"The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran" -- Charles Kurzman
I sent this a life-time (and a half) ago, and i was just skimming through the notes i took off the book and came across it again.
I really recommend the book. Not only does it cover the revolution in Iran nicely (from the people's perspective) but the author keeps trying to find the 'tipping point' when did the 'unthinkable' become 'imaginable' when 'possible'...
Where did it start.. what happened to the left... how did the numbers grow? Where did the workers and peasants derive their sense of agency. How did the balance of power start to shift... How did oblivion gain so mch appeal over the present..
I was just at the discussion regarding the effect of the constitutional changes on the socio-political, economic and int'l relation realm and agenda, and the question of where we go from here..
The discussion once again veared to the pheonomena of the spontaneous workers strikes that continue to inspire us all, and the picture that is dense dark and deep, and yet fascinating in its shifting dynamics once you step outside and take a broader more comprehensive look.
Whether it was this, the worker's symposium at the cairo conference, hearing the topics of chit-chat in the cafe's in maadi, the cab drivers, amongst the social workers in el sayyeda and the questions posed by the bedouins of Sinai, there is always the feeling that there is movement.
I leave you with Kurzman..
Tosbe7un 3ala... :)
"10 percent or more of the Iranian population participated in the demonstrations and general strike that toppled Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. By Comparison, less than 2 percent of the population participated in the French Revolution, and less than 1 percent participated in the overthrow of soviet communism.
The Iranian revolution is deviant in an academic sense as well. According to social-scientific explanations for revolution, it shouldn't have happened when it did, or at all. These theories lead us to expect sullen quiescence in the face of the monarchy's armed forces or scattered protests in light of the radicals' lack of recourses or various other scenarios. The more we learn about the details of the revolution the more evidence we find that resists existing explanation. In particular we discover an atmosphere of overwhelming confusion. As protests mounted against the shah, Iranians had no idea what was going to happen. Would the shah's regime fall? Would protests be suppressed or peter out? Iranians polled friends and strangers ceaselessly to find answers to the questions, yet the answers careened unpredictably. In such momentous times, Iranians could not even predict their own actins, much less those of their compatriots.
Massive change cannot be known in advance, but only as it is happening. Widespread knowledge of change is part of the change itself. People sense that something big is occurring, and their responses help shape the event." Charles Kurzman - The Unthinkable revolution in Iran