Over the past month several articles have been published concerning the perceived position of “the left,” or some leftists, on the question of defense of the current Iranian regime, presumably on the grounds of anti-imperialism.
These five articles were especially critical of “leftists” for failing to support the Iranian opposition and/or defending the Iranian regime on anti-imperialist grounds:
- Hamid Dabashi: Left is wrong on Iran | Al-Ahram Weekly | Opinion |
- Reese Erlich: Iran and Leftist Confusion | CommonDreams.org
- Saeed Rahnema: The Tragedy of the Left’s Discourse on Iran | ZNet
- Slavoj Zizek: Will the Cat Above the Precipice Fall Down?
- The Ruh of Brown Folks: Iran and “Anti-Imperialism”
These six articles are critical of the critiques on numerous grounds:
- As’ad Abu Khalil: The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: Hamid Dabashi’s attack on my person
- Max Forte: Dabashi is Wrong on the Left| Open Anthropology
- Jeremy Hammond: Dabashi is wrong on ‘the left’ | Between the Lines
- Jeremy Hammond: Wall Street Journal Calls Me a “Lefty for Ahmadinejad” | Between the Lines
- Jeremy Hammond: Reese Erlich Responds to FPJ on Iran Election Article | Between the Lines
- Max Ajl: Between ‘Social Fact’ and Fiction | P U L S E
As often happens in the heat of debate, the “really big” assumptions behind certain perceptions remain unquestioned. I believe that these are some that need to be addressed before the debate can continue fruitfully:
- When writers use the term “left” what exactly do they mean?
- Are all leftists anti-imperialist?
- Are all anti-imperialists leftist?
- What theory, or theories, of imperialism are at work here in order for us to know what writers mean by imperialism, and for judging the basis on which Iran’s current regime is anti-imperialist?