First, a question: if the President of Iran isn’t to be allowed a visit to the World Trade Center site because of his suspected ties to terrorism, then why is the President of the USA allowed to visit, when there is nothing left to suspect about his direct involvement in a massive act of terror- for if invading and destroying an entire country doesn’t amount to terror nothing does- upon an entire nation? Not to mention the shameless manipulation of the events of 9/11 to sell wars of empire- something not even President Ahmadinejad, for all his perfidery (and while he’s not the loomng Antichrist the rightists here would have us think, he’s not a benign wonderful guy either, by any means, as Akbar Ganji below could attest). However, while there should be absolutely no need to say this, neither Iran nor President Ahmadinejad or any Shia groups anywhere had anything to do with 9/11. Really. I wonder, though, how long it will be before the propogandists here in the US start trying to convince us otherwise? Judging from the reaction to Ahmadinejad’s proposed visit, perhaps it’s already started…

A more encouraging piece, this one from the Iranian political dissident Akbar Ganji: Conservations with Akbar Ganji. Here are a few excerpts- maybe it’s just me, but it seems his politcal philosophy is strikingly libertarianish in its tone. His words certainly apply to more places than just Iran:

One of the features of a fascist regime is that it completely suppresses all civil society and creates a society with one voice, but it’s only one of the characteristics of a fascist society.

It’s a system where you need to have a widespread political party. Culture is completely reduced to advertisements and propaganda, education is reduced to propaganda, and many other features in economy and politics. When you suppress civil society you reduce people to small particles and they become dissolved in a solution in the society. They have no characteristics of themselves, of their own. In the time of Stalin you had the opportunity to suppress all civil societies and the only voice to be heard was Stalin. You had the one-way radio and all you could hear was Stalin’s voice.

… A market economy allows you to create institutions separate from the government. A totalitarian regime, or a fascist regime, requires that all economic aspects of life must be controlled by the government. The Communist economies have all been defeated. No one is going after Communist economics, and even all Social Democrats today defend a free-market economy. Once the free-market economy enters a society, the occurrence of fascism and totalitarianism become impossible. But at the same time, you can still have authoritarianism and despotic regimes.

*

If a regime closes all avenues of resistance and opposition there will be no other way except revolution. No one can plan for a revolution. A revolution in such conditions occurs naturally. When we speak of revolutions we speak of classical revolutions in the classical term. Classical revolutions want to change the economic, social, and political structure of the society. Such a thing is impossible and it’s immoral, meaning that you can never achieve such a goal, but you will create a regime of fear. But you can change a regime in a non-revolutionary way. First, we don’t want to change the whole thing but we just want to bring democracy, great freedom, through democratic means, through peaceful means, through civil disobedience.

*

{Interviewer} The Bush administration and the Congress believe that they can further the processes of democratization by intervening in countries like Iran. What is your take on that?

{Ganji} So far, what’s happened is that they have harmed our democratic movement rather than helping it.

In what ways?

When you pursue such radical militaristic methods, you give an opportunity to your opposition to grow in a radical way. When there is a crisis, the first thing that gets damaged and gets harmed is democracy. What happened after 9/11 in the United States? Civil liberties, were they strengthened or were they weakened? Today they claim that they have arrested terrorist suspects in England. Have they actually increased security or reduced it? When you face dangers and crises, civil liberties go down and security measures go up.

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