Iran

John Bridge: ‘Drive AWL social imperialists out of the labour movement’

Listening to Sean, it felt like he was living on a different planet... I heard a caricature description of the left. I felt “is he talking to the SWP or is he talking to the CPGB, is he talking to people in this room or is he talking to people in his imagination?”

Quite clearly he’s talking to people in his own fertile imagination, because he wasn’t talking to anybody who’s his opponent in this room.

John Bridge's speech at the 12 October Machover-Matgamna debate.

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Mike McNair: political dominance in the world

There is a basic thing missing the arguments of the comrades of the AWL... The world is not composed of a flat system of states which are all equal to one another. The... inequality between these states is not purely economic...

There is politically constituted exploitation in the modern world. There are systematic hierarchical links between states... the dominance of one state over another state, dependency of one state on another state.

Speech by Mike McNair at the 12 October Machover-Matgamna debate.

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Peter Manson: ‘we do not tell lies’

I’m the editor of the Weekly Worker... The Weekly Worker does not publish lies... It’s counter-productive to tell lies, especially when you’re engaged in polemics against another organisation. It’s counterproductive to misrepresent them knowingly.

Sometimes we make mistakes as all people do but we do not tell lies, not while I’m editor we don’t.

Speech by Peter Manson at the 12 October Machover-Matgamna debate.

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Israel-Iran debate: the real issues become clearer

Author: 

Martin Thomas

On one level, the debate between Sean Matgamna of Workers’ Liberty and Moshe Machover in London on 12 October was a re-run of an old argument within the left.

Sean Matgamna argued that socialists should fight for a “two-states” settlement in Israel-Palestine – a really independent Palestinian state, in contiguous territory, alongside Israel.

Moshe Machover insisted that the “overthrow” of Israel (or, as he put it in the prior written debate, “anything like” present-day Israel) is a precondition for peace.

Report from the debate on Israel and Iran between Sean Matgamna of Workers’ Liberty and Moshe Machover in London on 12 October

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Israel, the Palestinians, and Iran: audio files from the debate between Moshe Machover and Sean Matgamna

Author: 

Moshe Machover and Sean Matgamna

Audio files from the debate in London on 12 October are now available as podcasts on our podOmatic page (see the 'Visit this podcast' button below).




Click here for pdf of the written debate, over a month or so, in pamphlet form.

Hear the debate in London on 12 October! Audio files of all the contributions now available as podcasts here.

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Weekly Worker Chickens Out of Israel Debate

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Song of the Weekly Worker

I'm so small! But I'm poisonous too;
What I say is at best but half-true:
I spread gossip thin,
So they'll think I'm well in;
But I'm useful, torn up in the loo!

Readers may remember that on 3 August I challenged the people who publish the Weekly Worker to "debate with me publicly on the Israel-Palestine question, at a meeting presided over by a commonly agreed chair".

We challenged the Weekly Worker group to debate with us publicly on Israel-Palestine. They agreed - but are now ducking out with a proposal that instead we debate Moshe Machover...

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"Zionism: propaganda and sordid reality" ... Moshé Machover replies to Sean Matgamna

Author: 

Moshé Machover

The AWL’s Sean Matgamna has swallowed a large chunk of Israeli propaganda, writes Moshé Machover. But is he really so naive?

Moshé Machover responds to Sean Matgamna's article: 'Israel, Iran, and Socialism'.

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Notes on "Targeting Iran"

"Targeting Iran", by David Barsamian, with Noam Chomsky, Ervand Abrahamian, and Nahid Mozaffari. City Lights, 2007

This book is essentially an extended pamphlet against the Bush-Cheney administration's talk of a military attack on Iran - talk only temporarily shelved, and not clearly repudiated by Obama.

The interview with Noam Chomsky is thin - largely, I guess, an effort to boost the book's sales by getting Chomsky's famous name on the cover.

Ervand Abrahamian's contribution is much more substantial.

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Q & A on Israel-Iran

Author: 

Martin Thomas

Q. So you've been catching up on the email and web traffic around Iran-Israel, most of which you missed at the time because you were immersed in organising your move back to London from Australia?

A. Yes.

Q. There's a big debate about whether we should oppose an Israeli attack on Iran, or how much we should oppose it, isn't there?

The real issues have been heavily obscured by a blizzard of misrepresentation and misunderstanding...

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Save Farzad Kamangar!

An appeal from Education International (the international confederation of teacher trade unions) and the Swedish teachers’ union.

Farzad Kamangar, a 33-year old teacher and former trade unionist from the Kurdistan Province of Iran, is at risk of execution following the ruling issued at an unfair trial.

An appeal from Education International (the international confederation of teacher trade unions) and the Swedish teachers’ union.

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Ambiguities in the Third Camp

Author: 

Bruce Robinson

Responding to Sean Matgamna’s dicussion piece in Solidarity 3/136, “What if Israel bombs Iran”.

Bruce Robinson responds to Sean Matgamna’s dicussion piece in Solidarity 3/136, “What if Israel bombs Iran”.

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Israel, Iran, and socialism: Sean Matgamna replies to Moshe Machover

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

Comrade Machover: You are someone for whom I have long had a certain regard and even affection. I regret that you have chosen to join in the bizarre heresy-hunt, entirely Stalinist in conception, purpose, and execution, around my discussion article “What If Israel Bombs Iran?”, Solidarity 3/136.

"I suggest you make yourself incapable of understanding what Ahmadinejad might mean because you yourself are against the existence of the Israeli Jewish state..."

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AWL: "Abominable Warmongering Left"?

Author: 

Moshé Machover

This article appeared in Weekly Worker, the paper of the "CPGB" group, on 28 August. Click here for the rest of the debate

"Sean Matgamna’s fake rhetorical questions are intended as a cover for his open social-imperialism", writes Israeli socialist Moshé Machover

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Israeli appeal against attack on Iran

A group of around one hundred Israeli academics and peace activists have initiated an appeal against military action by Israel against Iran. This the text of the appeal:

There is no military, political or moral justification to initiate war with Iran

A group of around one hundred Israeli academics and peace activists have initiated an appeal against military action by Israel against Iran.

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Iran and Israel: debating the issues. A selection.

Author: 

AWL

In Solidarity 3/136 we published a back-page article on Iran, Israel, and nuclear weapons, and an inside-page “discussion article” by Sean Matgamna on the same question. The article said that “an [Israeli] attack on Iran will most likely lead to great carnage… strengthen the Iranian regime… throw Iraq back into the worst chaos”. “Socialists should not want and cannot support… Israel [making] a precipitate strike at Iranian nuclear capacity”.

Extracts from the discussion on this website on Iran, Israel, and nuclear weapons.

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Weekly Worker Group ("CPGB") and Its Fatuous Gossip Sheet

Author: 

Paul Hampton

Song of the Weekly Worker
I'm so small! But I'm poisonous too;
What I say is at best but half-true:
I spread gossip thin,
So they'll think I'm well in;
But I'm useful, torn up in the loo!

The lying cover of the fatuous gossip-sheet Weekly Worker [showing a nuclear-bomb mushroom-cloud, with the headline: "AWL's Sean Matgamna: excusing a nuclear attack on Iran"!] is only the tip of a small iceberg of hysterical lying about Sean Matgamna, a writer for Solidarity, that they have set afloat over the last two weeks.

Lying about the AWL is a staple activity of the CPGB – but its coverage is now reminiscent of ‘third period’ Stalinism and the Healyite WRP at its lowest, and craziest, point.

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Israel-Iran: For Reason in Politics! 2

Author: 

Editorial, Solidarity, 21 August, 2008

The issues involved here are to-be-or-not-to-be for rational politics. The downright irrationality of the outcry is clear from the fact that the assessment that Israel has "good reason" to bomb Iranian nuclear installations, was preceded by a paragraph warning of the region-wide evil consequences of an Israeli attack and by the political judgement: "We do not advocate an Israeli attack on Iran, nor will we endorse it or take political responsibility for it."

We must resist the method in politics that you allow yourself to see or note only those aspects of reality that fit your line, which are pre-selected by your "line" or doctrine...

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No to the "mullahs' bomb"! (The article that sparked the debate.)

Author: 

Editorial

Nuclear bombs are not weapons of “defence”. They are weapons of mass murder, of the threat of mass murder. If they are used it will not be in defence but in murderous “retaliation” against cities and those who live in them — against the civilian population. Their effectiveness rests entirely on that threat.

No socialist can support nuclear weapons, still less, support their use. The drive by the Iranian regime to acquire nuclear weapons is a drive to achieve the power to inflict mass murder.

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Israel-Iran: For Reason in Politics!

Author: 

Editorial, Solidarity, 21 August, 2008

The discussion piece in the last Solidarity (3/136), "What if Israel bombs Iran?" provoked an explosion of website hysteria from a coalition of self-righteous people who, most of them, themselves support the Iranian mullahs having nuclear bombs, and who deny Israel's right to exist.

The mind of the "Left" on the Middle East is typically the confused mix we have had on the AWL web-site: selective, one-sided, pacifism, deep hostility to Israel and an absolute "anti-imperialism" that leads them to back some of the most regressive political forces on the planet.

The discussion piece in Solidarity 3/136, "What if Israel bombs Iran?", provoked an explosion of website hysteria from a coalition of self-righteous people who, most of them, themselves support the Iranian mullahs having nuclear bombs, and who deny Israel's right to exist.

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An appeal to save the life of Farzard Kamangar, and support jailed and harassed Iranian teacher trade unionists

An appeal from Education International (the international confederation of teacher trade unions) and the Swedish teachers' union.

From Education International:

Brussels, 12 August 2008

Dear colleagues,

Farzad Kamangar, a 33-year old teacher and former trade unionist from the Kurdistan Province of Iran, is at risk of execution following the ruling issued at an unfair trial.

An appeal from Education International (the international confederation of teacher trade unions) and the Swedish teachers' union.

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No to any attack on Iran: for working-class resistance to imperialisms big and small.

Author: 

Daniel Randall

1) TO CONDEMN OR NOT CONDEMN?
2) THE "BURNING, IMMEDIATE QUESTION".
3) BACK TO THE CHESS BOARD
4) THE ISSUE IS AGENCY

1) TO CONDEMN OR NOT CONDEMN?

A contribution to the current debate within the AWL that argues for a working-class opposition to the regional imperialism of both Israel and Iran

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No to an Israeli attack on Iran!

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

Sean Matgamna's article in Solidarity 1/136 tries to explore seriously the difficult issues raised by Iran's attempts to acquire nuclear weapons, the threat this potentially poses to Israel, and Israel's threats against Iran. It makes justified criticisms of much of the left. It states the basic case for working-class international solidarity against both the Iranian and Israeli regimes. It spells out the disastrous consequences that an Israeli attack on Iran would probably have.

A contribution to the discussion by Sacha Ismail.

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What if Israel bombs Iran? A Discussion Article

Author: 

Sean Matgamna
An attack on Iran will most likely lead to great carnage in the Middle East, and beyond ... Yet the plain fact is that nuclear bombs in the hands of a regime which openly declares its desire to destroy Israel are not something Israel will peacefully tolerate.

An attack on Iran will most likely lead to great carnage in the Middle East, and beyond, as supporters of Iran resort to suicide-bombings in retaliation. There might well be large scale Iranian civilian “collateral” casualties. An attack would strengthen the Iranian regime and license a smash down on its critics, including working class critics, inside Iran. It would throw Iraq back into the worst chaos.

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Iran, Israel and nuclear weapons

Author: 

Rhodri Evans

We can’t be sure; but the odds must be that George W Bush’s administration will not launch a bomb attack on Iran in its last few months in office.

Even if such an attack went neatly as planned, it couldn’t bring any triumph that would boost the standing of the administration or of its favoured candidate in the November presidential election, John McCain.

We can’t be sure; but the odds must be that George W Bush’s administration will not launch a bomb attack on Iran in its last few months in office.

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Osanloo: Incarcerated – but not forgotten

A year ago Mansour Osanloo, President of the Vahed Syndicate – the Tehran Bus Workers’ Union was arrested. He was severely beaten, insulted and abused by the Iranian security service and has suffered poor health, due the violence, harassment and frequent imprisonment he has endured over many years.

I met him a week or so before his arrest. He was warm and sincere, committed and passionate for the rights of workers, in Iran and across the globe.

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Mehdi Kazemi allowed to stay in UK

Mehdi Kazemi, the Iranian gay teenager threatened with deportation back to Iran (where his boyfriend was executed) has been granted unconditional asylum in the United Kingdom.

Mehdi Kazemi, the Iranian gay teenager threatened with deportation back to Iran (where his boyfriend was executed) has been granted unconditional asylum in the United Kingdom.

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Troops, militias and slogans

Comrades from all sides of the AWL’s debate on Iran/Iraq summarise what they they thought of the debate, what they think were the important arguments in the discussion and where they think the discussion can now go. Solidarity will continue this debate. Please send in (short) contributions.

Comrades from all sides of the AWL’s debate on Iran/Iraq summarise what they they thought of the debate, what they think were the important arguments in the discussion and where they think the discussion can now go.</

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Through the eyes of a girl

Author: 

Louise Gold and Silvi Subba

Persepolis is a story of the bravery of a young Iranian girl as she learns and comes to understand the politics of her nation, and the various factions that have fought to rule over it through history.

It is also a story of individual growth, and interference in that growth from political oppression and restraint.

The main protagonist, Marjane, begins the story as a child secretly devoted to God and the idea she can become a prophet, despite her unbelieving Marxist parents. (There is some conversation between God and Marx later in the film which serves as comic interlude.)

Review of the film Persepolis

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Behrooz Karimizadeh released, but comrades remain in prison

Author: 

Kave

On 15 April, Behrooz Karimizadeh, one of the founding activists in the Iranian socialist group Freedom and Equality-Seeking Students, paid 300,000 toman (roughly £16,000) to be released. He will need to visit several doctors in order to recover. He is under intense policy control and his telephone is monitored.

We must not forget that three other Freedom and Equality-Seeking Students, Ali Kanturi, Farhad Hajmirzaee and Peyman Piran, are still in prison. The first two in particular are in a bad condition. They need solidarity to secure their release!

On 15 April, Behrooz Karimizadeh, one of the founding activists in the Iranian socialist group Freedom and Equality-Seeking Students, paid 300,000 toman (roughly £16,000) to be released.

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