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Iranian Protests

Started by Jacob, September 20, 2022, 12:08:50 AM

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Berkut

Using the term "generally" (used with consideration, and twice for that matter) is a concession to the fact that of course there are exceptions.

But I get that you can't pass up a chance to shit on Americans. Luckily I won't assume that is because you are Canadian - you are just an asshole.
"If you think this has a happy ending, then you haven't been paying attention."

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Tamas

It is not that rare to see East European emigrants being or even becoming very nationalistic, which is the same as religious extremism in a lot of ways. It must be how some cope with having a strange majority culture around them, I don't know.

But for sure it's not an exclusively Muslim immigrant thing.

grumbler

Quote from: crazy canuck on September 24, 2022, 03:17:44 PMThe ignorance of this statement is astounding.

I would've thought that an American, of all people, would be able to understand that everyone within a particular religious faith is not the same. They only need to look within their own country to realize that there is a significant range of ideology and outlook within the Christian faith. 

Why an American would think they are somehow exceptional in that regard... oh wait.  Right, Americans believe they are exceptional.

Thanks. That's a near-classic ad hom argument that I can use as a bad example in my classes.
The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.   -G'Kar

Bayraktar!

Solmyr

Quote from: Crazy_Ivan80 on September 24, 2022, 01:41:12 AMThe European experience with muslims is a tad different.

Pretty much all Finnish Iranians are against the mullahs. They held a demonstration today protesting against the Iranian government.

OttoVonBismarck

Quote from: The Minsky Moment on September 23, 2022, 12:01:13 PMNote that the 1979 revolution that brought the mullahs to power was triggered by urban demonstrations led by youth.  It was not a rural religious reactionary revolt.

And? You did not make a point here, but if I properly extrapolate, you seem to be suggesting the Iranian regime's support base is not rural religious conservatives. The genesis of the 1979 revolution being in college students in Tehran has little to do with who are the primary political powerbase of the hardliners. Many Revolutions, possibly even most of them, end up coopted by different forces than the parties that initially set them off. The Bolsheviks were not the progenitors of the Russian Revolution, and they arguably were not even the largest faction in the ensuing wars, they just happened to outmaneuver all the other groups eventually and seized complete control.

This is obviously exactly what happened in Iran, and any suggestion that rural Iranians were not a major power base of anti-Shah sentiment and pro-Khomeini influence would be gravely mistaken. The Shah's policies had actually caused intense rural resentment not primarily for cultural or religious reasons, but actually because of economic policies that devastated rural regions in the name of economic progress. Khomeini was massively popular among the rural grassroots in part because he appealed to traditional religious and cultural values of the rural people, but also because he was economically populist in many ways that addressed rural concerns.

When the National Front and the Tudeh, both of whom had advocated against regressive policies and ideas of the conservative clergy previously, decided to ally with Khomeini it was precisely because they were impressed with his populist appeal and they made a bad assumption that they could utilize Khomeini as a figurehead to rally a larger grassroots populist base, but would ultimately be able to direct the politics of a post-Shah Iran. This of course, did not happen. Khomeini showed he had a much larger base in the large national referendum after the Shah fled, and he utilized the Revolutionary Guard to suppress any opposition from his old Nationalist and Socialist allies, understanding adeptly that he needed a military power base outside the traditional Iranian military to secure his rule.

The system they set up actually has genuine elections and lots of deliberative assembly things, but the Ayatollah ultimately can prune people out of election lists and has direct control of the military, so he can wield absolute power to protect the Islamist rule, while giving the people some participation in government as a safety valve. It is not a terrible system if your goal is to run an Islamist government and try to head off some of the problems other such governments have had.

In a way it's almost like a reverse Saudi Arabia. Iran has a very theocratic and Islamist ruling clerical class, that knows that several large population centers simply don't buy into their brand of Islam, so they create veneers of democracy and try to promote economic development to keep everyone happy. In KSA you have a largely secularist and libertine royal family who use veneers of Islamism to keep the very conservative Islamist population content to continue letting the House of Saud run things. Although both KSA and Iran are majority conservative Islamist, Iran is much less so I think in raw numbers.

Tamas

Not to ruin the "Europe is a pro-theocracy bastion" narrative, but:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-63029612

QuoteProtesters have clashed with police officers during demonstrations outside the Iranian embassy in London.

The Met Police said members of the crowd threw missiles at officers and breached police lines in Princes Gate, Knightsbridge, on Sunday afternoon.

It comes as protests in Iran spread across the world, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in custody after being detained by Iranian morality police.

At least five officers were seriously injured.

Twelve people have been arrested on suspicion of violent disorder offences.

Dozens of protesters in London chanted "death to the Islamic Republic" and were seen waving Iran's former national flag from before 1979.

London mayor Sadiq Khan described the scenes as "completely unacceptable".

"The selfish minority who attempted to hijack a peaceful protest must be brought to justice," he said.

Footage posted online from Sunday's protest showed altercations breaking out among those in the crowd.

One clip showed two officers wrestling a campaigner - who appeared to have broken through the police line - to the ground.

The Minsky Moment

#51
Quote from: OttoVonBismarck on September 25, 2022, 11:29:11 AMAnd? You did not make a point here, but if I properly extrapolate, you seem to be suggesting the Iranian regime's support base is not rural religious conservatives.

My point is:
1. The key support for the Iranian revolution came from the cities.  It was in the cities that increasing unemployment was felt the worst, where worsening conditions in the rapidly growing slums fueled radicalization, that the disparities between expectations and actual life standards were most keenly felt.  It was in the cities that the tape recordings of Khomeini and Shariati so important for mobilizing support were widely disseminated and consumed.  And it was the uprisings in the cities that rendered the Shah's position untenable.

2.  Rural conservatism did not translate into uniform support for the revolution, perhaps not surprisingly given the initial alliance between Khomeini and the political Left opposition. Farmers and herders tended to be religious, but their loyalty was often to localized Shi'ite practices, not Khomeinism.

3.  That the revolution had an urban base is not surprising; most modern revolutions do.

4. Iran only became more urbanized after 1979; it is a heavily urbanized country, about 70-30.  Iran is not Afghanistan. And the rural minority is far from a pro regime monolithic bloc. It includes marginalized ethnic minorities, and substantial numbers of people living in difficult economic conditions despite the regime's lip service to pursuing anti-poverty efforts in the countryside.

5. The bottom line is that rural support for the regime, such as it may be, would not likely be sufficient to bolster the regime against a unified and determined urban-based revolutionary uprising.
The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.
--Joan Robinson

OttoVonBismarck

There is no widespread urban base of opposition to the Islamic Republic, there is widespread opposition among a small minority of urban Iranians, mostly those with higher educational attainment.

The Minsky Moment

Quote from: Tamas on September 26, 2022, 05:16:32 AMNot to ruin the "Europe is a pro-theocracy bastion" narrative, but:

Sounds like some of those MEK crazies may have gotten involved.
The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.
--Joan Robinson

The Minsky Moment

Quote from: OttoVonBismarck on September 26, 2022, 08:26:44 AMThere is no widespread urban base of opposition to the Islamic Republic, there is widespread opposition among a small minority of urban Iranians, mostly those with higher educational attainment.

That's probably true; I'm not denying it. I'm merely stating that if such a movement arose, the regime could not count on rural sympathies to survive it.
The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.
--Joan Robinson

Valmy

Quote from: The Minsky Moment on September 26, 2022, 08:36:09 AM
Quote from: OttoVonBismarck on September 26, 2022, 08:26:44 AMThere is no widespread urban base of opposition to the Islamic Republic, there is widespread opposition among a small minority of urban Iranians, mostly those with higher educational attainment.

That's probably true; I'm not denying it. I'm merely stating that if such a movement arose, the regime could not count on rural sympathies to survive it.

I am not necessarily denying what Otto is true but I definitely doubt he knows. I don't claim to know the minds of the average Iranians either urban or rural or whether or not they love the Islamic Republic unlike Otto. However, cutting off the internet and bringing in forced to violently suppress a protest and then preparing to do it again just a short time later don't strike me as the actions of a government with overwhelming positive support by the population. I also rarely see tiny groups of elite educated people doing this kind of street action multiple times a decade with the real threat of being gunned down, elites usually are too chicken shit to do stuff like that.

I am not saying that the regime is on the brink of collapse or that revolution is coming, but I have my doubt that the regime enjoys the kind of widespread urban and rural support being claimed here. If it did then all we are seeing would make no sense.  Currently the government is promising violent crackdowns "without leniency" and yet the protests continue. If this is some small group of educated urban elites then they have bigger balls than any small group of educated urban elites I have ever seen.
Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."

Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."

OttoVonBismarck

#56
The thing is there are 80 million Iranians, if this was anything but a small percentage of urban liberal types the regime would simply be toppled. The military can't do anything if it is literally outnumbered by millions and millions of people ready to bring the regime down. This is no different than many other such popular revolts--it's getting a lot of attention but it is far easier to pay attention to thousands in the streets and ignore the 79 million who simply are going to stay at home.

Remember when the Hong Kong democracy stuff started and their protests seemed wild? But most people were like our former poster now PRC apparatchik monoriu, it wasn't in his personal economic interest to give a shit, so they stayed home and let the government clean up the thousands of angry people.

We know this is what is going on because the regime isn't toppled. When there is actually a big majority of people ready to topple a regime, you have at the very least a major civil war, and often a toppled regime. This typically will not occur if most people are still relatively comfortable in their mundane personal lives, you generally need widespread problems affecting everyone--not just in this case women who don't dress in traditional Islamic ways.

Another big thing is when popular revolt is truly widespread it invariably affects large portions of the military as well, which we see no evidence of in Iran.

Barrister

Quote from: OttoVonBismarck on September 26, 2022, 10:23:36 AMThe thing is there are 80 million Iranians, if this was anything but a small percentage of urban liberal types the regime would simply be toppled. The military can't do anything if it is literally outnumbered by millions and millions of people ready to bring the regime down. This is no different than many other such popular revolts--it's getting a lot of attention but it is far easier to pay attention to thousands in the streets and ignore the 79 million who simply are going to stay at home.

This is very reductive reasoning OVB.  The protestors must be a "small percentage of urban liberal types" because they haven't overthrown the government.

The thing is there are lots of deeply unpopular, autocratic governments that last for years - up until the time they don't.  Think the eastern europe, Egypt, Ukraine...

The fact a government still exists says little about how popular it is at the time.

I'm not predicting the fall of the mullahs in Iran.  But I'm not NOT predicting their fall either.
Quote from: crazy canuckBB's treatment is consistent with one who defends positions taken by the conservative wing of the Conservatives.

OttoVonBismarck


Barrister

Quote from: OttoVonBismarck on September 26, 2022, 10:38:59 AMMy response: show me.

"I'll believe it when I see it" is on the one hand a very useful world view, but sometimes a completely useless one.

So it can be very easy to get caught up in the daily news every day, to see every little story as the harbinger of some greater trend, when in fact what you're seeing is the just the daily static of life.

But "I'll believe it when I see it" also means you won't be able to predict anything, ever.

I don't know enough about Iran to make firm predictions.  The mullahs have been in power for over 40 year so they certainly have some level of stability.  But the country has been economically stagnant for years and has repeatedly had massive demonstrations against the regime.  It does not strike me as a very stable and secure government.

Will this be the series of protests that finally overthrows the government?  Probably not - the regime has survived in the past.  But to conclude that because the regime has survived similar protests in the past it is actually comparatively popular?  That seems a grave misreading of the situation.
Quote from: crazy canuckBB's treatment is consistent with one who defends positions taken by the conservative wing of the Conservatives.