October 18, 2007


REVIEW: of Reading Legitimation Crisis in Iran, by Danny Postel (Farzin Vahdat, Summer 2007, Logos Journal)

The core reasons for the American and western leftists’ being reluctant to embrace the cause of Iranians who are trying to bring about change in their country lies somewhere else. The essential reason for this reluctance is that American progressives are used to advocate those causes that are fighting the Empire and their local lackeys. The Left in the US has developed what Postel calls a “tunnel vision” that deems only the political and social movements that are fighting right wing oppressors who are supported by the United States, worthy of embracing—such as those in Central America in the 1980s. The Iranian dissidents are fighting a government that is a “sworn enemy” of the Empire.

What is more, the oppositional forces in Iran, are not couching their opposition in discourses such as Marxism, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, subaltern studies and different mixtures of these. The Iranian progressive forces have by and large adopted western liberal-democratic discourse and its past and contemporary gurus to advance their cause. These are very significant issues that have prevented the western progressive forces, if not opposing Iranians seeking change in their country, at least being aloof to them and their fierce struggle in recent years. For the far left in the west, liberalism is a tool of imperialism and embodiment of Eurocentrism. Why should they support a cause that utilizes a discourse that they deem to be at the core of what they are struggling against? The Iranian reformists are then the friends of my enemy, and therefore, if not my enemy, they are not my friend either.

Pretty good, but he missed a key element--they're Shi'ites. Why would the Left support the struggle of people of faith? After all, they're still moping about our removal of the secular Saddam and liberation of Iraq's Shi'ites from a totalitarian nightmare and vocally hoping the new state fails.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 18, 2007 7:54 PM
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