The Early Days of a Better Nation

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An uprising that will stun the world

Early in 2001, the Iranian revolutionary communist Mansoor Hekmat said:
In Iran [...] the reality is that the rise of political Islam and religious rule has caused a staggering anti-Islamic backlash, in both ideological and personal spheres. The emergence of political Islam in Iran has become the prelude to an anti-Islamic and anti-religious cultural revolution in people's minds, particularly amongst the young generation, which will stun the world with an immense explosion and will proclaim of the practical end of political Islam in the whole of Middle East.


In my opinion, the Islamic movement in the Middle East and internationally will run out of breath with the fall of the Islamic regime in Iran. The question is not that Islamic Iran will be a defeated model, which others can disassociate themselves from. The Islamic Republic's defeat will arise within the context of an immense mass secularist uprising in Iran, which will touch the foundations of reactionary Islamic thought and not only discredit but condemn it in world opinion. The defeat of the Islamic regime will be comparable to the fall of Nazi Germany. No fascist can easily hold on to their position by merely distancing themselves organisationally and ideologically from this fallen pole. The entire movement will face decades of stagnation. The defeat of political Islam in Iran is an anti-Islamist victory, which will not end within the confines of Iran.
I don't know if he was right. But I hope he was.

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But this morning I heard young people shouting "God is great." Now what am I to make of that?

Reading the passage I'm reminded of Tariq Ali's writing on Pakistan (like in his recent book The Duel). Hopefully "culture war" politics have run out of steam in the region, which is a possibility too rarely discussed. (Not least, I suppose, because it has often been made to seem as if there is no other politics than that-anywhere-by the mainstream press.)

And which parties represent this secularist uprising in Iran exactly?

Nacho: neither side in the current presidential dispute, that's for sure. However, some discredit might accrue to the Supreme Council for the way things have blown up this time. Though they've faced down agitation before, I don't think they've simultaneously had to deal with public pushback from Rafsanjani and Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, especially when it's pushback against not-actually-an-Ayatollah Khamenei.

Nacho, Hekmat's party (the Worker-communist Party of Iran) would like to, but I doubt they have the forces on the ground.

I was once standing outside Conway Hall in Red Lion square, London, when the WCP-Iran were holding a memorial service for their deceased leader, and they gave me a copy of the booklet which was in farsi (which I cannot read) every page had at least one very heroic picture of the dead man, and the service went on for two days, with hours of polemical speeches from the podium.

Well, yes - and then they had a major split. I was impressed by Hekmat's writing, but I haven't followed the ins and outs of his followers/successors.

Yeah, I think they offer the best available writing on Iran.

I'd hope so as well. I really, really do. But the revolutionary demands I've read seem to be written within the framework of the Ayatollah system.

Dunno if it's going to happen, I fear not, that it will rather be a first blossoming followed by crushing repression. Not every demonstration has the success of the Montagsdemonstrationens

But, if it does I don't think it's going to be an entirely old-school party: "who has the power" thing. This is very much more a teenybopper, wired-in, cyberpunk, casual-but-determined revolution. Distributed active democracy.

It's very interesting, and could change the world. Although, probably not, yet.

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