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Middle East

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

The Flame, October 2009 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

October 21, 2009 -- With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- is publishing a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame will cover news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. The editor-in-chief is Soubhi Iskander, a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

“There are Arabic newspapers in Australia, but still all reflect the views of their editors and there is a great need to establish a progressive Arabic-language press which can frankly discuss the squalid condition of the Arab world due to submission and subservience to neo-colonialism”, Iskander explains. “At the same time, the Arabic-speaking communities in Australia need to read articles relating to the Australian government policy internally — articles which will unmask the pitfalls of these policies, and will expose the violation and the lies of the capitalist parties. The Flame, we hope, will be a powerful addition to Green Left Weekly.”

Muntadar al-Zaidi released from jail -- Celebrate with `Sock and Awe'

September 15, 2009 -- BBC -- The Iraqi man who threw his shoes at former US President George W Bush, has been released from jail in Baghdad, his brother has told the BBC.

Muntadar al-Zaidi's act of protest made him a hero in large parts of the Arab world and beyond.

The Flame, August 2009 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- is publishing a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. The editor-in-chief is Soubhi Iskander, a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

“There are Arabic newspapers in Australia, but still all reflect the views of their editors and there is a great need to establish a progressive Arabic-language press which can frankly discuss the squalid condition of the Arab world due to submission and subservience to neo-colonialism”, Iskander explains. “At the same time, the Arabic-speaking communities in Australia need to read articles relating to the Australian government policy internally — articles which will unmask the pitfalls of these policies, and will expose the violation and the lies of the capitalist parties. The Flame, we hope, will be a powerful addition to Green Left Weekly.”

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.

The Flame, June-July 2009 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- is publishing a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. The editor-in-chief is Soubhi Iskander, a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

“There are Arabic newspapers in Australia, but still all reflect the views of their editors and there is a great need to establish a progressive Arabic-language press which can frankly discuss the squalid condition of the Arab world due to submission and subservience to neo-colonialism”, Iskander explains. “At the same time, the Arabic-speaking communities in Australia need to read articles relating to the Australian government policy internally — articles which will unmask the pitfalls of these policies, and will expose the violation and the lies of the capitalist parties. The Flame, we hope, will be a powerful addition to Green Left Weekly.”

Pro-Israel lobby alarmed by growth of boycott, divestment movement

By Art Young

June 24, 2009 -- The movement to call Israel to account for its crimes against the Palestinian people is growing, it is “invading the mainstream discourse, becoming part of the constant and unrelenting drumbeat against Israel”. It could eventually threaten the existence of the Jewish state by undermining the support it receives from its strongest backer, the US government.

That was the message of alarm delivered by the executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Howard Kohr, to the AIPAC Policy Conference on May 3.[1]

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.

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.

The Flame, April-May 2009 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- is publishing a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame will cover news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. The editor-in-chief is Soubhi Iskander, a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

“There are Arabic newspapers in Australia, but still all reflect the views of their editors and there is a great need to establish a progressive Arabic-language press which can frankly discuss the squalid condition of the Arab world due to submission and subservience to neo-colonialism”, Iskander explains. “At the same time, the Arabic-speaking communities in Australia need to read articles relating to the Australian government policy internally — articles which will unmask the pitfalls of these policies, and will expose the violation and the lies of the capitalist parties. The Flame, we hope, will be a powerful addition to Green Left Weekly.”

Ronnie Kasrils -- South Africa and Palestine: Long roads to freedom

Ronnie Kasrils spoke at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow on March 20, 2009, at a talk organised by Pulsemedia.org and the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. During the years of apartheid rule in South Africa, Ronnie Kasrils was a leader in the banned South African Communist Party and African National Congress, and its military wing Umkonto we Sizwe. Hunted by the security police, he was described as ``armed and dangerous''. Kasrils served as a government minister in post-spartheid South Africa until 2008.

Today Kasrils is an activist in the Palestine Solidarity Committee in South Africa, which recently won support from Durban dock workers to adopt a policy of boycotting Israeli ships that dock in South African ports.

`Worse than South African apartheid'

Scottish Trade Union Congress votes to support boycotts, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel

By the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign

April 22, 2009 -- The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), representing every Scottish trade union, voted overwhelmingly to commit to boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. This is the third example of a national trade union federation [including Ireland and South Africa] committing to boycotts, divestment and sanctions and is a clear indication that, while Israel can kill Palestinians with impunity and Western support, it has lost the battle for world public opinion. It is now seen to be a state born out of ethnic cleansing and still expanding through the violent dispossession of the Palestinian people.

Salim Vally: The campaign to isolate apartheid Israel -- lessons from South Africa

By Salim Vally

[Salim Vally, a leading member of the Palestine Solidarity Committee in South Africa and a veteran anti-apartheid activist, will be a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on April 10-12, 2009, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective, Resistance and Green Left Weekly. Visit http://www.worldATACrossroads.org for full agenda and to book your tickets.] 

Who said nearly 50 years ago that Israel was an apartheid state?

By Ronnie Kasrils

"...a colonial racist mentality which rationalised the genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australasia, in Africa from Namibia to the Congo and elsewhere, most clearly has its parallels in Palestine."

March 17, 2009 -- Media Monitors Network -- At the onset of international “Israel Apartheid Week” in solidarity with the embattled Palestinian people, I want to start by quoting a South African who emphatically stated as far back as 1963 that “Israel is an apartheid state”. Those were not the words of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu or Joe Slovo, but were uttered by none other than the architect of apartheid itself, racist Prime Minister Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd.

He was irked by the criticism of apartheid policy and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s “Winds of Change” speech, in contrast to the West’s unconditional support for Zionist Israel.

Let Darfurian and Sudanese voices be heard

By Kevin Funk and Steven Fake

March 9, 2009 -- When the Save Darfur Coalition held a rally on April 30, 2006, drawing thousands to Washington DC, it was a watershed for Darfur activism in the US. Save Darfur's advocacy efforts enjoyed a moment in the sun, the culmination of an aggressive and well-funded media campaign.

Yet the rally also symbolised another, less-reported aspect of Darfur activism in the US: the tendency to marginalise Darfurian and Sudanese voices.

As reported, “the original list of speakers [for the April 30 rally] included eight Western Christians, seven Jews, four politicians and assorted celebrities -- but no Muslims and no one from Darfur”; organisers had to hurry “to invite two Darfurians to address the rally after Sudanese immigrants objected” to their previous exclusion from the line-up.

The Flame, March 2009 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- is publishing a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame will cover news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. The editor-in-chief will be Soubhi Iskander, a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

“There are Arabic newspapers in Australia, but still all reflect the views of their editors and there is a great need to establish a progressive Arabic-language press which can frankly discuss the squalid condition of the Arab world due to submission and subservience to neo-colonialism”, Iskander explains. “At the same time, the Arabic-speaking communities in Australia need to read articles relating to the Australian government policy internally — articles which will unmask the pitfalls of these policies, and will expose the violation and the lies of the capitalist parties. The Flame, we hope, will be a powerful addition to Green Left Weekly.”

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