Skip to main contentdfsdf

Max Forte's List: Iran Election, U.S. Intervention, and the "Left"

    • Who are and who promoted these leftist intellectuals who question the social uprising of the people in Iran
    • Over the decades I have learned not to expect much from what passes for "the left" in North America and/or Western Europe when it comes to the politics of what their colonial ancestry has called "the Middle East"

    21 more annotations...

    • Hamid Dabashi is criticizing me here. He seems focused (but very selectively and unrepresentative) on what I have been writing on my website on Iran, and manages to misunderstand what I say, or manages to distort what I say.
    • It seems to me that you can't from exile pretend to be one with the Iranian masses under tyranny just as I can't from exile pretend to be one with the Arab masses under tyranny. Let us be aware of our privileges and locations and let us remember that famous dictum by Marx in the German Ideology. Are you trying for purposes of political sympathy to erase class and geographical boundaries?

    9 more annotations...

    • If the headlines had spoken of a “Twitter revolution in Canada,” a North American society with very widespread broadband Internet access, and almost complete Internet penetration, and one of the highest rates of personal computer ownership, one would have still needed to be very skeptical: 74% of Canadians surveyed have never even heard of Twitter, and only 1.45% of Canadians actually use Twitter, most of those being young, professionals, or in universities
    • according to a study done by the Harvard Business School, only 10% of Twitter users generate more than 90% of Twitter content

    16 more annotations...

    • Before proceeding, I should indicate what my own biases are regarding the Iranian election protests. First, I have no love for either of the major contenders, whether Mir Hosein Mousavi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or any Ayatollah. I also have no “hatred” for Ahmadinejad and I appreciate his tough stance against the U.S. and Israel. Second, I suspect that there might have been some electoral fraud, but there is no publicly available evidence yet for anything other than voting irregularities that in themselves do not amount to evidence of fraud. Third — and this pertains to the focus of the article below — I do not believe that the Iranian protests were either “instigated” or “orchestrated” by foreign interests, whether media, NGOs, or government agencies. I do not think that the Iranian people are mindless pawns ready to snap into suicidal anti-government actions because of the desires of a foreign power; if I believed otherwise, it would be granting foreign powers with nearly magical, super human qualities, and Iranians would be credited with the opposite. Likewise, I do not believe that one can defeat imperialism by devouring one’s own people and showing them merciless cruelty, while pronouncing that their own constitutionally protected rights to freedom of speech and assembly are “illegal” — assuming that I have even understood what has actually transpired in Iran these past weeks. Fourth, it is depressing to see a situation where the only options discussed seem to swing between authoritarian Islamic rule, Western ideas of socialism, or Western consumerist individualism — to the extent that these delineate the terrain of debate, and I am not sure that they do, then all sides would appear to be utterly hopeless. It can sometimes look like a clash between Eurocentrism and its inversions, at least from afar.
    • To assert that foreign powers could engineer a local upheaval is usually far fetched, even when discussing so-called micro-states with all of their proclaimed external vulnerabilities.

    25 more annotations...

    • This essay is a response to Maximilian Forte’s essay “Causation or Correlation, a Useful Crisis Notwithstanding: U.S. Democracy Promotion in Iran.”
    • Maximilian’s chief assertion in the Causation or Correlation essay is that the “U.S. government has (not directly) created Iranian discontent and marshaled Iranian youths to risk their lives protesting during a brutal crackdown” is probably correct

    8 more annotations...

    • "The funding increase for “Internet freedom, ’’ as it is called on Capitol Hill, is part of a State Department budget line item labeled Near East Regional Democracy, but details are secret. A Senate budget committee supported the increase, but recommended that $30 million of the funds be devoted to the expanded Internet effort
    • The move to fund Internet activists is not entirely new

    3 more annotations...

    • the Washington Institute, Hoover Institution, American Enterprise Insitute, and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies now speak for the Iranian people
    • those people called for sanctions against the Iranian people IN THE NAME of the Iranian people

    2 more annotations...

    • "As an Iranian-American who grew up in Iran, I couldn't disagree more with my fellow Iranian-American's opinion that Sen. John McCain cares about human rights in Iran ("An Iranian-American thanks McCain," Letters, Thursday). I wouldn't be fooled by the senator's advocacy to help ordinary Iranians since he has continuously pushed for sanctions against Iran, which hurt the general population there. If he truly cared about Iranians, he would help lift the embargo on non-military equipment, such as civilian-aircraft spare parts, which are desperately needed in Iran at this time. A number of recent aircraft
      crashes resulting in the loss of hundreds of innocent Iranian lives have been attributed to the U.S. embargo of these spare parts. I will never forget when he sang "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" on one of his campaign stops...If Sen. McCain were sincerely concerned about human rights and freedom, he would also criticize other Muslim countries friendly to the U.S. and which Israel does not consider its enemy, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or Turkey, in which human-rights abuses are much more widespread."
    • The US Congress now cares about the Iranian people. This is as vapid as when the Feminist Majority (which used to sell on its website pieces of Burqah to express solidarity with women in Afghanistan--although it did not sell plastic black eyes to show solidarity with victims of domestic violence here in the US) feigned concern over the women in Afghanistan
    • Funding for cyber resistance
    • The Obama administration is poised to dramatically increase funding aimed at helping Iranian activists circumvent government controls on the Internet, according to Congressional aides, marking a new wave of US support for Web-based dissent at a time when the Iranian regime has clamped down on street protests

    13 more annotations...

    • The New York Times correspondent in Beirut continued to cover the Iran story from...Beirut. But there is a new twist to the NYT coverage: notice that a correspondent from London was added to the mix: "Alan Cowell contributed reporting from London, Nazila Fathi from Toronto, and independent observers from Tehran." Wow.
    • why do people who appear as guests on mainstream US media feel obliged to defend the coverage of those media no matter how lousy they are in their coverage?
  • Jul 28, 09

    A hard look at the numbers - and why electoral fraud moves from not just unsubstantiated to now highly unlikely

    • Since the June 12 Iranian presidential elections, Iran "experts” have mushroomed like bacteria in a Petri dish. So here is a quiz for all those instant experts. Which major country has elected more presidents than any in the world since 1980? Further, which nation is the only one that held ten presidential elections within thirty years of its revolution?


      The answer to both questions, of course, is Iran. Since 1980, it has elected six presidents, while the U.S. is a close second with five, and France at three. In addition, the U.S. held four presidential elections within three decades of its revolution to Iran’s ten.

    • Even the blogosphere has joined this battle with near uniformity, on the side of Iran’s opposition, which is quite rare in cyberspace.

    34 more annotations...

  • Jul 28, 09

    Newsweek's flawed premises on Iran election results. Read piece the previous piece.

  • Jul 28, 09

    The author is one of those "leftists" lambasted by Dabashi for pontificating about Iran...and yet this article is "pontificating" against pontification

    • We Americans love to shoot our mouths off over matters we know next to nothing about.  It's something that we are hardwired to do.  We have utmost faith in the power of words.  "Speaking truth to power" is one of our favorite phrases, even when some of the "truth" is actually nonsense.
    • In recent days a number of US peace organizations have issued sternly-worded statements on the recent events in Iran, including Peace Action and the Campaign for Peace and Democracy.  While these groups laudably encourage continued nuclear negotiations and seemingly eschew interventionism, they are quick to denounce the elections as "massively fraudulent" and generally subscribe to the "mad mullah" stereotype of the current political system in Iran.

    2 more annotations...

  • Jul 28, 09

    Eric Margolis, like Veiluva and AbuKhalil above, is another of the authors lambasted by Hamid Dabashi as a member of the colonial left. Yet, Margolis' actual points appear more ambiguous, and mostly directed at the West, not the protesters.

    • the earthquake in the Islamic Republic   is shaking the Mideast and deeply confusing everyone, including   the US government
    • The arm   of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, remains withered   from a bomb planted by the US-backed Mujahidin-i-Khalq, who   were once on the US terrorist list.

    5 more annotations...

  • Jul 28, 09

    Jeffrey Hammond, one of the authors targeted by Hamid Dabashi as casting the Iran election protests as a product of US intervention, largely a correct assessment of this piece.

    • Iran claimed that the unrest was being fueled by foreign interference, a charge reported but generally dismissed in Western media accounts.
    • But there is ample reason to believe that the U.S. likely had a hand in fomenting the chaos that has since plagued the country many commentators have compared to the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah.

    30 more annotations...

  • Jul 28, 09

    Like Hamid Dabashi, Rees Erlich argues much the same against the American left.

    • When  I returned from covering the Iranian elections recently, I was surprised  to find my email box filled with progressive authors, academics and  bloggers bending themselves into knots about the current crisis in Iran.  They cite the long history of U.S. interference in Iran and conclude  that the current unrest there must be sponsored or manipulated by the  Empire.
    • Some  of these authors have even cited my book, The Iran Agenda, as  a source to prove U.S. meddling. Whoa there, pardner. Now we're getting  personal.

    17 more annotations...

  • Jul 28, 09

    One of the authors lambasted by Dabashi, seems to be criticizing only U.S. fixation with Iran and the sudden interest in Iranian elections.

    • Humanitarian Rhetoric and U.S. Imperialism in Iran
    • It is worth reflecting on one central question regarding Iran: why does the recent election enjoy so much attention in the U.S.?

    4 more annotations...

  • Jul 28, 09

    Another of the authors lambasted by Dabashi, this is another who focuses almost exclusively on U.S. policy, and not the protesters.

    • Is This the Culmination of Two Years of Destabilization
    • A number of commentators have expressed their idealistic belief in the purity of Mousavi, Montazeri, and the westernized youth of Terhan. The CIA destabilization plan, announced two years ago (see below) has somehow not contaminated unfolding events.

    13 more annotations...

  • Jul 29, 09

    James Petras, in this article which seems to be the one denounced by Hamid Dabashi, outright calls charges of electoral fraud a "hoax" and says Mousavi was backed by the West, and this is really a class war.

    • There is hardly any election, in which the White House has a significant stake, where the electoral defeat of the pro-US candidate is not denounced as illegitimate by the entire political and mass media elite.
    • the White House and its camp followers cried foul following the free (and monitored) elections in Venezuela and Gaza, while joyously fabricating an ‘electoral success’ in Lebanon despite the fact that the Hezbollah-led coalition received over 53% of the vote

    7 more annotations...

1 - 20 of 69 Next › Last »
20 items/page
List Comments (0)