I’m wondering if anyone can tell me the difference between this scene:

and this scene:

Give up?  Well, for starters, in the first video the U.S. (the president, the government, and the press) either explicitly or at least tactfully supports the protesters in the street over the “heavy handed” violence of the police.  In the second video, it’s just the opposite: the American State sees the violent actions of those police forces as “restoring law and order” and enforcing “security” in the face of radical, criminal social deviants.  By no surprise, that first video is of protesters in Tehran, Iran these past few days.  Iran, see, refuses to open it’s consumer goods markets to Western business, and more importantly, refuses to open its petroleum resources to Western exploitation for corporate profit.  Perhaps just as importantly, Iran refuses to accept the U.S. military as a legitimate “police force” over their sovereign affairs.  That second video, on the other hand, is from protests in South Korea in 2007, where people took to the streets against the devastating domestic effects (particularly in rural areas among peasants and farmers) of global capitalism.  See, South Korea does “freely” trade consumer goods with the U.S., does offer its natural resources to U.S. corporate exploitation, and freely recognizes the U.S. military as a legitimate “security force” within its own borders.

Engage in a global economic order in which the power elite can line their pockets? beat down dissent when necessary; refuse to allow rich white Americans and Europeans a chance at making money off of your people and land? well, how dare you beat those innocent people in the streets.

See, while admittedly president Obama has taken a very reserved public stance regarding the recent election results in Iran (the guy the U.S. preferred didn’t win) it’s no secret whatsoever that the West (including the U.S.) very much wants Ahmadinejad out of power in Iran and political unrest there is very much a welcome development, as far as the powers that be here are concerned.  Make no mistake, Ahmadinejad is an asshole of the highest order; among other absurdities he’s a holocaust denier, and in his political fits against the Israeli State (not unjustified from a humanitarian perspective) he’s gone that extra step to believe and promote full-blow conspiracy theory’s and even pal around with neo-Nazi’s  and white supremacists who share his hate for all things Jew.

What I’m not buying, however, is that there was likely any “stolen” election or that the protest movement that has sprung-up all of the sudden in Tehran is entirely populist, or entirely organic.  For those who think I’m dipping into conspiracy theory here, let me assure you: I’m not saying any of this with certainty, ’cause I just don’t know for sure.  What I do know- because it’s documented fact- is that the U.S. (along with other Western allies) has a long, long history of interfering in the political and electoral happenings of country’s for it’s own strategic (financial and military) gains.  The fermentation of pro-capitalist, upper class minority revolt in Venezuela, for instance; the “orange revolution” in Ukraine.  As I said in my last post- the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend, and in all three of these examples that’s very true.  In Venezuela, while the U.S. tried to covertly foment dissent in that country against Chavez, it’s also true that Chavez is power hungry and running that country in the same tradition of authoritarian socialist State’s throughout the Twentieth Century.  As well, Chavez loses much if any real sympathy we might extend to him by exaggerating the acts against him to try to prove his own point and draw attention to the interference of pro-capitalist forces within their borders.  Same with Ukraine: while programs like USAID covertly built pro-Western movements among sympathetic elements of the population (hit that link on “orange revolution” above and read down to the section on “involvement of outside forces”), Russia operated the same kind of program to push their favored candidate, just with all the not-very-subtle effectiveness of their authoritarian history (um, poisoning the other candidate? really? your covert political meddling handbook is the James Bond series?).  I find it incredibly likely that relatively progressive student movements have been nudged in Iran with the oversight of USAID or some other similar U.S. program; Ahmadinejad of course doesn’t win us any sympathy’s by claiming to have won in a landslide when it was likely closer than that, and by offering us photo-shopped PR images of his faithful backers.  

In statements about the protests in Iran, president Obama has explicitly spoken about the importance of people’s ability and right to protest without feeling the heavy hand of the State come down on them.  Let’s just agree to keep those comments in mind when we get the to G20 in Pittsburgh in September.