"Refolution" and Fear of the Powerless


"Refolution" and Fear of the Powerless
by alborz

The social, political and economic transformations in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and China point to the end of violent revolutions and the emergence of a new approach to transformation that involves reform and revolution.  Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies at Oxford University, coined the term refolution to describe the hybrid form of change that had taken place. These transformations were non-violent and pointed to a belief that violence generates enemies and it causes great pain and suffering.  Several generations of these societies had lived through such pain and suffering and were determined not to repeat the experience for future generations.

The recent social movement in Iran points to the same awarness and social maturity amongst the masses that have experienced social strife, economic deprivation, and hopelessness within a theocracy that asserted its legitimacy through violence and in the name of divine will.  The people Iran are astutely persuing a non-violent path to bring about change and have learned the lessons of history and taken to heart the principles underlying social transformation.   In contrast, the powerful that have clashed with this broad social movement have not understood another principle that those that win power through violence against their enemies will use violence againsts their friends! The recent show trials of prominent figures within the theocracy and the purges that continue are a testament to this principle.

Fear can alone explain the disproportionate and violent response to a peaceful movement.  The survival instict can evoke fear and no doubt survival continues to be at the core of what is traspiring in the collective mind of a now fractured theorcracy.

The emergence of hybridized world where societies and cultures are now able to interact and morph into new vibrant societies that value not purity in race, culture, religion, or tradition understandably poses a threat to the pillars of power in Iran.  The youth of Iran and more significantly the women of Iran have emerged as a valiant champions of universal principles adopted by this hybridized world.   They have moved from being negatively critical to being Critical in the positive sense, where one change will quickly lead to another – or critical tipping point. Simple acts of texting, tweeting, emailing, congregation, social networking, and chanting now define the new forces of change in this hybridized world.

The people of Iran have understood these principles and amongst their creative chants, they recognized and celebrated the diversity that exists within Iran and called for unity.  Their call was distinguished from the slogans of support for the institutions but rather unity in the establishment and preservation of individual rights.

How proud must we all be.

As a minority whose fellow believers remain incarcerated and deprived of basic human rights, I am doubly heartened by these developments.  I have a responsibility to maintain a belief that is founded on conscious knowledge and it is these events that allow me to be more hopeful than ever, even as the Yaran of Iran, defenseless and powerless will face the full force of the state at their trial this Sunday.  They too are amongst the powerless that cause fright among the powerful.



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Still have couple of 2 rialis left!

by capt_ayhab on

[How proud must we all be.]

Simple yet elegant and deep. Wonderful piece sir truly appreciate you.



Darius Kadivar

Subject of the following conversation on BBC Persian

by Darius Kadivar on

They also mention "Refolution" in relation to the Velvelt Revolutions of the 1990's. The following Professor was accused by the IRI regime of being a spy for speaking about such a possibility in IRan. 

An interesting interview go here:

BBC Persian Hard Talk with Prof. John Keane accused of Espionage by IRI



Oktaby - agreed !

by alborz on

Just as the Iranian revolution of '79 may have been the last of upheavals of its type, I cannot agree with you more that "The Iranian people are at the forefront of a much larger tectonic shift."

Your use of the term "tectonic shift" is so appropriate in this case as it conveys the shift as being much broader than a single society and encompasses the entire world.

Thank you.


PS - will read your previous blogs next.


November 26 2003: "..relentless tides of historical change"

by faryarm on

The Following is from the last paragraph of a 2003 letter to the Bahais of Iran. 

"Ruling elites can make no more serious error than to imagine that the power they have managed to arrogate to themselves provides an enduring bulwark against the relentless tides of historical change."

UHJ November 2003.




Well articulated and worthy of deeper dives

by oktaby on

Particularly with the assertion of Pride. Just when the islamic tyranny seemed to be hitting on all cylinders, out comes an uprising that puts life into the dying body of the Iranian nation.

Your 'fear alone' assertion is accurate but as a secondary response. The primary was Koodetah which (see my blogs of June 24 & 27) was pre-meditated and executed as planned. The strength and depth of the reaction of Iranian people then drove the fear response. Furthermore, globalization and its drivers provide the real backdrop. islamic fascism has been fully initiated, nurtured and supported by West and then East, and the current global stance is steady as she goes not just on Iran but on a slew of conflicts and issues around the globe. The powerless are being defined and tiered as we speak.

The Iranian people are at the forefront of a much larger tectonic shift.