Coup 53

2 Aug

Mainstream Western accounts of modern Iran seldom go back further than 1979 to address the events of 1953, when Winston Churchill and Kermit Roosevelt conspired to oust PM Mohammad Mosadegh, elected on a ticket of nationalising Anglo-Persian Oil (now BP) to install the puppet Shah.

(For a wickedly accurate account of this and related infamies, comedian Robert Newman’s tour de force on the History of Oil takes some beating.)

But now, with the imminent release of Taghi Amirani’s film – reviewed here – of Mosadegh’s ouster forcing its hand, even the Observer – whose own silence on the coup is a matter of public record – has weighed in with a useful piece just this morning by Vanessa Thorpe.

Well worth a read. And I dare say that, given another few decades, Guardian Media Group will be publishing equally daring exposes of the more recent ‘humanitarian’ assaults on Iraq and Libya, Syria and Yemen.


29 Replies to “Coup 53

  1. So much going on in the world. The Mossad/ Maxwell pedo blackmail ring, the reset of the global banking system progresses, the gushing up of wealth to tech billionaires, paramilitaries on the streets of London. They are burning bibles and Christian crosses on the streets of Portland, millions go hungry in the US, millions are starving elsewhere, the UK mortality rate is below seasonal average yet the government are shutting down the country again, people being silenced everywhere for asking “What is going on?”.
    A time for reflection…

  2. I know this is off-topic, Philip, but I was both excited and disturbed when I found this next link. As you know, I have had a deep suspicion of the virus from the moment it appeared. Now those on the Left were always keen to point out that it made no sense for the capitalist class to exploit the pandemic for their own purposes. However, this link shows a Marxist case for the virus being used by the ruling class:

    This article is the first of four (eventually to be six). The other parts can be found easily enough through the “series links on 1 page” at the bottom.

    • Ironically – or, perhaps predictably – when I posted that link on Off-G, I had feedback protesting that Thatcher was opposed to the EU and therefore could not have been part of this drive towards a “one world government” or “new world order”. This latter bogey man notion is very popular amongst libertarians and anarchists. I find it funny that such a notion could be seen as “the worst that can happen”.

      The relentless demonisation of “government” and “the state” seems to me to be a device that is churned out to dissuade the masses from expecting any aid from the state while the rich of course can constantly rely on such aid – while of course denying the reliance and presenting capitalism as “the Natural way”. And this device seems to me to be behind this notion of “one world govt” as the Great Satan. To put it bluntly: the govt is there for the rich, not the proles.

      But in an increasingly complex world you would think that some kind of centralised planning is essential. That such planning is feared is an indication of affluence i.e. it comes from people who think the worst thing would be no longer having the decision which soft drink to buy – while folks in third world countries count themselves lucky if they are still alive at the end of each day. In any case you’d think that nuclear annihilation would be the ultimate fear. But no – the ultimate fear is “loss of freedom”. “Better dead than red” is still the mantra of the West.

      • “one world government” or “new world order” are not, as far as I can make out, “popular amongst libertarians and anarchists” – they are popular with the US right wing and ‘survivalists’ and other right-wing lunatic fringes.

        Furthermore ‘libertarians’ and ‘anarchists’ are unlikely to have much in common. Libertarians are mostly, though not exclusively, right-wing, while anarchists are mostly, though not exclusively, left-wing. There is a small, unsavoury overlap between the two categories, but they are a minority by any accounting.

        My experience as a member of the SWP in the 70’s indicates to me that you have the same lingering prejudice as a lot of the Marxist left had then towards anarchism. Perhaps a bit of analysis or self-criticism required, comrade?

        • Hal Draper has an excellent analysis of why anarchism always tends towards totalitarianism. I find his logic irrefutable.

          • You may possibly find his logic irrefutable, but fortunately we don’t any longer feel any need to follow a party line, or have to bow down to the ‘irrefutable logic’ of any self-designated pundit or philosopher, Marxist or otherwise. Draper seems to me to be typical, in my experience, of the SWP membership – inflexible and ideology-bound. I found them to be such when I was a member, and I don’t give much credibility to such rigid views.

            Until these theories are actually tried in the real world the question will remain. But I refer you to the anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist experience in Spain, where no such totalitarian tendencies showed themselves.

            Furthermore, historically, totalitarian tendencies were of course a central feature of the Leninist / Stalinist governments in Russia, and conventional anarchist thought has always argued against such tendencies.

            Fraternally yours, comrade, with a hope that you will consider this question again without pre-conceptions deduced from Mr Draper.

            • Sneering at the irrefutable logic “of any self-designated pundit or philosopher, Marxist or otherwise”, recalls the usual Right-wing denunciation of Marxism. The entire thrust of anarchism is revealed here in that “grand narratives” are to be avoided i.e. we avoid any assessment or indeed even any hint that we have an objective situation involving people all participating in the same material circumstances and therefore needing a unified movement before anyone can achieve anything.


              “Anarchism is not concerned with the creation of democratic control from below, but only with the destruction of “authority” over the individual, including the authority of the most extremely democratic regulation of society that it is possible to imagine. This has been made clear by authoritative anarchist expositors time and again; for example, by George Woodcock: “even were democracy possible, the anarchist would still not support it … Anarchists do not advocate political freedom. What they advocate is freedom from politics…” Anarchism is on principle fiercely anti-democratic, since an ideally democratic authority is still authority. But since, rejecting democracy, it has no other way of resolving the inevitable disagreements and differences among the inhabitants of Theleme, its unlimited freedom for each uncontrolled individual is indistinguishable from unlimited despotism by such an individual, both in theory and practice.”

            • Unfortunately George, there is no ‘reply’ link below your post, so I will reply above. Where you get a ‘right-wing denunciation of Marxism’ from either anarchism or my reply is beyond my capacity for logical thinking.

              Leaving Draper aside, my renunciation of the SNP was based on disgust for both left wing sectarianism, and left wing dogmatism. You are not in any way convincing me in your reply that I was wrong in these reactions. If you wish to convince an opponent of the rightness of your argument, you must put forward reasoned positions, with reasoned arguments for them. All you are providing is basically invective, and arguments which as far as I can ascertain are not based on reality and example but on sheer dogmatic and sectarian prejudice.

              Your asertation that Anarchism contains a ‘right-wing denunciation of Marxism’ is incoherent and un-supported by example or indeed logic. Anarchism is more ‘left’ than run of the mill Marxism, by generally omitting inclusion of a State apparatus. I will not add to this post by including quotations – these can readily be found by those who wish to do so. If you do as I suggest by looking into the record of Anarchism in Spain, you would discover that Draper does not know what he is talking about, or possibly is just influenced by extreme prejudice. Repeating fallacious arguments does not make them more convincing.

              I must conclude by saying that am continually amazed and disappointed by the capacity for the left for factionalism, dogmatism and schism. The establishment must be laughing in their boots every time they read of another futile debate on whether the Judean Peoples’s Front’s policies are more correct than those of the Peoples Front of Judea.

              • Jams, how many replies can be indented is an admin issue. It’s a balancing act. Allow too many and the replies soon have a width of one word – this in an age where 40% and rising of web users access it by their phones.

                I’ve just increased number of successively indented replies from six to eight. I’ll see how it goes.

            • I have seen anarchism used to denounce Marxism – and indeed to denounce even the very wish to have a different world at all – all the way back to an interview between Bryan McGee and Peter Singer where Bakunin was held up as a “corrective” to Marx.

              I have an extreme mistrust of this familiar meme against “dogmatism” and your previous post shows why.

              “…fortunately we don’t any longer feel any need to follow a party line, or have to bow down to the ‘irrefutable logic’ of any self-designated pundit or philosopher, Marxist or otherwise.”

              So what is a “party” without a “party line”? Are you hosting some kind of free-for-all for free spirits?

              “Draper seems to me to be typical, in my experience, of the SWP membership – inflexible and ideology-bound.”

              You’ve read Draper? His 5 volume “Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution” is an exhaustive text tracing (and in clear English) the developments of various strands of thought, painstakingly cataloguing the various nuances thereof. It is one of the least “dogmatic” texts I have read. Draper speaks of the acidic dissolving character of anarchist involvement in political movements and also of the amusing totalitarian U turn these anarchists have whenever they start to consider the actual pragmatic consequences of winning power.

            • Think this conversation is reaching the limits of what can be done in a blog, without taking up immense amounts of space with counter-quotations, which can be found elsewhere by anyone who wishes.

              What I am trying to get at by denouncing dogmatism, factionalism and sectarianism (although I take your point that there has to be party policy, and that it needs to have a degree of discipline), is to try to discover the reason for the dispiriting readiness of many on the left to save their most vicious attacks for fellow comrades, fellow travellers etc, whose program is different but whose ultimate aims are very similar, while passing up on attacking the real enemy. There seems in many to be what I can only describe as a psychological need to uphold doctrinal purity at the expense of everything else, especially including working together to achieve the goal of replacing this shitty system we have with something better.

              Your assertion that this is because Anarchism leads to ‘totalitarianism’ is at best, laughable, to anyone with rational faculties. However, I don’t imagine that these arguments of mine are having any effect on such deep rooted tendencies, so I’m calling it a day on this – at least until the next display of the above.

          • Look George. Let me put it this way.

            It’s not really the attacks on anarchism that drive me to respond to you, I’m not 100% devoted to anarchism – I have a lot of sympathy towards general Marxism and more especially Trotskyism, as long as it does not involve a belief in the ‘scientific’ basis of Marx’s writing, or the ‘inevitability’ of the downfall of capitalism, both of which I think are moonshine – it requires work. I am not an engineer, or a miner or a docker (not that the latter exist any more). I was a technical artist for 25 years, then a furniture designer and maker for another 25, so I do have some understanding of manual labour and workplace struggle. I don’t believe in the efficacy of ‘dogma’ or really, theory – I come to my position from an emotional viewpoint of struggle against widespread injustice, not from some doctrinaire theory.

            It’s the general blind intolerance of many on the left, the totalitarian insistence that there is one and only one right view, and it is the one that the writer has espoused that annoy me.

            But we both (I assume) agree on a number of things, such as:
            Capitalism is a vicious and corrupting system which everyone of goodwill should condemn and fight against,
            Society should be re-organised on equitable lines, where everyone has a fair share of resources,
            and etc. etc.

            Given that that is so, why in the interests of fellow-feeling, comradeship, advancement of the cause, and so on, – why would it be sensible for parts of the left to devote valuable resources and time to attacking another part whose views on how to achieve this same goal are somewhat different? (Please don’t go on again about how Draper ‘proves’ that anarchism is ‘reactionary’ – anarchists and Marxists both envisge a new form of society where mankind is ‘freed’ and if you can’t accept this fact we have no basis for dialogue).

            “Divide and conquer’ is an old and well tried slogan, and it works. Why is the left so keen to inflict this on themselves, so that the opposition will be pleased to be spared the bother of doing that itself?

            It’s not as if this better society is immediately imminent, and different approaches were interfering with the attainment, or had to be decided right now so that the future was moved in a certain way. Nobody is asking you to change your positions on policies and adopt someone else’s – just to allow for co-operation between movements which have a similar goal.

            In your past posts you have not really addressed this issue, and instead set up some ‘straw-man’ arguments against anarchism. You could produce as many quotations from Draper or anyone else as you like, but, before I settled on my position, I spent twenty years of my life hearing such arguments, considering them and either accepting or rejecting them as I saw fit – as did you I presume. As I keep saying, you producing one quotation or many does constitute an argument. If there was space here for endless quotations, with a bit of work I could produce just as many which effectively refute yours – but actually proving nothing, and using up bandwidth to no effect.

            So how about trying answer my questions above, not in an attempt to prove that you are right and I am wrong, (or vice versa!) but in a spirit of goodwill in order to advance our mutual understanding of how to progress and mobilise towards a better kind of society?

            Solidarity, comrade!

            • Fair enough. My “gripe” against anarchism is partly due to the fact that I tend to associate it with a kind of bohemian exhibitionism or “rugged individualism” which is very much like the image of the “wild and crazy rebel” promoted by capitalist consumerism to sell products. But there may be more to it than that.

              Also, Marx, despite the best efforts of his detractors, never laid any “blueprint” for an “ideal society”. Actually – this is one of the points that Draper makes – and I think it is one we can definitely agree on: that one of the most dismal tropes of capitalist ideology is that “the masses are stupid and always need to be guided”. Draper pointed out that the only way the masses can learn is to try and fail and try again – but they must be allowed to do things themselves – which is something the ruling class have no intention of allowing. And Marx believed in allowing people to build a new society for themselves without that odd indirect coercion prevalent throughout capitalism where it appears to be free but is really under the control of the wealthy who must follow the dictates of profit maximisation (and are therefore, ironically, not even free themselves!)

              But you are right: we need solidarity.

            • The OffG comment thread you are referring to is the one where I got into a tussle with Dungroanin and another re: the old “Marx was a stooge of the bankers” meme. It’s a source of fascination to me that there are some there who automatically go into a rant about the “evils of socialism” in a world where socialism/ communism/ Marxism have been seriously on the retreat for at least four decades now.

              One of the problems with the net is that you don’t know who you are talking to and I get the impression that many on OffG and elsewhere are young folk doing their exhibitionist rebel bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were also (possibly paid up) trolls doing their routine stirring up. It’s depressing how many disappear after you challenge them only to find them springing up elsewhere regurgitating the same sentiments they started with (often even in the same words).

              But there seems to me to be less and less to say in the midst this world shut down. There was an item on the TV news this morning about increasing levels of mental breakdowns. The only think about that which surprises me is why it is getting mentioned now as if it’s a new “side issue” when, logically, cases of panic must be reaching hysterical levels by now. I have never before been in a situation where I feel we are being kept in the dark about so much.

            • Good to see this exchange, and better still to see a courteous resolution between two whose sincerity and insights I have come to value and respect.

              (Had I more time – my days are currently spent amid plaster dust and emulsion paint as work on my house continues – I’d have thrown in my own two pennoth.)

              By contrast, I looked at BTL comment on OffGuardian below my recent piece, “Our beautifully democratic wars”. This I do less and less, and no longer respond at all. There are good folk over there, even if – BigB is an example – I don’t always agree with them. Sadly, as with all BTL comment (the Graun crowd are if anything worse in their sneering one-upmanship) there is no shortage of that peculiarly depressing alloy of venom and stupidity.

              My piece came under attack because I cited Grayzone and Stephen Gowans. My detractors made no specific rebuttals of the points for which I cited them. In their inverse McCarthyite universe it suffices that I did so. Guilt by association: ideologically impure. Thus spake the sectarian.

              I’m damned too for (a) citing Caitlin “approvingly” and (b) being agnostic on CV-19. Neither featured in my post. In the eyes of this subset of OG BTL I am damned. My evolving thoughts on CV19 are too complex to voice here, though I will be posting again on the subject. As for CJ, she pens heroically and with wicked eloquence, to reach many not quite ready to see the western world in its true wickedness. She is a magnificent warrior for truth; her primary if not sole sin, as far as I can see, being that she too has verboten views on CV19.

              It is very comforting for zealots (one definition being folk too lazy to think creatively) to apply acid tests – correct view on 9/11? … correct view on CV19? – failure of which allows instant dismissal in the minds of folk who do … what?!? Sweet fuck all to bring about change. Why? Because a better world isn’t what interests them. Rather, the egoic and smug satisfaction of Being Right is what gets them out of bed and into sneer mode.

              Rant over. It applies to neither of you.

            • (The following comment should come right after my last one above which I posted in the wrong place.)

              Mind you, I have to play devil’s advocate here. I did a word search on refences to “Grayzone” and “Gowan” and I don’t feel that the criticisms thereof seem excessive to me. Admittedly, one such gives us the tiresome “drank the Kool Aid” reference. Another suggests you (meaning the general “you”) have to “read more widely”. Gowan only gets mentioned once by “crank” (who I believe also posts here) who says that the “Gowan citation kind of argues against his own book’s title”.

              Crank does go into more detail about Johnstone. Indeed, he launches a specific criticism against you – which, as you say, is irrelevant re: your article above. It’s difficult for me to comment since, as I’m sure you are aware, I myself am definitely on the skeptical side. But this is where we seem to enter an area of “fundamentalist” presupposition. If you assume that the virus is truly as deadly as made out, then clearly the lockdown – and even the dismissal of alternative views – become reasonable. It would be irresponsible to allow doubters to endanger lives. But, as I have pointed out, if the virus is being used as a political tool then we have the biggest “false flag” of them all. Indeed – it is perfect. Far more potent than any amount of “the Russians/Jihadists/whatever are coming and we are under attack!”

              • How do Gowans’ general remarks – on why an imperial power might dominate a state offering no direct benefits – contradict the thrust of his thesis that Israel offers the US a beach head from which to control a balkanised middle east? Crank loses me there.

                That said, crank strikes me as neither a sneerer nor a zealot. My bad. I was trying to say too many things in a dashed off comment. It was a different BTL commenter, under a different OffG post of mine, who took my citing the verboten Gowans as evidence of my bad faith.

                Johnstone? I stand by my praise. She puts herself out there, day in day out, under what I take to be her real name and photo, with withering assaults on the Empire and its narrative managers.

                CV19? My thoughts are complex and evolving. (I have your recommendation by Meurer, as yet unread, on my kindle, alongside a good piece by Sunetra Gupta.) Think I’ll save ’em for a post.

                But on the specific issue of my saying the debate – is CV19 real? – has been conducted with religiosity of tone, my point is that in my experience most if not all of those who insist it is not do fuck all with that ‘knowledge’. Unless they do practical work to build resistance – and I’m sure some do: just not those I personally know! – it matters not what they believe. I assume them to have a fundamentalist position which makes them angry at the rest of humanity, but even more importantly makes them feel smugly superior. Your thoughts?

                • Well I admit that instant dismissal of a view depending on a basic presupposition may be, to say the least, limiting. Although basic presuppositions should be admitted. But genuine critical thought depends on sifting. I have always maintained that even the dodgiest websites can contain helpful material. And the dubiousness of the sites may be part of a propaganda exercise i.e. to encourage the visitor to regard a legitimate case as “tainted”. I think the word “zealot” would definitely apply to anyone who indulges in the above “tainting” manoeuvre.

                  I would agree that OffG shot themselves in the foot when they went to the extreme of banning one side. Such banning did not affect the BLT comments initially. But eventually those who disagreed lost the motivation to post or even visit. Yourself being a good example.

                  The most important of your remarks concerns the issue of what can be done. And this is where OffG BTL suffer. I would guess that now at least half the commenters are, to be polite, economically illiterate. It is interesting to see how words like “socialism”, “communism” and “Marxism” are swearwords – mainly because it shows up how much mileage remains in the post WW2 paradigm of a middle road between “fanaticisms” – although curiously it is the Left side that invariably gets called “fanatical”. The Right Side effectively don’t exist! How so? Because we have that old “bankster conspiracy” meme where a bunch of bad folk are at the top.

                  But we always come back to where we are and what we can do. And you can only blow off a certain amount of steam before you become tired of that. The paradigm we face (and I use that word in a purely non-judgemental way to indicate simply a commonly accepted view) is that most accept the mainstream account of the virus. But, having said that, I think we are being kept in the dark about much that is going on out there i.e. amongst the general public. And, important though it may be, I don’t think that the much publicised furore over gaps in education is the main issue here.

                  • Well I don’t say OffG shot itself in the foot. It’s done good work on CV-19 and I’ve not only said so but promoted their pieces – on Bhakdi and Wittkowski in particular.

                    (And noted the media silence on Bhakdi, and YouTube censoring of Wittkowski.)

                    I think the question – is CV-19 real? – a valid one. (Though I lost a dear friend to it in May.) But as I keep saying, more practical questions, capable in principle of uniting sceptics, agnostics and believers – seem to me to be those of who shall determine the terms on which lockdown ends, and who gets the bill for it?

    • I look forward to reading this, George, though I’m currently distracted by major repairs to my house, slowing down both writing and reading.

      I’ve been days on a post I’d normally start and finish in a day, on the rising levels of war talk re China. I see this, and a Doomsday Clock now at 100 seconds to midnight, as the most urgent and important issue of the day. On CV-19 I see the question – is it overegged? – as important but secondary to that of who will pay for lockdown. I’ve probably been biased by the shrill religiosity of tone of many in the anti-lockdown camp, and a few of their mirror opposites, but the latter question is in principle capable of uniting sceptics, agnostics like me, and believers alike.

      But again I thank you for the link, which I will read with keen interest.

      • Thanks for the kind words Phil. I appreciate that you are busy, and these are certainly anxious times. I relish your occasional entries featuring trips into the countryside. It’s essential to keep in touch with some kind of sanity.

        Yes, it’s also salutary to remind ourselves that, exceptional though it may be, the COVID issue isn’t everything. And indeed, perhaps one thing the pro and anti-lockdown factions can agree on is that the virus issue is certainly being used as a distraction from other events. The other issues keep on keeping on and that nuclear clock is ticking. It’s interesting how the whole nuclear Armageddon issue is nowhere near as visible as it was previously. But if more people became aware of it, it would certainly put all l discussion of “freedom” in perspective!

    • Thanks talk spirit (great name btw). Have now amended. I should have remembered that the name of the ousted Iranian PM does not include the unfortunate word string, mossad. And that the film maker’s name does include the word string, iran

    • Good article and it reminded me of a point made here:

      The point is this (and this is a general point. You don’t have to agree with the rest of the article):

      “Contrary to what is often preached in conventional mass media and taught half-heartedly in schools, virtually all serious decision-making is secretive; i.e., conducted out of public view. Naturally almost all business (corporate) decisions are taken secretly by management and announced once they have been taken. The same is generally true for all governmental operations, especially in a society that values business practices more than democratic ones. The government in a parliamentary system may occasionally lose a division or plenary vote. However, the plenary session is not where the bills are drafted or chosen for decision. All of these “democratic” preparations are taken in meetings from which the general public is excluded, but those with a special interest in the acts to be adopted are explicitly included.

      This is no more clearly the case than now when most of the European Union is subject to siege regulations that were never debated in public and for which no democratic regulation is provided, especially to provide an end to it all.

      Hence those who read further and feel their knee tensions rising, waiting to jerk at any moment with the expletive “conspiracy theory” should bear the foregoing in mind. The controversies found on all sorts of websites and in chat groups are not about whether there are conspiracies (those who do not use the word avoid it out of cowardice or ignorance) but what is the nature and content of the conspiracy or conspiracies that substitute for public health policy and democratic decision-making in the current crisis?”

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