11: Trump to Iran: “This Is America”

May 20, 2018

Donald Trump has ended the Iran nuclear deal. Our guests Frieda Afary and Ashley Smith explain both the method and the madness behind the decision, which has already emboldened U.S. allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia to step up their repression in Palestine and Yemen.

We also discuss the view from Iran, where there have been major protests in recent months for both workers’ and women’s rights. This interview is a continuation of our ongoing discussions about the importance of building democratic anti-imperialist politics that stand not only in opposition to the U.S. repression, but also in solidarity with people fighting for their rights, whether or not their government is allied with Washington.

Frieda Afary is an Iranian-American librarian, writer, translator, activist and producer of Iranian Progressives in Translation. She’s also a founding member of the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists, which is an international collective of Syrian, Iranian, Kurdish, Palestinian, Turkish, Lebanese, Iraqi and Egyptian members.

It is opposed to capitalism, militarism, authoritarianism, imperialism, religious fundamentalism, patriarchy/sexism/heterosexism, racism, ethnic and religious prejudice. It stands for socialism as a concept of human emancipation and an affirmative vision distinguished from the authoritarian regimes that called themselves “Communist.”

Its main goals are:

1. Developing connections and active forms of solidarity between labor, feminist, anti-racist, LGBT, student and environmental struggles in the Middle East region and internationally.

2. Tackling the deep and historical problems of Middle Eastern socialism.

3. Developing an affirmative vision of a humanist alternative to capitalism.

Learn more here (http://bit.ly/AlliancePrinciples) about the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists and its current campaign in solidarity with Middle Eastern political prisoners and activities in solidarity with Syrian Kurdish and Arab revolutionaries, Palestinians as well as Iranian labor and feminist activists in the current popular uprising in Iran.

You can read Frieda’s writing on the protests in Iran (http://bit.ly/IranStrikes) and the need for solidarity with all of those suffering military attacks in Syria (http://bit.ly/SolidarityAfrin).

Ashley Smith is on the editorial board of the International Socialist Review. His new article “Illiberal Hegemony: Trump’s Imperial Strategy” isn’t yet online, which is all the more reason to subscribe to the magazine here (http://bit.ly/ISRsubscribe).

Ashley is also a frequent contributor to Socialist Worker on issues of U.S. wars and imperial rivalries. Check out his recent articles “The return of the regime change hawks” (http://bit.ly/RegimeChangeReturn) and “Why the left has to stand with Iran’s uprising” (http://bit.ly/StandWithIan).

Finally, the best English language reporting on the recent strikes in Iran might be in the Wall Street Journal (http://bit.ly/WSJonIran), which would never provide such sympathetic coverage in a country backed by the U.S.

For our opener, we invited socialists and Movement for Black Lives activists Akua Ofori and Khury Peterson-Smith to discuss the wild and disturbing video for Childish Gambino’s “This is America.”

Akua’s powerful Socialist Worker obituary for Erica Garner (http://bit.ly/EricaGarnerObit) touched on some of the themes she discusses about the casualties taken in recent fights against racism. Meanwhile, Khury’s review of Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” (http://bit.ly/KPSonLemonade) shows where his artistic sympathies lie.

Music in this episode

The Boy & Sister Alma, “Lizard Eyes” (Dead Sea Captains Remix)
Childish Gambino, “This Is America”
Fela Kuti, “Zombie”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Mohammad Reza Shajarian, “Az Eshgh (Love Song),” NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
Niyaz, “Sabza Ba Naz (The Triumph of Love)”
Sima Bina, اواز کردی کرمانجی و سیزه گل یار
Pallett, “Vagabond”