Opinion: Trusting people, why it is so difficult for Iranian regime?

30 May 2005

It is always a wonder for many who have been in favor of reform why reformists are facing such a decline in public support while the need for change has gone far beyond what it was eight years ago.

The desire for peaceful change now goes way to radical, impatient actions and that is very unfortunate. Not all of this issue is about the people although it is obvious that we Iranians have been always desperate for change in our recent history to become free from totalitarian rulers. The point is that we want it fast.

This feeling is so strongly embedded in our character that both the rulers and the nation are following it. It was quite sensible eight years ago when people elected Khatami that they wanted something bigger than what he as a cleric and a figure in the Islamic regime could bring. His reform actions were slow but this view that “every opposition is enemy” led the radical extremists of the Islamic system to march against those in favor of reform alledging them to be supporting the overthrow of the regime.

Now we have on one side, a nation anxious for change with no big desire for reform which is becoming hunted by those who blow in the horn of another revolution and on the other side a system of power that actively increases the number of supporters of radical change by it’s lack of care for wishes people have been crying out for.

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

Many on the Left want to return to a politics based on class, not populism. They point to Left populist parties not reaching their goals. But Chantal Mouffe argues that as the COVID-19 pandemic has put the need for protection from harm at the top of the agenda, a Left populist strategy is now more relevant than ever.

Is this an opportunity for a realignment around a green democratic transformation?

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Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

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