Iran,  The Left

Andy Newman Forgets The Tolpuddle Martyrs

In Iran, trade unionists are martyrs in the true sense of the word: i.e. in that they are imprisoned and tortured for their beliefs, as opposed to blowing themselves up in mosques and marketplaces.

Those of us who are on the Left honour their sacrifice.

But not to Andy Newman, so it seems.

Here is a very good article by Martin Wicks on Socialist Unity, worth reading in full:

Speaking to supporters Hugo Chavez called Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ”a courageous fighter for the Islamic Revolution, the defence of the Third World, and in the struggle against imperialism”. The Venezuelan government, “in the name of the people,” hailed the “extraordinary democratic development” that resulted in Ahmadinejad’s victory according to a foreign ministry statement.

These staggering statements by the Venezuelan government appear to be based on the delusion that Ahmadinejad is some sort of anti-imperialist because of his denunciations of US imperialism. My enemy’s enemy is my friend, seems to be the guiding light of Chavez and the Venezuelan state. It would be perfectly correct to demand that the US government keep its nose out of the Iranian political crisis, but offering political support for the Iranian regime is choosing the wrong friend and can only compromise the Venezuelan government in the eyes of an Iranian democratic and workers’ movement, and other workers around the world.

Continuing the path of the “Islamic Revolution” means in practice the imposition of repression of independent workers’ organisations, of women and of youth, whose freedom is drastically curtailed by all sorts of moral police and religious thugs on a daily basis. Iran is a clerical dictatorship in which working class and socialist forces have no freedom to operate, never mind participate in the elections.

Following the election, Chavez was quick to telephone Ahmadinejad to congratulate him, saying the victory “represents the feeling and commitment of the Iranian people to building a new world.” What sort of world is that? One in which gays are hung, that women are denied the freedom to dress and carry out their lives as they are pleased, that raped women are seen as sinners, that workers leaders’ are imprisoned for striking? Even a cursory examination of the reality of life in the “Islamic Republic” contrasts absolutely to the world that Chavez says he wants to build.

Andy Newman disagrees:

Martin is demanding that Hugo Chavez should prioritise links with some bus workers (we don’t even know how significant this trade union is) as an alternative to maintaining good trade and diplomatic relations with another large oil exporting state outside the US circle of influence.

For Hugo Chavez to make a judgement that the actualy existing government of Iran is a more strategic ally for Venezuela than a semi-legal group of bus workers is hardly “scabbing”.

I never thought I would see the day in which a trade union, working under conditions of fear and repression, is dismissed as a semi-legal group of bus workers, on a progressive website.

Come on Andy!

Hat tip: MoreMediaNonsense