Iranians and the Emptiness of Liberalism

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“The Negro ‘revolt’ is controlled by the white man, the white fox. The Negro ‘revolution’ is controlled by this white government. The leaders of the Negro ‘revolution’ (the civil rights leaders) are all subsidized, influenced and controlled by the white liberals; and all of the demonstrations that are taking place on this country to desegregate lunch counters, theaters, public toilets, etc., are just artificial fires that have been ignited and fanned by the white liberals in the desperate hope that they can use this artificial revolution to fight off the real black revolution that has already swept white supremacy out of Africa, Asia, and is sweeping it out of Latin America…and is even now manifesting itself also right here among the black masses in this country.” -Malcolm X

C.S Lewis believed that the most dangerous autocrats were those who were ruled not by greed, but by their conscience. While a tyrant who merely wants the wealth from oil or weapons deals might be sated as some point, the truly dangerous people are the people who believe they are waging war for peoples’ own good. Such is the case with the “liberals” on the issue of intervening within Iran. The very same liberals which claim to speak for minority groups like Iranians. It is liberals who give their stamp of approval to war and sanctions. It is liberals that focus on the social aspect of Iran’s wedge issues. It is the liberals which prop up the Saudi and Israeli backed human rights organizations to wage propaganda campaigns . When these liberals advocate any kind of engagement with ‘the mullahs’ they are predictable lambasted by their political opposition. Perhaps the opposition is right to do so, but the fact remains that within liberalism there has never been a proper advocate for the Iranian side of the issues.[i]

The entire push against war and sanctions against Iran is entirely controlled by white liberals. Any form of advocacy that Iranians might have is at the behest of white liberals. The few defenders of Iran in the West are of these white liberal sensibilities. The Reza Aslans, the Maz Jobranis, or to an extent the people from NIAC (National Iranian American Council) or PAAIA (Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans). Just follow these liberal leaders and everything will be fine. This is more or less to keep the small yet growing constituency with little more than lip service or plans that barely deviate from what they were going to do anyway. To people like this the solution is simple: oppose racism, vote democrat, and champion progressive causes.

This is a falsehood for many reasons. Let us not forget that interventionism is a bipartisan affair. It was true with Iraq and it is true now with the case for regime change. Even among Iranians there is at least according to anecdotes that there are diaspora Iranians who ‘support Trump on Iran’. In fact even within the country people have thrown up their hands on reform and taken a sip of the metaphorical Kool-Aid[ii]. Democrats have been imposing sanctions on Iran for years. They have the same program when it comes to hoping that Iranians overthrow their government, change their foreign policy, and embrace secular liberal democratic values. While the last part is a sentiment that many share, the issue becomes heightened when quite frankly people do not deviate from the goal even when it runs in the face of the facts on the ground.

Right now the facts on the ground is that the IRGC is in perhaps the most dominant position it has had in years. The protests are also being led by the most vapid concerns of economic problems and headscarves which the nation had to contend with the possibility of ISIS within its borders. Liberals often use the hope that these wedge issues will be resolved as a distraction for the larger problems such as the case of segregation above. They lead the charge on the headscarf issue, whereas conservative elements of the West are so compromised by anti-Iranian interests even as they see the point of traditionalism, they will voice their support of acts they consider degenerate in their own countries. This is however, as I said, a mere distraction from the real issue that Western liberal values are called ‘universal’ and imposed onto the rest of the world.

This brings me to criticism of the weak apologetics of the Iranian Americans’ own liberal leaders. While the diaspora may desire change, they do not do themselves any favors by lying to themselves about the causes of Iran’s revolution, the opinions of actual Iranians, and the West’s ability to impose the changes that would make Iran like the lands they have grown accustomed to. Firstly we have Reza and Maz[iii] These two ‘faces’ of Iranian Americans once again have that issue of harmlessness. Ironically emphasized by Jobrani’s ‘Persian like the cat’ bit. They’re essentially made to not look like the image of a scary brown man. In fact they’re pussycats. One video once compared Reza Aslan to the Cat from the movie Shrek making puppy eyes at an opponent.[iv]

For all their defenses of both Islam and Iranians and the criticism arising from therein, they lack the vigorous defense that such a contentious topic needs right now. Their jabs at their opponents are done lightly which greatly softens the perceived stakes. They join hands for peace with Jewish neoconservatives and join in the siren song that Western liberalism will crawl into Iran. Their indictment of the methods which do it fall on deaf ears however. When push comes to shove they support almost all the same lines as the rest of the American establishment. They have the same goals. The same antipathy to the regime. Their only defenses are ‘well gee isn’t war and racism bad?’. They will not condemn, much less name the people who are slowly killing their people. That would rock the boat too much. After all, rocking the boat tends to scare people.

What of actual political leadership? What is there? I will save you the trouble: Not much. I will discount the NCRI and their fronts as obvious astroturfing operations as well as any of the other ‘resistance’ movements as to me they are worthy of the same amount of thought as the most radical anarcho-communist antifa cells. To my knowledge this leaves the NIAC and the small contingent of Iranian Americans that are running for office these days.

Trita Parsi is an interesting figure who may be worth a discussion on its own; However, I will leave his issue with what I will call his ‘Persian cat’ syndrome with his frequent condemnations of anti-Semitism. Now you might ask what is wrong with that? Is this some kind of racist blog? And you would be fair to ask these questions, however, I would posit that there are dozens of organizations to speak out against anti-Semitism. There are in contrast very few organizations which deal with the issues of Iranian Americans. Not only is this a waste of time and energy, but in standing shoulder to shoulder with Jewish organizations in the United States without being choosy about which ones, Parsi cuckolds himself. When he gave his condolences to the Jewish organizations under threat in the new ‘Trump era’, not only did he spend time and energy that could have been spent indicting those who would tear up the Iran deal, but he actively expressed solidarity with those responsible for crimes against the people he was supposed to protect. These are groups that spread Islamophobia and some of which propped up Trump in the first place.

Parsi expressed condolences to not just any synagogues, but AJC-affiliated synagogues. This was one of the many Jewish organizations who accused him of treason. This was one of the many interest groups that funded Black Cube to spy on him. His capitulation to such forces is a betrayal of everything he should have stood for. It is therefore unsurprising that he stepped down and I hope his successor does not make the same mistakes. In the face of this all he gave a message of how even Israel and Iran could solve their differences. His mistake was believing that it was in any way mostly up to the Iranians—it isn’t. Power disparities make choices for us.

Then we have the handful of Iranians who ran for office under the democratic ticket. There has been little to know success on this front. The cynic in me would say that these are just an attempt to push the ‘progressive’ envelope before capitulating to the regular centrist interest groups just to rile people up to come vote for whoever wins the primary.

I have 2 candidates that were predictably unsuccessful: Shabnam Lofti and Kia Hamadanchy.

The only role that their Iranian-ness played in their campaign or their ideas were a vague claim to being a Person of Color. This term means very little outside of progressive liberal circles and while it may get some constituency it does nothing to differentiate them between other similar candidates. Now onto the substance of what they said:

Kia Hamadacy according to a Huffington Post article decided to run when Donald Trump won. This could hint at a variety of motives. In any case he worked for a ‘Sherrod Brown’ which also hints at the man being somewhat of a tool of Brown. The first mistake he makes there is by making his run about the broader issues of ‘immigrant struggles’. Already there he fails because he panders to a constituency that barely votes, but furthermore propping up these narratives already hints at irreconcilable differences between himself and Iran. In addition it attempts to prop up a pluralistic ‘salad bowl’ image of America while the man seems fairly Americanized. I’ll admit I initially had high hopes when he sold himself by ‘keeping his name’. A struggle that many of us know far too well. After that point, this political novice attempts ‘flipping’ the district meaning red districts voting ‘blue’. This is a formula which is unpredictable and rarely successful. He could have touted his mentor Sherrod Brown as one of the most pro-Iranian senate candidates.[v] Kia’s foreign policy was stated as this:

FOREIGN POLICY

“I will fight for a smart foreign policy that actually keeps this country safe and secure. I believe that the policies of Donald Trump are dangerous, have empowered hardliners around the world, and represent a complete abdication of moral leadership. I believe we must:

Rebuild and strengthen our relationships with European and NATO allies. Address the role that Russia played in our election and to put together a real plan to combat cyber attacks and influences on our nation. Come up with a plan to fight ISIS, both at home and abroad. Address the Syrian civil war, which is a humanitarian crisis. I do not believe the United States should send ground troops to Syria. Actually try to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as opposed to putting Jared Kushner in charge of the problem. Uphold the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Iran Deal, which is strongly supported by the Israeli military and intelligence apparatus, represents the best path of stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and preventing a war. End the war in Afghanistan. Implement trade deals that allow our workers to compete on a level playing field and which have enforceable labor and environmental standards. “[vi]

The issues here are part of the liberal platform which seems to say that America’s foreign policy problems started in 2015. His platform seems to be focused more of a distrust in Trump than the actual shapers of this policy. He goes into the false neoliberal narratives of the Syrian Civil War and Russia. These narratives only serve to demonize Iran. His criticisms of US Policy towards Iran are overly trustful of the Democratic establishment. It is only bad because it ‘empowers hardliners’. This phrase is just a way to problematize the fact this simple fact: The Hardliners were right. The nixing of the deal was bad because those Iranians can’t be trusted to not nuke Israel. In fact he even cites Israelis to give the opinion on Iran. Nothing relates to his own knowledge or background. I have heard even worse rumors about the man’s real beliefs. In any case he does not drive his own ideas, rather echoes the other ideas without backing them with any of his own thoughts.

Shabnam Lofti is another candidate who also tries to join with the immigrant issue. Once more this is inherently flawed because not only does it paint the US as a solution rather than the cause of its own problems, but the added element of being a Muslim-descended woman aggravates the Western fixation with the Middle Eastern women just begging for ‘liberation. On the onset we run into these problems. She works with a community that rarely turns out for primaries and has no reason to care about foreign policy issues. Her bio posits: “Born in Tehran, Shabnam and her family left Iran for the U.S. during the Iran-Iraq War.  Shabnam cites her experiences in Iran as a major influencing factor in her life, deciding as early as seven years old that she “wanted to be a lawyer so that no one else experienced what my family and I had experienced.”[vii] Given her field is immigration the solution is simple: run away. This is a band-aid to a larger problem that needs to be tackled. Shabnam works for organizations that would attract democrats and nobody else. It is somewhat gratifying to see Iranian Americans run, but they are too ingrained in American society to offer anything new.

They could have condemned the endless wars that the US has involved itself in. No indictment could be too vicious. Instead he focused on popular wedge issues like subsidizing colleges and healthcare. The Middle East hardly came up outside of some limp opposition to the ‘travel ban’, which is a ‘safe’ enough topic for Iranian American activists. The problem is identity politics without the formation of identity.

Many Iranian liberals will try to posit their struggle as part of a larger anti-racist struggle, but there have been few results as the fact is, Iran is a nation. We have a connection with a nation or even the idea of a nation and our tied to a culture that is greater than the sum of squabbling minority communities.[viii] This is why I would choose Malcolm X or Mandela over Martin Luther King. This struggle has an international and anti-colonial nature when there are those who would deny us autonomy.

The issue is that the liberals who would purport to help Iranian Americans are rarely if ever led by those with Iranian blood. They offer weak defenses of Iran, of Islam, and in doing so they distort the past. To make up for this they over-focus on economic issues and the standard liberal tripe that ‘everyone can get behind’. They never challenge the West, much less take it to task for its role in the current political quagmires.

Furthermore, they never espouse any remotely traditional Iranian or even Islamic values publicly all in their quest to be as non-threatening as possible. To do so would upset the white liberals that propped them up. I can’t imagine their reaction would be if an informed and assertive pro-Iranian person were to speak up. I imagine they would be confused. “You don’t really think that secular, liberal, democracy is unimportant right now? No you, and other Iranians clearly want this.” I am beyond being told what I should think is best. By subscribing to the liberal narratives they both prop up naïve ideas about the Middle East and perpetuate the establishment narratives that have run US foreign policy since Vietnam.

 

Remember as Malcom X said on the white liberals that exerted control over the black community: “Their motives are the same, their appetites are the same, it’s only their mannerisms and methods that differ.”[ix]

 

[i] Excluding ‘some’ elements of the far left

[ii] Or Sharbat 😉

[iii] I met both of them in real life. They are actually nice people so forgive me if my commentary is not as biting as it should be.

[iv] Who headed NIAC until recently

[iv] https://www.niacouncil.org/trump-administration-far-greater-threat-jews-iran/

[v] Admittedly that might be political suicide and the standard of this is low.

[vi] https://ballotpedia.org/Kia_Hamadanchy

[vii] http://www.iranianamericanpac.org/shabnam-lotfi.aspx

[viii] Reminder that Middle Eastern Americans don’t even get a separate racial category

[ix] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6Eqc2JAMbs

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Why Uncle Tom Matters Right Now?

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Uncle Tom was a hero when he was first written. He made a heroic sacrifice to save his fellow slaves and yet over time the phrase became a pejorative.  The question is why? Well the short answer is the nature of Uncle Tom changed between adaptations and he came to be associated with a class of blacks who were inherently more servile.[i] In today’s world this analogy succinctly describes how I feel about the struggle for democracy in Iran. While it began as something bold, heroic, selfless, and self-sacrificing, more and more it looks like self-loathing and servility in disguise. I am not focusing on the switch however. I am dedicating this one to the Iranian Uncle Toms.[ii]

The first hurdle is whether the term Uncle Tom is even accurate to Iranian issues. It’s an inherently African-American term associated with ideas of ‘blackness’ and ‘whiteness’. In recent years and months however, I have seen it associated with all Muslims particularly by the more uncompromising elements of British Muslim activism.[iii] The term was a favorite of black activist Malcolm X and while not all elements of his activism can be applied to the current dilemma, the issues of prejudice and political structure can strike some daunting parallels. Especially in the face of Mike Pompeo and the NCRI’s laughable show of support for Iranian voices.[iv]


To understand this, you have to go back to what [the] young brother here referred to as the house Negro and the field Negro — back during slavery. There was two kinds of slaves. There was the house Negro and the field Negro. 

If the master’s house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, „What’s the matter, boss, we sick?“ We sick! He identified himself with his master more than his master identified with himself

You’ve got field Negroes in America today. I’m a field Negro. The masses are the field Negroes. When they see this man’s house on fire, you don’t hear these little Negroes talking about „our government is in trouble.“ They say, „The government is in trouble.“ Imagine a Negro: „Our government“! I even heard one say „our astronauts.“ They won’t even let him near the plant — and „our astronauts“! „Our Navy“ — that’s a Negro that’s out of his mind. That’s a Negro that’s out of his mind.

Just as the slavemaster of that day used Tom, the house Negro, to keep the field Negroes in check, the same old slavemaster today has Negroes who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms, 20th century Uncle Toms, to keep you and me in check, keep us under control, keep us passive and peaceful and nonviolent. That’s Tom making you nonviolent. It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth. You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and ‚cause you’ve got all of that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don’t know what’s happening. ‚Cause someone has taught you to suffer — peacefully.“[v]

While the Iranian experience does not have a direct connection to slavery, there has been a legacy of foreign domination. Specifically, the same kind of colonial domination that persisted throughout the Muslim world.

Westernized Iranians are no doubt the ‘house negros’ or Uncle Toms in this scenario. The Westernized Iranians that serve their purpose as propagandists for the West deserve special attention like Amir Taheri and other Iranian neoconservatives as well as the softer more liberal interventionist types like the anti-hijabi crowd.[vi] The first issue Malcolm X touches on is their identification with their ‘masters’. This is a problem in the diaspora mostly but it can apply to all Iranians who suffer what was once called Gharbzadegi (Westtoxification). They identify with the Western ideals so much that to deviate from them would be unthinkable. Western liberal democracy. A life in the West. These Uncle Toms are bought by materialism into defending and promoting a system which quite frankly is not their own. Anyone who would tell you that these ideals are ‘universal’ is an Uncle Tom themselves. There are no such thing as universal ideals when it comes to statecraft. The very concept is ridiculous.

These Toms do not identify with the Iranian nation or government. Many of them would openly or covertly promote war as well as sanctions. Others may not, but they are still assured that the Western system is the system they should identify is. Not ‘you’ have a nice democracy system, but ‘we’ have a nice democracy. Nevermind that almost all politicians are hostile towards Iran in one sense or another and some of it extends towards even naturalized Iranians. They do not identify with the motherland enough to celebrate its successes. To even care about most of its culture. They merely pay lipservice towards their people. It’s ‘our’ quest to fight for democracy. ‘Our’ attempts to expand our hegemony. ‘Our empire. ‘Our’ shining city on the hill. This identification need not be blatant, however the political pressure that is exerted on the community prevents any expressions out of line with the establishment lines.

Another element of this line of thinking is the impossibility of identifying with an Iran other than the one that was a US ally. It is true that most of these people severely lack the rudimentary geopolitical and historical knowledge to parse together these issues. This overidentification with the failed nationalism under the Shah is both blind to its flaws, but also blind to everything that contributed to his downfall besides Islam. Thus Westernized Iranians often join the chorus with the most Islamophobic people on this planet. This is not a word I throw around lightly. It is a word reserved for a hysterical opposition to any Islam on an almost pathological level.

Islam is taboo among the diaspora community. In part this may have something to do with a large number of people who fled the revolution not being Muslims. This is a fair consideration. That being said, the views of Westernized Iranians are the same misinformed platitudes and hysteria on par with Israeli zealots or belligerent white trash after about three glasses of Everclear. Islam is anti-modern. And we want modern. We want democratic. We want secular. Yes. This is a good system ‘we’ have. Mindlessly aping the west is all they know as very few of them engage in any serious political thought rather preferring fields which feed into their materialism. Uncle Tom must have his nice coat and tophat after all.

Finally, the penultimate thing that makes an Uncle Tom is they don’t ever dream of challenging whites or whiteness. No they believe they have whiteness. It’s an obvious lie, but Uncle Tom identifies with his ‘master’. In this case the master is the interests that run the US government and society. The Iranians held up are uniformly people who feed into a Western narrative that invites liberal interventionism. They’re intelligence agents, Zionist activists, feminist icons, and anything and everything to show how generous and righteous the West is. The worst thing a Westernized Iranian could imagine is Iranians being those ‘scary brown people’. No they must be as white and non-threatening as possible. This means numbing themselves against the crimes of their own country. Sure they might absorb the propaganda of Voice of America, but all that would do is support the popular regime change bandwagon. They get to join the cool kids club with the Shah Jr. and Maryam Rajavi who teamed up with US asset Saddam Hussein to wage chemical warfare on Iranians. They don’t think about her. No they’re numb to the geopolitical realities of the region. They know little more about the Middle East than the average American at this point.

If an Iranian was to come out and indict the US government. If they were to reject the calls for Iran to come crawling back to America’s doorstep. If they were to even say that perhaps the people of Iran deserve self-determination…that would be it for the carefully cultivated social image that these complicit Iranians imagine they have. After all they have a nice house. The master probably won’t let him in public office but at least they get the white BMW.

[i] https://www.theroot.com/when-uncle-tom-became-an-insult-1790879561

[ii] The first of many in fact.

[iii] https://twitter.com/asgharbukhari/status/612205813361418240

[iv] https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2018/07/284292.htm

[v] X, Malcolm. „Message to the Grass Roots.“ Northern Negro Grass Roots Leadership Conference. Group on Advanced Leadership. King Solomon Baptist Church, Detroit. 10 November 1963.

http://ccnmtl.columbia.edu/projects/mmt/mxp/speeches/mxt29.html

[vi] I will expand upon this topic at a later date

Haman Was Right

This is a placeholder which was the previous name for the blog. It seeks to talk of ideas in which unwilling parties are functionally dragged into ethnic conflict whether they are aware of it or not. There are races whose very existence is threatened by those who have a more defined collective ethnic consciousness. This seeks to make people aware of the challenges they face and the interest groups behind them.