As bad as it gets: “Al Quds day”

September 29, 2007 at 12:11 am (anonymous, anti-semitism, Civil liberties, elections, environment, Galloway, Jim D, political groups, politics, Respect)

There was a time when the left would argue about our degree of support for, or criticism of, regimes like Cuba, Nicaragua, etc…even now, some leftists argue that we should hero-worship Hugo Chavez:  but even these misguided fools surely don’t have any illusions about the clerical fascist regime in Iran. Surely not? Well, maybe they do, given Chavez’s chumminess with Ahmadinejad.. but they (the Chavez cheer-leaders) don’t seem to either understand or care.

According to the present ‘Solidarity‘:

“On 7 October, supporters of the Iranian regime are organising as ‘Al Quds Day’ demonstration in London (assembling 12:30 at Marble Arch).

“This year, the march is backed not only by the Muslim Association of Britain, George Galloway, Yvonne Ridley, Hizb-ut Tahir, etc; but also by Respect and the 1990 Trust (in which Ken Livingstone’s adviser Lee Jasper is prominent).

“Below is an abridged text from the committee which has organised counter-demonstrations against similar events in Berlin:

“‘In 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini called for an annual event  on the last friday of the Islamic fast month of Ramadan  to demonstrate for the “liberation” of Jerusalem and the destruction of Israel. Since then, the so-called Al Quds day, a state-organised propaganda demonstration, has been held annually in Tehran, a Hezbollah military parade has been held in in Beirut and demonstrations have been held worldwide…

“We the undersigned have different opinions on the ongoing conflict betweeen Israel and the Palestinians. But we join in rejecting all attacks on the right of Israel to exist and we stand up for a peaceful, two-state solution acceptable to both sides. The Iranian regime is doing everything it can to prevent such a solution. It not only verbally calls for the destruction of Israel but supports and finances suicide attacks against  Israelis and arms Hezbollah with rockets.  the Iranian regime shamelessly instrumentalises the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the backs of the Palestinian people, in order to stabilise its own dictatorship and build an international basis of power.

“We stand with those Iranians who long for democracy and human rights and who want to live in peace with the world community.

“We also oppose all discrimination against people of Muslim belief or immigrant background…”‘

For a taste of how the supporters of clerical fascism are publicising this event, click here.


  1. Renegade Eye said,

    I disaprove of the Iran and Venezuela alliance, still they have a right to state to state relations.

    Iranian Trotskyists and Workers-Communist Party, have called on Hugo Chavez to protest the lack of democratic rights.

    I believe Chavez has opened up the possibility of socialism in Venezuela. That doesn’t mean there aren’t contradictions. A revolutionary process is in motion. Will you be on the sidelines or join it?

  2. so? said,

    Well said Renegade. Chavez’s government, and Morales’ government too, should build up those vitally needed economic relations between Venezuela and Iran – and China, for that matter – without praising those regimes. The progressive governments in Latin America do very much need to cut trade and development deals with China and regional powers like Iran so as to create a counterweight to US hegemony. But there’s no need at all to fawn over the leaders of those countries. And the thrust of the revolutionary processes in Venezuela and Bolivia has been totally opposed to the reactionary policies of Iran’s rulers – for instance, the Bolivarian revolution has seen the establishment of:

    – a housewives’ benefit
    – a law against domestic violence
    – a nationwide network of woman’s refuges
    – a woman’s bank designed to lend to womens’ cooperatives

    Compare that to the shit deal for women in Iran.

    Re Renegade’s last point: it is funny how some British socialists will say that the Labour Party, which is reduced to a shell of its former self, utterly undemocratic, riddled with ex-Tories and bourgeois types, blessed with a leader who is trying to reinvent himself as a twenty-first century Thatcher, and fighting two imperialist wars in former colonies, is in some way a workers’ party, but then deny that label to the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, which has several million members, the overwhelming majority of them workers, a radical left-wing programme, and many Trotskyists in its leadership. I can understand criticisms of democratic deficits in the party, but to deny that it is a mass party of the Venezuelan workers seems a self-delusion of Healyite proportions.

  3. voltaires_priest said,

    Notwithstanding that the Healyites wouldn’t have said that…

  4. V said,

    I’m not really into the hero worship of anybody. But Chavez and Morales are, in relative terms, more progressive than every member of the current cabinet. I still think to myself what would Cuba look like now if Bay of Pigs and other operations had succeeded? It is not a paradise now, but would have no progressive social elements under a mafia-USA casino capitalism employed there in the 1950s. Iran, like Burma, needs internal action to change the reactionary fuckers who currently run their respective countries. Not western bombs or direct western intervention. Has Iraq taught us nothing?

  5. modernityblog said,

    “A revolutionary process is in motion. ”

    In the end it’s not so revolutionary as it seems from afar,

    Chazez remains on top of the pyramid, he uses oil revenues to fund populist projects and garner support, but the power relationships don’t change

    Chavez and his nomenklatura control the reins of power.

    Chavez’s approach is not socialism, it is State Welfarism and is funded by the high price of oil, which is potentially a problem when it drops

    accepting that all of the efforts to reduce poverty in Venezuela are thoroughly worthwhile, but let’s not delude ourselves about the power relationships and who is in control.

  6. so? said,

    Besides Venezuela and Bolivia, another country to watch out for is Ecuador. They have elections to a constituent assembly soon and the forces of radical change are tipped to win bigtime. Rafael Correa resembles Chavez and Morales in some ways, but he is weaker than them in relations to the grassroots movement. The assembly may well launch a radical overhaul of Ecuadorian society along radical left-wing lines.
    Correa has already moved to end his coutnry’s relation with the IMF, to close the US military base there, and to take control of foreign oil companies. We have the beginning of what may become a socialist bloc of countries in South America.

    I think the image of Chavez sitting at the top and dispensing aid to a passive support base is belied by features of the revolution like:

    – the rise of the occupied factories movement, which most certainly has changed power relationships in about 1,200 worksites

    – the land reform movement, which has been based on occupations, the legitimisation of those occupations by the government, and then the forming of communal and collective farms

    – the urban land committees, which have democratised town planning and given legal status to the dwellings of many thousands of families

    – the co-operatives movement, which is (hopefully) allowing the development of the economy without either top-down central planning or market anarchy (at the beginning of this year there were something like 150,000 cooperatives in existence in Venezuela)

    – the indigenous peoples’ movement, which now exercise sovereignty over large parts of their traditional lands.

    In each of these instances you see people acting for themselves and challenging traditional power relationships of various kinds. In many cases the government is actually running to keep up with these initiatives.

    It’s not a perfect completed revolution, it’s a long way from full-blooded socialism, there are many problems, but has there ever been a perfect revolution? I personally think that the Bolivarian revolution in 2007 is a lot healthier than the Bolshevik revolution was in 1921. The economy is booming, and I don’t think there has been a revolution with more democratic space for the workers and peasants than the Ctalonian revolution of 1936. The efforts of the right to paint Venezuela as a ‘totalitarian’ state look ridiculous.

  7. Jim Denham said,

    For me, the matter is simple: the emancipation of the proletariat must be (by) the action of the proletariat itself. Thus the present hero-worship of “strong-men” is an anti-marxist snare and delusion, taken up with gusto by power-worshippers and disappointed liberals (a classic being the pathetic Richard Gott)
    This matter has been dealt with very effectively by Hal Draper:

    Click to access SR_1971_Draper.pdf

  8. so? said,

    Who exactly in this thread is hero-worshipping Chavez, Jim? What I’ve pointed to are precisely examples of the proletariat (and peasantry) working towards its own emancipation. The occupied farms and factories movements and other grassroots parts of the Bolivarian revolution have hardly sat around waiting for Chavez to do things for them.

    As I say, I think that the revolution in Venezuela is actually a purer example of revolution from below than the Bolshevik model. Even by 1918 the Bolshies were doing things which make the action Chavez took against the coup-plotting oligarch who ran RCTV look rather mild. Venezuela is a far more democratic society than the Bolshies ever tolerated. And we are now seeing significant structural transformation, too, as well as the much remarked-upon gains in fields like health and literacy.

    But of course the process is not perfect and there is the danger of bureaucratic degeneration. But to not see that a revolution is going on, and to not recognise that Party of Socialism is a party based in the working class with a radical programme and a level of internal debate that puts Labour to shame does seem wilfully blind.

  9. modernityblog said,


    having visited Latin America, and Venezuela briefly I think that any endeavours which reduce the grinding poverty there are worthwhile

    but and this is a big but

    it comes down to who ultimately as the last say?

    power is vested in Chavez and his nomenklatura, and if workers try to change it they’ll be slaughtered

    I agree with the above comments, but socialists shouldn’t delude themselves on these matters

    as for the booming economy much of it is based on oil revenues and should they go down there will be dramatic changes and the breathing space for workers will shrink

    strangely enough, the Gini coefficient of inequality has gone up in Venezuela

  10. Jim Denham said,

    Workers’ control in Venezuela? Where?

  11. so? said,

    Sorry, meant United Socialist Party there.
    Draper’s artice is good, but if it’s set as bar to judge revolutions by, rather than something to aim and argue for…well, let’s just say you’ll be waiting forever for the revolution, because in the real world not one of them has ever been so perfect. (The closest would have to be 1871 and 1936)

    Here’s an account of the July meeting of FRETECO, the organisation of occupied factories:
    “What we are doing here today in this meeting is very important. Before we had a regime which prevented the workers from organising and discussing how to run and manage the factories. I would like to thank FRETECO and this gathering for allowing us to do just that. We must organise visits to other factories in order to spread the take over and occupation of factories so that these are run under workers’ control. This is a time bomb against capitalism and the only road towards socialism”.

    Can anyone imagine these words being said about the ‘workers party’ and government that Gordon Brown leads? And no, that doesn’t mean Chavez is perfect. Far from it.

  12. so? said,

    The classic example of the struggle for workers’ control is the factory of Venepal, which became a test case when it was nationalised under joint management a couple of years ago:
    I think we can agree Jim on the importance of giving solidarity to factories like these, and to the many new farms on land that has been occupied and nationalised? That is the content, surely, of slogans about the emancipation of the proletariat being the work of the proletariat…

  13. Jim Denham said,

    so? Trotsky dealt with this matter many years ago, when he discussed the Cardenas regime in Mexico in the 1940’s. Trotsky’s attitude. at the time, should guide our current approach to Chavez.

  14. modernityblog said,


    for the benefit of us non-trots, what does Trotsky say about the Cardenas regime in Mexico?

  15. Jim Denham said,

  16. so? said,

    But Cardenas nationalised the industry from the top, without workers’ involvement, because he was having trouble with foreign MNCs. Cardenas controlled the workers’ movement through the CP and integrated it into the state. His nationalisations were progressive, as Trotsky pointed out, but they weren’t examples of workers doing things for themselves.

    By contrast, the occupied factories movement is comprised of workers from factories which were/are overwhelmingly owned by the local bourgeoisie, and these workers are organising without state control and pushing a sometimes relutant government towards nationalisation on terms that they desire (eg in the case of Venepal, joint state-worker control). That’s a fundamental difference. Venepal is a clear example of the proletariat organising for its own emancipation. I’m sure Draper would have approved.

    The analogy between Mexico in 1940 and Venezuela today breaks down more generally because of the huge space for self-organisation the revolution has opened up in Venezuela. Chavez has not incorporated the workers’ movement into the state and brought it under his control. He has the political support of the UNT union federation, to be sure, but that organisation is incredibly fractious. ‘Bonapartist authoritarians’ aren’t renowned for tolerating massive, diverse workers’ movements or winning election after election.

    It puzzles me that Trotsky (and thus implicitly the Bolshies) are wheeled out as experts on workers’ self-emancipation, when by 1918 they were rolling back workers’ control and introducing Taylorism. One can argue that there were contingencies that made this necessary, of course, but they nevertheless don’t match the model of revolutionary purity used by some Trotskyist groups to judge contemporary Venezuela.

  17. modernityblog said,

    Thanks peeps,

    So, if it helps the poor and working classes fine, but I wouldn’t put ANY trust in Chavez at all.

  18. Jim Denham said,

    It still comes back to thoseof us who stand for workers’ self-emansification, as opposed to those who seek a thtrong man to do it for them. The distininction is a amattr of fundamental Marxism

  19. so? said,

    Surely the occupied factories movement doesn’t ‘seek a strong man’ because it demands the government nationalise factories under workers’ control? This is a demand for a progressive action by government, surely? When workers in the NHS demand more funding do they ‘seek a strong man’?

    It’s impossible to read the report from the FRETECO congress, and the accounts of the victories of workers at factories at Venepal, and not recognise workers organising for self-emancipation…

  20. Andy Newman said,

    Is there some contradiction between complaining about others for looking up to “strong men”, and then passing around quotes from Hal Draper and trotsky as if they were oracles of truth?

  21. Jim Denham said,

    Fair point, Andy…up to a point. Draper, in particluar was outspoken in his insistance that the revolution must be “bottom-up” and would have recoiled in horror from any suggestion that he was some kind of “strong man”, even just intellectually. I think that was, essentially,Trotsky’s attitude as well, but he didn’t spell it out so unambiguously…and there is the problem of Kronstadt, of course.

  22. modernityblog said,


    no need to apologise, there is a difference between taking advice or guidance from political examples, and the top-down hero worship

    Andy has bee in his bonnet about “socialism from below”, somehow the emancipation of the working classes is to be characterised as the gift of the leadership?

  23. Jason S. said,

    If the following account is true, then Chavez’s socialism is beginning to have a decidedly Stalinist tint:

    Party disciplinarians: the threat to dissidence and democracy in the United Socialist Party of Venezuela
    Edgardo Lander
    28 September 2007
    The establishment of a disciplinary tribunal in Chavez’s new socialist party before it even has statutes and structures is a worrying sign for those committed to radical democracy in Venezuela.

  24. Jeteepito said,

    Подбор текстов неплохой, закину сайт в закладки.

  25. retoneptevire said,

    В root мне логи, плохая статья

  26. turobeata said,

    То ли в википедии, то ли еще где я уже видел аналогичную инфу хотя пофиг

  27. Lobby Ludd said,

    It’s all Greek to me : )

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