Marxists speak out in Iran
I read an interesting article in the International Herald Tribune today. In December the IHT reported on a group of five hundred Marxist students who held a protest in Tehran University – mirrored by other similar groups of students across the country. They held up pictures of Che Guevara and were protesting against President Ahmedinejad.
The current article revisited that report (the article can be read online here).
An interesting comment from Morad Saghafi caught my attention; “Radicalism emerges when there is no agenda.” Apparently these students are a little like our own student radicals caught up by the vacuity of the SWP and such groups. Or so Saghafi would have us believe.
Yet the importance of these young people can all to easily be underestimated. Former President of Iran Mohammad Khatami has denounced all the leftist groups and called for a crackdown, declaring that these leftist groups are similar to those who opposed the radical religious agenda of 1979.
It is also clear that these groups have gone beyond mere anti-Americanism. They are clear in their denunciation of falling standards of living not just in Iran, but critical of poverty in the West also.
These students must live under a terrible fear, and the regime in Iran must be of two minds about them. Marxist ideas were definitely a part of the milieu which gave birth to the 1979 revolution, much watered down with pan-Arabian socialism and combined with Islamic ideas and then quickly and brutally suppressed.
Yet Marxism also forms a stark and unforgiving criticism of the current Iranian regime. With pressure on Iran mounting internally, it will be interesting to see what happens next and what effect it might have on the situations elsewhere in the Middle East.