Rostam Pourzal, "Iran's Business Elite, Too, Is a "Dissident""

27 June, 2009 – MRZine – Monthly Review

With mass rallies for government accountability dominating the news from Iran since June 12, Western audiences are missing the underlying controversy that polarizes the country’s electorate. We hear much about the boastful social conservatism of president Ahmadinejad, whose contested re-election on June 12 fueled days of bloody protests led by his moderate challengers. But the battle is also about welfare reform and private property rights in an economy that has been state-dominated since the Islamic Republic was established thirty years ago. Whether Iran’s national oil revenue should now be directed away from grassroots priorities emerged as a major election issue this year. All of Ahmadinejad’s three challengers promised to promote investor-friendly policies if elected.

The opposition insists that Ahmadinejad unfairly buys voter loyalty with consumer subsidies, low interest loans, and similar ‘handouts.’ The president has especially enraged the managerial class with his wildly popular monthly rallies in the provinces, where he orders funding on the spot for the infrastructure needs of common folks. A special flashpoint is the pace of a long-anticipated privatization and deregulation drive that was officially launched a year ago but was not embraced by the Ahmadinejad administration.

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Iran, the arrogance of Empire and the death of Michael Jackson By William Bowles

27 June 2009

The arrogance of Empire is so pervasive, so intrinsic to our everyday lives, that it seems ‘natural’ for us to be telling other countries how to behave, what’s right and what’s wrong. This is brought home to me every day as I struggle through the vast stream of news that flows into my inbox. The sheer weight of corporate/state media output is staggering, but especially the seamless integration of the ‘take’ on a story, regardless of country of origin.

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Hisham Bustani – Thoughts out of Season: Critiquing the European Left

26 June, 2009 – Palestine Think Tank

bustani.jpgThe left across the planet is in dynamic motion, on the upswing in certain regions, spiraling downward in others. In South America, the left seems to be on a steady and potent rising arc. That is likewise evident in some remote regions in Asia like Nepal, where the Maoists succeeded in overthrowing the monarchy democratically after years of armed revolution ( In India , the left has achieved executive power in some regions. The militant left in Colombia (FARC), the Philippines (the Communist Party of the Philippines ), and Mexico (EZLN) are still effective and influential. On the other hand, the Arab left seems cocooned, marginal, and suffering a slew of crises.

In Europe, the left seems to be deteriorating steadily, many of its larger organizations (Labor and Social Democratic parties) are no longer on the left: they have adopted liberal economic policies, reduced social securities (health, education, housing), restricted public liberties, and followed aimlessly the American way – the crude embodiment of neoliberal capitalism and its goal of forcefully subordinating the world. This brief essay shares some thoughts about the left as a whole in Europe today, seen from my own vantage in the Arab East.

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Azmi Bishara, "Iran: An Alternative Reading"

26 June, 2009 – MRZine – Monthly Review

Iran does not just have an authoritarian system of government, it has a totalitarian one. It is powerful, highly centralised, with sophisticated administrative and control systems, and it applies an ideology that claims to have answers for everything and that seeks to permeate all aspects of life. Instead of a political party and youth organisations, it relies on mass organisations, such as the Basij, that blend security with ideology and even with the benefit of broad sectors of the populace. It also depends on a broad and well-organised network of mullahs and on a politicised security agency and Revolutionary Guard. However, it differs from other totalitarian systems in two definitive ways.

Firstly, no other totalitarian system has incorporated such a high degree constitutionally codified democratic competition in the ruling order and in its ideology. Political competition is systematised in the form of regularly held elections in which rivals espouse different platforms within the framework of the agreed upon rules of the game, just as do political parties within capitalist frameworks. The difference between Democrats and Republicans in the US is not much greater than that between reformists and conservatives in Iran. Of course, these trends in Iran are not actual political parties, but then neither are the Republicans and Democrats, at least not in the conventional European sense. They are more in the nature of electoral leagues.

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Why do we allow the US to act like a failed state on climate change? By George Monbiot

26 June, 2009 – Monbiot’s blog

The Waxman-Markey climate bill is the best we will get from America until the corruption of public life is addressed

‘Whether he is seeking environmental reforms, health reforms or any other
improvement in the life of the American people, Obama’s real challenge
is to address corruption of public life in the United States.’
Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

It would be laughable anywhere else. But, so everyone says, the Waxman-Markey bill which is likely to be passed in Congress today or tomorrow, is the best we can expect – from America.

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Award Winning Movie: “SUPERPOWER” By Barbara-Anne Steegmuller

26 June, 2009 – Global Research


A comprehensive film that asks tough questions and goes behind the scenes of America’s national security apparatus and military actions.

Superpower: Far from a conspiracy film about the dangers of government secrets and regime change, this well-balanced film straddles the philosophical divide and allows viewers to understand the US quest for global dominance through economic and military strategy that is exposed through review of historical events, personal interviews, and analysis of US foreign policy.
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Obama Moves to Fund Iranian Dissidents By Jason Ditz

26 June, 2009 – Global Research

Obama Moves to Fund Iranian Dissidents Despite Claims of Not Meddling, US to Send $20 Million to Opposition

iran-map.jpgDespite President Barack Obama’s persistent claims that the United States is not meddling in the post-election furore in Iran, the administration is moving forward with plans to subsidize Iranian dissident groups to the tune of $20 million in the form of USAID grants.

The program is not new, and the solicitation for the grant applications actually came under the Bush Administration. But with the deadline for submissions just four days away, the administration has a convenient excuse to subsidize opposition and dissident groups under the guise of promoting ‘the rule of law’ in Iran.

The White House and the State Department both defended the program, insisting it did not run counter to the administration’s pretense of neutrality. The administration declined to provide details of exactly which opposition figures it had been funding, however, citing ‘security concerns.’

There is considerable criticism for this program, not just from the perspective of getting the US involved in the internal affairs of Iran, but also for the taint it places on various opposition groups and NGOs, whether they received any of the grant money or not.

Global Research Articles by Jason Ditz

Iran’s Coming Revolution: For Civil Rights Or Beyond?

26 June, 2009 – Global Research

Simplifying the events in Iran as yet another attempt at a U.S. financed ‘color revolution’ is shortsighted, to say the least. But this is the shallow position many on the left are taking. Fortunately, millions of people partaking in mass demonstrations cannot be reduced to ‘mere puppets’ of Uncle Sam — they have aspirations of their own and ways to achieve them.

It is possible that the U.S. played a role in the events leading up to the massive protests in Iran, since the U.S.-sponsored color revolution formula is well known: a pro-western opposition candidate creates political instability — usually around election time — and uses the demonstrators who support them, who are funneled money through the C.I.A., to help topple the existing regime.

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