Saturday, June 20, 2009

What Now in Iran?

Found this on Payvand Iran News. Not a totally bad analysis. But, the end section of the article (quoted here), sets out the different paths that can unfold from this point. 

The most important part the analysis is that it correctly maintains that there are THREE camps (not just two) in the current struggle: the conservatives, the reformists, and the PEOPLE! This last one is completely missing from the analysis of most people. Everybody thinks this is just a power play between the two factions of the system, and so some 'leftists' too cynical to see that people do have their own mind, are construing this whole thing as a CIA-directed velvet revolution. CIA can only WISH they were that good! But, the people in Iran decided to insert themselves as a force independent of both ruling factions and have pushed the issue well past what the 'reformists' are comfortable with. 

Electoral Coup in Iran: How Ahmadinejad won
By Saeed Rahnema
[...] Both factions are now faced with a complex impasse; if Moussavi backs down, this would be political suicide for him, turning him into another compromising figure like former President Khatami. If Ahmadinejad's side backs down, the legitimacy of the military-security establishment and the Supreme Leader would take a further (and near irreparable) blow.

There are some key and difficult questions at this critical political moment: Which faction will back down? If the "reformist" camp persists, and public revolt expands, will the regime resort to an even more bloody and total suppression? In this case, would the street demonstrations be elevated to a revolutionary movement with the aim of toppling the whole Islamic regime, or would it retreat and dissipate? In the case that the "reformist" movement does back down, would the public revolt also die down, or will some elements separate themselves from the rest and follow a more radical and independent path in confronting the regime?

It should be noted that both factions of the regime are afraid of an uncontrollable escalation of tensions and civil disobedience, and it is quite possible that they reach some sort of middle ground concessions. If this happens, it will no doubt have a negative impact on the movements within civil society. Some groups will accept the compromises, some will be disappointed and depoliticized, and others will continue their resistance independently. However, even though the post-election events might appear as a new revolution, the protest movement is not in a position and does not have the organizational means to challenge the Islamic regime in its totality in a direct assault.

Nonetheless, whatever the results of this election and the factional conflicts, this is the most critical turning point in 30 years of the Islamic Republic. The remarkably vibrant civil society led by the women's movement, youth, teachers and workers, acted cautiously and shrewdly. They entered the election process with specific demands and cast their votes against the favoured candidate of the establishment.

If they had boycotted the elections, for fear of legitimizing the status quo, the regime would not be in the disastrous mess it now finds itself in. With a lower participation rate, Ahmadinejad would have won the majority of the votes, the regime would not have needed to resort to the shameful rigging, they would not be facing the mass disgruntlement and street riots, and the regime would not have had to savagely suppress peaceful street demonstrations, making itself even more disgraced in the eyes of Iranians and the rest of the world. The regime, in a sense, succeeded in declaring its favoured candidate the winner, but itself became the loser in the process. Iranian civil society is moving step-by-step towards establishing its democratic and secular counter hegemony.

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