Regime divisions deepen, people’s movement progresses
by Arash Azizi
BASICS #15 (Sep/Oct 2009)
Iran is going through its most vital days of the last 30 years. For the last 10 years, a deep hatred for the Islamic regime has been brewing among the people which has effectively led to a wide range of social movements and protests. However, it was in the aftermath of vote-rigging in the recent presidential elections that masses of people came out into the streets to collectively ignite the flames of the new Iranian Revolution.
Though much else can be said about the uprisings of the past few months, two facts stand out; internal divisions in the Islamic regime are increasingly deepening, while revolutionary people’s uprisings continue defiantly amidst harsh repression. These two facts are inter-connected: the former causes the latter while helping it grow.
Before, we could generally talk of two opposing factions inside the regime: the so-called “Hard-liners” and the “Reformists”. However, these two factions were united and always save face when faced with opposition to the regime. But now, the advent of a people’s movement has made their divisions considerably more acute. “Reformists”, who were among the founders of the Islamic dictatorship, are now being ridiculed in the Islamic government’s show trials. Their intellectual father, Saeid Hajarian was forced to come to court to recant everything he ever stood for. “Hard-liner” leaders, mostly consisting of the conservative mullahs in Qom, on the other hand, are not happy about the way inglorious Khamenei-Ahmadinejad duo has handled the election dispute and subsequent uprisings. Most of them were never crazy about Ahmadinejad from the beginning and many are now even openly talking about bringing down Khamenei.
In short, the criminal cliques that have ruled Iran for the last three decades are now deeply divided. But why is it that they don’t act decisively? Why can’t they just do a back-room deal and eliminate the opponents?
The answer lies with the revolutionary movement of people which caused the division in the first place. If it wasn’t for the movement, “Reformist” leaders like Khatami, Mousavi and Karoubi (an ex-president, an ex-prime minister and an ex-Speaker of the Parliament, respectively) would have already been killed by the Khamenei faction.
Contrary to what many have claimed, the people’s movement has been going strong despite the harshest repression. It is not for nothing that Khamenei has named the protests “a Caricature of 1979 Revolution”. By doing so, he has publicly admitted his fear of the current Revolution. Analysts compared his statement to that of Shah who told the people a few months before being overthrown “I have heard the cry of your revolution”.
It is this revolutionary movement that is the real force behind the events. Massive spontaneous movements have undoubtedly progressed and transformed with the course of events. Initially supporting one wing of the regime against the other, the people now clearly shout “Down with Khamenei”. One of their recent slogans was “Independence, Freedom, Iranian Republic”. While this still betrays a national illusion, it clearly shows that people do not want an Islamic Republic and are already talking about what to replace it with.
The masses have shown that they have enough intuition, courage and heroism and are willing to fight. But their strong point, spontaneity, is also their weakest. What they need is a socialist leadership that will lead the revolution all the way to overthrowing the Islamic Republic and establishing a worker’s rule, the only way forward. An Iranian Revolution will only be victorious as a Worker’s Revolution, or, it will not be victorious at all.
Show Trials, traditionally used against left-wing activists, being turned againsts the “reformist” wing within the Islamic establishment as the divisions between the ruling elite become sharper.
This article was originally printed in Nedaye Mardom which can be accessed at www.AIYN.ca
Arash Azizi is the Farsi Editor for Nedaye Mardom, a Farsi/English newspaper being published by the newly-founded Afghan-Iranian Youth Network. Arash is also a supporter of Fightback, a Marxist journal for labour and youth in Canada.