Green bourgeoisie

Destiny of Iran's Reform Movement


Green bourgeoisie
by Ardeshir Ommani

When on February 11, 2010, millions of Iranians from 818 large and small cities across the country and from all walks of life, young and old, men and women, workers and professionals, turned out to celebrate the thirty-first anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, it was despite the threats and demagogueries of the Western leaders and corporate mass media.

For weeks prior to the anniversary day, all news agencies, the mainstream broadcasting media, and spokesmen of the offices of the U.S. president as well as the Congress and the European Parliament were all tirelessly engaged in demonizing the Iranian leaders, painting the country as undemocratic and furiously attempting to convince ‘world public opinion’ that people's participation was being choreographed by the Islamic Republic's dictates and that freedom of expression was severely restricted inside Iran.  

These pillars of the western propaganda industry also desperately longed to see that a minority of upper-middle class opponents in Tehran would seriously challenge the authority of the government and inflict damages on Iran's social order and harm its reputation and credibility among nations around the world, but especially, within those of the Middle East.  Over and over, these biased newscasters predicted that the reform movement would once again demonstrate en masse and challenge the social system.  

But what actually took place gave rise to great disappointment and consternation, apparent on the gloomy expressions of the talking heads and news anchors covering Iran's celebration.  The resolute and militant participation of more than fifteen million Iranians in Tehran, Esfahan, Kerman, Ardabil, Ahwaz, Shiraz, Qom, and many more cities deeply disappointed the American and Western European conservative forces who witnessed the nation's determination in upholding national unity and furthering the realization of economic, political, national defense and social developments, especially in actualization of Iran's civilian nuclear industry.

Some layers of the opposition forces such as the groups of monarchists, followers of Reza Pahlavi, the son of the old Shah, along with the terrorist organization of the Mojahedin Khalgh and some liberal-left groups with imaginations far greater than their actual force, were financially and technologically assisted by such agencies as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a visible extension of the CIA, and had planned, just as on previous occasions, to highjack the National Day of Celebration, using the electronic gadgets and networking programs as Twitter, Facebook, My Space, and others, to falsify their own strength and beam images into the newsrooms of the western media, that would be used as propaganda against the Islamic Republic. But these naïve youths, so dependent on taking their cues from their managers sitting comfortably in the warm studios of the West found themselves in an ocean of patriotic Iranian humanity, isolated and helpless.  When they could not serve the objectives of their paymasters in New York, Washington, California, London, Paris and Berlin, their twitter-and-facebook power suddenly vanished into thin air.

The opposition found out that as in China, the Iranian government, under the deft leadership of  President Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had shut down their magical tools of communication with opinion-makers who habitually ignore reporting the depth and breadth of poverty in the West, the angry American citizens who are losing confidence in their own government agencies and media, and play down the daily crimes committed by the U.S. and Nato armies shooting the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now Yemen.

Aside from its technological and tactical misfortune, where did the opposition, dubbed "Green Movement" go wrong that it failed so poorly in its infantile attempts at toppling President Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei and capturing State Power?

Essentially, the social groupings within the Green Movement are heterogeneous in their class character, philosophical outlook, their views of the future mode of production and social relations, the nature of the foreign policy and the strategy of attaining state power.  The amorphous "movement" consists of reactionary monarchist groups, the pro-U.S. terrorist organization of Mojahedin Khalgh, along with the conservative segment of Iran's national bourgeoisie and even some misguided left leaning individuals and organizations, connected to a small but vociferous section of the upper-middle class secular Iranians in various cities.  This "movement" lacks a written set of philosophical and socio-economic objectives that the future members of this bloc can examine and express their consent and commitment to.  The "movement" lacks a rational organizational form with an elementary chain of command.  

Tellingly, even the spokesmen and political analysts in the West admitted to this fact on the Sunday Feb. 14th talk show GPS with Fareed Zakaria, when Wall Street Journal's Deputy Editor, Bret Stephens and Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, together lamented that the Green Movement failed to come out because it had no agenda and no established leadership.  

As the President of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Trita Parsi along with his relative, Rouzbeh Parsi, in an article entitled "Iran's unhappy Anniversary" wrote in the Daily Beast, "There are elements around Mr. Hossein Mousavi, the opposition leader who want to reclaim the revolution through a non-violent campaign within the framework of the current constitution."  Then he continues, "There are also people within the movement who see an opportunity to do away with Iran's Islamic system as a whole." If we take Parsi's assertion seriously, there must have been leaders among the "reformists" who were ready to use armed struggle to seize power.

The organizers of NIAC have more than once admitted that their organization has been a recipient of financial aid from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a non-governmental face of the CIA.  A major shortcoming of the "movement" has been that it had no roots in the major toiling classes and among the Basij (militia) forces, which overwhelmingly come from working class background.  During the entire eight-month period following the Presidential election in June 2008, not even one major work stoppage was declared in sympathy with the movement by the vast merchant class (bazaris) that is influential in the economic and political spheres the country so much depends on.  The farmers, one third of the work force, were the solid supporters of Ahmadinejad and felt a great alienation between themselves and the well-to-do residents of northern Tehran, with their pricey real estate and foreign-made cars, whereas in the 1979 Revolution that overthrew the Shah, the shopkeepers, the merchants, and the landless farmers all played significant roles. Furthermore, no significant number of senior clerics joined the reform movement.

The "Green Movement" has remained an off-shoot of the petty-bourgeoisie, an upper-middle class urban population that by the nature of its work within the workforce is separated from the working class and farmers working on small plots of land throughout the country.  Among a few factors, the final and finishing silver bullet that killed the reform movement in its infancy was the close financial and organizational connections and dependency on liaisons of the "movement" with U.S.-European counter-revolutionary planners and strategists who were aligned with infamous agents of "regime change".

Ardeshir Ommani is an Iranian-born writer and an activist in the U.S. anti-war movement. During the past seven years, he has participated in the U.S. peace movement, working to promote dialogue and peace among nations and to prevent a U.S.-spurred war on Iran. He holds two Masters Degrees: one in Political Economy and another in Mathematics Education.  Co-founder of the American Iranian Friendship Committee, (AIFC), he writes articles of analysis on Iran -U.S. relations, the U.S. economy and has translated articles and books from English into Farsi, the Persian language.  Please visit AIFC's website to learn more about Iran and Global issues at .


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Agha Ardeshir Ommani

by ahvazi on


People in our country are being imprisoned and tortured and killed, all you blab about is US this and West that. Who gives a f*** about the US and the West. We, the people of Iran care about Hamvatans and what you Khamenei and Antarinejad are doing to them.

Give the people the permission to assemble freely and you will see millions that will pour out, but the system you support, IRI, is too scared to face the truth. It would rather kill its citizen than face the fact that it is time to pack up and allow the people to choose.

Agha Ardeshir, leave this non-sense va Khodshirina alone and stand up for your country not yek mosh Namard Akhoond! 



Wrong place!

by Abarmard on



Why 22 Bahman failed

by Mehdi on

Because the poor Greenies don't have enough money to rent buses. So they all walked towards Shahyaad Square and by the time they got there, it was too late - the demonstrations had ended. It is all the regime's fault for not providing buses for the Greenies - this is just unacceptable! :-)

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Thank god

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


I am impressed by the responses here to this article. I guess that we have learned something. It was just 30 years ago when people like A Ommani were taken seriously. Now people see right through the BS and no one is buying the"working class hero" nonsense. Using your brain is a good thing.

Mr. Ommani I have news for you! We all work. We hold real jobs and work long hours.  No one is superior to anyone else because they do manual work instead of something else. We: the teachers; the merchants; the bazaris; the programmers; the doctors; the engineers; lawyers; artists; bureaucrats are all people. You insult all of us because somehow we are not working on some collective farm. Your ideology did enough damage to Iran. We are not going to fall for it never.

areyo barzan

Oh, come, come little boy. Pull the other one.

by areyo barzan on

What happened in 22nd of Bahman was noting but a dictatorship paying its agents some with money and some with Sandis to put on a pathetic show.

If no one else knows I know very well because I live here.

5 days to the 22nd of Bahman all the major roads to Tehran were blocked and no civilian car was allowed to come to Tehran.

What you saw in the state media that day was the total number of government agents supporters Basijies Pasdars (Jire khoran) and other servants on the governments payroll.


Now the funny thing is that even to get enough number of them they had to ship these agents from all over the country to Tehran as the number of Tehran natives willing to participate in pro government demonstrations was next to zero. By the governments own estimate the number of people participating was around 1.5 million max now in a city like Tehran with 18 million population, you tell me how pathetic is that.

It is funny  that even considering all the length that the government went into in order to fill the streets they still did not succeed and in the end has to force the public sector workers(teachers, bank employees local office workers) to participate by designating them particular seats in busses and making sure of their presence I say this as it happened to one of my friends who works in Shar- Daari, when the hefazat Etelaat of his office informed him of his designated seat in the bus and insisting that he has to go or otherwise.


You see pal as far as we know the IRI is not the only dictatorship coming up with this sort of pathetic shows. We all remember similar demos and greeting shows in favour of one Saddam Hussein and we all know what happened to him.


Now lets look at the real facts shall we?

The most important and undeniable fact was that on such important day for IRI when the regime is celebrating its birthday it had to bring out the riot police and fully gear up its supression machine in order to intimidate ordinary people and prevent them from protesting  .It had to change the atmosphere of cities like Tehran Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz and many other cities around the country into a military martial law mode. This shows the length of these regimes unpopularity of and the fact that how scared they are of their own people.


Now, if you want my advice kid, denying the fact is never the solution as it does you no good. It even speeds the downfall of your beloved IRI. Because it stops you from acknowledging and correcting your own errors and as youcontinue with on this fatal erroneous you only get closer to the cliffs of annihilation.


As far as the Western powers are concerned I assure you they have no problem with the IRI. In fact the IRI is the best thing that happened to them and their profit margins.

A shallow minded person like yourself might only look at the empty slogans and the name calling in the media on both sides. But for me I look at the profit and who gains financially from all these. And that would be US and other Western Governments and their arms industry.

Thirty years ago US could only dream of bringing is aircraft carriers to Persian Gulf or controlling the oil flow to the rest of world but now they have a permanent base here accepted by the world including Russia  and China. The profits of arms industry is stronger thant ever and all the scared Arab nation are returning their oil money to US by billions in trade for more weapons and US protection. Now! What could be better than that?

Of course they do not want to loose the crisis provided by IRI and their profit with it so they play along gladly


Now mate for God sake please think before writing such BS again. I know it hearts but TRY


Good article but kind of long

by amgw4 on

And also the green movement may have a lot of support from the upper classes, but their protesters are largely rubbish - poor people looking for an excuse to vent their anger, riot and loot.

Niloufar Parsi

ardeshir khan

by Niloufar Parsi on

interesting read. your class analysis is slightly off the mark for the following 2 points:

1. almost all democratic reform movements have a bourgeoise leadership. even revolutionary workers' movements are led by them. Che Guevara was a doctor from a well-to-do family. Castro was from a rich family. Engels was a factory owner and paid for the upkeep of Marx who himslef was no working class boy. 

2. the 'petty bourgeoisie', by definition, cannot be 'upper-middle class'. they are your shopkeepers and artisans and other small businesses. includes many bazaris.




Green movement is Victorious!!

by Iran_e_Azad on

First of all, you need to get your math and facts straight! because IR brought 5000 buses from around the country in to Shahyad Sq, if ea. bus takes 40 people that makes it 200k people and lets say another 100k showed up from all over Tehran…..mmmm….how many people is that Mr. math? When I add up I can’t even get close to Million let alone Millions! Now, remember the majority of these people were rentals! Meaning that the IR bribed these poor (as in their class) people to come to this sham celebration! The green movement is a winner! Especially they became victorious in the 22nd of Bahman by not coming to the streets. If we compare this movement to a chess game IR was checked and the mate is coming soon! I’m not sure if your credentials that are mentioned at the bottom of your comment are accurate, if it’s accurate then I strongly suggest you should go and reevaluate your knowledge! You are a criminal just like the rest of the government of IR. You need to go back for these few months that is left of IR's life and live with the rest of these criminals since you shar the same ideas! IR has shed the blood of too many innocent Iranians beside other atrocities that they have commited in the past 30 years!! Regime change in Iran is imminent NOW! DOWN WITH ISLAMIC REPUBLIC!check out these two links, these will show how many people were there!





Why North Tehranis Don't

by vildemose on

Why North Tehranis Don't Revolt
14 Feb 2010 23:1825 Comments

So why don't they go out?

"It's Too Dangerous"

As the security crackdowns intensify, this response has become the most common. "Being killed is not the worst thing that can happen to you, or something that I'm necessarily afraid of," said a female colleague. "Spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair, having my face deformed or worse still..." She pauses. I finish her sentence, "Being raped?" "Exactly," she answers.
"I Promised My Mother I Wouldn't"




by shushtari on

we could expect no less from you!

yes, the mullahs are indeed very powerful and loved!!!! yeah right!

that is why they had to shut down the internet, bus in 'rent-a-supporters', blanket the city with thugs, and threaten and kill in advance in order for their celebrations to go on.

wow, now that is what I call a stable government that is loved by its people!!!

come on, get it through your head, the mullahs and your idols are gonners.....the iranian people will be free very soon, and the crimes of your beloved mullahs will finally be disclosed 

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Mr Ommani

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


The Soviet Union fell apart decades ago and with it went the Maxists BS. No one is buying your Soviet propaganda. If you love the IRR what are you doing in the US?  You sit back here and demand that Iranian people suffer so you can get your anti-imperialist yaya . 

Just take one look at yourself and you will see why Marxists failed and will fail again. Middle class is good; education is good and having a nice life is good. We saw what happens when we let the lowest of the society run a nation.

I want all Iranians to have a chance at a middle class live. Marxists want to drag everyone down to the lowest.


حکومت اسلامی نظامی


were the hords and hords of basijis with anti-riot gear there to protect the bused IRI supporters from foreign invaders?  For a true analysis of the google picture go to: 

who were they beating up in many youtube videos?

the news from the provinces is that there were basijis stationed every 5 meters.  Why?

Please tell me that this was/was not a military rule.

Sargord Pirouz

a tour de force by Ommani

by Sargord Pirouz on

Many countries have dissent. There is dissent against Obama, there is dissent against Putin, there is dissent against Hu Jintao, there is dissent against Ahmadinejad.

But there are no revolutions on the horizon. Life goes on. 




by benross on

Very valid observation. You may want to try to find a solution at a different angle. But the issue is the same.. well observed.


Mirza qalandar: gaining more than an iota

by AMIR1973 on

I posted this on another blog, but I was interested to hear your response here: "What dictatorship doesn't have a "support base"? You don't think the lousy regimes in Syria, Saudi Arabia, N Korea, and Egypt have a support base? Really?"

Why do certain "progressives" who have a soft spot for Shia clerical rule assume that the support base is the toilers and peasants (just to borrow some Bolshie sloganeering)? Who do you think is getting the huge business contracts under Ahmadinejad: the IRGC mafia or the toilers and peasants?


by میرزاقلندر on


by میرزاقلندر on

Here are a couple of comments  from another thread I think aptly describe the so-called SUPPORTERS of the IRI.  It's sad that you take pride in knowing the people who are hoodwinked and manipulated by the mullahs are in charge despite their inocmpetence. Ignorant majority unfortuantlely is a hindernce and liability to a viable and prosperous society.

""The only governments that fear their "governed" are ones based on repression and oppression of people's rights which the enlightened among us regard as universal.

That repressive regimes can last for decades is proven by the instances of the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, North Korea and Myanmar.

You can only keep the lid on such a society as long as you maintain a coopted segment of society by dispensing government largesse, ideally to include the military, and employing censorship and strict policing of people's everyday lives who, though not recipients of windfall payments, are in one or more ways economically dependent on the government in power to live day-to-day.

The only people who laud these repressive societies, with their tight control of everything from what you are allowed to do for a living to what to wear and what to say before you urinate or as you breathe your last are those who benefit materially from them (the "more equals" among the masses of "equals"), or people who can't deal with unstructured environments, as for example our Muslim brothers in Western Europe who are woefully under equipped, both in terms of practical education and mindset, to succeed in a free society,

where at once the individual is both free and required to make these choices for themselves. Those who can't seek out "authority figures" to decide for them. See North, Central and South American criminal gangs for plentiful examples of this type of person, who longs for the structure and sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself offered by a gang (or by analogy, perhaps, by the Basij or fundamentalist jihad groups?) or life in a maximum security prison.

Eventually the costs of maintaining strict control over all aspects of society bring about the failure of these oppressive regimes; the only matter is how long it takes, depending, among other reasons, on the revenue flowing to the government - when your country is awash in oil export revenue, controlled by the government, "


by PArviz on

Millions of Germans supported Hitler and the Nazis while only a small German minority opposed them. So were those millions right because they were far greater in numbers? Many of them would later tell you that they were tricked and lied to and they were ashamed of the support they gave Hitler.

The ignorance of the masses should not be an obstacle or a reason to stop striving for a fair and democratic Iran. They will in time realize that they were nothing but pawns in the dirty hands of the present rulers."

Also, read my comments here on this thread:




Another dogmatic

by Asghar_Massombagi on

cookie cutter analysis from Ommani.  Someone should remind him that the leadership of IRI (the bacheh bazaaris) almost exclusively hail from the dreaded middle-class.


Petty-bourgeoise and

by vildemose on

Petty-bourgeoise and aristorcracts have always been the vanguard of all progressive change and revolution in history. The US revolution started by a minority of educated middle- class not the poor.  Those in lower strata of the society unfortuantely are easily manipulated as we see right here in America where the working class votes in the rural areas of the  against their own best Interest.

Read the book, "What's the matter with Kansas". By Thomas Frank



No one can gain an iota by

by میرزاقلندر on

No one can gain an iota by denying the physical evidence which is so obviously present: The regime has a support base.


Leninists and Islamists: an unbreakable bond

by AMIR1973 on

Nothing could ruin the romance between (some not all) Communists and the Democratic People's Socialist Islamic Republic of Iran, not even the fact that the IRI imprisoned and executed thousands of Fadaiyan-e Khalq, Tudeh, and Peykar members. I suppose some folks just have a sadomasochistic streak in them...

Maryam Hojjat

Mr. Ommani, You must have a loving relationship with IRI/IRR!

by Maryam Hojjat on

 It seems you did not see how regime showed his fear from people by organizing all his basigis & his sepahs around azadi sequre. I feel sorry for person like you to spend your time and supporting a criminal anti-Iranian regime.

Payandeh IRAN & True IRANIANS


Mr. Ardeshir Ommani

by Abarmard on

Thank you for your article. I was however more excited to see your analysis about those petty-bourgeoisie who constitute still a large portion of urban citizens (or 30% of population according to the IR media). They are those who any system is in need of. They are the ones that are educated, create thoughts, and enhance the culture of the land. 

At this point many are aware about the struggles or demands of the greens within the borders of Iran. Call it what you like, what I want to know, and I believe this is more constructive, is what you think about the system in regard to those petty-bourgeoisie. What should the current regime do to bring these petty-bourgeoisie back to the system?  

The fact is that the system is not sustainable without this class and related population against them. If not satisfied, it is only matter of time for the greens to find a language/ideology that can effectively communicate with the working class.


Iranians love IRR

by Fred on

Ardy says:

When on February 11, 2010, millions of Iranians from 818 large and small cities across the country and from all walks of life, young and old, men and women, workers and professionals, turned out to celebrate the thirty-first anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, it was despite the threats and demagogueries of the Western leaders and corporate mass media.”

As is his M.O. comrade Ardy is trying to underestimate the  pure love for the Islamist Rapist Republic among its victims.

As the Head Rapist Khamenei said, and since he is the representative of God on earth it must be true, the number was  “ Fifty million “ Iranians who poured out asking for more.