The Iranian Revolution: what does it mean and where is it going?

Discussion in 'News And Current Events' started by, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. Member

    By Alan Woods, London, June 15, 2009

    Two candidates stood in the Iranian elections, but the regime had decided who was going to win long before any votes were cast. In spite of the mild, loyal opposition of Mousavi, large sections of the Iranian electorate used their vote to express opposition to the regime. Once the result was announced violence broke out on the streets, revealing the seething anger and discontent among the masses. This marks a new phase in the development of the Iranian revolution.

    The French historian Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote that the most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it tries to reform. But it is even more dangerous when a bad regime refuses to reform.

    History knows many examples of a rotten autocracy, which after a long period in power has succumbed to an irreversible process of inner decay. In such a moment, all the internal contradictions that have remained hidden beneath the surface suddenly emerge. There are always two main tendencies: the hard liners and the reformists. The latter say: we must reform from the top or else we will be overthrown. The former say: We must oppose reform because once we start change we will be overthrown. And both are correct.

    What was true in France in 1789 is also true in Iran in 2009. After three decades in power the regime of the mullahs is deeply unpopular. Analysts therefore expected Mousavi, widely regarded as a reformist, to do well. A presidential debate between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad roused the nation, and in the last days Mousavi's campaign caught fire, triggering massive street rallies in Tehran. What these rallies showed was a burning desire for change.

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  2. Member

    The Revolution has begun!

    By Alan Woods, 15 June 2009


    Dramatic events are unfolding in Iran. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in silence through central Tehran on Monday to protest Iran’s disputed presidential election in an extraordinary show of defiance that appeared to be the largest anti-government demonstration in Iran since the 1979 revolution.

    Supporters of Iran's defeated presidential candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, have poured onto the streets in Tehran and other cities to dispute the bitterly contested election campaign after the hard line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad swept back to power.

    The march began hours after Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for a inquiry into opposition claims that the election was rigged in favor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The mass movement has shocked the leadership and aggravated the internal contradictions in the regime. State television reported that supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has upheld the election result, urged the 12-member Guardian Council to "precisely consider" the complaints. This is a graphic indication of the crisis of the regime.

    The ayatollah’s call — announced every 15 minutes on Iranian state radio throughout the day — was the first sign that Iran’s top leadership might be rethinking its position on the election. Mr. Khamenei announced Saturday that the election results showing a landslide victory for Mr. Ahmadinejad were fair, but on Sunday he met with Mir Hussein Moussavi, the former prime minister and moderate who was the main opposition candidate, to listen to his concerns.

    A spokesman for the council, which must formally approve election results for the outcome to stand, said they would meet Mr Mousavi on Tuesday. They are expected to decide on the complaints by next week. But the revolutionary upsurge is gathering such momentum that even if they decide to annul the results and call new elections, it is not clear that this will be enough to halt the movement.
    Regime attempts repression

    As evening fell, Iranian state television reported that shots had been fired at protesters, and The Associated Press reported that the gunfire had apparently come after a group of demonstrators with fuel canisters attempted to set fire to the compound of a volunteer militia linked to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard. At least one person was reported to have been killed.

    It was impossible to independently confirm these reports, which came after a day during which government security forces stood by at the edges of the avenues, allowing the demonstrators to stream past.

    The silent march was a striking contrast with the chaos of the past few days, when riot police sprayed tear gas and wielded clubs to disperse scattered bands of angry and frightened young people. In Isfahan, south of the capital, more violence broke out on Monday, with police attacking a crowd of several thousand opposition protesters with sticks and tear gas, and rioters setting fires in parts of the city.

    Beyond the capital, demonstrations have reportedly spread to at least seven provincial cities. The protests have marked the most serious display of discontent in the Islamic Republic in years. The breadth of the mass movement is unprecedented. It is a sudden upsurge of all the accumulated rage and frustration that has been accumulating for the past 30 years.

    Iranian officials have reportedly blocked opponents of President Ahmadinejad from sending emails and accessing certain websites, but for now Twitter remains as a vehicle for protest. Protesters are seemingly using Twitter to voice their opposition to last week’s official election results, which gave victory to Ahmadinejad over challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi.

    The regime is trying to use repression to halt the mass movement. Reuters reported: "Iran's hard-line Islamic Basij militiamen killed at least one person on Monday and wounded more when their building was attacked by demonstrators protesting an election they say was stolen by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

    Whenever the riot police charge, waving their batons, with their shields to the fore, people run down the streets to escape. Channel Four television commentator Linsay Hilsum in Teheran says: “The black-clad riot squad move in phalanxes on motor-bikes, riding up on the pavements, swiping at passers-by. You don’t have to be a protestor to get hit.”

    She continues: “On Sunday morning, we ended up running with a crowd and hiding in a stairwell. A young man invited us upstairs to his office. Like many Iranians I’ve met in the last few days, he was fed up of the old order, and had voted for Mir Hossein Mousavi, the alternative candidate. But he wasn’t amongst the youths on the streets, throwing stones at the police, because he had no hope that it would bring change.

    “There’s no leadership,” he said. “Mr Mousavi will not lead us because those who control the country are more powerful than him. Everything is in the hands of the Supreme Leader.” But this is no longer true. The situation is not in the hands of the Supreme Leader or Mousavi. Power is slipping from the trembling hands of the leaders and passing to the streets.

    The reformist leaders, who up till recently were part of the Establishment, are undoubtedly terrified of the forces they have unleashed. Mousavi has been compelled to put himself at the head of the movement in an attempt to steer it into safe channels. But even he does not control events. Rather, events are controlling him.

    On the streets there is a change of mood. There are reports of a growing confidence and militancy on the part of the protesters. Some reports say that demonstrators have attacked the offices of the hated Revolutionary Guard. This is an extraordinary and unprecedented development. It shows that once the people stand up and say “no”, no force on earth can stop them.

    The movement is now spreading to the working class. There are reports that another mass rally, and a national strike are planned for tomorrow. The strike has been in the works since early yesterday, but now comes word of another major rally tomorrow. "According to the source, there will be a rally tomorrow for Mousvi tomorrow at 5 pm in Vali Asr Sq. and there will be a national strike by all of Mousavi's supporters."

    The situation is changing, not by the day but by the hour. Like a heavy rock thrown into a still lake, Ahmadiejad’s coup has stirred up Iranian society to the depths. Nobody can say where events will end. But one thing is certain: Iran will never be the same again. The masses are starting to move, and the movement will not easily be halted. We are entitled to say wit confidence: the Iranian Revolution has begun!
  3. Member

    Morad Shirin, an Iranian Marxist, explains how and why the regime organised such blatant fraud and why this time it massively backfired. The regime was pushing for greater participation in the voting process to legitimise its own position. Instead they have unleashed the forces of the Iranian revolution.

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  4. Member

    By Alan Woods, London, 16th June

    All the objective conditions for revolution as outlined by Lenin have matured in Iran. The events of the past few days mark the beginning of the Iranian revolution, which will unfold over a whole period. This is due to the lack of a mass revolutionary party capable of leading the masses today. But the conditions to build such a force have also matured. Workers and youth in Iran will be looking for the genuine ideas of revolutionary socialism, of Marxism.

    Yesterday I wrote that the Iranian Revolution has begun. In what sense is this true? Lenin explained the conditions for a revolutionary situation: first the ruling class must be split and unable to rule with the same methods as before. This condition is clearly present in Iran. Second, the middle class should be vacillating between revolution and counterrevolution. That is now the case in Iran, where decisive sections of the middle class have come over to the side of the Revolution and are demonstrating in the streets. Thirdly, the workers must be prepared to fight. There has been a growing wave of strikes in Iran even before the elections.

    Only the last condition is absent: the presence of a revolutionary party and a revolutionary leadership, like the Bolshevik Party in 1917. The presence of such a party would give the mass movement the leadership and organization it requires to be successful. It would signify a swift and relatively painless victory. In the absence of such a party, the revolution will unfold over a more prolonged period of months, probably years, with ebbs and flows.

    A revolution is not a single act drama. In 1917 the revolution developed over a period of nine months. In this period there were moments of tremendous upsurge, as in February, but there were also periods of tiredness, defeats and even reaction, as in the period that followed the July days. From July to the end of August there was a period of reaction in which the Bolsheviks were driven underground, their printing press destroyed, Trotsky was in jail and Lenin was forced to flee to Finland.

    The Spanish Revolution, which is probably a better guide to what will happen in Iran, began with the overthrow of the Monarchy (which was brought about by local elections) in April 1931. This opened up a period of revolution, which lasted seven years, with ups and downs, until the defeat of the workers of Barcelona in the May Days of 1937. In this seven-day period we had the so-called Two Black Years (El Bienio Negro), which followed the defeat of the Asturian Commune of 1934 and lasted until the Popular Front elections of 1936.

    In the absence of a mass revolutionary party, the Iranian Revolution, like the Spanish Revolution, can be extended over a number of years and will be characterised by a turbulent and convulsive character, the rise and fall of different governments, leaders and parties, before finally the question of power is posed. But the events that are unfolding before our eyes clearly mark a fundamental change in the whole situation. The genie has been let out of a bottle where it has been confined for three decades. And it will be impossible to force it back into its prison.

    Many observers have expressed surprise at a movement that appeared to fall from a clear blue sky. But in reality, this explosion has been in preparation for a long time. The anger of the population reflects all the accumulated frustrations and anger of the last three decades. It also reflects the deteriorating economic situation and falling living standards. The economy was the central issue of the election campaign and remains at the heart of most Iranians' concerns, after four years in which there has been sharp rises in inflation and unemployment.

    Although under Ahmadinejad the poorer sections of society have benefited from cash handouts paid for by Iran's oil revenues, many others have complained that the increased liquidity has doubled or tripled prices. The parliament has so far blocked the slashing of subsidies on the grounds that it could further fuel inflation, which already stands at around 24 per cent. But the economic crisis means cuts and austerity and Shamsoddin Hosseini, the economy minister, yesterday said privatising state-owned companies would be the "framework" of Iran's next economic policy.

    This partly explains the militant character of an angry and determined opposition movement, which has found an unlikely symbol in the 68-year-old Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who was previously part of the Iranian Establishment and still is. When the people begin to lose their fear and are prepared to defy the guns of the police in a country like Iran, it is the beginning of the end. This marvellous mass movement is all the more incredible for being unorganized and leaderless.

    Heroism of the masses

    The decisive factor has been the sudden eruption of the masses onto the stage of history. The tremendous heroism of the masses is seen in the gargantuan demonstration of yesterday, held in defiance of warnings from the regime that they would be met with bullets. At least one million protesters ignored threats, guns and bloodshed to demand freedom in Iran. Eight people died yesterday and an unknown number wounded. And still the movement continues unabated.

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  5. PresidentShaw Member

    Trolling posts will be removed, keep the threads clean, this is a serious issue, thank you.

    Carry on
  6. CheshireC Member

    Its fantastic news that the Iranian people are finally trying to stand their ground against their corrupt leaders and saying that enough is enough. Please keep trying to get as much info out as possible to help them.

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