ESCOBAR: Why there won’t be a revolution in Iran

Elke Schenk

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS

5.1.2018

http://www.atimes.com/article/wont-revolution-iran/

Why there won’t be a revolution in Iran

Regime change is unlikely but what is in play is setting the scene for a further renewal of economic sanctions

By Pepe Escobar January 3, 2018 5:01 PM

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani did the right thing going on television and at least acknowledging popular anger over hard economic times. Inflation is high at 12% but down from 40% at the start of Rouhani’s first term. And the recent increase in fuel and food prices by up to 40% has hardly helped.

That was part of Team Rouhani’s 2018 budget, which cuts subsidies for the poor – a key feature of the previous Ahmadinejad administration.

Then there is youth unemployment, which hovers around the 30% mark. Similar figures recently came out of Spain, a member of the European Union. Of course, that explains why the bulk of the protesters are under 25 from working class backgrounds.

What Rouhani should have explained to Iranians in detail is the direct consequences of hard economic times and United States sanctions, which are affecting the country.

These were coupled with financial threats against western firms now back in business, or at least contemplating opening up operations, in Iran.

Rouhani did promise after signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, in the Austrian capital of Vienna in 2015 that it would lead to more jobs and stimulate the economy.

While that has not been the case, legitimate protests singling out economic problems have never gone away. In fact, they have been part of the Iranian picture for decades.

If we consider the Islamic Republic experiment, a sort of “theocracy with democratic characteristics,” the most striking element is how deeply rooted it is in the country.

I learned this during my many trips to Iran and it has a great deal to do with the basij, or voluntary militias. They have permeated all aspects of social life from unions to student bodies and civil servant groups.

In this respect, there is a strong similarity to China, where the Communist Party is embedded in the very fabric of society.

Talking to young people in places such as Kashan or Mashhad showed me how solid the popular base was behind the Islamic Republic experiment. It was certainly more thought-provoking than listening to ayatollahs in Qom.

Still, what is happening now in Iran is that legitimate protests related to economic hardships have been hijacked by the usual suspects in a move to influence the minority. After all, Rouhani’s administration is comparatively liberal compared to the populist Ahmadinejad government.

So, what we have is a concerted attempt to turn legitimate protests into a “revolutionary” movement with the aim of bringing about a regime change. In all practical purposes, this would be civil war.

Well, it will simply not work. Anyone familiar with Iran knows the country’s civil society is far too sophisticated to fall into such a crude and obvious trap.

For a clear take on the foreign influence angle, you should watch Professor Mohammad Marandi, of the University of Tehran, an academic of absolute integrity, arguing with a former BBC employee on the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera television network.

( https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=dFn4O5xTkpE )

Indeed, what is certain is that foreign elements are acting as provocateurs to influence the protests. This “whole world is watching” tone is meant to intimidate Tehran’s response.

Yet there has to be a crackdown against the violence as Rouhani strongly hinted. Imagine the police response if the level of violence seen on Iranian streets was happening in France or Germany?

Regime change is unlikely but what is in play is setting the scene for a further renewal of economic sanctions against Iran. Possibly, in this case by the EU. Hopefully, it will not fall into this trap.

Anyway, Tehran is already gearing up to increase business across Eurasia through China’s new Silk Roads, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Eurasia Economic Union.

In the end, it is up to Team Rouhani to be creative in alleviating the burden on the economic front.

Ralph T. NIEMEYER Der G20-Punkt. Ausrufezeichen

Der G20-Punkt. Ausrufezeichen von Ralph T. Niemeyer
Anmerkungen eines Pazifisten.
Was heute als Verschwörungstheorie gilt, mag in 30 Jahren als Beginn des Repressionsstaates gesehen werden….
Im Moment scheint die politische Führung unseres Landes angesichts der vorgeblich linksradikalen Gewalt unter vorzeitiger Ejakulation zu leiden. Bundespräsident Steinmeier, Bürgermeister Scholz, Justizminister Maass und auch Außenminister Gabriel scheinen alle vergessen zu haben, daß sie als Sozialdemokraten das Grundgesetz in besonders verantwortungsvoller Weise zu verteidigen haben und eben nicht wie die Union mit Säbelrasseln den Einsatz der Bundeswehr im Innern zu fordern haben. Frau Merkel ist erstaunlich zurückhaltend. Sie läßt stattdessen SPD-Minister sich um Kopf und Kragen reden, die es sich nicht nehmen lassen einen Wettlauf um den Noske des Jahres 2017 zu veranstalten. Völlig von den Socken läßt sich Genosse Maas von ausgebufften Springer-Kollegen dazu verleiten für ein “Rock gegen Links” – Konzert Begeisterung zu zeigen, als gäbe es keine solchen Zuhauf, nicht nur am 20. April. (…)
-=Der vollständige Text als Anhang in PDF=-

Angelique CHRISAFIS (Paris): Nuit debout protesters occupy French cities in revolutionary call for change

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS
Martin Zeis, 13.04.2016

Dear all,

last Saturday hundreds of thousands gathered in 120 cities of France (Paris, Nantes, Toulouse, Rennes etc.) protesting against a labor draft „El Khomri“ and debating large-scale political / social changes and alternative ways of living …

Below an extract of an illustrative report written by Angelique Chrisafis about the origins and motives of the Nuit-debout-movement in France.

See also:

https://www.facebook.com/NuitDebout/
https://www.facebook.com/nuitdeboutparis/
https://www.facebook.com/Nuitdebout-Namur-706645572772499/
https://www.facebook.com/NuitDeboutPaysBasque/

Greets,
Martin Zeis

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/08/nuit-debout-protesters-occupy-french-cities-in-a-revolutionary-call-for-change

France
Nuit debout protesters occupy French cities in revolutionary call for change
For more than a week, vast nocturnal gatherings have spread across France in a citizen-led movement that has rattled the government

By Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
Friday 8 April 2016 17.31 BST

As night fell over Paris, thousands of people sat cross-legged in the vast square at Place de la République, taking turns to pass round a microphone and denounce everything from the dominance of Google to tax evasion or inequality on housing estates.

The debating continued into the early hours of the morning, with soup and sandwiches on hand in the canteen tent and a protest choir singing revolutionary songs. A handful of protesters in tents then bedded down to “occupy” the square for the night before being asked to move on by police just before dawn. But the next morning they returned to set up their protest camp again.

For more than a week, these vast nocturnal protest gatherings – from parents with babies to students, workers, artists and pensioners – have spread across France, rising in number, and are beginning to panic the government.

Called Nuit debout, which loosely means “rise up at night”, the protest movement is increasingly being likened to the Occupy initiative that mobilised hundreds of thousands of people in 2011 or Spain’s Indignados.

Despite France’s long history of youth protest movements – from May 1968 to vast rallies against pension changes – Nuit debout, which has spread to cities such as Toulouse, Lyon and Nantes and even over the border to Brussels, is seen as a new phenomenon.

It began on 31 March with a night-time sit-in in Paris after the latest street demonstrations by students and unions critical of President François Hollande’s proposed changes to labour laws. But the movement and its radical nocturnal action had been dreamed up months earlier at a Paris meeting of leftwing activists.

“There were about 300 or 400 of us at a public meeting in February and we were wondering how can we really scare the government?. We had an idea: at the next big street protest, we simply wouldn’t go home,” said Michel, 60, a former delivery driver.

“On 31 March, at the time of the labour law protests, that’s what happened. There was torrential rain, but still everyone came back here to the square. Then at 9pm, the rain stopped and we stayed. We came back the next day and as we keep coming back every night, it has scared the government because it’s impossible to define.

“There’s something here that I’ve never seen before in France – all these people converge here each night of their own accord to talk and debate ideas – from housing to the universal wages, refugees, any topic they like. No one has told them to, no unions are pushing them on – they’re coming of their own accord.”

The idea emerged among activists linked to a leftwing revue and the team behind the hit documentary film Merci Patron!, which depicts a couple taking on France’s richest man, billionaire Bernard Arnault. But the movement gained its own momentum – not just because of the labour protests or in solidarity with the French Goodyear tyre plant workers who kidnapped their bosses in 2014. It has expanded to address a host of different grievances, including the state of emergency and security crackdown in response to last year’s terrorist attacks.

“The labour law was the final straw,” said Matthiew, 35, who was retraining to be a teacher after 10 years in the private sector, and had set up an impromptu revolutionary singing group at the square. “But it’s much bigger than that. This government, which is supposed to be socialist, has come up with a raft of things I don’t agree with, while failing to deal with the real problems like unemployment, climate change and a society heading for disaster.”

Many in the crowd said that after four years of Hollande’s Socialist party in power, they left felt betrayed and their anger was beginning to bubble over.

(…)

full text, images and videos see:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/08/nuit-debout-protesters-occupy-french-cities-in-a-revolutionary-call-for-change