Sunday, February 13, 2011

Khiaban No. 82: On February 14 Demonstrations

See Below for a lead article from the latest Khiaban newspaper, #82 (Saturday, February 12, 2011).

After the revolutionary movements by the people of Tunisia and Egypt succeeded in starting the process of transformation of their societies, the winds of revolutionary possibilities have blown across the region. Although the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions are nowhere nearly finished, and indeed everybody involved in them knows well that the long and hard work has just begun, as first steps go, the first steps of the revolutionary process have now been successful. As a result, the people have learned what they are capable of doing. The next steps are far more complicated, but even at this stage, the audacity of the Tunisian and the Egyptian people has inspired millions across the region.

Iran is no exception. The reactions of the dictators in Tehran have been farcical at best. But deep down they know they are on notice, too.

Iranian people saw their 2009 post-electoral-coup movement brutally suppressed, with thousands arrested, hundreds put on show-trials, tortured confessions aired on national TV, they watched their children raped, threatened to get raped, or they watched their heros suffer virtual death sentences in macabre dungeons for daring to peacefully demonstrate in the streets and to demand their rights (like Osanloo, the leader of Tehran's bus drivers' union, who very recently suffered a heart attack, simply because prison authorities had been deliberately ignoring his deteriorating health conditions).

This year, people of Iran have seen an unprecedented number of executions of political activists, while on the economic front they have observed the removal of subsidies of one essential product after another, meaning the people in Iran must now eat at world market prices while earning (very low) Iranian wages. All these social and economic factors were spreading a deep sense of despair among the Iranian people. The defeat of their movement at the hands of the brutal government was the wound, and the salt was all the executions and the economic punishment.

The winds of possibilities for change, however, have come a-blowing, thanks to the courage and ingenuity, as well as the spontaneity, of the Tunisians and the Egyptians. There are protests organized in Iran, for Monday, February 14, in support of the people of Egypt and Tunisia, and hopefully in support of the annihilated rights of the Iranian people!

Long live the revolution in Egypt and Tunisia!
Long Live People's Self-Organized Free Associations!

On February 14 Demonstrations
by: Alef

The revolution in Tunisia and the insurrection in Egypt have affected the Iranian political atmosphere as well. The organized movement of the people against dicatatorships, which took the form of street uprisings, led in Tunisia to the dictator fleeing, and in Egypt to the fracturing of the system. In Algeria, Jordan, Yemen and some other Arab countries too, we are witnessing vast masses of the people taking to the public arena. Masses are revolting against misery and the suffocating political systems, and are demanding other forms of social organization for their countries. In this regional revolutionary wave, a multi-layered movement has taken shape: the youth (whether unemployed or as social actors from layers that are educated and employed) and dominated social classes, particularly working classes, are among those in the frontlines of the battles against political monopoly of the few and capitalist-dictated [endless] profit accumulation.

In Iran, the effects of this wave have been swift and vast. The society, which has been witnessing the endless executions of its socially conscious actors at the hands of the blood drenched system, deep in the midst of hopelessness and despair, suddenly found a new hope. Our society objectively saw the real possibility of revolution and transformation; and that, merely based on the collective will and solidarity, and despite all the superpowers. "Tunisia could!" The insurrections by the Arabic speaking people have helped spread a critical view of ruling ideas and ideologies. The [reformist] idea that revolutions are dangerous -- and that the only available path is to convince the rulers to change their ways -- melted away as swiftly as a snowflake in August sun.

A new critical self-questioning began: Why and how come we didn't have the slightest achievements, while with demonstrations comprising fewer people and in a short time, both Tunisia and Egypt started taking steps towards transforming their societies, yet Iran is still living with the rule of a macabre gang of murderers? This political atmosphere brought with it a wave of re-thinking of reformist ideas and [the actions of reformist] leaders. People had to rely on their own power and had to think of new paths. The idea of restarting the struggle again was spreading. There arose murmurs of organizing demonstrations in support of the people of Egypt and Tunisia.

In such an atmosphere, Moussavi and Karroubi announced for demonstrations on Bahman 25/February 14; a step that up to this moment has resulted in the arrests of political activists. However, everybody knows that these arrests cannot stop the flood that will come. Moussavi has tried, in his planned action, to not fall behind the social political body, and at the same time impose his own leadership. Additionally, if possible, he wants to prevent the transformation of people's self-questioning into a new movement. However, the reality is that no other social force had the capability or the organization to determine a day to take to the streets. This fact cannot be concealed or denied.

Yet, the people who will participate on February 14 will this time bring to the streets the seeds of new self-organizational forms in their collective consciousness. People have learned from Tunisians and the Egyptians that without your own social fabric, without connections and organization, it is not possible to escape the trap of the deals made by the men of ruling systems. New self-organizational forms are needed in order to bring forth new ideas and to fight for them. Today, the old world is dying. A new world is learning to fly in these days of rage in the region.

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