Editor’s Note: The following text was given to insideIRAN.org by a group of intellectuals who are leaders in the Green Movement in Tehran. They are also the authors of this manifesto.
Photo from Green opposition rally in Tehran on June 16, 2009
We, dozens of groups of Green activists in Iran, have decided to offer several recommendations for the reform and strengthening of the Green Movement. These recommendations have emerged as a result of our experiences in Iran over the past two years as well as the experiences of those in other countries in the Middle East that recently have had popular revolutions aimed at overthrowing their dictatorships. These recommendations are the result of repeated discussions and debates among leaders of Green cells inside Iran, many of whom have suffered imprisonment, beatings, or other violence during demonstrations since the emergence of this popular movement.
The continued house arrest of the leaders of the Green Movement inside Iran and the conditions in which demonstrations have been attempted after their imprisonment requires that the Green leadership outside the country review and reform its tactics and strategy so that the great social capital obtained by the Green Movement after the coup d’etat of the summer of 2009 is not lost. Moreover, Greens inside and outside the country alike need to develop new tactics and strategies in order to utilize and channel effectively the ever-rising economic, political, and social discontent within our country and to ensure that the movement does not split or falter.
This short blueprint/manifesto is divided into three sections, constituting what we believe needs to be done to expand the breadth of the Green Movement’s actions and operations if it is to become victorious at this critical juncture in history. The sections address three necessary rubrics: Inspiration, Organization, and Action. Based on Mir Hossein Moussavi’s systematic statements after the coup d’etat and those of Mehdi Karroubi, the Green Movement leadership must present a concise but comprehensive critique and condemnation of the economics and politics of the present despotic system and present our alternative to it. It must offer an explanation for the grievances of the various socioeconomic and ethnic groups within our society and then offer inspiration and organization to the people in order to motivate and provide them the path to take action to remedy this deteriorating situation.
The inspiration that is at the heart of the movement must be recognized and its message actively propagated to all involved: The Green Movement is not a uniform undifferentiated mass. It consists of a myriad of peoples who, together, represent the cultural, ethnic, religious, and social fabric of our diverse society, and they are deeply concerned about the fate of their beloved country and religion. The principles that unite all Greens are the goals of rule of law, respect for human rights, and the supremacy of popular sovereignty over all state and government institutions, including the post of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Revolution. Thus, we reject the suggestion of the former reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, that we Greens and the supporters of Khamenei (in other words, the supporters of despotism) apologize to each other and go forward from there. Such a suggestion is irresponsible and ignores not only the coup d’etat of 2009, but also the massive violence used against our society by Khamenei and his system that resulted in, among other things, the murder and rape of our youth. We believe that Khatami’s suggestions in this regard are dangerous and threaten splits in the Green Movement and, if accepted, will result in a loss of our social capital. Khatami’s discourse of reform is over, since Khamenei and those behind him have shown that they are unwilling to take this course and will resort to murder and mass suppression in order to ensure their political and economic interests.
We believe that this goal of the complete subordination of all government and state posts to direct popular sovereignty needs to be clearly and repeatedly stated so that people know clearly for what they are fighting. Without a doubt, most people in our society want this political change. The time for hesitation and talk of reformism in this regard has finished.
To the working and lower classes, we must offer an end to exploitative wages, and instead work toward true, effective trade unions, protected by law, and improvements in living standards and economic well-being. This goal cannot be achieved in the state structure we have today, as it is politically and economically corrupt and is not answerable to anyone.
To ethic and religious groups, we Greens must actively propagate the promise of cultural and ethnic autonomy, which was expressed as well by Karroubi and Moussavi during the presidential elections.
To women, the Green Movement must actively propagate the idea that women must have equal rights as men before the law.
To the religious part of our society, we Greens must stress that our political goal of democratization will put an end to the abuse of religion by political opportunists and the supporters of despotism and authoritarianism to achieve and protect their political and economic interests. Religion is to be the model of morality, purity, and service to God, untainted by politics, corruption, murder, lying, and rape.
Photo from Green opposition protests in Tehran on June 17, 2009
Photo: Rally in Mashhad in support of Green leader Mir Hossein Mousavi - June 2009
In conclusion, we would like to stress that this piece was made by us only as a set of suggestions and an expression of serious worry over the current state of the Green Movement. The above text is the result of debates, study, and the varied of experience of Greens on the frontline inside Iran, and our collective opinion of what is needed by our movement. We understand that most of what we have proposed without doubt can be improved and perfected as we move forward. In addition, we realize that many of these suggestions are not new. However, most of them have not been implemented or have been implemented only partially, which has resulted in a temporary but severe weakening of the Green Movement. We hope that the decision-makers outside of Iran will take seriously these suggestions. It no longer can be naively assumed that the despotic side of this regime simply will collapse due to its inner contradictions and power struggles. We on the ground have to create pressure and the conditions for its implosion. We here in Iran are looking for decisive participation from Green leaders abroad. The movement here in Iran can be rejuvenated and propelled to victory if such leadership is provided. If not, we regret to say, we feel this movement will just become another failed attempt to bring freedom, dignity, and respect to our country.
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