Socialist Party USA comments on events in Honduras, Iran

From The Socialist Webzine

In Solidarity with the People of Honduras

by the SPUSA National Action Committee

July 7, 2009 – The Socialist Party USA condemns the coup recently carried out in Honduras by the military and backed by a section of the Honduran elite. We call for the immediate reinstatement of democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. We also support the call made by pro-Zelaya protesters to have all charges against Zelaya dropped. Finally, we demand an independent investigation into the brutality and murder carried out by the Honduran military while repressing pro-Zelaya protests.

Although Zelaya was elected in 2005 on a mild center-left reform platform, deteriorating economic conditions, the refusal of the elite to implement even the most basic reforms and pressure from popular movements have pushed his Presidency in a more militant direction. Honduras remains the third poorest nation in the hemisphere with 40% of the population living on less than $2 a day. To combat this, Zelaya attempted to implement reforms such as, raising the minimum wage by 60%; a move which infuriated elites who fired workers or ignored the new regulations. Popular organizations have supported Zelaya in this process by initiating a series of strikes and mobilizations in the name of wealth re-distribution and social equity.

Honduran elites have disregarded these movements, choosing to use parliamentary process and the security forces to preserve political and economic control. They have attempted to paint Zelaya as a puppet of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. “What I believe we were seeing was the evolution of a democratic dictatorship,” Elizabeth Zuñiga of the Nationalist Party stated. Such illogical hyperbole mirrors the false proclamations issued by elites in Venezuela and Bolivia in the face of challenges by leftist governments and popular movements. The Honduran elite care little for democracy. Their sole concern is the maintenance of social and economic privileges.

The new left in Latin America has demonstrated a consistent commitment to organize itself democratically. Endless elections in Venezuela have been combined with electoral victories in Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay and Nicaragua. In each case, electoral campaigns have been backed by grassroots mobilizations of a myriad of worker, community and indigenous groups. This has had a general democratizing effect in the region, which has served to reverse the history of US-backed military coups and dictatorships. The elite coup in Honduras is an attempt to return to a bankrupt political model. But the people of Honduras are resisting.

As socialists, we therefore stand firmly with the popular movements in Honduras who are demanding that President Zelaya be returned. As socialists in America, we also recognize the negative role that US foreign policy has played in the region. We pledge our solidarity to the people of Honduras as a means of repairing the damage done by the US government. We share in the sentiments recently expressed by President Zelaya, “Do not bring weapons. Practice what I have always preached, which is nonviolence. Let them be the ones who use violence, weapons and repression.”

No the Coup!
Return Zelaya!
Justice for working and poor Hondurans!



Statement on Iran by SPUSA International Commission

by SPUSA International Commission

The brutal repression of the popular upsurge against Iran’s ruling clique of Islamic clerics only postpones the inevitable. Iran’s theocracy has lost the confidence of its people, as militant protests continue on the streets of Tehran.

The Socialist Party USA stands with the people of Iran in demanding an immediate end to arbitrary rule and the holding of genuinely free and open elections. We believe that the complete separation of religious institutions and the state is an essential prerequisite for a democratic society. Every resident of a nation should have the same rights and privileges, no matter what her or his religious belief may or may not be.

Women have been systematically oppressed under the rule of the mullahs in Iran. It is the Socialist Party’s hope that the insurgency in Iran will lead to a new society where women are guaranteed full rights. Women should be able to fully participate in the workforce. They should be able to dress in accordance with their own wishes, and not have their life style be coerced by those holding rigid interpretations of religious dogma. It is time for Iran to move beyond outmoded puritanical repression, and to recognize the equal rights of gays and lesbians.

Iran is a wealthy country, with immense oil resources and a highly educated populace. Nevertheless, poverty is widespread, and corruption endemic. Independent trade unions are persecuted and strikes are crushed. Although the popular movement protesting the theocratic regime’s autocratic policies has been a broadly based, inter-class, coalition, segments of the movement have presented a more radical critique. The Socialist Party USA supports the Iranian Left, with its base in the working class, in the call for an economic program that will provide essential services to all, while narrowing the vast gap between rich and poor.

Barack Obama and the U.S. government are not interested in a democratic Iran. For decades, the United States has shored up reactionary theocracies such as Saudi Arabia, where it found it served its imperial interests. The Iranian people remember the U.S. role in overthrowing the popular regime of Mossadegh in 1953, leading to the return of the Shah, a repressive dictatorship that lasted until the popular revolt of 1979. Iranians will make sure that the government that replaces the current theocracy will continue to maintain its independence from U.S. foreign policy.

Iran’s effort to develop nuclear power has caused disquiet in the region. Nuclear power is a threat to the future of the planet. There is no valid reason why a country with vast oil resources should rely on nuclear power for energy. Iran should be in the forefront in converting from oil to sustainable alternative energy sources, particularly solar power. The Socialist Party USA has consistently opposed the use of nuclear power in the United States, and we call for a rapid conversion here to alternative energy sources.

Nuclear power frequently acts as a precursor to nuclear weapons. The problems confronting the Near East will not be resolved through wars. Furthermore, nuclear weapons only make a volatile situation more dangerous. The Socialist Party USA believes that the entire region should become a nuclear free zone. This would mean that Iran would forego the development of nuclear weapons, as Israel dismantles its arsenal of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

The popular insurgency in Iran is of historic importance. It has demonstrated to everyone that a reactionary theocratic regime cannot provide a desirable alternative to capitalism. It is up to us in the United States, and in the rest of the industrialized countries, to build a democratic socialist movement that can pose a positive alternative to religious fundamentalism.

17 thoughts on “Socialist Party USA comments on events in Honduras, Iran

  1. Donald Raymond Lake

    Less can be more!

    Along with the greens, ya guys blew it!

    Long, winding manifestos that no one
    but party loyalists will read?

    Better: temporarily clear the site
    and QUIETLY, no verbiage, run
    news views ……….

    Ya blew it! Yelling in Time Square
    with the crowd ignoring you!

  2. Catholic Trotskyist

    And don’t even get started on the dozens of little socialist parties that never run candidates, which this site doesn’t cover. (Socialist Organizer, Revolutionary League,) look Wikipedia for more. All of them, Trotskyists, Maoists, Castroists, etc etc, have their own theoretical interpretations and manifestos.

  3. tab

    Deran,

    That is one of the worst articles I have ever seen. Did the author just randomly make up facts as he went, or was he basing this on factual events that actually occurred inside Iran?

  4. Catholic Trotskyist

    The PSL article is very good. Good writing style, Well-reasoned, balanced, without fawning praise of Ahmadinejad or ad hominem attacks on the demonstrators. It also underlines the possibility of an alliance between religion and socialism against capitalism, though socialists in western countries tend to be more friendly towards Islam. The points about the Iranian president as an economic socialist and a fighter against imperialism are particularly enlightening.

  5. Donald Raymond Lake

    Words, words, words. Yet another wasted opportunity.

    [1996: “So Senator Bob Dole, as the GOP presidential candidate, what do you think of the party platform? (I haven’t gotten around to it!) When do you think you’ll make time to read it? (Probably won’t.) ]

    Third Party: I wonder how few general population folk will read these manifestos?

    On a personal note, California’s Peace and Freedom Party gives yet another call for grass roots comments. Yet the Partisan prints nothing but Honcho Proclamations and NYC Village Voice reprints.

    So much better for a visual, stirring photos only review of people power.

    With all of those green banners in Tehran, this would have been an opportunity and a half for any branch of the green movement! Oh well, yet again!

  6. tab

    A landslide victory by Ahmadinejad was not improbable.

    “Our nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin—greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday’s election,” Ballen and Doherty asserted.

    Actually it was. This author even discredits his own opinion by citing an election poll that happened three weeks before the election.

    That was before the debates that propelled Mousavi in the eyes of the public. He also forgot to mention that it was impossible for Ahmadinejad to receive the number of votes he did in certain cities because it means more than 100% of the people in that area would have voted.

    I guess leaving out facts helps his overall argument though.

  7. tab

    In bourgeois elections, the citizenry is offered a choice between candidates that are acceptable to ruling class interests.

    Which wouldn’t have been this one then. Mousavi was far from acceptable to the ruling interests.

    He was largely selected as the Reformist candidate because he wasn’t expected to garner as much support as he did. Not to mention, openly challenge the Supreme Leader in front of the public.

    he Israeli ruling establishment is openly hoping for the victory of what they call “the revolution” in Iran.

    Wow, what a shocker. The Israeli government was hoping for a revolution to get rid of an enemy? Now that is a crazy revelation.

    Imperialist media sources, to which many Iranians, particularly the more privileged sectors, have access through satellite TV, played a key organizing role. BBC Farsi and Voice of America, continuously broadcasting into Iran,

    The Iranian government shut down all cell phone towers yet you think the forgot to shut down outside radio networks.

    Common sense clearly wasn’t used here.

    Iranian TV channels aired interviews with captured agents of the MKO, the imperialist supported terrorist organization, who acknowledged having been instructed to set gas stations on fire and destroy buildings.

    Hahaha, wow. If it came from the Iranian government then it must be true huh?

    he point of a revolution is to eliminate inequitable social relations. How could the privileged classes in any society lead a “revolutionary” movement that seeks to reduce and cutback the benefits and services of poor and working people?

    That is the point of some revolutions, not all.

    Revolutionary movements have begun with the privileged classes numerous times throughout history. Take a look at the history of France.

    Then to claim the US and Britain staged these rebellions is hilarious. Yes, we are probably funding anti-Iranian democracy movements. However, claiming the CIA was behind them is about the biggest load of garbage I’ve heard.

    This article is really just full of falsehoods and cherry picked facts that helped the author’s cause.

  8. Dave Schwab

    It’s time to close the School of the Americas. American tax dollars should not be used to train dictators and death squads in Honduras or anywhere else.

    Tell President Obama: close the School of the Americas now!

    http://tinyurl.com/closeSOA

  9. paulie Post author

    There was some talk here a few months ago of Greens and LP working together on anti-SOA protests. Auburn, Alabama is close to Ft. Benning and has an active LP presence including Roderick Long, president of the Molinari Institute, District rep of the LP of Alabama, and faculty advisor to Auburn University Libertarians. I know there are also active Libertarian chapters in Birmingham and Atlanta. Auburn also has a non-party libertarian think tank, the Mises Institute; Lew Rockwell has spoken at at least one antiwar rally before.

    I’m pretty sure there is an active Green chapter in Atlanta, although I was unable to get a hold of them while I was there. I don’t know what all either party has goinsed g on in other parts of Georgia besides Atlanta, except LP in Augusta.

  10. paulie Post author

    Steven,

    Rev. Roy Bourgeois of SOAW was one of the best attended speakers the Auburn University Libertarians ever had.

  11. paulie Post author

    The Iranian government shut down all cell phone towers yet you think the forgot to shut down outside radio networks.

    Common sense clearly wasn’t used here.

    Not sure on the technical details, but radio may be harder to jam. I know the Soviets tried, but lots of people (like my dad) caught VoA and BBC illegally on a regular basis. I did not know English then, but he told me what it was.

  12. Catholic Trotskyist

    The Catholic Trotskyist Party is also against the School of the Americas. We are greatful for this opportunity for Catholic interests, libertarians and socialists to work together. This is truly the Fringe Alliance strategy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *