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Iran

US imperialist aggression in the early 21st century

Washington has reactivated the US Navy’s 4th Fleet to ensure US power projection over the Caribbean, Central and South America.

[This talk was presented at the regional “socialism conference” was held in Manila from November 27 to 28, 2010. The conference was organised by the socialist Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses) and the socialist-feminist regional network Transform Asia.]

By Rasti Delizo

Turning the tide of oil in US and world politics

By Dan La Botz

October 22, 2010 -- The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico represents the latest in a series of atrocities committed by petroleum companies against the environment and against humanity. Yet, terrible and tragic as the BP spill is, it is merely a marginal event in the long and sordid history of the oil companies in US and world history. The petroleum companies have been at the centre of US politics for a hundred years, determining its domestic agenda, its environmental policy and its foreign policy. To be a US politician was to be baptised in oil. To be an admiral or a general was to be a warrior around the globe for the petroleum industry.

Foreign policy

By the 1920s, with the rise of the internal combustion engine and the automobile, and the conversion of the US Navy from coal to oil, petroleum became the most sought after commodity in the world. Oil became a strategic commodity, a necessity of modern life and modern warfare. From that time on, the oil corporations moved to the centre of US politics. President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet was known as the “oil gang”, and the cabinet-level corruption involved in the attempt of private parties and corporations to get at the navy oil reserves led to the Teapot Dome scandal, for which Harding’s administration is best remembered.

Malaysia: Najib's flirtation with imperialist US and his support for plot against Iran

By the Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PSM)

April 19, 2010 -- The bilateral meeting between Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and US President Barack Obama served nothing but the submission of the Malaysian government to the imperialist US as its new foot soldiers of “war on terror” in South-East Asia.

Prime Minister Najib recently attended the two-day Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, which achieved very little in promoting disarmament, but created conditions for stepping up sanctions against Iran, a country in the oil-rich region that has refused to subordinate itself to US Imperialism. It has become clear that Obama's foreign policy is far from breaking with the aggressive expansionist approach under the Bush administration, but is more in line with the imperialist goal of achieving military domination of the world.

Obama's double talk at nuclear summit: US preserves and extends its nuclear domination

By the International Socialist Organization, United States

April 14, 2010 -- Socialist Worker -- The US has repackaged its strategy -- but the terrible threat of nuclear war remains. The administration of US President Barack Obama is out to upgrade the US nuclear arsenal and pressure world leaders into imposing sanctions against countries -- like Iran -- that allegedly harbour ambitions to develop nukes of their own.

That's the agenda behind the April 12-13 Washington summit on nuclear security, which followed the announcement of a supposedly less belligerent US nuclear strategy and the signing in Prague of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia.

The START treaty was billed as a first step towards fulfilling Obama's call a year ago to rid the world of nuclear weapons. In fact, START would leave the US and Russia with the means to blow up the world many times over.

If Washington is willing to make a deal with Moscow to cut the number of nukes today, it's because politicians in both countries -- especially Russia -- want to minimise the prohibitive cost of building such weapons. So the total number of warheads will be limited under the treaty to 1550 apiece.

Iran: Interview -- Trade union activists face repression as regime imposes austerity

Homayoun Poorzad interviewed by Bill Balderston

Iran: Where is the Islamic Republic going?

By Houshang Sepehr

International Viewpoint -- September 2009 -- What is happening in Iran is a spontaneous, ingenious and independent revolt by a people frustrated by thirty years of tyranny by an obscurantist, religious regime, a revolt that was unleashed by electoral fraud.

The present situation is only the result of a long and complex process which has been taking place inside the regime, a deep crisis, located on the one hand at the summit of the governing circles and within the ruling class, and on the other hand within Iranian society. This conjuncture has opened up a space for an authentic mass movement to replace the Islamic regime by a secular, democratic, social and modern republic.

The character of the movement

Iranian and Sudanese communists on Iran protests: `A deeply genuine struggle for democracy'

Joint statement by the Sudanese Communist Party and the Tudeh Party of Iran

Recently, representatives of the central committees of the Tudeh Party of Iran and the Sudanese Communist Party exchanged views and consulted on the political situation unfolding in Iran, in light of the rigged elections of June 12 and the mass protests that quickly took place and began to gain momentum shortly thereafter. The two parties discussed the political situation in their respective countries and the conditions in which the struggle for peace, human rights, democracy and social justice is taking place. Based on their discussion and deliberations the leaderships of the two fraternal parties hereby issue the following statement:

The existing electoral process in Iran is a mockery of democracy, designed to disenfranchise the Iranian electorate. Its entire se- up is not related to the pursuit and furthering of democracy or any concept of progress within Iranian society but to keep the reins of power firmly in the hands of the despotic theocratic regime regardless of the wishes and aspirations of the Iranian people. Despite using every method to orientate the electoral process in their favour, the ruling guard of the theocracy still sought fit to directly rig the outcome of the ballots cast on the day of the election.

Selling Iran: Ahmadinejad, privatisation and a bus driver who said `no'

Mansour Osanloo, the bus driver who said `no'.

By Billy Wharton

June 26, 2009 -- A creeping assumption lies just beneath the surface of arguments concerning the disputed election in Iran. Incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is cast as an anti-US populist crusader resisting the materialistic advances of the West. His opponent, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, as his foil – a Western-backed liberal intent on implementing free-market policies. Violent street battles have been presented as a reinforcement of the Western disposition to see the two idealised positions as the limit of what is politically imaginable. Such arguments conveniently avoid a third force – the people of Iran, whose street politics threaten to move well beyond the confines of the electoral campaigns. Questions remain. Is Ahmadinejad really a populist – the only force preventing a wave of pro-market policies in Iran? Does Mousavi’s campaign mark the limits of the reform movement?

Iranian workers in action for democratic rights

Tehran's bus drivers have joined the struggle for democratic and trade union rights.

Introduction by Robert Johnson and John Riddell

June 29, 2009 -- Socialist Voice -- The mass protests in Iran, sparked by charges of fraud in the June 12 presidential elections, express deeply felt demands for expanded democratic rights. The establishment press has been silent on the aspirations of rank-and-file protesters. Socialist Voice is therefore pleased to be able to publish several statements by components of Iran's vigorous trade union movement, which has been a major target of repression by Iran's security forces. We have provided the titles and some introductory comments.

Iran: (Video) Not a Twitter revolution, not a CIA revolution

By Reese Erlich

June 26, 2009 -- Iran is not undergoing a ``Twitter Revolution''. The term simultaneously mischaracterizes and trivialises the important mass movement developing in Iran. Here’s how it all began. The Iranian government prohibited foreign reporters from traveling outside Tehran without special permission, and later confined them to their hotel rooms and offices. CNN and other cable networks were particularly desperate to find ways to show the large demonstrations and government repression. So they turned to internet sites such as Facebook and Twitter in a frantic effort to get information. Since reporters were getting most of their information from Tweets and You Tube video clips, the notion of a “Twitter Revolution” was born.

We reporters love a catch phrase and, Twitter being all a flutter in the West, it seemed to fit. It’s a catchy phrase but highly misleading.

Socialist Alliance: In solidarity with the people of Iran

June 26, 2009 (amended June 30) -- Socialist Alliance stands in solidarity with the millions of Iranians who are bravely demanding their rights in the streets despite huge state-sanctioned repression. These are the biggest protests in Iran since the 1979 protests in which the US-backed Shah was deposed.

Millions of people, old and young, ethnic and religious minorities, have taken to the streets, day in and day out since the disputed election on June 12. They have bravely defied the repressive regime of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to demand the most basic of rights: the right to freely and transparently elect their representatives.

Some 27 people, including a young woman Neda Agha-Soltan whose death was captured on video, have been killed in the crackdown on protests. Several hundred have been injured, and a leading student activist is in a coma. Government officials on June 24 announced that there had been a total of 645 arrests in Tehran since June 13, 2009. Activists say that several hundred more, including journalists, editors, students, professors, party officials and unionists have also disappeared.

New Anti-Capitalist Party of France: `With the people and workers of Iran!'

Statement by the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA, New Anti-Capitalist Party of France), translated by Carmel McGlinchey, Luke Weyland and Annolies Truman for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Since June 13, the day after the rigged presidential election, millions of Iranians have gone into the streets with cries of "Down with the dictatorship!". The ferocious repression has already caused tens if not hundreds of deaths. Young people, women and the residents of the poorer areas who comprise the majority of the demonstrators have now been joined by the trade union movement.

The union of bus workers declared its solidarity, in asserting: "As long as the principle of free organisation and elections is not applied, all talk of social liberation and the rights of the workers is only a joke". The workers of Iran Khodro, the first car manufacturer in the country (with 60,000 employees), engaged in a strike while adding their demands for salary increases and the right to strike to the demands raised in the streets. 

Iran: Government neoliberalism, repression fuel mass discontent

Mass protest in Tehran, June 15, 2009.

By Tony Iltis and Stuart Munckton

June 20, 2009 -- Since the June 12 Iranian presidential election, and the almost immediate announcement of a landslide victory for incumbent Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Iran has been convulsed by mass protests alleging electoral fraud. 

Despite savage repression, including mass arrests, beatings of protesters, attacks on universities and at least 22 deaths, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets daily. The protests started in Tehran on June 13, but have spread throughout the country. The protesters have been calling for a re-run of the election, claiming that Mir-Hossein Mousavi won the elections despite the official results giving Ahmedinejad 64%.

The protests are occurring despite both Ahmedinejad and Mousavi emerging from within the same undemocratic regime and holding similar positions on many issues. Mousavi is presented in the Western media as a “reformer”, however he was prime minister during the 1980s when the regime committed some of its worst atrocities.

Comment: A question to the left on Iran: Can the people make history or not?

By Mike Ely

June 19, 2009 -- Kasama Project -- There is a self-deceptive politics (among some leftists) that seeks to prettify all kinds of reactionary forces that (for one reason or another) are in opposition to US imperialism — including Islamic reactionaries, Kim Jung Il, “hardline” revisionists of the Li Peng and Eric Honecker type and so on. And in the process they have a real, almost startling, hostility toward sections of the people who rise up in important if still-inarticulate ways.

My sense is that such politics arise from a despair over actually developing our own revolutionary forces — and a resigned assumption that we have no other alternative but to fall behind any forces (ugly, oppressive, reactionary or not) who (one way or another) seem to be on the United States' shit list.

This is not a uni-polar world with only one defining contradiction. Yes, we understand (and must understand) that the US acts as a central pillar of world capitalism … but it is hardly the only pillar or the only reactionary force.

Lockerbie, 20 years on: Behind the frame up of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi

To mark the 20th anniversary of the Lockerbie air disaster, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is republishing these important articles. Since their first publication, important new evidence has cast even more doubt on the unjust conviction of  Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi -- see comments section below. 

[Read Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi's legal defence documents HERE.]

By Norm Dixon

February 14, 2001 -- The eminent barrister Horace Rumpole has often noted that the “golden thread running through the history of British justice” is that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty by the prosecution “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Of course, Rumpole is a fictional character created by writer John Mortimer. As the verdict handed down in the Lockerbie bombing trial proves, the “golden thread” is just as fictional.

On January 31, 2001, the three Scottish lords sitting in judgement on the charges against two Libyans accused of planting the bomb that felled Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland on December 21, 1988, found Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi guilty of the murders of the 270 people killed in the disaster. Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah was found not guilty.

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Why Washington hates Iran - free pamphlet download

The following is the introduction to Why Washington Hates Iran: A Political Memoir of the Revolution That Shook the Middle East, a new Socialist Voice pamphlet published by South Branch Publications. The entire pamphlet is available for free download from http://readingfromtheleft.com/PDF/WhyWashingtonHatesIran.pdf.

The author, Barry Sheppard, was a member of the US Socialist Workers Party for 28 years, and a central leader of the party for most of that time. In 2005, Resistance Books published the first volume of his political memoir, The Party: The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988. The new pamphlet is a chapter from the second volume, now in preparation.

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By Barry Sheppard

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