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Iran: civil disobedience « Previous | |Next »
June 18, 2009

In Iran the street protests over the disputed elections continue as does the repression of dissent on the street by the clerical regime and the crackdown to prevent the foreign media and internet providers from carrying further coverage of the demonstrations. The rift between factions of the Islamist ruling class have become more open as the street protests transform into a civil disobedience movement.

MorelandIranelections.jpg Moreland

Will this self-directed movement be satisfied with a limited recount of the election, given Hussein Mousavi's demand for a fresh election? Is the recount a delaying tactic by the authorities who are hoping things will calm down. Will the reform movement in Iran be subsequently thwarted and crushed? Will there be a savage, bloody crackdown by the Khomeinists?

There does appear to be a crisis of authority for the clerical regime as the theocratic state is metamorphosing into a military dictatorship. However, we have little idea how these protests are going to end or what they are will produce by way of reform.

What is unclear is the significance of the regime deep divisions in what is now a highly polarised society or what these divisions represent beyond being hardline (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) and reform (Hashemi Rafsanjani and former president Khatami) has called for market reforms and privatisation, more personal freedom and better relations with the west). We know that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been caught up in the eight-year tug-of-war with the reformist movement, that he interprets the discontent on the streets as a potential threat to the very notion of an Islamic Republic, and the survival of the theocratic regime come first.

At the moment it looks as if the existing regime will survive the current turmoil and remains in power and that Ahmadinejad will wind up serving as president for another term. So an increasingly sclerotic clerical regime continues on for a while with ever more power given to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:00 AM | | Comments (7)


What is strange are those Western commentators in the US and in Israel who are happy to see Ahmadi-Nejad win, as this would keep the ‘narrative’ dumbed-down for facilitating the objectives of the ‘bomb Iran’ neo-con crowd. It is clear that they have little concern or sympathy for the Iranian people.

yeah, many Americans view the fallout from the Iranian election through the lens of American foreign policy. Consequently, they miss that Iranian politics has a logic of its own and that in Iran, as in most countries, it is concerns about the quality of life that dominated the election.

Mathew Yglesias points out that:

hmadinejad is in most ways a classic right-winger, a demagogic nationalist and cultural conservative....he clothes this right-wing politics in a language of class resentment, painting his more pragmatic and reformist opponents as decadent elites out of touch with ordinary people. ... he merges this rhetoric with something resembling an actual populist economic agenda. The main element has been the use of oil revenue to expand the state sector of the economy in an attempt to distribute wealth more broadly throughout the country.

This has gained Ahmadinejad a loyal following among the rural poor and public employees.

classic right-winger = "expand the state sector of the distribute wealth more broadly throughout the country."?

I need to reset my political compass.

it does seem odd doesn't it. How about fascism?

The speech by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, indicates that the clerical regime stands against reform. The regime is set to force the reformist to retreat and to knuckle under.

Repression is being used on the street against the demonstrators.

If Iranians marched in the street in support of more freedom and democracy, then Khamenei has served notice that he was determined to lead the country in the opposite direction.

at this stage it looks as if authoritarian control can only be established at the price of greater bloodshed from ongoing confrontation.

The current crisis indicates that regime is no longer trusted by the people and that there are deepening fissures amongst the clerical ruling elite. The structure of the regime has many cracks since many pillars of the regime are part of the opposition.