What began as an exhilarating dawn of possibility in the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt has turned, a year later, into a sobering revelation of limitations on change and deepening dangers ahead. How has the Left received the democratic upsurge in the Arab world, and how can greater progressive potential be realized? How does the Arab Spring fit into the rising uncertainty in global politics, and how can a conservative reaction be avoided? What are the needs to be met, and how is the Left able (or not) to provide a critical contribution to the course of unfolding events?
Siyaves Azeri is the spokesperson of the Committee of International Relations of the Worker-communist Party of Iran. He is also a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Philosophy, Queen's University, Kingston Canada. Azeri has taught as an assistant professor at Koc University in Istanbul; he has also taught at University of Ottawa and as a guest lecturer at Istanbul Technical University.
Maria Rohaly is a coordinator for Mission Free Iran, an international organization that emerged during the 2009 uprising in Iran to amplify the demands and struggle for the goals and objectives of the revolution: freedom, equality, and humane society. These objectives are the line that divides the revolution from the counter-revolution in Egypt, Iran, Syria, Tunisia and beyond. Mission Free Iran places special emphasis on the radical demands of students, workers, refugees, and fundamentally women. Mission Free Iran recently launched a special campaign to save Sakineh Ashtiani, the Iranian who was to be stoned to death on basis of allegations of adultery.
ATTENTION, LOCATION CHANGE: Tisch Hall, 40 W. 4th St. (4th and Mercer, on the South side of the street) Lower Level 2, Room. LC11.
A teach-in on labor, human rights and prospects for a Left in Iran with Ervand Abrahamian
The Platypus Affiliated Society, in collaboration with United for Iran, Amnesty International and the Network of Iranian Unions (NILU) has organized a teach-in on Iran for May 2nd, from 1-5pm at the Tisch Hall, 40 W. 4th St. (4th and Mercer, on the South side of the street) Lower Level 2, Room LC11. The keynote speaker for the evening will be historian on Iran and outspoken voice on the recent events, CUNY professor Ervand Abrahamian. The day will consist of an opening informational (1-2pm) panel, a workshop (2-3pm), a break with refreshments provided (3-3:30pm) and the keynote address with Ervand Abrahamian followed by an audience Q&A (3:30-5pm).
We would like to raise questions about the direction of the Green movement in Iran, with an especial, though not exclusive, focus on labor organization in Iran, the role it's playing and what it may achieve in the future. This teach-in will produce political discussion around these questions and inform students, faculty, and the public at large of the ongoing events in Iran. We would like to brainstorm (during the workshop especially) what kind of political response would further possibilities in our time for a progressive leftist movement.
This event was organized by the platypus affiliated society with the help of united for iran, amnesty international and the network of iranian labor unions (NILU).
Platypus panel at the Left Forum 2010 in New York City, Pace University, March 20, 2010.
Rather than asking what the Left thinks of Iran, this panel will pose the question, what does Iran reveal about the Left, its limitations and failures? This panel will address the crisis of the Islamic Republic and the historical task of the Left to clarify its role regarding the current Green Movement today. The 1979 Islamic Revolution continues to weigh on the political imagination of the Left. Perspectives on the Left either focus on Green Movement’s electoral and civil rights struggle, ignoring its Islamist leadership by Mousavi and others, or, in some cases, tout Ahmadinejad as a progressive “anti-imperialist,” denying the discontents expressed in the Green Movement. The 1979 Islamic Revolution continues to haunt the present, in the form of an impoverished imagination of what is possible. We will look more deeply at the political question of Islamism and how the Left can best understand Iran’s revolutionary past. What deeper failure on the Left allowed Iran to develop as it has? Whatever claim the current movement has to being secular in form -- that is, popular in discontent, and pluralist in that it possesses no elaborate program -- the legacy of the Islamic Revolution in the current crisis represents the unresolved failure of the Left to achieve greater freedom that cannot be reached through religious or populist means.
Laura Lee Schmidt (Chair) – Platypus Affiliated Society; History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture, MIT
Siyaves Azeri – Worker-Communist Party of Iran
Hamid Dabashi – Columbia University
Christopher Cutrone – Platypus Affiliated Society; University of Chicago
Join Platypus members this Wednesday, February 17th at 7:30pm for a teach-in on the Iranian Revolution and a discussion on the current situation in Iran led by Platypus Review editor Pam C. Nogales C.
This event will be held at the New School, 80 Fifth Avenue, Rm. 802
Undoubtedly, the Left today should demand the overthrow of theocratic regimes; the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran is no exception. However, how the regime is overthrown, who participates in this act and how they understand their political practice, has irreversible effects. In 1977-79, the international Left overlooked this consideration by uncritically supporting those seeking to overthrow the Shah. In so doing, the Left helped a right-wing popular movement establish the theocratic dictatorial government the protesters fight against today. How are we as leftists to make sense of this political failure so as to help rebuild an emancipatory Left today? How do the current protests challenge the Islamic Republic? What are the prospects for overthrowing the Iranian regime and what would take its place?