Iranian authorities appear to have once more fallen back on their old way of dealing with people’s protests.
The experience of the protests in Iran’s streets is very different from the reports we are getting in the state media. What is going on in the streets of Iran? Are they chanting slogans against the government? Are protesters demanding regime change or are their demands related to the ailing economy, unemployment and hunger? Are protesters chanting in support of the late deposed monarchy or some form of a republic?
On Friday, December-29, one day after protests stormed the city of Mashhad and several other cities in Khorasan Razavi province, demonstrators took to the streets of several other cities across Iran.
Workers of HEPCO, an Iranian heavy construction equipment manufacturer are reportedly facing charges brought against them by the judiciary as result of their protests.
I argue that what emerged in late December in the streets of Iran was the activism of a “passive revolution.” I am using “passive revolution” here as term a term coined by Antonio Gramsci to refer to the deep transformations that has been happening in Iranian society since the 1979 revolution.
The recent protests taking place in over one hundred cities across Iran is accompanied by daily arrests regarding which Islamic Republic regime refrains from providing clear and accurate statistics. So far three detainees have died while in custody. The official statement is that they have committed suicide.
Now, the West as well as the Islamic regime in Iran are surprised by the speed with which the mass protests have spread across dozens of Iranian cities within a few days. They would not have been surprised if they were not caught in wishful thinking for a long time. There were clear signs that the current unrest was going to happen or so to say, the writing has been on the wall for a while.
Since the first large protest erupted in Mashad, Iran more than a week ago it is safe to say that it is unlikely this fire will die soon. The fire of the protests, which was lit by ongoing economic hardship, has quickly spread throughout the entire country. The revolt however has not come as a surprise as many claim, but is a result of a flame lingering and burning for quite some time in the peripheries of Iran. If we want to understand this uprising, all eyes should be on civil society in the provinces and the margins.