The rituals of legislative rulings

When the U.S. House of Representative voted to put the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on the list of terrorist organizations, Iran’s Parliament agreed on qualifying the C.I.A. and the U.S. army of terrorist organizations.

This can be read as follows: Any form of resistance must pass by the vocabulary of the hegemonic, here being the US definition of terrorism, its various uses, and the ability to ‘institutionalize’ the ruling (becoming law through the parliament). Why do Iran bother to pass legislative decrees stating that that these American institutions are ‘terrorists’? The same reason why it deployed all this effort for the ‘holocaust’ convention. The Holocaust convention was not a case of showing antisemitism etc. It was an effort to show that another ‘normalized’ reality could exist and be debated by people.

So why does it bother? Because the new conceptual and descriptive formulations will be uttered and written, it will enter the terms of speech and thus will exist as a political reality. In fact Iran takes very seriously the inner functioning structures of the international system, the U.N. etc. It uses the available system to voice contention. This is the power of symbols, this is what they actually do in a given reality.


10 Replies to “The rituals of legislative rulings”

  1. Classifying the IRGC as “a terrorist organization” is not merely a symbolic game in the US. It has legal implications with regard to the 2001 AUMF and Bush’s constitutional authority to wage war against Iranian targets. It is very, very serious. Read with Sy Hersh’s latest, you can see the administration’s strategy on Iran. The US Senate is not done, however, as Clinton and Webb have introduced a bill the expressly prohibits the use of military force against Iran without Congressional approval and funding.

  2. FYI: It is my opinion that the Dems sweep the 2008 elections. The only thing that could alter that is war against Iran. Fortunately, I am not a conspiracy theorist and believe the US and Iran and the rest will settle for a very long Cold War over the Gulf. This, of course, is bad news for Lebanon, but not as bad as a hot war.

  3. of course, I never said it was symbolic. I emphasiwed the practical consequence of this ‘naming’ through the institutions that are empowered with specific prerogatives.

    But also keep in mind that I was looking at ‘dominated’ discourse (here Iran) and not ‘dominant’ (if i may permit this binary simplification, in so far as I was focusing on th re-action to the action).

  4. The FYI is very interesting. Hersh’s article is pretty scary. at the academic level (here in London) the war (or whatever the nature of the confrontation) is being prepared at the intellectual level, I will write more about that.

  5. Si, I know what you meant and I agree, just wanted to add my two cents on the American side of it.

    As for the not-so intellectual level, I can say that Fox News has gone into war overdrive …

    Gordon Brown-part of Hersh piece has been rejected by officials, but it seems to hinge on the UK parliamentary elections, ie did brown ask for a month. Who knows?

  6. Maybe irrelevant to the conversation here and I’m not sure I read the good article (The redirection, 05/03) and I didn’t read it entirely (what am I doing here) but couldn’t be good for the palestinians eventually if they take more interest in the conflict and try to resolve it quickly ? There might be a good aspect to all this eventually …


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