Summary: A brief preliminary assessment of the situation in Iran in the first days of the revolt from a longtime Marxist inside the country, where youth have risen up against unemployment, poverty, and theocratic dictatorship. Translated by Ali Kiani — Editors
From inside Iran: It is three days since the popular protests that began from the northeastern city of Mashhad and the northwestern and northern towns of the province of Khorasan. Probably we could consider last night as the high point of these uprisings to date. The prime cautionary note, however, is that the unrest may have been initiated from within the regime by rivals and enemies of President Rouhani and his [somewhat reformist] cabinet. But if so, this focus was soon replaced by a different attitude: a surprising change toward radical slogans from among the people and the rapid course of events in that direction.
Somebody like me, after having observed four years of revolution [1978-81] and then the mass movement of the year 2009, can discern in today’s nationwide movement the gradual formation of an era of revolutionary uprising. Not only can the mass of the people no longer tolerate their current conditions, but they are also declaring their opposition at the top of their lungs. Meanwhile, the rulers cannot bring the situation under control. They repeat and even multiply their mistakes. Because of this, they are increasingly losing control of the situation.
- Where are we at politically at this stage of the mass movement? According to all the news I have received and my personal observations on the ground, it seems that we are at the stage of a transition to what I would call a real revolution. We are in neither a revolution nor a stable situation. This has brought us to an unknown juncture, that of entering into a revolution. In the last three days, we have not yet seen the full creativity of the masses. Nor have we seen their full energy and the full-blown development of their revolutionary spirit. That, I believe, could open the door to a new beginning for the development of human individuality and power as is his own end. The initial self-organization of the people has not yet fully congealed. Therefore, we could expect a step back at any moment. But I have to say that we have gone beyond the stable functioning of the regime.
- This movement started without any organization or structural planning. Because of this, it gets its power from each individual, from his/her motives and aspirations. These individuals decide whether to participate or not, which also runs the danger of lack of centralization, something that could weaken it at a national level.
- But the same lack of organization could also be a positive point. This is because the government cannot crush its centralized head because it does not have a head or even a tail. This is why the regime is in chaos and does not know what to do. It is worried and confused becauseit cannot blame and point to people as an outside enemy. There is no organization or ideology to blame and this safeguards the movement.
- But soon the rulers will figure this out, since if this movement continues it would develop its own structure and form. We have a dialectical race between a regime trying to figure out an effective way to crack down and a movement trying to find a form of organization that would strengthen and determine its continuation or success.
- The lack of a key unified slogan that would resonate and the lack of coordination are causing fractures among the different parts of the movement, which is also in a way dialectical. Quickly finding a common slogan would energize the people and weaken the unnecessary differences among them. Overcoming these obstacles would make a difference.