It saddens me and millions of my compatriots within and without Iran to admit that the regime will likely live to see another day. Yet it’s important to resist defeatism at this point. A moment of respite should compel us to reflect on the successes and failures of uprising in order to draw lessons for the future. Here are some of the conclusions I’m drawing in the form of nine theses:
1. The recent uprising in Iran initially occured in response to what was, in effect, a coup carried out by the most extreme elements of the Iranian regime.
2. The coup was designed to liquidate the more traditional clerical establishment of the regime. The moderate and pragmatic wings of the IRI elite, not to mention the system’s few republican structures, had come to be viewed as unreliable by the putschists, who had been tasked with ensuring regime survival at any cost.
3. The putsch was executed in a profoundly flawed fashion. The Iranian people saw through Ahmadinejad’s absurd 30-point margin of victory. The putschists were caught off-guard.
4. The subsequent uprising was initially directed at asserting the sovereignty of the ballot. In bringing the people face to face with the fundamentally undemocratic structure of the regime however, it came to stand for much more than that.
5. The uprising shattered the regime’s last remaining claims to legitimacy by making it crystal clear, both in Iran and around the world, that the IRI has no regard whatsoever for fairness, rule of law, human rights, or governance by consent; that the IRI has always been and will continue to be a rogue regime, a pariah in the international community.
6. Additionally, the millions-strong non-violent protests cast serious doubt on the notion that the West should directly engage the IRI at any cost and without taking into account the powerful democratic urges of the Iranian people.
7. The uprising both awakened and enhanced the democratic consciousness of the Iranian people. It showed them their strength over the regime’s mighty technologies of repression.
8. That said, the uprising also taught us that social media in and of themselves are not sufficient in a struggle of this sort. That good, old-fashioned political leadership, political will, and political organization are key.
9. Marx compared revolutionary struggle to the ‘old mole’ who inhabits subterranean tunnels. Those in power may succeed in forcing it to go back underground temporarily, but the old mole will never go away. In the case of Iran, the mole may have been forcibly pushed back to shallow depths by the regime once, but soon enough it shall re-surface that much wiser for having faced down the leviathan in such a remarkable fashion during the post-June 12th uprising.