How to start a movement

Niloufar Parsi
by Niloufar Parsi

in less than 6 minutes!

  • nurture your first few followers as equals
  • leadership is overglorified
  • the first follower transforms the lone nut into a leader
  • have the courage to follow and show others how to follow

note: profanity and name-calling only work for violent movements.


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How to start a movement

by Darveesh on

Let me see!

You get together the following ingredients:

1. One unit of oppressive government.

2. 70 million units of oppressed people.

3. 31 year units of killings and mayhem.

4. Few million pissed off Persian boys and girls.

5. One unit of rigged election as spice.

Place it in the oven of time for few days and it shall boil over.

CAUTION: Sit back and watch empires implode, let alone dinky Islamic Regime as Khomeini's

Niloufar Parsi

no fear

by Niloufar Parsi on

thank you for the response. it is a pleasure debating with you.

btw, your man has outfoxed the other side well on the nuclear front it seems!

i voted for moussavi. main reason was i did not want iran pushed toward war. but iran has chosen ahmadinejad, and we must promote her interest, especially when she is threatened.

i know many here cannot see anything but pure propaganda in the above statement. i don't understand why. iran is our country. and she has international law on her side when it comes to the nuclear issue. i don't see what can be above international law. it can't be american interests. who cares about american interests? of course they have their rights, but they do not have the right to push iran and other countries around. enough already!

btw, in my view, the social safety net is essential to the system and will last as long as the system does. in some ways, it is the gestation place of socialism from within a representative democracy :) 


No Fear


by No Fear on

I agree with all your points.  You are right, the administration does have social safety nets for those who will suffer most during the economical corrections. This is in itself, a form of leftist tendencies when faced with the concept of " Justice ".

Whether this concept is directly affected by a socialist definition of achieving Justice or a religious (?)one, the end results are the same.

However, one should keep in mind that these measures are temporary and are only meant to help the lower class during transition times. Therefore, can not be counted as the administration long term policies.

Niloufar Parsi

no fear

by Niloufar Parsi on

that's not fear i sense in you, is it? just teasing... :) i have no such agenda. am too small a player for that kind of agenda.

by the term 'opposition', i didn't mean just the greens. i meant the bigger divide between modernists and traditionalists. it is a very loose interpretation of the term, i know. but the simple message was that the 'regime' will have to give to the secular camp too. the pressure for this from below is set to grow.

on the current administration, they do have a leftist agenda with the redistributive policies that are taking from the better-off classes and supporting the poor, while they do not challenge the essentials of capitalism. blanket subsidies cannot be maintained on too many items. not at this level of productivity anyhow. iran has no other choice. it is a necessary mix of right and left policies, similar to many other countries that are emerging. they know, just as the west did when it industrialised, that you have to take care of the poor or the system fails.


No Fear


by No Fear on

I agree with the majority of your points.  I have also noticed how you observe political developements in the context of social developements , mostly the designation of a certain political thought to a specific class of the society.

You have a very valid point there too.

But isn't a bit odd or strange that the current administration which clearly represents the lower and lower middle class of the society ( Without a doubt, the majority in Iran ) , has an open/free market economical plan and it is implementing those plans ?  Shouldn't it be the leftists who are supposed to represent this class?

Ahmadinejad strategy in gaining control of the Administration was a brilliant PR move in his first term for presidency.

But no one can be happy of the aftermath of last years election. The problem now is that the ( New opposition , Taazeh az rah resideh !)  who has lost their power base, is accusing the administration of everything that goes on in Iran.

When they are confronted with their own misdeeds of the past, they blame the Judiciary, but when 5 terrorists are executed ( Not 4500 political prisoners ), all of the sudden, its Ahmadinejad's fault, not the Judiciary anymore. Just read the recent press release of Karoubi and Mousavi and you get the picture. Hypocrisy has its limits.

You say;

it is not just a matter of the opposition learning to live with the system.

FYI , Opposition was the "system" just a little while ago and they must learn how to respect the rule of majority without creating a climate of mistrust and false accusation.

PS:  Are you harbouring an Anarchist somewhere in your mind? A belief that by creating havoc in high level of the system, it will lead to the abolishment of the entire system?  Do you encourage a " dog eating dog"  approach? Are you being naughty?

btw, That little video clip worked perfectly. ;)



Niloufar Parsi

no fear

by Niloufar Parsi on

no political system is going to satisfy everyone. it is the nature of the beast.

i think your point about khatami is part of the reason people did not vote for moussavi in the end, though a 30% share of the vote - regardless of the debate on fraud - is no small achievement. 

i also get a sense from you that ahmadinajad supporters and perhaps he himself are not happy about how it has turned out internally since last year. tell you what i think is one of the weakest points about him: he has the world's worst presidential public relations team! :) 

my use of 'conservative' versus 'progressives' was limited to the 'general population' and not the government for the same reasons you mention. but i am sure you recognise a cultural chasm in iranian society between traditional and modern schools; something that works its way up into the political system. on the street level, this can turn into ugly clashes with a young population that is bound to become increasingly disenfranchised.

i agree with the need for reconciliation and looking forward to working together. a part of this reconciliation has to come from those in power. it is not just a matter of the opposition learning to live with the system.


Niloufar Parsi


by Niloufar Parsi on

thank you for the encouragement. it means a lot to me :)

No Fear

NP and Mammad

by No Fear on

The traditional classification of " progressive " and " Conservatives" doesn't really explain the whole picture in Iran anymore. ( I am also guilty of using these same terminologies, but i have to find a better one ).

Do you remember when khatami was talking about a civil society based on the rule of Law? He also wanted to reform the system in many ways but his main strategy was to creat an open political climate , internally and internationally , so consequently economical progress will follow.

That time he was the "progressive" thinker and everyone else was "conservative". Many intellectuals with leftist background supported this reform movement.

As it turned out, he lacked enough testicular fortitude to push his agenda forward ( Progressive thoughts, yes, but clearly lacking the will and structure to implement reform ) . His economical plan was a failure and his foreign policy was disastrous , unless you think having dinner with the italian prime minister or flashing smiles at the reporters are foreign policy accomplishments.

Naturally, we all expected a strong " conservative " win. Ahmadinejad is a relatively new player in our politic. His kind deserve a shot at running the country for simply fighting for Iran at the frontlines and being highly educated as well.  Many of his team members are graduated from universities, not seminaries. ( Not like the oligarshic class , either in education or the guts to be at frontlines).  His nationalistic credentials are intact.

He has done surprisingly well. I must admit that almost in every aspect of our government , he has made a positive contribution ( Being Progressive ) or change. Maybe, in some areas, the speed is not what you expect to see, but i see the groundwork that is being laid. Like a building foundation. ( Maybe you think his foreign policy was a disaster, but look at the results , they are pushing forward with their number one priority, not like an incompetent khatami ). Every group in Iran supports the nuclear energy and lets not go there. So he has done well so far.


I know both of you wish for the same thing that i wish for. And that is a progressive Iran with gradual steps towards real and tangible reform. I don't care what kind of a government is in power. I just want people to choose it.

I believe that our difference is in our selection of the proper team which can successfully carryout these reforms. You have to agree that we've done a lot better than those who you supported before. Hopefully, no green supporter would get a harsh punishment. As far as i follow the news, most of the green supporter sentences are being watered down and they are being freed. We are all Iranians and we wish the best for Iran.



No Fear

by Mammad on

I cannot agree more with what you say. Thank you.

Let me add a point. Right before the 1979 Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini said, "Suppose that our fathers freely chose monarchy. It does not mean we should do the same." Every generation can and should express its opinion about the political system.

By the same token, suppose that 98% of the people said yes to Jomhouri-ye Eslami in 1979 (forget that many people, including myself, thought that the Jomhouri would be of the type that Bazargan had drafted into a constitution, although I did not vote). Now that it has been experienced, it does not mean that the present generation should also accept it the way it is.

Niloufar Parsi:

Some of the best blogs are posted by you. Thank you.


Niloufar Parsi

bah bah ao

by Niloufar Parsi on

safa avordi :)

Niloufar Parsi

no fear

by Niloufar Parsi on

i agree with all of that. point about hijab was that it is open to interpretation, and a faction's interpretation got imposed with no discussion.

am particularly agreed with you about pragmatism as a necessity. i hope we will be able to open ways for greater engagement. right now, and quite separate from the question of morality, iran is badly divided between conservatives and progressives among the general population with the results that we saw last year.


Anonymous Observer

Bia eenam comment

by Anonymous Observer on

to support your blog.  Not that you need it or anything, but I'm just returning the favor to my favorite blogger for always supporting my blogs.  :-))))

No Fear


by No Fear on

Morality : "is a system of conduct and ethics that is virtuous." Wiki

Governance and morality don't mix and match. Isn't this the same type of problems that we are facing today? The implementation of a moral institute ( Religion ) in our day to day political life. Moralities falls short when a country needs to defend itself, or it needs to make a harsh economical decisions. Simply put, the laws of political science should be applied to governments than any other laws. ( Did you meant "justice" when you refered to moralities? )

Having said that;

At the begining of the revolution, the first referendum was  "Jomhouri Eslami Iran"  vote  YES or NO ?

Jomhouri Islami .... not a word more , not a word less.

And people voted YES.

Clearly, this is giving a free hand to implement Islam with the form of republic. What else can Islam mean when followed after Jomhouri?  Now, here is the real dilemma. As a true democrate, would you call those people stupid for voting that way? You can not do that. You have to respect the vote of majority. Jomhouri Islami allowed for the first time, a religious ruling class to rule over Iran and implement religious laws.

Now, for the first time, This concept is being challenged from within the IR. This challenge is coming from those who vigorously defended this doctorine for years by being the foot soldiers of that movement. Having POWER is the best recipe for CORRUPTION and the ruling religious class were no exceptions.

Rightfully, some religious figures outside of the government , are voicing the concerns about the seperation of religion and governance to SAVE religion and its purity. We should support these voices and support those who are for seperation of religion and state matters.

My revolutionary days are long over and i see myself as a pragmatic observer who believes in baby steps towards an Iran based on " Mardom saalaari ".

Lessons must be learnt.  If in another referendum, my people still vote for Islam as a political force, I will respect their vote as i did the first time. 

Afterall , It is Majority  Not  Morality.


Niloufar Parsi

no fear

by Niloufar Parsi on

i am not sure that any human institution is located outside of moral considerations. our basic drivers are moral, and the choice of democracy is included in that. democracy may be morally impure, but it is moral somehow on balance.

on the veil issue i think this is why many women put up with it. it's a difficult one however. you base your argument on a negative (they do not have a strong feeling against the
implementation of sharia laws in Iran), and the imposition was forced rather than put to the vote, if i remember right. i do not think it would have been included in the constitution, but correct me if i'm mistaken.

but people on the whole are doing as you say. seems a long way ahead yet till we get human rights based laws if all we have to debate with are religious schools. but i am optimistic that growth of grass roots ngos will affect the pace of this trend, as does the country's demographics.

what do you think?


NP: what is the link for the video. I cannot click it.

by MM on


No Fear


by No Fear on

Please continue to post more of Ted's videos.

My statement about the lack of morality in politics ( Whether an approach is right or wrong ) is rooted in my belief in democracy. Democracies are NOT moral forms of governments, but they are the best solution yet.

The simplest form of dedication can be as simple as showing up to a voting booth. But if everybody votes on the removal of muslims women veils, then this would be an immoral decision since it would interfere with the freedom of choice or religion of another human being. However, the wish of the majority should be respected.

Under the same reasoning, the majority of Iranian are devoted muslims therefore, it seems that they do not have a strong feeling against the implementation of sharia laws in Iran.

Until a day that a set of human rights laws are implemented in our laws, ( Laws that are created by our Majlis ) we have to live and respect the current laws and try to maneuver our way around them. Many of the sharia laws have been abandoned for more civil form of punishments in recent years. ( Like Stoning ).  This trend of replacing Sharias laws with more progressive laws has been a source of great debate among religious schools and a great way to findout the real moderate progressive forces in Iran to support them.

It is a difficult battle. Afterall, you are replacing God's laws with those of a mortal human.


Niloufar Parsi

no fear

by Niloufar Parsi on

amazing how much info is packed into the analysis of this little video. i don't know if you are familiar with 'ted talks'. they are really amazing. i am going to post them more regularly. most of them are longer though.

your point about dedication and morality (or lack of it) in politics is very interesting. i agree up to a point. but morality creates the level of dedication in followers i would guess. and it is always subjective because we adopt metaphysical approaches rather than scientific ones to reach them.

i do believe in universal values, but they are manifested through seemingly opposing ideologies very subjectively. so for example we end up with people killing each other while everyone is professing the sanctity of human life on both sides of the battle. i don't think anyone would argue with 'thou shall not kill'. but it is still legal to kill, threaten and sanction, while dialogue and outright friendship and some commonsensical enjoyment of our precious time on earth seem to be taboo subjects. hard to understand really...

sorry i digressed :)


No Fear


by No Fear on

This is a great find.

In my opinion, when two opposing camps collide , it pretty much comes down to the dedication of the followers than the quality of the leaders. Without a dedicated follower base, the leader will lose its importance .

The content of the messege is also of great importance. It is this content that could creat " dedication" in the followers.

This whole fiasco is about the " content of this messege ". Whether this content is right or wrong becomes irrelevent in politics. It is how well this content can be implemented for creating a dedicated base of followers which defines a successful movement.

Niloufar Parsi

thank you

by Niloufar Parsi on

matge: great point. doubt it will be understood by the intended audience...

ari: precisely! 

mola: lol! so we should have lots of leaders on!



My God

by KouroshS on

How much do they pay this idiot for spewing crap nonstop? I bet there is a huge rush to buy his books as well.

Mola Nasredeen


by Mola Nasredeen on

We don't have a shortage of nuts on iranian dotcom.

Ari Siletz

Insightful clip!

by Ari Siletz on

If it weren't for Abu Bakr--the first male convert--there may have been no Islam today.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

Also, don't do what your enemies do

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

I see this a lot, especially on this web site.