American Imperialism and the ‘war in Iran’

US presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton recently threatened an attack upon the Islamic Republic of Iran. As if instinctive human morals weren’t enough to dissuade her, it also seems that the Democratic candidate has learnt nothing of the controversies this kind of behaviour has sparked in the past, and she listed several reasons as to why she believes the invasion would be a justified one.

The invasion of Iran can only be described as US imperialism, something condemned not only by the socialist movement, but many people from across the political spectrum, and this action will likely be criticised not only internationally, by many in the United States as well. So, we have a smaller, largely impoverished country at the mercy of a larger capitalist giant, militarily threatening Iran for its own interests in the region. This is just the situation that unfolded in Vietnam and Iraq, and in neither example did it end well.

Yet to develop a better understanding of the situation, it’s important also to view Iran with the same critical slant. This is a country that operates as a reactionary theocracy, that employs an extremely backward and restrictive set of laws, and that doesn’t think it’s ridiculous to legally ban owning a dog, or, in certain universities, wearing bright clothes. This means that, in this case, we have an imperialist, capitalist power invading a reactionary, repressive state. Neither country occupies the moral high ground, and neither regime, in an ideal world, would receive my support.

I recently read an article called ‘Iran and the Chauvinism of American Media’, about reactions among the American public to Iran’s detaining of two US ships which entered its territorial waters, and the respective political situations (especially the media) in both countries. The article was posted on, a far-left political blog similar to this one, and whilst I agree with its gist, I did feel that it expressed a tendency which I’d criticise: as part of a critique of US imperialism, it was as though they took to defending Iran. Not just the Iranian people, the victims of imperialism, but the Islamic Republic of Iran. If you’re endgame is communism, I think this kind of attitude is unproductive…

It is important to remember that, by Marxist logic, the revolutionary state (or, for that matter, the revolutionary) holds at heart the duty to spread the revolution worldwide. Thus, any country which falls short of the communist criteria is effectively an enemy, and should be allied with only as a means to an end. To support these states, therefore, betrays this central tenant.

Yet, in writing this, I am certainly not condoning the atrocities committed by American imperialism, and do not want to underplay their role in this scenario. As the previously-mentioned article reads, America ‘occupied two countries on opposite sides of Iran for more than a decade, extracting oil and other resources’ and imposed ‘imperialist economic sanctions since 1979’. It is obvious that these actions cannot be ignored, but to give active support to a reactionary administration should by no means be viewed as a desirable move.

This is why, when I say that in this potential situation I would defend Iran, it is purely because this way, I’m acting against a greater evil (Americah, or the ‘Great Satan’, as Ayatollah Khomeini called it). It is important not to call into the trap of sympathy, sympathy in this case meaning sympathy towards the state, rather than just those living there. To defend a nation such as Iran for any reason beyond tactical expediency is to turn your back upon the international revolution for the politics of petty centre-leftist internationalism.

The Anonymous Book Launch 

As some of you might know, this blog will be published as a book, documenting its first year. Its full title is The Anonymous Revolutionary: a Collection of Communist Writings, and a draft of its cover is displayed below:

There will be a book launch in the near future, a possible date for which is Friday 26th of February in London, but nothing is confirmed yet. I’m saying this as an early warning in case any of you wanted to come; please feel free! There may be a second book launch in York, where I live, but I don’t know any more yet.
Thank you for reading and following my posts and helping to get them published, and keep following this blog for more information…

– AR

How Language Legitimizes Terrorism

Following the war in Syria and the rise of Daesh, western society is more determined than ever to curb the number of men, women and children turning to these organisations. Tactics already employed will undoubtedly have some effect; internet censorship will certainly prove useful in the goal of trying to prevent online recruitment, for example. Yet nonetheless, I believe there’s one area where we fall short: the language we use when describing such people.

Surely, if we’re trying to lower the number of ‘homegrown terrorists’ we churn out each year, the last thing we’d want to do is make terrorism sound appealing. Yet synonymous with ‘terrorist’ are words like ‘radical’ and ‘extremist’, which seem to put an exciting spin on the act of systematic murder. After all, when would the ‘extreme’ ever sound less appealing? When has the ‘radical’ option never been more attractive, at least superficially? Given that many of the potential recruits we’re talking about are children, this likely presents even more of a problem. If it’s considered a radical move to join a terrorist organisation, this may help influence such a decision, even if only subconsciously.

Another danger presented by this kind of terminology is the fact that, in the context of Islam, words like ‘radicalism’, ‘extremism’ and ‘fundamentalism’ all imply a sense of untainted purity. They legitimise the doctrine practised by Daesh or al-Qaeda as a somehow purer interpretation of Islam than that of most normal, law-abiding Muslims, which could present a further danger to the aforementioned crowd. If you cherished and respected your faith, you could easily conclude that an extreme form of that religion – a purer form of that religion – would be favourable. The problem also lies in the fact that this kind of interpretation is wholly untrue; look at most of these organisations and you’ll see that they’re not really fighting for the caliphate. They’re just angry and bloodthirsty people looking for an excuse to kill others.

Now, I’m not suggesting there’s a black-and-white separation between Muslims and terrorists, and, as someone very critical of all religion, I’ll happily make the point that much of the violence carried out by these so-called fundamentalists is rooted in traditional Islamic principles, yet it seems like they’re currently portrayed as more legitimate followers of the same creed. We need to call a spade a spade and accept that sloppy language of this kind only conceals terrorism’s ugly reality.

Russia, Crimea and Putin’s Intentions 

Have you ever considered the reasons behind the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

What drove Putin’s order for the annexation of Crimea?

Why did rebels in the east of the country attract Putin’s attention?

Why, when less than twenty-five years ago the Kremlin granted Ukraine its independence? Feel free to disagree, but I here’s how I view the situation: The old KGB agent Vladimir Putin is now the president of a once-revolutionarily-heroic, progressive and promising nation at a point when the country could be viewed as directionless. Putin enters the stage after the collapse of the hope communism once provided. Since 1991, though a great deal has probably improved, the country no longer even has a dream to hold onto.

I’ll be honest. When I began this entry, the title I had in mind was ‘Imperialism in the Russian Federation’. I was adamant that this entire issue was a matter of imperialist attitudes within ‘mother Russia’. However my viewpoint changed today, when I read an article titled ‘Ukraine and Crimea: what is Putin thinking?’ on ‘’ about an hour ago, explaining that ‘Some have seen Putin’s actions in the context of a post-imperial complex’, saying that ‘There may be a flicker of truth in this, but the reality is more complex, according to those familiar with the Kremlin’s decision-making over Crimea in recent weeks.’ This got me thinking…

I came to the view that, regardless of the purely ideological perspectives one may view these events from; regardless of whether or not they ought to be labelled as ‘imperialistic’, one thing can’t be denied: Putin needs Crimea for reasons outside the usual motives for occupation. The materialistic necessities for resources, the tactical necessities of territory to provide an advantage in battle, or perhaps the desire for the establishment of freedom or equality that drove the initial invasions of the Russian satellite states constituting the early Soviet Union – what could be seen as ‘usual’ motives for occupation, are not applicable to the situation.

It’s clear that a state of this size and capability does not require Ukrainian influence

What I can make from the events is this: Russia needs something to hold onto in the aftermath of communism. Alongside the desire to remind the west of their capabilities and their superiority, and a victory in Europe may provide a temporary solution to the air of dissatisfaction which has clouded the skies over Moscow since 1991. Obviously, without ever living in the country or having any real knowledge of the ideological perspectives within Russia, I can’t say for definite, but the obvious benefit of the ‘communist dream’s’ collapse seems to be the fall of the autocratic Communist Party. Since then, however, one autocratic regime has been replaced with another, yet I think it’s fair to say that the loss of an ideological dream has not been accounted for.

To provide a broader perspective on the situation, the article I’d previously mentioned mentions the internal events in Ukraine, and the fact that Russia’s influence on Ukraine was ceased by internal revolution, referring to one individual (Gleb Pavlovsky) who said that “Putin hates revolution, he’s a counter-revolutionary by nature.” In response to this, I’d say that obviously he wanted to re-establish his influence and did so by means of using and possibly assisting rebels (this is a matter open to debate), as well as annexing territory. I can’t comment on Putin’s own views on the concept of revolution, but I can say that I don’t believe the Russian influence in Ukraine is truly necessary to Putin, and that the measures he took to secure it are, whilst a response to recent events, driven by internal desperation.

This is the conclusion I’ve come to: In a Russia devoid of the hope socialism provided, but with a still-stormy relationship with the western powers, and the autocracy communism is so often blamed for preserved, Putin’s actions were rooted in his own desire to hold onto what he could. Thus, despite whether or not it was truly necessary in the long-term, his influence in that region was one he was not prepared to give up. I suppose, to see the truth (if we ever will), we’ll have to wait and see how it all plays out.

The Featured Image was provided by from Wikimedia Commons. Here is a link to the photograph’s licence:, and one to the photograph: