Against US imperialism

Open letter from US-based anti-imperialist activists, scholars, artists and lawyers.

As anti-imperialist activists, scholars, artists and lawyers located in the United States, we stand in solidarity with the peoples of Latin America, Africa and Asia in their calls to end imperialism, sectarianism and neoliberalism, and we view the recent protests in Iran within this broader international context of resistance.

The global turn to the right has led to the increasing liberalisation of the international economy and worsening political repression in countries throughout the world. From Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Haiti to Guinea, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, people have put their lives on the line to confront the twin evils of monopoly capital and US imperial domination, manifesting in different forms, including coup governments, war-mongering and sanctions regimes.

As part of the current US imperial project, president Trump has imposed the most severe sanctions regime in world history on Iran, seeking to choke the economy of the Islamic Republic out of existence. But it is the people of Iran who suffer. They no longer have proper access to medical supplies, industrial equipment and basic food staples. The air quality has hit an all-time low, resulting in high levels of illness, and inflation is worse than it has ever been.

In 2018, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) developed a restructuring plan to address the economic shortfalls created by the sanctions regime. In this plan, the IMF recommended “mobilising tax revenue, removing exemptions, reducing fuel subsidies, and reforming the pension system”, alongside a “medium-term debt management strategy.” The IMF claimed these policies should be pursued “despite the challenging domestic and geopolitical environment” that the nation faces, with the overall objective of supporting Iran, as it “transition[s] to a market-based monetary policy framework”.

Just weeks ago, the Islamic Republic succumbed to one of the most severe proposals in the IMF plan, announcing a more than 100% increase in the cost of fuel on the first 60 litres purchased, and a 300% increase on anything above 60 litres. This reduction in subsidies has led to massive protests throughout the country, because Iranians recognise that it would lead to a dramatic and sudden decline in their standard of living.

In essence, the United States’ imperial sanctions regime has opened the space for neoliberal economic institutions, such as the IMF, to facilitate the ravaging of the Iranian economy.

This project is not without its Iranian native informants and cheerleaders, who serve as functionaries of US imperialism. These functionaries seek regime change, no matter the cost, even though Iran has only recently stabilised after the horrors of the Iran-Iraq war. If Iran loses its sovereignty and descends into civil war like its immediate neighbours, Iraq and Afghanistan, or proxy war like Syria and Libya, it is worth the cost, because these functionaries stand to profit and benefit from war, reconstruction and the exploitation of the nation’s resources.

Such functionaries are supported in their cause by Iranian native informants, so-called intellectuals who opportunistically appropriate the protests under the guise of supporting human rights and liberal democracy, when in fact what they seek is a return to neocolonial governance in the form of a US-backed regime, not unlike that of the deposed monarchy, or a regime led by the National Council of Iran - a front organisation for the US-backed fringe group, Mojahedin-e Khalq, also trained by the CIA to execute the demands of the US.

We believe that if the Islamic Republic falls under the weight of the US sanctions regime or as a result of Israeli and American aggression, not only will the Iranian nation suffer catastrophic losses, but whatever form of government that follows will be far more violent and destructive, considering all the external pressures on Iran.

The people of Iran are resisting the economic, political and militaristic violence imposed on them both by international and domestic elites. The majority of the Iranian people do not seek regime change, because they have already lived through two monumental events that destabilised their lives - the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the Iran-Iraq war that lasted from 1980 until 1988. The elder generations can still recount the horrors that followed the toppling of prime minister Mosaddegh during the US and British-backed coup of 1953.

Iranians seek economic and political stability and, above all, they seek to maintain their national and individual dignity. We stand by them and their calls for domestic reform and, as people in the United States, we demand the end of the sanctions regime and US and Israeli interference in the lives of the Iranian people.

Hamid Dabashi

Nasrin Rahimieh

Angela Y Davis

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Robin DG Kelley

Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi

Moustafa Bayoumi

Sunaina Maira

Asad Abukhalil

Bill Mullen

Alex Lubin

Joshua Clover

Nada Elia

For the full list of signatories see http://bit.do/fjY4q.