That’s right, two-thirds of the Iranian people are willing to brave western sanctions and lend support to their government’s pursuit of its nuclear program, as reported by the Washington Post here. Moreover, a more detailed analysis of the findings on the Gallup website reveals that although 85% believe the sanctions have hurt Iranians generally while 83% say they have been hurt personally by them, they still want Iran to pursue nuclear power. RESPECT.
Findings like these only underline how detached from reality the US’ and Europe’s Realist-driven foreign policy is. The reality is that some nations are not motivated solely by economic interests nor do they cow in the face of military threats. Imperialism has helped forge a nationalist, resistant and justice-seeking political identity and culture among the peoples it oppresses as a matter of foreign policy. And where this political identity is weakened, as in religiously diverse Syria, it is only on account of Empire’s divide-and-rule tactics to sow sectarian strife. Excerpts from the WaPo article:
But, judging from a new Gallup poll, the sanctions do not seem to be successful at two major, secondary goals: turning Iranian public opinion against the nuclear program and against national leaders for behaving in a way that has invited sanctions. Last year, The Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung and Scott Wilson reported that the Obama administration sees public discontent as an intended effect of the sanctions. But an overwhelming majority of Iranians told Gallup that Iran should continue its nuclear program, even when the question was specifically phrased to remind them that economic sanctions are a direct result of that program.
Gallup asked, “Given the scale of the sanctions against Iran, do you think Iran should continue to develop its nuclear power capabilities, or not?” Almost two-thirds of respondents, 63 percent, said yes. Only 17 percent said no; 19 percent said they didn’t know or refused to answer.
The poll also found that Iranians are almost five times as likely to blame the United States for sanctions as they are to blame their own government. Even fewer blame Europe or the United Nations, though both are instrumental in the crippling economic sanctions. Pollsters asked, “Which of the following groups do you hold most responsible for sanctions against Iran?” Out of the seven choices, the most popular by far was the United States, with 47 percent. Only 10 percent blamed the Iranian government; 9 percent said Israel; 7 percent each named “Western European countries” and the United Nations. Three percent said “someone else,” zero said “no one,” and 17 percent declined to answer.
Sanctions do not, based on this poll, seem to be rallying Iranians against their leaders or the nuclear program, but rather reinforcing popular antagonism toward the United States. To the extent that Iranian leaders are worried about popular support, this poll suggests that nuclear development and defiant foreign policy will continue to be winners.
The problem with liberal imperialism is that it assumes we all subscribe to its supposedly universal concept of power conceived as compelling others to do what they otherwise wouldn’t do, whether by means of reward or punishment; in other words, power defined as control and domination. But the oppressed know that real power lies in resisting that domination and refusing to submit to it. Power for
the oppressed is synonymous with freedom and the ability to act and have mastery over oneself, rather than over others. This explains why imperialists always misconstrue all political action on the part of the oppressed as a pursuit of the liberal conception of power —“regimes” clinging on to “power”, the Lebanese Shiites/Hizbullah making a “power grab” etc. Western liberal political scientists continue to analyse politics through their Euro-American lens and in so doing, fail to grasp political reality. They don’t understand that the more we resist imperialist designs and the more we deny them their “power” over us, the more empowered we are. Our sacrifices and suffering are nothing but affirmations of our power over the Empire. And it is precisely this sense of empowerment that sustains the oppressed’s will to keep resisting despite all the costs. For the oppressed, submission is dis-empowerment even if submission is rewarded with political office. Neither the imperialists nor the colonized seem to grasp this.
Yet another confirmation of Marx’s dictum that capitalism contains the seeds of its own self-destruction: the World Bank, which is ultimately responsible for much of the world’s poverty, is now panicking that 75% of the world’s poor are “unbanked” (outside the mainstream banking system) and are now relying on alternative financial services such as mobile banking.
"Bell Hooks on the relationship between the western/ized academic and the subaltern subject, and how only the former is qualified to explain the suffering of the latter : “No need to hear your voice when I can talk about you better than you can speak about yourself. No need to hear your voice. Only tell me about your pain. I want to know your story. And then I will tell it back to you in a new way. Tell it back to you in such a way that it has become mine, my own. Re-writing you I write myself anew. I am still author, authority. I am still colonizer the speaking subject and you are now at the center of my talk."
Brilliantly argued piece from AlterNet: “I believe what some define as a “fear” many white Americans harbor is more properly defined as disrespect.” -“From the days of Nixon’s euphemistic calls for “law and order” to the Willie Horton campaign ads, right-wing politicians have long exploited an inherent societal disrespect for black folks that is hidden under the false curtain of fear. A supposed fear of black men is a convenient pretense for abuse of everything from racial privilege to police power. -What often goes unmentioned, especially in mass media, is the hesitance with which millions of black Americans navigate daily interaction with whites — a hesitance driven not by fear, but by the assumption of our powerlessness and our invisibility. You can bet that blacks are more afraid of white men in hoods, than whites are of black men in hoods…… -From the colonial 1620s, through the 1960s, those white Americans who could afford African slaves, or later, domestic help, trusted their staff to bathe, clothe, tutor, and nurse their infants and children, prepare family meals, and tend to their livestock. Would you hire household help who are inclined to abuse your babies, sexually molest your daughters, or spit in your stew? -If whites simply feared blacks, or black men, a minority of Brits, Dutch, Portuguese, Belgians, or French, respectively, would never have been able to colonize and perform missionary work in the nations of Africa and the Caribbean. …Everyone has different fears and red flags, but in general, it is the oppressed or objectified groups that fear their oppressor more than the reverse.”
A blogger friend of mine deconstructs the concept of the “99%” and in so doing distinguishes between being broke and poor, in the link below. While I find this distinction a very important one, I think we need to include both the poor and the broke/overqualified and underemployed class in a larger category called “the oppressed”. Although the degree of oppression would vary, I think it’s a useful term for the global solidarity movement in that it unites all those who are subject to economic, political, social , cultural, and intellectual injustice and domination and represents a nexus for the struggle against Western neo-colonialism/Zionism and class struggle; the struggle against Euro-American imperialism and the struggle against class hegemony. The oppressors in both categories are one and the same. Excerpts from the blog post: “Despite the current economic downturn, being white, healthy and educated means upward mobility is within your reach, and automatically places you on top, regardless of your actual income. If you are white, healthy, educated and don’t have money, you are broke, not poor….It’s not that overqualified, underemployed people don’t have a right to be pissed off, or that the majority shouldn’t be united by outrage against a system that is rigged to favor a superwealthy minority, but white college grads claiming to speak for the disenfranchised masses isn’t solidarity–it’s appropriation.”