Point of no return

This might be a new revolution


Point of no return
by Omid Habibinia

More than one month has passed since the ruling faction of the Islamic Republic tried to silence all voices of dissent by rigging the election results and staging a semi coup-d’etat. By now it looks like a large portion of young Iranians have come to share the views that many intellectuals and progressive forces have had since before the elections: a regime which is founded on injustice and fear is not reformable; a view that reflects the realities of the streets of Iran today.
Meanwhile, the so-called reformists and their supporters outside Iran, who had received a severe blow on the night of the elections, saw their game of haggling within the system completely crushed and ruled out by the Supreme Leader. Completely dejected, their actions were limited to sending a few sarcastic messages here and there.
The people, on the other hand, did the undoable. The day after the Supreme Leader threatened the protesters with harsh consequences - namely bullets for those who dared to go out - they took to the streets by the hundreds of thousands, brushing aside the games of the two defeated candidates, and paid for it with their lives in order to change history.
Before the protest, the Moussavi camp was denying rumors of their participation in it, and instead went to the same authorities who had organized the coup, asking for an official permit for a rally.
To finish off the reformists, the Ahmadinejad-Khamenei gang had a new trick; they threatened the reformists with total elimination from the political scene, in order to have them step out of the arena voluntarily.
After Rafsanjani deviously thanked the Supreme Leader for his efforts, after the ridiculous show of ballot recount and result certification by the Guardian Council, and especially after their unsuccessful attempt that resulted in only recruiting 3 Ayatollahs to help their cause, the Association of the Combatant Clergy finally gave up and, in a statement to the people, called for calm, in order to salvage the game by getting back some of their detained members.
In a similar message, Moussavi called for calm and warned people not to be deceived by slogans targeting the fundamentals of the Regime, and to limit their demands for a redo of the elections. In an attempt to remain in the political scene, and to keep his positions in various political and cultural establishments, he even emphasized that this is a fight within the family, and outsiders that should not be allowed in.
Mehdi Karoubi, the other defeated candidate, also called for calm and asked people to return to their houses, but the “Sheikh of Reform”, as he is called, was naïve enough to blame himself for not listening to those intellectuals who had warned him about the futility of the elections and the will of the ruling faction to accept its results.
 The people, however, came down to the streets on the 20th of June and selflessly fought the Basij, Revolutionary Guard, and all other security forces of the ruling regime. Along the way, they learned that what they can achieve on the street scenes could never be achieved with outdated political games.
Here are some of the most important characteristics of the June uprising:
1.   The middle class, who has played a very important role in the protest and its organization, is one step from retreat, and one step to the revolution. The direction of its step will be determined by its success or defeat in bringing the more progressive parts of the bourgeoisie as well as the lower classes to its side.
Only if they silence all protest voices and successfully push the rival camp in the sidelines will Ahmadinejad and Khamenei’s lunatic curveball election results survive. Under these circumstances, any further dissent will trigger more lunatic plans on their part. This will, in turn, push the political tension beyond the brink in a society that is increasingly seeking its fate on the street scenes and not behind closed doors. By the time Khamenei has heard the voice of the revolution, even sacrificing some of his accomplices will not do him any good. 
By taking the initiative into their own hands, and not allowing it to remain within the petty games of the two political factions, the people can disorient both factions and the regime’s repressive apparatus. This will unite their movement even further.
The repressive apparatus of the regime is dependant on human forces who break quickly under pressure. The continuation of the demonstrations, protest, strikes and all other new popular initiatives will break apart this machine regardless of its size and cruelty. After a while, we will witness the disobedience and desertion among their ranks. Unlike the people who are supporting each other, the police and the security forces of the regime are physically tired and emotionally consumed. Their motivation to confront people will diminish in time and the humane behavior of the brave young Iranians will accelerate their desertion.
The ruling faction took a risk that has put it in a lose-lose situation. If they can successfully suppress close to 40 million people, the movement will go underground. Sooner or later the generation who has experienced violent street protest and does not fear guns anymore will bring down the foundations of the regime. If, on the other hand, the large rallies and other forms of popular unrest go on and end up mobilizing all political classes, and finally a general strike happens, it will spell the speedy end of the regime. 
The working classes will only enter the fight if they realize there is place for their radical demands in it. The upper classes will only directly confront the regime if they are assured if a speedy victory and are guaranteed of better economical and political interests. Therefore the middle class has no way but to remain in the streets.
the progressive and radical forces within the urban middle class has to chose between taking the leadership of the movement and its transition to a progressive revolution or like in 1979 wait for savior to take the lead. The 30 years of Khomeini has only brought about misery for people hence it will not be wise to wait for another savior to come along.
the progressive forces should draw a clear line between themselves and  the all kinds of reactionary, religious or accidental dissidents. They should not allow the 1979 to repeat itself when the opportunistic clergy was preaching unity to defeat the shah but in the back room was plotting to eliminate all other forces.
Progressive forces must seriously spread information, deepen theoretical understanding and confront the pundits of both factions of the regime inside and outside Iran. They should use every opportunity to promote alternative ideas and put a leash on the common superficiality, lack of persistency, banality and constant need of a savior among the middle classes.
To my view the present uprising although radicalizing by day is still few steps away from becoming a revolution. The same distance it has from accepting the coup and going quiet for a while. The uprising has opened a new chapter in out fight for democracy and its transition to our final battle.
 In his 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonapart, Marx argues that bourgeoisie tries to bring to its side every change and every force generating change. In the midst of chaotic and unplanned fights calling for calm, hero making and ???   has always been a reformist action plan.
Reformists by nature act always like the fifth wheel of car in a society that wants to move forward. Most of the times their absence is better than their presence.
The reality is that after 20th of June 2009 the time of hope in reform has come to an end.the only hope the fearful heads of the regime have now is the lack of revolutionary forces on the ground and the low level of public awareness which has been caused by years of repression and censorship. But the revolutionary conditions that we are witnessing are very innovative and resourceful. There is great possibility that an alternative will be born out the street battlegrounds and from inside the factories and universities. An alternative that could represent the progressive aspirations of people.
Many people believe we have entered a point of no return and those of us who are fighting the IR gunmen on the streets will open a new chapter in the Iranian history in a final battle.


Recently by Omid HabibiniaCommentsDate
سکوت جنایتکارانه
Aug 14, 2012
Friends and Foes
Feb 16, 2011
تاج گذاری شیطان
Dec 22, 2009
more from Omid Habibinia


by Dariush on

I agree. 

As for the democrocy, universally speaking what you wrote makes sense. But unfortunately when many speak of democrocy, what they have in mind, is a copycat of western system. we might have a different opinion on this, but i see in western system, democrocy comes in different colors too. They may claim to be the same, but in reality they are not.   For example, Sonia Sotomayor has made one remark toward the white race/system many years ago and she is being crucified for it, while the white system has actually crucified all the others, but one cannot make even a remark.  There are millions of cases out there.  Where is the democrocy and freedom?  So, I think this can be categorized as black, brown, white or yellow democracy.  That is why when it is exported it looks nothing like a democrocy.  Maybe that is how Gene Sharp got the idea of color revolutions and democracies.

As for the movement and leadership. I still believe education and evolution was the best way for change and intelligent  dedicated nationalist with proven records the best leadership.

Now, We are where we are and we must make the best of it to prevent any disaster.



by benross on

Yes of-course. If it wasn't for me, practically changing the subject, Omid could face much harsher reality check!

But the fact remains that we ARE in the point of no return. This is no longer about the election or its aftermath. We have to be blind not to see what the whole Islamic regime sees and reacts to it... and we are not prepared.

This is not only a simple case (or another case!) of missed opportunity for those who want democracy and freedom. It may have a much more frightening outcome. Civil war, despotic military coup, or an all out stateless chaos.

The train has already left the station... and nobody is driving it. 



by Dariush on

I think alirezag's respond is more toward this blog "point of no return" and the whole election and demonstrations and not so much about discussing the details of democracy  and I think it is very selfish for alirezag or me to complain about traveling discomforts when people are getting killed and tortured.  Just as we have the rights to speak and protest and defend our rights, so do others.  I agree that protests didn't start non violent, but in times were non violent and were in millions and people from all social status and groups participated in demonstrations.  Regardless, shootings and killings were not the answers. 

Thank you for your comments.





Social contract

by benross on

Democracy is a social contract based on modern thinking. Its value is not about the will of majority, which often prevails in most societies anyway, but the respect for minority. This thread discusses the ways to achieve democracy. Someone who wishes to beat and imprison his opponents is entitled to his opinion -perhaps- although in some jurisdictions spreading hatred is illegal, but he is not part of this discussion. I do not choose who is Iranian and who is not. But we should be able to have a say in who is participating in a discussion about freedom and democracy.

As you may have noticed, anybody can post here within the three points rule mentioned by the site administration. So keeping the dialogue open is always better than closing it. But for the sake of this thread, those who are ignorant about democracy, better to reframe themselves in participating in a discussion they are not part of. I only mentioned the obvious, they do not belong.

I do not believe Dariush by the way, that not allowing free speech to those who have no respect for freedom of speech whatsoever, is antidemocratic. This is not part of a social contract called democracy. But this can be debated and unlike the killing wish, it has its place here.



by Dariush on

you responded to alirezag, "he doesn't belong here if he doesn't believe in democrocy.

Isn't your statement undemocratic? He has the same right as you and I to speak his mind.

I am not even going to mention that he is alirezag and you are benross and the subject is Iran.



Let's keep it civilized

by benross on

I thought we are discussing here among honorable Iranians who believe in freedom and democracy and civilized debate and do not wish to beat-up Iranian youth for the sake of their own comfort. You do not belong here if you don't believe in democracy.


maskhareh shodeh

by alirezag on

At what point do you realize you're acting like an idiot?

 1. Tehranis don't support you rioting and disrupting their lives. They have work to go to, errands to run and families to raise. There are also plenty of Iranians in America who look forward to going back and we don't need asghal like you ruining our trips. I am personally so fed up with this nonsense that I hope the next a-hole on the street gets beaten so hard he remembers it for the rest of his life.

 2. You are the minority. Bakhtan geryeh nadareh. Stop this lajbazee as it will only hurt yourself, or the stupid people who listen to you. The majority or Iranians have shown their position.

 3. This is getting pathetic. It's been two months since the "revolution" and all I see on the streets are a few people, likely a mix of paid agents, manipulated fools, and crooks looking for an opportunity to loot. That's not a revolution. That's a group of people who deserve to be in jail.


Jang-aval Behtar-az Solhe-Akhar ast

by Nosratallah on

What Imam Khomeini knew that so called todays leaders still to this day do not know was that Iranian are group of "ajoul" who even do not follow their own convestional wisdon; that has been pass down through generation to them. He knew that people with the low visions would not have a good hard "Jang-aval" with each other before they get rid of the shah, so the people of Iran and their leadres in 1979 use the "ghif" up side down and pured the water from the smaller opening, and you know the rest of the story.

Today it is no defferent than 1979, a large group of people are following no one, all their leaders are attaching themselves to Green movement. There it is again they should have the "Jang-aval" now, so that if and when anything come out of this (which I doublt) they would not be mislead again, saying we did not know so and so is going to be in power and he would rule such and such, we were only think of bringing down the regime. People wake up please and then you may go back to sleep. Do not buy into this false unity with other groups now, have your own identity and leader, if they are scare to come to the "midoon" with you they are not real leaders.

If you do follow what you did during, 1953, and 1979. In 30 years from now, in 2039 you would have the same thing repeating again, and again and again.

P.S On the follow up from THassani is number 2. he is misinforming us about virgins, it is 72 virgins not 7, and they do not finishing up, there are plenty of them!



Now we know what?

by benross on

I missed the valuable points that Babak Sabzevari posted while I was posting almost at the same time.

But if I may, I redirect your anger to yourself.

It's easy to criticize the nostalgic of the past regime, or the bankrupt left wing thinkers. Almost too easy. What is *not* easy is to face our common guilt. And your approach is a sophisticated approach in valorizing the attempt in ignoring the common guilt.

We overthrew the past regime, with the same political thinking that you despise, and this regime is what we got. But you don't want to talk about it. Of course it was all their fault for maintaining a dictatorship that did not allow us to grow. Now we know that. (and of course there should never be any responsibility on MY part!) The question is now that we know, we know what?

This will not work. You will fall in the same nonsense that you despise. You will be obliged to *hate* anything that reminds you of our common guilt.

... and little by little, responding 'death to Russia' for the call of 'death to America' will become 'light years ahead political thinking'.

And that's a pity, because you know better.


Improvised leadership

by benross on

The point of no return started during the election campaign. And by no other than Ahmadinejad.

I happen to believe that Ahmadinejad could have won the election, with real numbers not with the coup. This coup was not only aimed at the opposite camp, but also at Ahmadinejad. It was Ahmadinejad, not Moosavi, who lashed out against Rafsanjani in the TV debate. This to Iranian people, did not mean an attack against a 'reformist'. It meant an attack against one of most corrupt founding fathers of the regime. Once Rafsanjani could be attacked, the sky was the limit... and Khamenei clearly saw that.

If Ahmadinejad had been elected by their own so called election rules, with no backlash from the population, he could have been a danger to the regime establishment. Clearly he started by attacking those elements in the power struggle within the regime which he could get away with. But he had no intention to stop there. I think Ahmadinejad and his delusional objectives are vastly misunderstood... except by Khamenei, and a good portion of people who voted for him.

The coup was an attempt to dampen the rhetoric against the regime establishment, and it could have succeeded, if it had not been faced with the outrage of people who could no longer stand the regime's not respecting its own ridiculous games.

As a result, a coup that intended to stop the move to the point of no return, actually ignited this move and we are now faced with a 'Chronicle of a Death Foretold.'

The problem though, is that despite the unpredicted uprising, the regime has it where it wanted: without an alternative.

The make-shift coalition against Ahmadinejad that now has become a make-shift leadership for uprising, has no capability whatsoever. If Gandhi could lead a civil disobedience movement, it was because he was an established leader of the movement to begin with. Had he decided to organize an armed uprising, he would have had succeeded anyway.

This is what is missing in this whole debate:  leadership

The main issue is not how to fight, but what to fight for and who is representing that fight.

A point in history: Khomeini was not a savior. He was the leader of the Islamic revolution. The revolution couldn't succeed without his incredible leadership. If we want to learn from the past, we should not question his quality as a leader. We should question the thoughts and ideas in the society that saw him as a savior.

This is where a debate about the fundamentals becomes absolutely necessary. If we want to kill this uprising, there is no better way than continuing to talk about who said what and who did what in the past ten days.


Excellent 19th century analysis!

by BabakSabzevari on

Keep up the great work Mr Habibinia, and you might
just be able to produce a 20th century revolution, if,
that is, you don't forget to "surround the towns from
the countryside" :)))

The reality is that the new generation in Iran is lights years ahead
of you in its post-ideological, clear-headed thinking.  They found
a tiny opening in the semblance of republicanism of the IRI, and
shafted it so hard that Khamenei's eyes popped out of its
sockets, leaving your ilk angosht be ...... , well, dahaan.

You declare that Iranians have a "low level of public
awareness which has been caused by years of repression
and censorship" only because they refuse to heed your
dogma and follow your prescription for eternal emancipation. 
The learned advice of your ilk (sectarian left/MEK/monarchists)
to Iranians was to boycott the elections;  instead, they
participated massively, and managed to deliver such a
Herculean punch to the regime that six weeks later, it is still
trying to figure out which way is up! 

Your "comrades" were trying to discourage people going in to
vote at the IRI embassy in London on June 12 with banners
calling for the overthrow of the IRI, and displaying "Worker
Communist Party of Iran (Hekmatist)".  I kid you not. Hekmatist?!
What the hell is that?!  Faction of a faction of a faction of a

Meanwhile, the monarchists are trying to shove their flag down
peoples' throats at Iranian solidarity events abroad, and
clandestine MEK supporters are going into the organizing
events for the July 25th global rallies trying to convince others
to substitute their cults' color yellow for the green color of Iran's
civil rights movement, saying yellow is the color of Amnesty
International!!  You people really make me sick! 

The fact is that the train has already left the station and your ilk
is now desperately trying to hop onboard.  Good luck with the

baa ehteraam,
Babak Sabzevari


Point of no return

by THasani on

I couldn’t agree with you more Mr. Omid Habibinia.

However, you need to realize that:

  1. The revolution of 1979 was stolen by Ayatollah Khomeini. When he was in Paris, he said that he just wanted to organize people to get rid of the Shah and had no intension of getting into politics. He was asked once about his famous quote of not interfering with government, he said “It was a white lie (Khod-eh  zadam in Arabic)”!
  2. Iranians are dealing with a government armed to its teeth with an estimated 7 to 8 million brainwashed Basijii, Pasdaran, Army, etc. willing to die and go to heaven to meet the 7 virgins. Protesters have a long way to go to convince those brainwashed people that thanks to Hamas and Hezbollah there are no more virgins left in heaven.
  3. Protesters, Mr. Mousavi, and Mr. Karobi need to pretend that they are working under the constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran, just to ensure that the government won’t be able to label them as infidel or at war with God (Mohareb-ba Khoda). Mollah Mohamad Khatami the supreme leader representative in Teheran already declared that those who have been arrested during uprising are at war with God! 
  4. I don’t agree to go underground or to bear arms against this regime. Those brainwashed Basijii’s are Iranians too. They are our sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, or friends and we should not attempt to shed even a single drop of their blood. We need to learn from Gandhi who said “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win “. That is it. Civil disobedience has more power that any gun.
  5. It is an excellent idea to abolish supreme leader and Valayat-eh-Faghi” (I think with this selection they need to rename it to “Velayat-eh-Vaghih”), but I believe we need to crawl before we could walk.

The day with abolished selection is the day Iranians truly elect their president.