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Submitted by Daniel_Randall on Mon, 22/09/2008 - 11:39

Jason -

Your position is Stalinist (I actually said "Stalinoid", which means "influenced by Stalinism" - but hey; let's not bother with the details...) because it is infected entirely with formulas borrowed from, amongst other places, Stalinist third-worldism and the "two camps" schema of Stalinised Trotskyism. It gives "semi-colonial" bourgeoisies a progressive "anti-imperialist" character and believes that "anti-imperialist united fronts" can be built with forces such as clerical-fascist militias. The contortions you use to deny this are truly spectacular - the concept of the "anti-imperialist united front" makes it very clear that there is something more involved than the fact that "there may be times when the guns of reactionaries and working class organisation point in the same direction against the occupiers". The whole idea of a "united front" implies that you see these "anti-imperialists" (the Iranian regime, the Mahdi Army, whoever...) as in some sense potential partners in a common struggle. Again - this is deeply Stalinoid. It's essentially a stagist theory whereby all forces, of whatever class, can be brought together in the "anti-imperialist united front" to defeat "the occupiers", presumably after which the working-class can engage in a struggle for power (if we're not all dead, of course).

It's not just a question of who leads "the resistance" - it's a question of what kind of resistance, on what basis and in the name of what. A "resistance" that seeks to engage fascistically reactionary bourgeois forces, and sees them as being in any sense progressively anti-imperialist, is doomed to failure - no matter who's at the helm. What's necessary is a specifically working-class, democratic resistance - independent of, and against, all other class forces. There can be no "common struggle" or "united front" with the Iranian ruling-class. This, fundamentally, is the difference between our positions here (despite your attempts to distort this); we stand for consistently independent working-class action, you believe there can be a "united front" with bourgeois reactionaries.

(Good luck with your "participation" in the Iranian army, by the way. Send us a postcard, won't you?)

Your position also bears the hallmarks of Stalinism in that you claim that it's somehow an anti-imperialist duty to deny that the Iranian regime's really that bad. As Martin has pointed out, this looks a lot like the way Stalinists and Stalinised Trotskyists used to respond to bourgeois criticism of the USSR by arguing that it wasn't really as dreadful as all that.

We believe, by contrast, that our actual duty is to tell the truth about the Iranian regime in a much more consistent way than the ruling-class and their press is prepared to.

"There is not the slightest doubt, for instance, about the behaviour of the Japanese in China. Nor is there much doubt about the long tale of Fascist outrages during the last ten years in Europe. They happened even though Lord Halifax said they happened. The raping and butchering in Chinese cities, the tortures in the cellars of the Gestapo, the elderly Jewish professors flung into cesspools, the machine-gunning of refugees along the Spanish roads - they all happened, and they did not happen any the less because the Daily Telegraph has suddenly found out about them when it is five years too late". (George Orwell, 'Looking Back on the Spanish Civil War', 1942)

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