The article in Persian
At this point, the rhetoric on which the Islamic revolution`s principles were founded, strengthened and hailed, has reached its point of banality, whose failures and defeats herald its demise.
It`s time we sought a “replacement” for this outdated rhetoric, what we are after exists not in our minds and imaginations but the very skin of society: in movements and protests led by women, artists, laborers, middle class and upper-middle-class citizens, and those living in the outskirts of our cities, overall every single Iranian that is involved in these movements, one way or another. Such movements must be recognized and effectively supported, it is not us who give life to this rhetoric, it has an undeniable and underlying existence in our society, its elements, as irrefutable necessities, as concrete historical needs that have roots in people`s endeavors and struggles for freedom, especially in the last 100 years, have been gradually taking shape and now, as an inevitable eventuality, are showing themselves in the society. All we do is to recognize and theorize these already-existent elements and give them back to people to be used as a weapon against this totalitarian and bloodthirsty Islamic regime.
We are heroes born anew, fighting for the resurrection of “Iran”, we are all those who long for a better day for Iran, a day in which Iran regains its long-lost honor and pride, alongside us are thousands of imprisoned men and women activists, impoverished laborers, employers crushed under the astronomical 20 or 30 percent interest rates of loans, the bankrupt and the ruined, we, as a candle, long and burn to see the day when our Iran rises again from the ashes of this Islamic Republic, it is our duty to see to the birth of this rhetoric which will give a phoenix-like resurrection to Iran and take away the last breaths of this “ doomed Islamic Republic rhetoric” and let it crumble underneath.
Perhaps the most suitable label for this rhetoric is “revolutionary ultra-nationalism”, this rhetoric will be the only one that could have the power to challenge the “Islamic Revolution”.
Let us know the Islamic Revolution better first, then define the “Revolutionary Ultra-Nationalism” rhetoric.
What is “Islamic Revolution” rhetoric and what does it entail?
Surely, we cannot agree with those who claim that the Islamic Revolution, and the First Republic created as its result, was simply out of the ignorance and simple-mindedness of the people, and thereby put the blame on international superpowers at the time. The reasons mentioned above were not entirely ineffective in the triumph of the revolution but undoubtedly the main factor was an internal one.
What were these internal factors? What were the forces whose triumph or defeat shaped the final result, the “Islamic Revolution”?
The “Islamic Revolution`s” victory was the result of a common struggle and effort of different parts of the society including the intellectuals who saw a dim and bleak future for any economic growth, societal or political presence of their own under the continual reign of Pahlavi Dynasty.
When we say different parts of the society, we are referring to the Bazaari (the marketers), the merchants, producers, distributors, and real estate agents active in the Bazaar which comprised a considerable portion of the population at the time. In contrast to the rapid growth of mega supermarkets and exorbitant rates of imported goods, these people found their pockets getting smaller and their financial power weaker, such atmosphere naturally fostered protests against inequality, the goal of such movements was to abolish the political system so the people`s economical-societal life could survive, the religious intellectuals and the clergy, not surprisingly, stood in support of these people.
The secular intellectuals too have long been bitter enemies of the monarchy, came to the support of these people, hoping the abolishment and the overthrow of the regime would lead to a Republic replacement.
Considering the long-standing relationship between the Clergy and the Bazaar, and the fact that the majority of the population were of Muslims, political Islam quickly managed to stand as the towering ideological stance opposing the regime, trampling other political and intellectual currents at an alarming speed, so much so that even before the last blow, the triumph of the revolution in 1357, all other political movements had been pushed to the margins with little or no room to play in the politic game.
The dominance of Political Islam or Islamic fundamentalism over leftist, democratic or secular political currents is not limited to Iran, therefore we cannot claim that this dominance was the result of the mistakes made on the part of the leftist groups, National Front, or even Shah himself, for even now, 40 years after the revolution in Iran, if in any one of the middle eastern countries that currently have a democratic monarchy, republic or military government, we see a surge of democratic movements in opposition of the system, the victor of such “revolutions” could be safely predicted, in the first round at least, the religious intellectuals, the clergy and middle-class rural section of the society would come out triumph. This has been proven time and time again as it was the case with “Khomeini” in Iran, with “The Muslim Brotherhood” in Egypt in 2012, with “Ennahda Movement” in Tunisia, and the victory of “The Islamic Salvation Front” in Algeria, which led to the movement`s bloody suppression by the government.
With this perspective in mind, one can understand the reasons behind the horrendous and bloody defeat of other opposition movements from “Islamic fundamentalist forces”, before and after the revolution.
One simple fact has been consistent in all revolutions throughout the history of man, the protestors and the rebels in war with the regime, have always sought a ready-made and collective ideology to centralize their forces and attract as many “grey” people, apparently unconcerned with the revolution, as possible. In all revolutions we are facing a similar situation, the majority of no society is so “revolutionary” as is its most political and active groups, the majority often take a softer stand while the active political parties take sides with the extremes. In such situations, the “revolutionaries”, often due to their combat power, greater numbers compared to other political parties, their ready-made ideology, and traditional leadership are accepted by the greater majority of the society and therefore can dominate other movements and direct the main current of the revolution.
With this introduction, one can understand that Political Islam was the most convenient and collectively available ideology and rhetoric among people in those years, and with the expansive network of mosques throughout the country, it is not surprising that the clergy and the religious intellectuals managed to lead the protests against the monarchy.
When the secular intellectuals, the leftists, democrats, and the nationalists realized that they were overpowered by the Islamic fundamentalists, they contented themselves with the collapse of the dynasty, a long-standing dream for the opposition since the Constitutional Revolution in Iran. We should remember that even back then the intellectuals involved in the constitutional Revolution had joined hands with the Clergy or at least thought of doing so, in hope of overthrowing the monarchy. The first instance of such unison resulted in the collapse of the Qajar dynasty and the second ended in the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1357 in Iran. These marginal political parties that included the secular intellectuals, nationalists, democrats, and the leftists each tried to deal with the newly-born power state of the “Islamic Republic”, some chose the path of war and bloodshed, some peace and compromise, eventually though, they were all utterly annihilated. The intellectuals had no place in the political aftermath of the revolution, in which they had joined hands with the clergy to get rid of the monarchy, an ambition they paid a heavy and bloody price for.
What characteristics and particularities the “Islamic Revolution” Rhetoric has and what claims and goals it entails?
Considering the failure and impotence of the former regime to gain political and economic independence, the “Islamic Revolution” focused its rhetoric around this issue of independence, the greater majority of the people who protested, did so to show their discontent with the lack of independence Shah had, especially concerning such countries as “America” and “Britain”, the “Islamic forces” took advantage of such great discontent and focused on the issue of independence in their slogans and propaganda.
The country`s economy relied solely on exporting oil and importing basic and essential goods, this economic system raised anger and discontent among people, especially the producer and distributor Bazaari people who were dealing more in local and traditional goods than anything else.
The “Islamic Revolution” claimed to able to successfully transition the country from a severe dependence on its oil export, a problem nearly all oil-producing countries struggled with, to an industrial revolution and mechanized agriculture.
With poverty rampant in the country, rapid growth in suburban residential areas, and inequality and wealth gap in the society, the “Islamic Revolution” claimed to be fighting for a utopia in which they said “a justice of that of Ali would rule the society”, a place where there would be no economic or social inequalities, where all are equal in the eyes of the law. With the former regime`s lean toward the Western Bloc, the traditional culture, values, and customs had been overlooked, besides rejuvenating the national culture and traditions, the Islamic Revolution promised to revive such values, values that were not entirely limited to religion.
The Iranian Islamic revolution of 1357 had its roots in the Iranians` long-desired dream of becoming a superpower, a dream kept fervently alive even after numerous historical defeats which led to the disintegration of the vast empire, leaving behind a small country, whose last Shahs` were humiliatingly deposed and forced to leave their “ancestral homeland” by foreign powers. The protectors involved in the revolution were seeking a powerful and independent regime, one who won`t allow foreign interference in its internal affairs, one who should not take its orders from foreign superpowers and has the liberty to choose its own political leaders.
The intellectuals and the academics were displeased with being barred from having a presence among the regime`s elite, and this discontentment was apparent in their liberal and democratic demands. The “Islamic Revolution” whose main early goal was to cover as wide a range of supporters as possible, did so by implementing democratic and inclusive slogans and mottos, especially towards attracting academics and intellectuals; so much so that Khomeini made such claims as “ Freedom for all, even the communists.” in his speeches.
“Khamenei” and “ IRGC”, in exporting their form of government (Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist ), to other Islamic countries, is aiming to link the Iranians` ancient dream of creating a “ superpower Iran” to their twisted way of government, meanwhile, many of the indigent, conservative and rural people, who are highly vulnerable to the regime`s propaganda, see a potential materialization of this dream in “Khamenei’s” expansionism, through which he aims to export his form of government, Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist, to the other countries in the region, this is why these people defend the interventionist behavior of I.R. Iran.
Even some of the more traditional nationalist political currents, including Pan-Iranism, defend such expansionist view for this same reason While in reality, the Islamic Republic of Iran`s extraterritorial activities go against both the historical and the national interests, an issue I have elaborated on in several articles. A country`s might and affluence don’t necessarily come from beastly military power, countries such as South Korea, Japan, Eastern Asian countries and other countries in Southeast Asia, and post-war Germany, are concrete proof that a country can achieve great economic development without allocating a colossal amount of its budget for military spending.
Iran, after the Islamic Revolution, With a weak economy and the need for considerable investments in its Heavy Industries and oil and gas extraction and the highly-sensitive behavior of many countries in the response of military spending, needs to follow a policy in which no considerable investment in the military industry is needed, a conservative foreign policy, an emphasis on developing its Heavy Industries, and the production of oil products naturally would make up main properties of such a domestic and international policy.
The majority of the people in the 1300s, when “Reza Shah” came to power, called him the “Father of the Nation”, in hope of achieving social and economic developments, political independence, democracy, and equal rights, such propagated promises of secularism and modernity convinced the people to give up total control of the country to the Pahlavi Dynasty.
The propagated rhetoric from 1300 to 1357 was one of total trust in the programs outlined for the government from the United States and the European countries to bring Iran to “ The Golden Gates of Modernity”, by 1357 there was still a section of the society who defended such rhetoric but since Mohammad Reza Pahlavi`s promises failed to materialize alongside other difficulties in the country including rampant poverty in the country, rapid growth in suburban residential areas, and inequality and wealth gap in the society, found this rhetoric, and the regime propagating it, indefensible.
These failures, alongside “ Jimmy Carter`s” election in the USA who obliterated any foreign support “Mohamad Reza Shah” had, generated a flourishing climate for the protesters, whose background mostly belonged to the traditional class and the Bazaari, and enabled them to find political Islam as the answer to such turmoil, given the reality that the majority of the population were of Islam faith and followed religious values, creation of the rhetoric labeled “Islamic Revolution” was all but foreseeable, thus managed to attract a lot of people who were in a kind of limbo between the Shah`s rhetoric and the newly sprung Islamic one, culminating in the revolution`s victory and the birth of “Islamic Republic”. The leftist and secular intellectuals, who at that point had realized they could gain no more than the monarchy`s collapse from the revolution, made content.
Now, 40 years after the Islamic Revolution which gave birth to the Islamic Republic, We are witnessing the same turmoil which we did with the former regime, a total failure of the regime`s rhetoric and its failure to materialize its promises and goals.
The Islamic Republic has failed to achieve the majority of its goals set by the “Islamic revolution” rhetoric, including still being dependent on a Single-product economy and an embarrassing plea from the regime`s authorities to allow the country to sell its oil, whereas one of the main slogans and promises made by the Islamic Revolution was to remove the exportation of oil in all and replace it with the importation of goods.
Threatening to file suit against the US in International Court of Justice to deter the US from leaving a treaty, Inflation, unemployment, rampant destitution, prostitution, drug use, inequality and wealth gap in society, a surge in neo-liberal ideas and the implementation of such ideas in the society under the preface of “executing section 44 of the constitution” which led to the catastrophic destruction of the country`s production center as well as unemployment, and the hoarding of astronomical riches and resources by those with close ties to the regime, almost always incompetent, widespread cases of embezzlement and nepotism, an authoritarian political system, rendering any legitimate process of election futile and meaningless by the Guardian Council and the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist in Iran, these are all signs of “Islamic Revolution`s” utter failure and defeat.
Those still in support of the Islamic regime in Iran despite its sheer incompetence and its humiliating failure in almost all sectors of the society, are rendered speechless when asked the question that if all the problems now existing in the society are the same ones because of which you stood up against the former regime, meaning that, in fact, nothing has changed and no fundamental reform has taken place, then why did they revolt against the Shah in the first place?!
If back then under the reign of the Shah the producers and the merchants dealing in pity trade of traditional goods were left vulnerable and helpless against the unstoppable flow of imported goods, so are they now, if the growing number of omnipresent mega markets failed to attract the traditional suppliers active in the bazaars of Iran and therefore set them against the shah if the importation of agriculture products made the works of the domestic rice farmers futile and those of sugar producers pointless, so are they now, desperate and overburdened by the unregulated imported goods, the situation is even worse now, therefore the climate, as it stands now in our society, bears the potentiality for yet another revolution or continuation of the last one which did not achieve its goals, what we have in mind is a revolution with modern rhetoric and mindset, one of the ultra-nationalistic sentiments.
The Islamic Republic, Due to its extremely backward ideology in respect to law and judgment, human rights and its standpoint on the relationship between man and woman, and rejection from the international community and even the Sunni Muslims, has been isolated, just like a caveman thrown in a modern and civilized society who tries to stick to his cave and shuns any positive involvement or progress in the modern world, at this point the majority of our people take this “isolation’ to be the long-lost might and power of their nation and some even find it to be a source of pride.
“Political Independence” for a nation is defined as having the power and the independence to make its own decision while holding firm and fair relations with the international community, at the same time make the best decisions that lead to political and social progress and development. Otherwise, any man who`s gotten accustomed to life in the jungle could be called the most independent of all, the Islamic Republic Is isolated, not independent, due care is needed to realize the difference between the two, a difference that even some so-called nationalists fail to make.
Another problem with the “Islamic Revolution” is its readiness to sacrifice Iran and Iranians for the interest of Islam, this is a natural outcome of their ideology, of being in passionate love with their ideology, they claim to be Muslims first Iranians next, or even Shia Muslims first, they say that if need be they are ready to give up Khuzestan just to defend Syria, and this is the most dangerous madness that could be inflicted upon the political leaders of any society.
Why Revolutionary “Ultra-Nationalism”?
Nationalism, not Pan-Iranism which is an effete and dead ideology, is the core and heart of any rhetoric which can gather the greatest number of people under one flag, people who can strike the last blow to this regime.
What fuels this rhetoric and where it has risen from is the slogans and chants of the people that we hear in their
“Khuzestan my life, Karun my blood”, movements such as these, with a national fervor challenge the so-called Islamic cosmopolitan Ideology in Iran. When millions of people shout: “Not Gaza, not Lebanon my life is for Iran”, what they are seeking is Ultra-Nationalism, a movement that would stand up for Iranians and shout “Iran First”, one that prefers Iran to any religions or any ideologies.
This rhetoric is Ultra-Nationalist
In Ultra-Nationalism, the interest of the nation and the good of the people come before any ideology, party, or organization.
What this means is that ideological and intellectual lines are drawn by the interests of the country, for example, a Muslim, a socialist or a liberal democrat rethinks and reconfigures his Islam, socialism, or liberalism based on the good of the nation, the country should not be a vehicle to expand one`s faith or ideology, be it Islam, socialism or Marxism, but it should be exactly the other way around, everything, including religion, and socialism should be in service of the nation and for the glory of Iran, in case of any conflicts between the two, one should change his thoughts or ideology to accord to the nationalist course.
this was the case with the communists in Europe when they stopped supporting the dictatorship of the proletariat and let it crumble and instead started calling themselves “European communists”. So was the case with Marxism in Russia when it decided to serve its own people and nation and added “Leninism” to their ideology, or when in China people took up“Mao Zedong Thought from Marxism-Leninism”.
The people of European countries, while being modernists, are among the most nationalist peoples in the world, and shape and twist any ideologies to benefit the whole nation. Nationalism means to try and find common ground with countries such as the USA, Israel, Russia, China and Europe, while always putting the interest of your people first. Nationalism is a result of modernity and only a modern man can be a real nationalist and put the interest of his country before any other ideology and belief.
Despite fascist-like movements such as Pan-Iranism, which have fallen for the “Islamic Revolution`s” foreign policy. This rhetoric is “revolutionary”.
meaning that it seeks fundamental changes in the country’s economic, social, and political policies.
If our country fails to overcome the current problems facing the nation in the next few decades, given the varied ethnic background of the people, we might witness a civil war and even the disintegration of the nation.
Problems such as destruction of the environment, inequality, an economy solely dependent on oil, social inequality, lack of any governmental funds for developments in border regions, and political despotism. Any rhetoric aiming to save the nation must offer solutions to such problems as expansive social care, government control on education, health care, public transportation, and the inevitable conflict and tension with the fact that the society is getting bigger and denser in size, which might lead to sharing these social burdens with the private sector, a nation is chosen by the people cannot act and govern as the “Islamic Republic” does, Privatization of the public properties and dispossession of people of governmental funds and resources.
A revolutionary and nationalist government cannot allow its people to slave away their lives fulfilling the World Bank and IMF`s programs, such programs must be adjusted to the needs and wants of the people so to prevent a corporal rise of domestic and international companies in the country.
This rhetoric is modern and republican
Two beliefs of returning to traditional values the “land of Aryans” or religious values ( Takht and Menbar ) with a so-called progressive outlook on Iran has been in control of the country’s economic, social and political policies of the country and have had some success in achieving the historical goals of the Iranian nation but they have failed to secure their position as a defensible one when it comes to the developments in the areas of the industrial revolution, mechanized agriculture, stable economy, and favorable domestic policy.
These two kinds of rhetoric have now failed, and any return to fundamentalism, be it religious or historical fundaments leads but to a dead end, the Iran of tomorrow must be a modern and nationalist one, the rhetoric of revolutionary nationalism without falling for unrealistic romanticism, must move toward rebirth and an intellectual and social renaissance in Iran for Iranians.
Now is the turn for modern and revolutionary rhetoric, the two kinds of rhetoric: a return to traditional and religious values and a return to historical values, have neither been modern nor traditional, these two have been a mix of traditional and religious values with modern institutions to keep alive the religious and cultural resilience alive, despite having the greatest opportunities and economic infrastructure neither of the two could bring progress and development and so they withered away, let us not forget that we are currently in the “age of revolution” which the European countries passed through one to two centuries before, and just as they did, we have to resort to bloody and revolutionary protests if we want to achieve any of our democratic and liberal goals.
IRI gives no chance for nonviolence way to freedom, no colored revolution is possible, Iranian people have no chance to avoid a bloody revolution. I personally took part in the 1979 revolution, ّI smell a bloody revolution from Iran
This is why modernity and a revolutionist outlook toward the problems in society make up important features of our rhetoric, one which eventually leads to a free Iran. People will never return to the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist, or any other system of government-centered around one authoritarian figure, now it`s our turn, the modern nationalist revolutionaries.