Can one stand for socialism in Europe, but fascism in Iran?

Iranian clergy propaganda in the S&D website

Since the times of the launching of the modern international labour movement in the nineteenth century, and regardless of the anarchist or socialist variations, the principle of international solidarity has been – for what we may call in loose terms ‘the left’ – the most common foundational principle. 

If we take, for instance, the Socialist International declaration approved in Stockholm in 1989, on the occasion of the first century anniversary of the so-called second international, we can read in its point 10: 

‘The Socialist International was founded a hundred years ago in order to coordinate the worldwide struggle of democratic socialist movements for social justice, human dignity and democracy. It brought together parties and organisations from different traditions which shared a common goal: democratic socialism. Throughout their history, socialist, social democratic and labour parties have stood for the same values and principles.’

As we know, this principle was far from being universally respected. The first World War famously brought the institution to an end as member parties approved wars from their countries against others governed by socialist international member parties. This collapse of the socialist international was used as an argument to justify the creation of the communist international. Regardless the position and action of some individuals or even member parties, the socialist movement did also fail in other circumstances to present a clear and united force against other threats like Nazism. 

Otherwise, one has to underline the crucial importance of the socialist movement in showing solidarity and promoting democracy as for instance, in the Portuguese democratic revolution, where personalities like Helmut Schmidt and François Miterrand had a fundamental role in overcoming both the conservative dictatorship and the danger of falling in a new communist dictatorship. 

The Islamic Revolution in Iran posed a new challenge to the Western-based socialist movement as it imposed a fascist regime based on the theocratic power of the clergy that curtailed basic freedoms, imposed misogynist rules, slaughtered tens of thousands of opponents, imprisoned and tortured many more and delivered the country to the despotic and corrupt reigns of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. Furthermore, the Islamic Republic expanded its domination in the region and exported terrorism, fanaticism and corruption on a global scale. 

Whereas the socialist movement first reacted with shock and retraction to the new threat, gradually it started to choose the option of appeasement of the regime to convince it to spare the European territory from its terrorist attacks and to look at the profitable opportunities offered by the dictatorial regime, to a large extent bypassing in the absence of scruples and sheer greed whatever was done by traditionally more conservative forces in the Western political spectrum. 

In our day, socialists are headed in the United Kingdom by a former consultant of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards propaganda machine (Press TV) and one has just to look at the European Parliament socialists S&D website to discover a fantasy propaganda image of Iran. Further to that, the European Parliament socialist group insists on keeping in its ranks a collaborator that was clearly identified as well in 2014 as now as now as an agent of the Islamic Republic. 

In the moment the Iranian people rebel against the fascist regime and Iraqis and Lebanese rebel against the effective control of their countries by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards it is impossible to watch silently the socialist movement appeasement of fascism in the Middle East. 

The Islamic revolutionary guards responded to Iran’s popular protests with blasting machine guns, helicopter shootings and specialized snipers – resulting in (at least) 750 fatalities, as well as in over ten thousands of prisoners and over four thousand wounded.

The Iranian theocracy conquered through extreme violence both the capitals and the vast territories of Syria and Yemen. Lebanon and Iraq have been placed under the control of local sections of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards which have voided the nominally democratic institutions of any actual content. Both the Lebanese and the Iraqi people are rebelling against the mafia state imposed on them by the Iranian theocracy.

In Iran, as in the former Soviet Union, citizens are free to vote, as long as votes are cast in those candidates selected by the powers to be. The essentials of power belong to the nation’s spiritual guide who proclaims himself as God’s representative – and only by virtue of the powerful theocratic lobby in the West can anyone speak of ‘Islamic democracy’ when describing the regime.

The Iranian dictatorship, in addition to relying on supremacism and religious fascism, contains in its Constitution the ambition to dominate the world, an ambition amply confirmed by practice. It is this planetary ambition that transforms the country into something immeasurably more dangerous than any other contemporary dictatorship.

The duty of active solidarity with the Iranian people and to all of those peoples that fell under its control is now as urgent and compelling as it was the duty of resisting fascism in Europe in the 1930’s. 

It is high time for the European socialists to turn a page in their history, to get back to their constitutional principles and acknowledging their duty to give all necessary solidarity with the Iranian people’s struggle for a free and democratic Iran. 

Brussels, 2019-12-04
(Paulo Casaca) 


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