Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Real Situation in Iran: Moving Fast

In the fog of the swift repression that followed the Iranian elections, and intensified in some American 'leftist' corners by commentaries about a CIA-led coup by the Mousavi camp (whereas the real coup, , as described by Sahimi among others, was going the other way), a very elementary question has been completely lost sight of:

Since the Iranian authorities are so wonderfully efficient and super speedy at vote counting -- so much so, that they could announce the full results of tens of millions of votes in less than two hours after the closing of polling stations -- then, surely they could have taken just one, more, day, and counted all the votes one more time, just to make sure; with different campaigns' representatives present, etc., no?

[Afterthought: Hell, they could hold a whole new election in just one more day, and know the results by the end of the day!]

Yeah, I know. That's just an insane idea! Better to just attack peaceful demonstrators in the streets, shoot and kill people and precipitate a huge and uncontrollable crisis of legitimacy.

Here's another good one. The Press TV's man was being grilled by the BBC's anchorman about the report of the irregularities (in more than 50 cities) that the Interior Ministry had just released, and the Press TV man was adamant that they were not 'irregularities', but rather, he reminded in the language of the ministry, 'statistical miscalculations'. Interesting choice of words. For, you see, vote counting falls within the realm of arithmetic, and mostly one function of it only; you know, adding up (the votes). Statistics, on the other hand, falls within the realm of predictions (of trends). So, they are actually saying that the announced results were basically predictions they made, and very optimistically wishful ones at that, of how the voters in different localities could have, would have, or might have voted!

* * *

The situation on the streets of Iran, to get back to reality, has moved far beyond bean counting, and increasingly more radical slogans are raised on the streets. This has got the system seriously worried; hence their extreme crackdown.

The larger political questions are enormous. Most essentially, how clear is the strategic vision here, and how foresightful can this spontaneously erupted movement be? Let us not lose sight of the fact that the people took to the streets as a result of an unexpected insult of an 'outcome' of a sham election they willingly participated in. That makes for a highly contradictory movement. These contradictions cannot last long without some serious consequences. The more radical and more clear-sighted of the Iranian working classes have harbored very few illusions regarding this system's capability for being reformed in any meaningful way.

So, the spark for the movement came from a politically ambiguous place; but the insult was great enough to spark a big reaction. And, when people who have been enduring a harsh dictatorship finally take to the streets, there are a whole lot of stored-up-in-pressure-cooker grievances that will come pouring out. Hence, the dynamic situation.

On June 26, people around the world will be standing in solidarity with the Iranian people's movement for justice. Please join them and show your brotherly and sisterly love.

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