AHMADINEJAD'S POLITICAL ECONOMICS: A SORT OF WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN OF IRAN
The Iranian economy has soured, but it has been under U.S. sanctions for about 3 decades and oil prices did tumble but have risen some recently. Also, with the constant threats of military attacks by Israel, foreign investors have shied away.
Ahmadinejad is held out as a populist. On economic matters, he appears to be more Islamic than are the Guardian Council or the Leaders (aka Supreme Leader).
Mohammed would have approved more of Ahmadinejad than those others. Mohammed had a mixed-populist streak. He curbed elitism to appeal to the widest mass in a calculation of empire building. If you want the largest empire possible, treat your lowliest fighters as princes. Spread the loot.
The constitution reportedly calls for privatization or Ali Khamenei simply decreed it. The news reporting is ambiguous on this. Ahmadinejad has fudged privatization but been accused of rewarding loyal members of the Revolutionary Guard (military officers). He gave the Guard multi-billion dollar no-bid government contracts to develop oil fields and for pipelines and such. Revolutionary Guard has been into public works projects since 1988 rebuilding the war-torn nation after the war with U.S.-backed Saddam Hussein and Iraq that killed millions. Ahmadinejad fought in that war.
He remembers that the U.S. sided with Iraq, supplying Saddam with chemical weapons and equipment and satellite data for targeting Iranians for gassing. To think he can come to the U.S. and maintain composure while being attacked as if he wants to be a Stalinist or Nazi mainly because he's an anti-Zionist and anti-homosexual. Well, so am I anti-false-Zionist and anti-homosexual.
Isn't it ironic that the Zionists have their Apartheid Wall and so many homosexuals scream that anti-homosexuals should be censored everywhere. I see it all the time, even though I don't retaliate by saying that homosexuals should be censored everywhere. They should censor themselves by transforming from their always destructive behavior that is the homosexual act. (See: "Homosexuals: What they ignore.")
The Guard controls 100 companies in the construction, real estate, and energy sectors. That's a strange arrangement by American standards of privatization. Is the Guard a government entity in charge of security? It's an odd mix. Is it akin to the Army Corps of Engineers in America? ("Iran Revolutionary Guards Amass Power While Backing Ahmadinejad," by Kambiz Foroohar and Henry Meyer. Bloomberg. June 29, 2009.)
The top mullahs are termed oligarchs, which seems to fit their situations. Ahmadinejad gained some popularity for openly criticizing the oligarchical nature of the top clerics.
- He has supported food and fuel subsidies for the poor.
- He lowered interest rates, and reportedly, many people who could never before borrow did so and used the proceeds to upgrade their homes with basic plumbing and such.
- He raised the minimum wage by 50%.
- He also gives government money to newly weds.
Ahmadinejad's "sin" in Western eyes appears to be that he's for a mixed economy rather than a superrich free-for-all. It is a fact that the Qur'an frowns on usury and unbridled greed at the expense of the poor. Ahmadinejad is devout.
Ahmadinejad has attacked the multibillionaire Ayatollah Rafsanjani, who backs Mousavi, Ahmadinejad's main election rival in the last election. Ahmadinejad is accused in the West for being disingenuous when he says that the likes of Rafsanjani are too consumed by personal wealth and self-interest. I don't believe the charge of insincerity. I believe Ahmadinejad truly believes that about Rafsanjani.
What I see in the West is a piling on by people who simply want to turn Iran into New York City and San Francisco and to allow pornography and same-sex marriages and such. Is that a good thing to be wanting for Iranians? No. Those things haven't been good for America.
As those things come in, things get worse, not better. I'm not for coercing choices. I'm for people admitting the truth of bad outcomes. I'm for the truth being uncensored so that people will realize the harmfulness inherent in certain behaviors and the beneficialness in other certain behaviors and will choose only the beneficial.
There are outside forces arrayed against Iran in general, but Ahmadinejad represents the most threatening obstacle to the imperial takeover of Iran. That's why they hate him the most.
Huge propagandistic forces are at work against each. The usual voices of neoconservative versus neoliberal have found themselves upset by other voices, such as mine for one. Their neat little dichotomy just isn't working this time. There's too much digging for facts and truth going on that exposes holes in both sides of that very limited spectrum. The neocons try to hide their Greater Israel Zionism behind selective and actually liberal rhetoric about civil rights, etc. The neoliberals want the markets opened to devour and further corrupt. They don't even want to see a Greater Israel. They try to paint Ahmadinejad as a fake Populist. He's as Islamic Populist as can be, even though that's an oxymoron. He's actually a sort of William Jennings Bryan of Iran where William Jennings Bryan was a Populist Christian.
Bryan was close to being a Biblical Fundamentalist, yet he was as Populist as one could be while working the system from within. I don't agree with his views on evolution or teetotalism or democratic coercion, but he was truly desirous of promoting what would be best for the common people whether he knew exactly what that was or not. He was far closer than were his chief rivals in American politics at the time. He was misled on other fronts as well, which left him vulnerable to facilitating huge errors. He was not clearly anti-racist for instance. Insider worldly politics dictated that. The Deep South wasn't ready to make and keep anyone largely popular while he or she advocated for color blindness (paleoconservativism) or affirmative action (so-called liberalism). Bryan was from Illinois and Nebraska. Those states were not Southern states, but aspects of Populism (with a capital p) played well with the White poor of the South. The moneyed interest in New York wanted profits from those poor. Contrary to now, the poor knew it and hated it as unnecessary and counter-productive: pure greed.
It was a class struggle, just as now, and one with which Jesus agrees but not for selfish reasons. The poor must not struggle out of selfish motives. That path only leads to the same errors as those of the rich oppressors.
It must be pointed out that Bryan, whether selling out or being duped, ended up being for the infamous Federal Reserve Act of 1913. He was apparently encouraged to support it after Paul Warburg made "Progressive" changes to the Act, which changes were subsequently undone via amending the Act, as was Warburg's plan for the long haul to get as much power into the hands of the banking elite as possible.
Bryan is the case in point for not being an insider. It's always too compromising no matter what. Seneca, the Stoic philosopher who tutored Nero Caesar found out the hard way that being an insider is to sell one's soul to the devil for influence.
The brief experience of Populism in the South demonstrated, an alliance of poor whites and blacks was realizable. It was the ruling elites in both the North and the South, through the Democratic Party, that sought to break up this emerging coalition, so threatening to their interests.
Bryan's program was never based on a scientific analysis of the contradictions of capitalism, but rather hazy notions drawing on Christian morality.
(See: "William Jennings Bryan and the rise and decline of the Progressive Era: A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan by Michael Kazin," by Shannon Jones. A book review. World Socialist Web Site. August 11, 2006.)
That article is worth reading while keeping in mind that at heart, the brand of socialism espoused is stilled wrongly based upon coercive democracy.
"Hazy notions drawing on Christian morality" is the problem. Only a clear vision of real Christian morality will bring forth. (Christian Commons)
Bryan was right about the twisting of Social Darwinism. He was wrong though that God's Creation doesn't cover Darwin's evolutionary process. Bryan's literal Fundamentalism got him into trouble.
Of all the major political movements in U.S. history, if one strips out all aspects of racism (because there were racists in with the Populist movement, though not all Populists were racists, far from it — it was the least racist of the major parties, in fact), the Populist movement is my favorite. I consider it far superior to the Progressive Movement/Era.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Ahmadinejad is exactly Bryan. That's why I said "SORT OF" in the article title. I see many parallels in their respective circumstances though.
You may read about Bryan on the Wikipedia, which isn't a bad article on him as Wikipedia articles go.
A New York Times articles said this:
"At a political level what's taking place now, among many other things, is the 20-year rivalry between Khamenei and Rafsanjani coming to a head," Mr. Sadjadpour said. "It's an Iranian version of the Corleones and the Tattaglias; there are no good guys and bad guys, only bad and worse."
("Former President at Center of Fight Within Political Elite," by Michael Slackman. June 21, 2009.)
It is no mere coincidence that Ahmadinejad refers to the Iranian elites as the Mafia.
So, don't buy into the one-size fits all model of either the neocons or mainstream "liberals." It doesn't fit Ahmadinejad, just as William Jennings Bryan didn't fit neatly into any package the conservatives and progressives of his day tried to construct for him. They really didn't know what to make of him.
Would Bryan call all the protestors "scum" as Ahmadinejad has been translated as having said? (Did he really say it?) Bryan was a lukewarm Christian though, even an anti-war protestor himself, until he caved in.
Now, July 19-20, 2009, we have Ahmadinejad being more severely verbally attacked by Iran's most authoritarian leaders for having appointed a First Vice President who had once said that Iran is the friend of all people's including Israelis. The criticism has been on-going since the appointment, but the heat is increasing over it. Ahmadinejad said the remark is being taken out of context.
Nevertheless, the person appointed, whose name is Mashaie, had reportedly resigned. However, other news agencies are saying he didn't resign. His website () denies he resigned. If it's true that he didn't resign, it will harm Israeli criticisms of Ahmadinejad. It makes Ahmadinejad look much more human than Israel wants him to appear. The U.S. mainstream and even Frances's AFP has taking to saying Ahmadinejad called for wiping Israel off the map [suggesting militarily, which is a bad translation]. Those news agencies also say that Ahmadinejad is a holocaust denier, even though he has clarified a number of times now that that is not his position.
Well, I been saving this post in draft form to round it out more before publishing to see a bit more how this issue plays out. It turns out that Mashaie had not resigned.
No doubt, Mashaie was taken out of context. I don't know the specifics, but I would not be the least bit surprised to learn that Mashaie meant that Iran is not ethnically prejudiced against Jews. Do you think the Zionists and neocons will give Ahmadinejad any credit for it? If they do, it won't last. It wouldn't serve their purpose to be honest for long about it. "Report: Iran's 'friend of Israel' VP resigns amid outcry." Haaretz. July 19, 2009.
There has been a bit more on Mashaie (also spelled without the e on the end as Mashai).
Mashai also angered many of Iran's top clerics in 2007 when he attended a ceremony in Turkey where women performed a traditional dance. Conservative interpretations of Islam prohibit women from dancing.
He ran into trouble again in 2008 when he hosted a ceremony in Tehran in which several women played tambourines and another one carried the Quran to a podium to recite verses from the Muslim holy book.
(Source: "Ahmadinejad's vice president choice rejected." July 22, 2009.)
'Aishah narrated that during the days of Mina, on the day of 'Eid al-Adha, two girls were with her, singing and playing on a hand drum. The Prophet (peace be on him) was present, listening to them with his head under a shawl. Abu Bakr then entered and scolded the girls. The Prophet (peace be on him), uncovering his face, told him, "Let them be, Abu Bakr. These are the days of 'Eid." (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
(Source: "Are Singing and Music Haram?")
So the news on July 22, 2009, is that the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has informed Ahmadinejad in writing that Esfandiar Rahim Mashai may not continue serving as First Vice President. It remains to be seen how Ahmadinejad will react; but if this is not some set up just to make Ahmadinejad appear more moderate (it's not), then it is a demonstration that Ahmadinejad is far from the image painted of him by Zionists. Anyone as rigid as Ahmadinejad is portrayed by the Zionists would not get on with Hugo Chavez so famously. One thing Hugo is not and that's a snob.
Now, some will be offended for Bryan's legacy that I've associated him in their minds with Ahmadinejad. Let me tell you that in all honesty, Ahmadinejad is the more truly populist of the two. Nevertheless, he can't reconcile his working as an insider any more than could Bryan.
Finally, what should Obama do? Mundanely, he should put Ahmadinejad and Netanyahu in the same room together with him at Camp David and not come out until all the details of an agreement are finalized for signing. In other words, he should call whatever bluff is on either side. Will he do it? Not anytime soon he won't. He's not allowed. The plutocrats are in charge, and they won't let him, not that he could pull it off anyway. They would never have hired anyone capable of pulling it off. Anyone capable of pulling it off would over turn those plutocrats. The top plutocrat knows that and always only hires one he can control via money. Those who think evil military power is before money don't understand. Money is that power. It is also death of the soul.
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And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)