Sunday, June 6, 2010

Views from Iran: Islamic left

On this video Laura Secor looks at Islamic republic of Iran, and to some degree she touches down on history of Islamic revolution. I recommend this video for anyone who might be interested to figure out current political atmosphere in Iran.

I have to quote this part of her speech to make a point:
Khomeini learned (from Shariati) to manipulate Marxist yearnings in order to promote what essentially was a theocratic agenda...what survives to this day in the very bones of the Islamic Republic were populism and paternalism, the vision of a state where the will of the people was subordinated to that of their betters. And one which promised succor to the poorest of the poor. The revolutionary state adopted a constitution governed ultimately by Velayate Fagih. As a side to the liberals that were close to the drafting process in '79, it also provided for an elected president and parliament.

Under the constitution the Islamic Republic adopted in 1979, the Fagih, also called the leader, controls the armed forces, including the Revolutionary Guard, the judiciary, the state media, the intelligence ministry, the foreign policy apparatus and much of the economy. The Guardian Council, a 12-member body the leader largely appoints and which answers to him, must approve all candidates for elected office and all laws passed by the parliament. The president elected from among pre-approved candidates is estimated to hold about 10 percent of state power.

Since 1979 these weak institutions, the presidency and the parliament, have been the only available instruments for democratic reform. In the first three years after the revolution liberals twice took the reins of this lesser government only to be isolated, strong-armed and expelled by a corps of radical clerics close to Khomeini. We little remember now the convulsions of those years in which Iran came very close to civil war. In 1981 militias even fought behind barricades in city streets. Khomeini did not deal lightly with political foes. Fewer than 100 political prisoners were executed in the last eight years of the Shah's rule. In the first six years of Khomeini's, that number is thought to have exceeded 7,900.

... Under these circumstances, the spectrum of political debate was obviously very limited. Political parties were essentially outlawed, and so the Iranian political scene must be described in terms of factions, shifting pressure groups within the establishment. These factions dominated the later 1980s. The Islamic Right was the faction of Ali Khamenei, president in the 1980s. The Pragmatic Right was represented by the Speaker of Parliament, Rafsanjani.
Independent observers believe that Mousavi and his cadres are the one to be responsible for totalitarian condition. Back then they were the radical group were responsible to crackdown on papers, magazines and other political parties.
But the faction that I am interested in following is the Islamic left. Then, represented in government by the Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, a name you might find familiar today. This faction was the most radical, particularly on economic and foreign policy questions. It favored exporting Iran's revolution, redistributing its' resources, and supporting transnational groups like Hezbollah. It was particularly active in early efforts to exclude liberals from government. The Islamic right and left vied for power under Khomeini, whose interventions kept Mousavi and the left alive as political forces, but, when Khomeini died, it was Khamenei, a partisan of these battles from the right, who succeeded him, the Islamic lefts fortunes swiftly reversed, as Khamenei and Rafsanjani joined forces to eject Mousavi's radicals from power.
Laura continues:
For seven years, the once powerful Islamic left wandered the political wilderness. Maybe the approach of middle age and the bitter experience of Iran's decade of war, convulsions, and violence threw in doubt their convictions of hotheaded revolutionary days. Maybe the experience of falling from favor. in the repressive state they'd helped to create humbled them, convinced them of a need for freedoms of speech and association for a system that could brook dissent. Maybe, as less charitable observers have ventured. some of them simply sought a road back to power.
When Mousavi announced he would candidate for presidency many thought he might have changed a great deal but Mousavi and his cadre's attitude towards protesters selection of slogans, defending Khomeini's actions so their own dark history, their continual paternalism behaviour, their strong support for Hezbollah against the will of majority of protesters and last but not least, their same old propaganda approach shows they have not changed much. They are the same old fanatical Islamic revolutionaries hungry for power!


  1. this is a great post. thank you

  2. this is a great post. thank you

  3. I couldn't agree with you more and as anyone who knews me will have heard me say before many times, Mousvai is not to be trusted. He was not leader material in the past and nothing has changed. Well written :)