sympathisers became awkward PPP apologists.

But never once did we doubt the astute political and intellectual acumen and the promise Benazir symbolised. A promise I saw being celebrated on Dec 27, 2008, but unfortunately, many years too late.

A fellow Pakistani blogger “Grand Trunk Road” has recently written about a conversation he had with one of Pakistani Left. He is amazed to see that Left in Pakistan is putting forward a position that Islamic Fundamentalism is some how “anti imperialist” and because of this reason it should be supported. Regardless of the fact that such a non sense can be called “Left”, this is a fact. Not only majority of Pakistani Left is of this opinion but so called “advance” European Left, has similar opinion about Hamas. This is the result when ideas degenerate. Nothing can be farther from texts, tradition and practice of the Left than these murderous positions. Haven’t we learnt from this exact blunder in Iran? Conceding the revolution to Iranian Mullah’s for the same reasons of “transitional phase” resulted in formation of one of the most monstrous regimes in human history. Genocide against Baluchs and Kurds is going on. Left has been purged. Torture, hangings and murders are order of the day in Iran. Philosophers and intellectuals are either in jail or murdered. Trade unions and Leftists are on hit lists. The GTR article can be reached here

There exists a more genuine and more leftist position on this issue. The “International Marxist Website” has published a series of article against this position. I think it is a far better and correct left wing position that what Tariq Ali and others are saying

Here is Part 2 of the article:

Shaheryar Ali

Why Revolutionary Marxists should not support Islamic fundamentalists – Part Two

By Maziar Razi

Chris Harman sides with reactionary Islamic Fundamentalists

If Tony Cliff parts from the basic ideas of revolutionary Marxism and revises Trotsky’s permanent revolution, Chris Harman, by extending Tony Cliff’s deviation, sides with counter-revolutionary Islamic fundamentalists. This position potentially places the SWP leadership in a united bloc with reactionaries.

Chris Harman discusses the theoretical root of his support for the Islamic Republic of Iran and fundamentalism:

“As Tony Cliff put it in a major piece of Marxist analysis, if the old ruling class is too weak to hang on to power in the face of economic crisis and insurgency from below, while the working class does not have the independent organisation to allow it to become the head of the movement, then sections of the intelligentsia are able to make a bid for power, feeling that they have a mission to solve the problems of society as a whole”

‘The intelligentsia is sensitive to their countries’ technical lag. …In a crumbling order where the traditional pattern is disintegrating, they feel insecure, rootless, lacking infirm values. Dissolving cultures give rise to a powerful urge for a new integration that must be total and dynamic if it is to fill the social and spiritual vacuum that must combine religious fervour with militant nationalism. They are in search for a dynamic movement which will unify the nation and open up broad vistas for it, but at the same time will give themselves power…”

Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini
Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini

Chris Harman concludes:

“Although these words (by Tony Cliff) were written about the attraction of Stalinism, Maoism and Castroism in Third World countries, they fit absolutely the Islamist intelligentsia around Khomeini in Iran. They were not, as many left wing commentators have mistakenly believed, merely an expression of ‘backward’, bazaar-based traditional, ‘parasitic’, ‘merchant capital’. Nor were they simply an expression of classic bourgeois counter-revolution. They undertook a revolutionary reorganisation of ownership and control of capital within Iran even while leaving capitalist relations of production intact, putting large scale capital that had been owned by the group around the Shah into the hands of state and parastate bodies controlled by themselves  ‑ in the interests of the ‘oppressed’, of course, with the corporation that took over the Shah’s own economic empire being named the Mustafazin (‘Oppressed’) Foundation.” (emphasis added).

“The interesting thing about the method by which the group around Khomeini ousted their opponents and established a one party regime was that there was nothing specifically Islamist about it. It was not, as many people horrified by the religious intolerance of the regime contend, a result of some ‘irrational’ or ‘medieval’ characteristic of ‘Islamic fundamentalism’. In fact, it was very similar to that carried through in different parts of the world by parties based on sections of the petty bourgeoisie. It was the method used, for instance, by the weak Communist Parties of much of Eastern Europe to establish their control after 1945. And a prototype for the petty bourgeois who combines ideological fervour and personal advance is to be found in Balzac’s Pére Goriot–the austere Jacobin who makes his fortune out of exploiting the shortages created by the revolutionary upheaval.”

“The victory of Khomeini’s forces in Iran was not, then, inevitable, and neither does it prove that Islamism is a uniquely reactionary force against which the left must be prepared to unite with the devil (or rather, the Great Satan) of imperialism and its local allies. It merely confirms that, in the absence of independent working class leadership, revolutionary upheaval can give way to more than one form of the restabilisation of bourgeois rule under a repressive, authoritarian, one party state. The secret ingredient in this process was not the allegedly ‘medieval’ character of Islam, but the vacuum created by the failure of the socialist organisations to give leadership to an inexperienced but very combative working class.” (The prophet and the proletariat, Chris Harman, International Socialism Journal, issue 64, Autumn 1994)

Following Tony Cliff’s revision of the permanent revolution, Chris Harman absurdly compares Khomeini’s regime to “weak communist parties in East Europe” or Jacobins! By doing so, Chris Harman shows that not only is he clueless about the history and class nature of Islamic fundamentalists in Iran, but he also misrepresents Tony Cliff’s deviated position.

All this is not at all surprising if one looks briefly at another major error in the ideas developed first by Tony Cliff and later built on by his followers. Cliff drew the conclusion that the degeneration of the Soviet Union had led to the establishment of “state capitalism”, and later applied this to Eastern Europe and other regimes where capitalism had been abolished and a planned economy had been put in its place.

Having stated that these regimes were just another form of capitalism, it appears clear why they see no fundamental difference between a regime such as that in Cuba and the Islamic fundamentalist regime in Iran. Here one can also begin to see why they develop illusions in the Islamic regimes. Thus they look at the superficial aspects that could lead one to see Castro’s Cuba and Khomeini’s Iran in the same light. As they both have come into conflict at various times with US imperialism then there must be some similarity between them. Instead of looking at the essential aspect of the way the economy works, they look at the outer trappings.

Genuine Trotskyists have always defended the planned economy of the Soviet Union in the past and what still remains of it in Cuba today. They fought the Stalinist degeneration, the bureaucracy with all its monstrous features, while defending the centrally planned state owned economy. In Iran the system cannot be compared to that of the former Soviet Union, but if – as the SWP thinks – the Soviet Union was merely a variant of capitalism one can understand how easy it is to fall into the blunder of seeing in the stabilisation of capitalist relations under Khomeini a similar process to what happened under Stalin. It is like confusing oil with water. The two are very different. Down this road one can see how the process of prettifying Islamic fundamentalism can start.

Reactionary role of clergy ignored by Chris Harman

Unlike Chris Harman’s belief, Khomeini’s clique has been part and parcel of the ruling class in Iran for decades. Neither the IRI’s leaders, nor its social base have been formed by the “intelligentsia”! The main bulk of the leadership have been big landlords (like Ali Akbar Rafsanjani – the president of the IRI for two terms, and one of most influential and prominent figures today); and the social base of the regime was formed mainly by discontented shanty towns dwellers, urban petty bourgeois and the peasant migrants, etc. Given the predominance of the urban petty bourgeois and the peasant migrants in the early stages of the mass movement, the call of the clergy for “Islamic Justice”, “Islamic economics”, “Islamic army”, and “Islamic state” could immediately find a willing mass base.

The point Chris Harman should realise is that, if the bourgeoisie is in power and the state is a bourgeois state, then obviously the fundamental question, according to Marx, Lenin and Trotsky is the destruction of that state and replacing it with a workers’ state which can carry out the bourgeois democratic tasks. By this logic, any bourgeois state is utterly reactionary and must be toppled by a revolution. But the SWP argues to the contrary and believes that any “enemy” of imperialism in any underdeveloped country, in the absence of revolutionary proletariat, is objectively “progressive” and is potentially a positive step in the process of growing over to the socialist phase.

It is obvious that, if the class character of the state has already become bourgeois (unlike the character of the national bourgeoisie over 100 years ago), then it follows by definition that it has a social base within the bourgeoisie and is therefore also actively supported by at least the upper layers of the petty bourgeoisie. Today, in any of the underdeveloped capitalist countries, in the event of a revolutionary crisis which could threaten bourgeois class rule, one must expect to find in the camp of counter-revolution not only the entire bourgeoisie, but also the upper layers of the petty bourgeoisie, and some of the so called “intelligentsia” are no exception to this rule.

In the Iranian revolution of 1979 precisely this scenario took place. The entire resources of the international and national bourgeoisie, orchestrated by the CIA, were mobilised to transfer power to Khomeini as the representative of the capitalist clergy, to safeguard and save the bourgeois state. The shock troops of the counterrevolution were made up of this layer, i.e. the petty bourgeoisie.

What Chris Harman misses completely in his analysis of the IRI, is the fact that it is well documented that long before the February 1978 insurrection, important sections of the army, the secret police and the bureaucracy lined up behind Khomeini. US imperialism also intervened directly to bring about a negotiated settlement between the chiefs of the armed forces and the bourgeois-clerical leadership, not to mention many of the biggest bourgeois entrepreneurs who gave Khomeini huge sums of money to organise his “leadership”.

Given the broadness of the mass movement and its radicalism, the only way that the bourgeois counter-revolution could have succeeded in defeating the revolution was by “joining” it. This could have been possible only by supporting a faction within the opposition to the Shah that could ensure a degree of control over the masses. This was one of the most (if not the most) important factors in placing Khomeini at the head of the mass movement.

The reasons why the Shiite clergy, especially Khomeini’s faction, was well suited for this task should be obvious. The clergy has always been an important institution of the state, well trained in defending class society and private property. After all, the Shiite hierarchy has been the main ideological prop of the state. Khomeini himself had come from a faction which had already proven its loyalty to the ruling class by helping it in the 1953 coup.

It was also the least hated instrument of the state, because it was not a structural part of what it was supporting. Unlike the Catholic Church, it had always kept its distance from the state. Especially because of the post-White Revolution period of capitalist development, the clergy had been relegated to a secondary position. Indeed, because of this, a growing faction within the hierarchy had been forced into a position of opposition to the Shah’s regime. This could now be utilised as a passport inside the mass movement.

Given the weakness of the bourgeois political opposition, which was not allowed to operate under the Shah, the clergy, with its nationwide network of mullahs and mosques, provided the strong instrument-cum-party necessary for “organising” and channelling the spontaneous mass movement. It could also provide the type of vague populist ideology needed to blunt the radical demands of the masses and to unite them around a veiled bourgeois programme.

To deny, therefore, even today, as the SWP leadership does, that Khomeini’s counter-revolutionary drive coincided with its efforts to place itself at the leadership of the revolution, is to go against all the facts now known to millions of Iranians themselves. To deny also that from the beginning it was helped in these efforts by the ruling classes and their imperialist backers is to misunderstand the main course of events in the Iranian revolution.

It is, therefore, a total mystification to characterise the Iranian revolution as a popular anti-imperialist revolution led by “petty bourgeois intelligentsia” or to state that “They [the regime] undertook a revolutionary reorganisation of ownership and control of capital within Iran“. This interpretation completely misses out the specific counter-revolutionary role of the bourgeoisie and its political tool within the revolution.

The political and economic crisis of the 1976-78 period, which set the scene for the mass unrest, was made up of different and contradictory factors. Alongside the mass movement of protests against the Shah’s dependent capitalist dictatorship, there were also important rifts inside the bourgeoisie as a whole, both within the pro-Shah sections and between the pro and anti-Shah sections.

These bourgeoisie oppositions to the Shah’s rule were transformed as the revolutionary crisis grew and deepened: there was, firstly, a movement for the reform of the Shah’s state from within the top “modernist” bourgeoisie, which favoured the limitation of the Royal Family’s absolute powers and was for a certain degree of rationalisation of the capitalist state. The requirements of further capitalist development themselves necessitated these reforms.

This faction had already formed itself within the Shah’s single party (rastakhiz – Resurgence) before the revolutionary crisis. It had the support of an important section of the technocrats and bureaucrats inside Iran, and of influential groups within the US establishment. As the crisis deepened, this faction became increasingly vociferous in its opposition to the Shah. It began to use the threat of the mass movement as leverage in its dealings with the Shah. The ousting of Hoveida’s government and the formation of Amouzegar’s cabinet was a concession to this faction. The development of the mass movement was, however, pushing other bourgeois oppositionists to the forefront.

This faction knew that, in order to ride the crisis out, it had to hide behind bourgeois politicians less associated with the Shah’s dictatorship. In no other way could it hope to enjoy a certain degree of support inside the mass movement. The re-emergence of the corpse called the National Front and the rise of newly created bourgeois liberal groupings, (e.g. the Radical Movement) were linked to this trend.

There was also an opposition to the Shah from within the more traditional sectors of the bourgeoisie (the big bazaar merchants and the small and medium sized capitalists from the more traditional sectors of the industry).

The White Revolution and the type of capitalist growth which followed it had also enriched these layers. Nevertheless, they were more or less pushed out of the main channels of the state-backed capital accumulation and hence out of the ruling class.

The structural crisis of Iranian capitalism in the mid-1970’s had resulted in the sharpening of the attacks by the Shah’s state on these layers which still had control over a section of the internal market. This hold had to be weakened, to allow the monopolies to resolve their crisis of overproduction. The consumer goods oriented and technologically dependent industrialisation meant a strong tendency for bureaucratic control of the internal market through the state.

To these layers, opposition to the Shah’s rule was a matter of a life and death struggle. They could in no way be satisfied with the type of reforms that were being proposed by the other factions. They demanded a more radical change within the power structures. Whilst the reformist factions vehemently opposed any radical change that could shake up the power of the ruling class as a whole, this faction’s interests were in no way harmed by demanding no less than the removal of the Shah’s regime.

As the mass movement grew, it became obvious that this faction could decisively outbid the others. Through the traditional channels of the bazaar economy, it could draw on the support of the urban petty bourgeoisie and the enormous mass of the urban poor linked to it. This faction had, in addition, many links with the powerful Shiite hierarchy. Ever since the White Revolution, the traditional bourgeoisie and the Shiite clergy had drawn closer and closer together.

An important lesson drawn by a section of the bourgeoisie after its defeat in 1953 was precisely that, without an Islamic ideology and without the backing of the mullahs, it could never ensure enough mass support to enable it to pose as a realistic alternative both to the Shah and to the left. Bazargan’s and Taleghani’s Freedom Movement represented this trend. This “party” was now offered an opportunity to save the bourgeoisie in its moment of crisis.

The formation of Sharif Emami’s cabinet represented a move by the Shah’s regime to also include this faction in whatever concessions it had to give. “The government of national conciliation” as it called itself, could, however, neither satisfy the two bourgeois factions, nor quench the mass movement which by now had gathered a new vitality because of the gradually developing general strike.

Throughout this period, Khomeini was popular because he appeared to be consistently calling for the overthrow of the Shah. But at the same time he was preparing to reach an agreement with the regime. In fact it was precisely in this period that, with the help of powerful forces within the regime itself, Khomeini’s “leadership” was being established over the mass movement. By September 1978, a certain degree of control was exercised which could have allowed a compromise at the top. What put a stop to this was the developing general strike.

The stage was thus set for the opening of the pre-revolutionary period of September 1978 to February 1979, marked by the further isolation of the Shah’s regime, demoralisation of the army and the police, the radicalisation of the masses and the complete paralysis of the entire bourgeois society because of the very effective general strike.

US imperialism and the pro-Shah bourgeoisie were now forced to go a lot further in giving concessions to the mass movement. The removal of the Shah from the scene and the establishment of the Bakhtiar government was in its time and in itself a very radical concession by the dictatorship. It was hoped that in this way the reformist faction, which was already made to look more acceptable, would be strengthened and thus force the more radical faction into a compromise. It was, however, already too late for such compromises. The mass movement was becoming extremely confident of its own strength and the prevailing mood was that of not agreeing to anything less than the complete ousting of the Shah. Furthermore, any politician who tried to reach a compromise with the Shah, immediately lost all support. In fact, even the National Front was forced to renounce Bakhtiar.

This explains the so-called “intransigence” of Khomeini’s stand. By denouncing Bakhtiar (with whom his representatives in Iran were nevertheless holding secret negotiations) and supporting the mass movement, he was strengthening his own hand vis-à-vis both factions of the bourgeois opposition. He was forcing the more popular figures within these factions to accept his “leadership” and preventing them from reaching any compromises without his involvement.

The military circles and the imperialists were also by this time prepared to give up a lot more. There was a growing restlessness within the army. The pro-Shah hard liners were preparing for a coup against Bakhtiar. This would have completely finished off the army and with it the last hope of the bourgeoisie in maintaining class rule.

It was becoming obvious that a compromise had to be reached with Khomeini. And that was exactly what took place. Secret negotiations between Beheshti and Bazargan on the one side and the heads of the army and the secret police on the other side were held in Tehran. The arbiter was the US representative General Huyser, whose job was to ensure that the army would keep its side of the bargain. Major sections of the ruling class had been pushed by the course of events, and the encouragement of the Carter administration, to accept sharing power with the opposition. What was hoped was a smooth transition from the top to a Bazargan government.

Bazargan had emerged as the acceptable alternative because he was the only one who could bring about a coalition involving both major bourgeois factions, whilst at the same time being more associated with the, by now, more powerful Khomeini leadership. Khomeini was also forced to accept such a deal because this provided the best cover for the clergy’s own designs for power.

At that time the clergy could not make any open claims to political power. Khomeini, to alleviate the fears of the bourgeoisie, and to keep his own options open within the mass movement, was constantly reassuring everybody that once the Shah was gone he would go back to Qom and continue with his “religious duties”. Khomeini was thus allowed to return to Iran from exile and his appointed provisional government was preparing to take over from Bakhtiar.

The February insurrection was, however, not part of the deal. Some of the now staunch supporters of the Shah within the chiefs of the armed forces who opposed the US backed compromise, tried to change the course of events by organising a military coup. This resulted in an immediate mass response and insurrection, which was initially opposed by Khomeini. But his forces had to join in later, because otherwise they would have lost all control over the mass movement and with it any hope of saving the state apparatus.

The only way to divert the insurrection was therefore to “lead” it. The army chiefs and the bureaucracy were prepared to give their allegiance to Khomeini and his Revolutionary Islamic Council, since this alone could save them from the insurrectionary masses. It was thus that the Bazargan’s Provisional Revolutionary Government, as it was called, replaced Bakhtiar’s. The blessings of Khomeini, therefore, ensured the establishment of a new capitalist government over the head of the masses. In this way, it is obvious that what appeared as “the leadership of the Iranian revolution” basically played, from the beginning, the role of an instrument of bourgeois political counter-revolution, imposed from above in order to roll back the gains of the masses and to save as much of the bourgeois state apparatus as was possible under the given balance of social forces. The ruling class was as yet in no position to resort to further repression.

Khomeini was, however, not offering all these services to play second fiddle. He was simply preparing for the takeover of all power at a more favourable moment. He represented a faction of the clergy that had been bent on establishing a more direct role for the Shiite hierarchy ever since the Mosadegh period. This faction, in cooperation with the then head of the secret police, made a move in the early 1960s for power, but failed. History was now providing it with an opportunity that it could not allow to slip away, especially given the fact that the bourgeois class was extremely weakened and hardly in a position to put up any resistance. The latter, with the approval of the imperialist master, had called on the clergy to save it in its moment of dire need by sharing power. What followed next in the post-revolutionary period can only be understood if the designs of the clergy for power are taken into account.

In the beginning, the clergy did not have the necessary instruments for exercising power. The Khomeini faction did not even have hegemony inside the Shiite hierarchy. Many clerical heads opposed the participation of the clergy in politics. It could not rely on the existing institutions in the state either, since they were entirely unsuitable to clerical domination. Amongst other reasons, the bureaucracy itself was all opposed to clerical rule anyway. Even the Prime Minister designate, who was the most “Islamic” of all the bourgeois politicians, resisted any attempts by the mullahs to dominate the functions of the state. A period of preparation was thus necessary.

With the direct backing of Khomeini, this faction first organised a political party, the Islamic Republican Party. This was simply presented as one newly formed party among others. Later on, however, this party squeezed out all the others and later replaced the Shah’s single party. Through the networks of pro-Khomeini mullahs, it established an entire organisation of neighbourhood committees and Pasdaran units supposedly to help the government to keep law and order and to resist the monarchist counter-revolution.

Revolutionary Islamic Courts were also set up to punish the Shah’s henchmen. These courts quickly executed a few of the most hated elements of the old regime, but only in order to save the majority from the anger of the masses. The Imam’s committees, the Pasdaran Army and the Islamic Courts, rapidly replaced the Shah’s instruments of repression.

All these moves were initially supported by the bourgeoisie, which realised that it was only through these measures that it could hope to finish off the revolution and begin the “period of reconstruction.” The newly created “revolutionary institutions” were serving the Bazargan government well, constantly reassuring it of their allegiance to it. Later on, however, they became instruments of the clergy in ousting the bourgeois politicians from the reins of power and indirectly dominating the state apparatus.

Khomeini also forced an early referendum on the nature of the regime to replace the Shah: monarchy or the Islamic Republic? Despite the grumbling of the bourgeois politicians, they had to accept this undemocratic method of determining the fate of the state, because the other alternative was the formation of the promised constituent assembly. The election of such an assembly during that revolutionary period would of course have posed many threats to bourgeois rule.

The referendum was thus held and of course the majority voted for the Islamic Republic. The mullahs knew that the masses could not very well vote for the monarchy! It was later claimed that, since 98 percent of the people had voted for an Islamic Republic, hence the constituent assembly must be replaced by an assembly of “experts” (khobregan) based on Islamic law. The small assembly, which was therefore packed with mullahs, had of course a majority who suddenly brought out a constitution giving dictatorial powers to Khomeini as the chief of the experts.

The clause of velayat-e faghih (the rule of the chief mullah) was resisted by the bourgeois politicians, but the clergy pushed it through by a demagogic appeal to the anti-imperialist sentiments of the masses and through the controlled mass mobilisations around the US embassy. The masses were told that now that we face “this major threat from the Great Satan” we must all vote for the Islamic Constitution. With an almost 40% vote, this became nevertheless the new constitution.

Hence, Khomeini’s clerical faction co-operated with the various bourgeois groupings in joint efforts by the ruling class to prevent the total destruction of the bourgeois state and in diverting and suppressing the Iranian revolution, whilst at the same time, always strengthening its own hand and trying to subordinate other factions to its own rule. It used its advantageous position within the mass movement to bypass the bourgeois state whenever it suited its own factional interest. But it was also forging a new apparatus of repression that was being gradually integrated into the state as the competition with other factions was being resolved in its favour.

Contrary to the deviated analysis of the SWP leadership, at that time Ted Grant had a clear understanding of the nature of the Khomeini leadership and the role that it played and side with masses of people. This is what he wrote at the time:

“It is probable that Khomeini will come to power. All the pleas of Bakhtiar that the state cannot allow the Church to play a direct and commanding role in politics will be in vain.

“But once having come to power the futility of the reactionary and medieval ideas of abolishing interest while not altering the economic oasis of society will be shown to result in chaos. Maintaining intact commercial and industrial capital while abolishing interest or usury is entirely utopian. Even in medieval times, when the doctrine of both the Christian and Muslim church was against usury, nevertheless it continued to exist in many forms. It would have disastrous consequences while capitalism remained, on the economy of Iran, and inevitably would have to be abandoned.

“Khomeini has declared that he does not wish to establish a reactionary military dictatorship or to establish a semi-feudal dictatorship. It is this element in their programme where the Mullahs have claimed to stand for freedom and democracy, which has been a powerful source of attraction to the mass of the middle class, and of course to sections of the workers as well.

“But the utopian programme of Khomeini can in no way solve the problems that face the Iranian people at the present time.

“Khomeini has made it clear that he will accept nothing less than the abolition of the monarchy. The Regency Council which has been set up by the Bakhtiar government will not be able to maintain control, or to keep the seat warm for the Shah. Even the abdication of the Shah would no longer be sufficient. Now it is a question of the abolition of the monarchy.”

And again:

“Support for Khomeini will melt away after he forms a government. The failure of his programme of a Muslim theocratic republic to solve the problems of the Iranian people will become apparent.

“The masses of the people have their aspirations not only for democratic rights but for higher standards of living. The trade unions in Iran will have an explosive growth. Already they are mushrooming as workers feel the elementary need for organisation. They will attain a mighty scope in the period that lies ahead. Just as in Portugal, where 82% of the working class is now organised in trade unions, so similar results will be achieved in Iran in the coming months and years. Possibly the majority and even the bulk of the working class in Iran will become organised.

“Capitalist democracy under modern conditions with the crisis of capitalism on a world scale cannot establish itself for any length of time in Iran. The workers have already learned and will learn even more in the course of the developing struggle. If the masses are defeated and a capitalist Bonapartist military dictatorship is established it would not be stable, as we have seen with the Latin American capitalist military-police dictatorships, and the dictatorship in Pakistan.

“Even in the worst resort, reaction would prepare the way for revenge on the part of the masses, at a not too distant date. It would be 1905 in Russia over again.

“But such a denouement is not at all necessary. If the forces of Marxism succeed in gaining support in Iran, then it could result in a brilliant victory on the lines of the revolution in Russia of 1917.” (The Iranian Revolution, Ted Grant, February 9, 1979)

Unfortunately the Marxists were too weak and could not play the role envisaged by Ted Grant. The Stalinists tail-ended the Khomeini regime, creating illusions in his democratic and progressive credentials rather than exposing him for what he was. Had there existed a powerful Marxist alternative things would have turned out very differently. In 1979 the Iranian workers could have come to power, providing the spark for revolution eastwards across the whole of the Middle East and westwards into Pakistan and India and beyond.

Chris Harman, on the other hand, in his The prophet and the proletariat and the rest of the SWP leadership subsequently misrepresent the history of the 1979 revolution in Iran and the class nature of the Khomeini regime. By doing so, they have gone even further than Tony Cliff in revising Trotsky’s ideas on permanent revolution. They have also added confusion upon confusion by totally misunderstanding first the nature of the Soviet Union and consequently the nature of such regimes as that created under Khomeini and that still survives today. Thus they mislead their own supporters and anyone who comes under the influence of their theories and thereby betray the interests of Iranian and international working class.

Conclusion

The main political dangers of the SWP’s position are as follows:

Firstly, the SWP discredits the fundamental ideas of Trotskyism, Leninism and Marxism by revising the theory of permanent revolution.

Secondly, the SWP will be forced to present the repressiveness of this regime as a secondary issue. Thus, in practice, it will side with a reactionary regime which has brutally eliminated the leaders of democratic movements of workers, students and women. With such a position any SWP supporters in Iran (fortunately there are none at the moment) would end up collaborating with a semi-fascist regime against the genuinely progressive forces.

Thirdly, the supporters of the SWP in Europe end up by forming united fronts with supporters of Islamic groups such as Hezbollah and this would make it practically impossible for progressive forces in opposition to the present Iranian regime to enter into any activities with them. That is why the SWP is under constant attack by the genuine currents of opposition to the regime in Iran and cannot recruit even one progressive person to its organisation or ideas.

Fourthly, the SWP will be used by Hezbollah activists in Europe and within the Islamic Republic of Iran to their own advantage to undermine the just struggles of the Iranian working class and socialists in Iran. Thus the SWP does a disservice to all genuine socialists struggling against Islamic fundamentalism. Attempts will be made to identify genuine socialists within the opposition to this dictatorial regime with the mistaken positions of the SWP and thus the credibility of all socialists is put at risk.

For these reasons, the SWP leadership (or other organisations with a similar line of intervention in Europe and North America) should be exposed and isolated. So long as they side with or support the most reactionary regimes in modern history (under any pretext) genuine revolutionary Marxists should not enter into any joint activities with them.

December 2008

[This article is based on the interventions of comrade Maziar Razi at the IMT World Congress, in Barcelona, August 2008. The article has been written for Marxist.com.]

Photo by BinaryApe on flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             

 

A Picture is a Fact . Wittgenstein

Shaheryar Ali

Though the Islamists, imperialist, fascists and their “softer” supporters, the conservatives, capitalist Liberals, are on the forefront of promoting the agenda of “clash of civilizations”. The people, the real people, the poor and workers of the world have repeatedly demonstrated their solidarity with each other, their rejection of religious hatred and fascism. The capitalist media which is known as “free” media, is on the forefront of promoting hatred. As Noam Chomsky has demonstrated in his remarkable study “Manufacturing Consent”, that this free media just plays the role of spreading hate and built public opinion , in favor of Imperialist wars. To sell , George Bush’s War on Terror [which is nothing but War of Terror], Media and others have built stereotypes have marginalized Muslims and Islam. A stupid thesis was put forward by HH cardinal Tony Blair that all this oppression and tyranny is some how to “defend our way of life”. To save the European values. He forgot that these are the “values of whole humanity” Europe has no doubt the leading role in building them but thanks to Modernity these are now “Human values”. With books, novels, films, tv a “simulacrum” was created , a “hyper-reality”, that suggest that some how a “great war” is going on, the Muslims and Christians are cutting each other throats, Europe and Islamic world is some how engaged in a “Armageddon”, their culture, values, life every thing is different. They cannot co-exist. All this is classical “de-realization” of reality.

People of the world demonstrated again and again, that they are not at war, their is no clash, but our “free media” and “Liberal Intellectuals” fail to see it. When Iraq was being attacked, Millions took to street in London, Berlin,Paris,Rome, where was the Hate? where was the clash? 3 million Christians, Jews and non-Muslim workers were on streets of London supporting a Muslim and Arab country.

The day was so remarkable that Derrida, the greatest philosopher of our times who was on his death bed wrote a Manifesto with Marxist Philosopher  Jurgen Habermas ;15 Feb1urary : What Binds the Europeans”. They called these demonstrations the “re-birth of Europe”, telling the Capitalist war warmongers what European values are.

This was a remarkable day that people of Europe whose “way of life” was supposedly in danger , took to streets demonstrating they reject this war. These were the largest demonstrations in history of Europe since 2nd world war.It was a sharp slap on the face to the Islamic fanatics as well who just like their European counterparts, with help of their media were projecting all this as “western attack on Islam”. They kept saying “Jews and Christians” are enemies, “they hate Islam”.

When Jews and Christan of Europe in millions were on streets opposing a war against a Muslim country, not even 2 dozen Muslims took to streets in  Islamabad, Jeddah, Riyadh, or Abu Dhabi.

Now once again, people of Europe have demonstrated their rejection of “clash of civilizations” theory. This report filled my heart with joy, it once again increased my faith on values of Enlightenment, humanity and progressive thought.

The right wing Fascist thugs of Europe had planned a “conference” against “Islamic threat” to Europe. “To stop the Islamic March” into Europe”The Grand European Anti Islamic Congress” was to be held at Cologne, the great German city.

When the fascist delegates landed on air port, they noted:

A. No taxi driver was ready to give them transport

B. No restaurant gave them a table

Thousands of German protesters, came out to protest against the Anti Islam Fascists. Once again Left organized a moving event. Which once again showed there is no clash of civilizations , this is an Imperialist War. Its clash of fanatics. This is the report published in International Marxist website.

“Grand European Anti-Islamic Congress” stopped in its tracks
By Walter Held in Cologne

 

 

 It had been planned as a central meeting of leading proto-fascists, right-wing populists and neo-nazis. A grand “European Anti-Islamic Congress” was scheduled to be held today Saturday 20th September in the huge German city of Köln – Cologne – on the banks of the river Rhine.Invitations had gone out to the Italian Lega Nord, the French Front National, the Austrian FPOe and the BZOe, the British National Party the Belgian Vlams Belang and others. Theme of the weekend “congress” at which the organisers confidently expected 1500 participants was a campaign against the “advance of Islam in Europe”.

The organisers belong to a political grouping called Pro-Köln. This rag tag and bobtail splinter group with a couple of dozen members picked up just under 5 per cent of the votes for Köln ’s city election and have a fraction of five councillors on the city council. These have a small basis amongst backward elements in the pubs and on the housing estates and have set up a campaign to fight against the building of a central mosque for the city’s Moslem population.

In fact most of the organisers are ex-members or secret members of extreme right-wing groupings like the Republikaner, the German League for Folk and Homeland and the NPD but they hide behind the new respectable organisation “Pro Köln”. As a front organisation the right are keen to set up similar groups in other German cities. The Congress this weekend was to be a signal of their presence and their growth.

Yesterday evening – Friday 19th – supporters of the congress started to arrive in Cologne. Confident that they had organised everything down to the last detail, they were aghast to discover that no taxi driver would take them to their destination, no restaurant honoured their table reservation and no hotel would give them keys to their rooms. They had to snatch a snack where they could under cover of darkness and sleep rough.

One group of right-wingers took a steamer trip down the river Rhine intending to hold speeches at various stop-off points but the vessel was stoned from the banks by demonstrators. When the captain discovered who his passengers were, he refused to take them near land and they spent five cold hours out in open water safe from the stones which had smashed several of his windows. Eventually he put them ashore. They tried and failed to get taxi drivers to take them on. Most taxi drivers nowadays are foreigners as are restaurant owners and waiters and they knew who they were dealing with.

As the sun rose this morning on the city, tens of thousands of Cologne residents started to converge on the city centre to join a massive demonstration of protest at the presence of the Right in their hometown. All the main political parties, the churches, the trade unions, immigrant groups had all called for support for the demo. At present as I write this there are around 40,000 foregathered in protest. A magnificent rebuttal of the claims of the tiny grouplet which claims to speak “for Cologne”.

Even the Christian Democrats who had effectively helped the Pro Köln group by voting with them against the plan to build a central mosque was forced to take part and the CDU mayor of the city Fritz Schramma had to give a speech condemning the European fascists. The trade union federation made excellent speeches, local bands played adaptations of well-known songs with new lyrics. All nationalities and generations are enjoying a day of anti-fascist solidarity.

Meanwhile at Cologne airport around 150 potential participants in the Grand Congress landed from abroad only to discover that they are still unable to leave the airport. Militant left-wingers are staging a sit-down on the rails of the airport/city shuttle trams. Taxi drivers refuse to move the rightists.

And back in the city centre, a right-wing rally on the Heumarkt – Haymarket – which had only attracted a few dozen demonstrators has just been summarily forbidden by the police because of a threat to the safety of Cologne’s citizens. The police union itself, in this traditionally cosmopolitan and hospitable city, is taking part in the anti-fascist demonstration with green Police Union banners a few hundred metres away at the main demo but a few dozen crazy ultra-lefts have been attacking the police as if they were the enemy!

So the Grand Congress to rally European anti-islamists has fizzled out in an embarrassing fiasco for the right. The unions, the SPD and the Left together with most of the ultra-left groups and others have done a tremendous job in organising the resistance. An inspiration for all

Shaheryar Ali

There was a time, a time when there was a fire of freedom in Iran. Such was the intensity of the flame that from India to France, it gave hope to all those who believed in freedom and equality. The workers, youth, artists,woman stood up against the imperialism and its stooges. Those who were the vangaurds of this flame made a deadly mistake. They carried wolves, cloaked in black chadors on their shoulders mistaking them as sheep. When people won, these wolves showed their real face. Those who had built the revolution were killed,cTodeh was banned, Mujaideen e Khalq were exiled. Mehdi Bazargan had to quit.

These chador clad wolves were surrounding the United States embassy on one side and were helping USA kill revolution in Nicaragua on the other side. Merg Bur Israel on one side and buying weapons from Israel on other side.

The greatest revolution of our times was converted into a ruthless dictatorship. A revolution which happened for freedom of expression, forces Abdolkarim Soroush to run away for his life. Where hundreds of professors have been dismissed; where all opposition members have been de-barred from election; where by a single decree, all free news papers were banned. Hundreds of political workers and student activists have been killed or are waiting to killed. This is Iran of Ahmedin Nijad

But I believe in the workers of Iran who are being tortured. I believe in the Tehran University whose students had the courage to mock the dictator. I believe in Shariati that this Kerbala will not go waste. When Shah forces opened fired on students Faiz Ahmad Faiz wrote his famous “Ye Kon Sakhi hein—”

Today one more Hur is dead in Kerbala of Iran. History teaches us that in Kerbala martyrs are the Victors

Kul erz un erz e Kerbala , Kul yom un yom e aashura

Ae erz e watan, ae erz e watan , kiyon noch noch keh phank diye

in aankon ne apne Neelum?

In honton ne apne majan?

Ye Kon Sakhi hein? Jin ke lahu ki ashrifian

kashkol mein girti jati hein

Kashkol ko bherti jati hein

Chan Chan Chan Chan—-

Freedom will come to Iran and these great people will defeat the imperialists and the fascists!!

Iran: Yaghoub Mehrnahad executed!

By Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Yaghoub Mehrnahad, a journalist and NGO activist in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province, has been executed. After the province’s Appeal Commission turned down his appeal he was executed on Monday 4 August in the Central Prison of Zahedan city. 

Yaghoub MehrnahadYaghoub Mehrnahad was the secretary of Javanan Sedaye Edalat (Youth, the Voice of Justice) NGO in Sistan and Baluchestan. In April 2007, after holding a conference called “Youths question, Officials reply” in Zahedan, the capital of Baluchestan, the young journalist, who is also a student, was arrested at the end of a debate. Other members of the NGO were also arrested and later condemned to death.

According to Meghdad Barimani, the former secretary of the Islamic Society of Sistan and Baluchestan University, the Javanan Sedaye Edalat society is one of the most active NGOs in the whole province and has been active regarding various issues, including the fight against diseases like AIDS, hepatitis and disease prevention for the children and women of the area.

No precise information or documented reasons have been presented on Yaghoub Mehrnahad’s “crimes” – but it has been rumoured that he had been co-operating with “obstinate” groups.

During Yaghoub Mehrnahad’s trial neither he, nor his family, nor his lawyer, nor a jury were present! His family last saw him in Zahedan prison last December saying he showed obvious signs of torture.

Sistan and Baluchestan has experienced a great deal of unrest during the past two years, including terrorist attacks. Mehrnahad is accused of having had contact with the armed Jondollah group, which operates in Iranian Baluchestan.

Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network condemns the execution of this journalist, NGO activist and student. Mehrnahad is not the first journalist condemned to death in recent years. Adnan Hassanpour, a Kurdish journalist, was condemned to death last July and is awaiting execution.

Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network
9 August 2008

Thanks to Iranian Worker’s Solidarity Network and International Marxist Website