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Iran 1978

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chomeiniTrotzkysten,Jihadisten und Revolutionsromantiker verkaufen die Revolte in Iran 1978/79 allzu gerne als Revolution.

Das einigende Ziel der sehr heterogen zusammengewürfelten Aufständigen war die Beendigung des Schahregimes. Michel Foucault hat 1978 während seiner Reise in den Iran einen erhellenden Text zum Mythos “Iran 1979″verfasst:

The Mythical Leader of the Iranian Revolt

by Michel Foucault

Published in Corriere della Sera, November 26, 1978

Tehran – Iran’s year-long period of unrest is coming to a head. On the watchface of politics, the hand has hardly moved. The semi-liberal September government was replaced in November by a half-military one. In fact, the whole country is engulfed by revolt: the cities, the countryside, the religious centres, the oil regions, the bazaars, the universities, the civil servants, and the intellectuals. The privileged rats are jumping ship. An entire century in Iran – one of economic development, foreign domination, modernization, and the dynasty, as well as its daily life and its moral system– is being put into question.
I cannot write the history of the future, and I am also rather clumsy at forecasting the past. However, I would like to try to grasp what is happening right now, because these days nothing is finished, and the dice is still being rolled. It is perhaps this that is the work of a journalist, but it is true that I am nothing but a neophyte.

Iran was never colonized. In the nineteenth century, the British and the Russians divided it into zones of influence, according to a pre-colonial model. The came oil, the two World Wars,and the Middle East conflict,and the great confrontation in Asia. At one stroke, Iran moved to a pre-colonial position within the orbit of the United States. In a long period of dependency without direct colonization, the country’s social structures were not radically destroyed. These social structures were not completely overturned, even by the surge of oil revenue, which certainly enriched the privileged, favoured speculation, and permitted an over-provisioning of the army. The changes did not create social forces, however. The bourgeois of the Bazaar was weakened, and the village communities were shaken by the agrarian reform. However, both of the survived enough to suffer from the dependency and the changes that it brought, but also enough to resist the regime that was responsible for these changes as well. Read more ……

Eine feministisch durchgenderte Antwort auf Foucaults Einlassungen aus 1978 wurde in 2004 von Janet Afary und Kevin B. Anderson veröffentlicht, ein viertel Jahrhundert war ins Land gegangen und der Poststrukturalismus ist an den Unis als ein meist nerviges analytisches Instrumentarium unter vielen anderen in den Proseminaren der nun kulturwissenschaftlich gelabelten Fachbereiche etabliert worden. In schlimmeren Fällen sind Leerstühle für Gender-Studien eingerichtet worden. Hier nun die einleitende Textpassage zu einer Rückkehr an Foucaults ursprüngliche Thesen zur Revolte im Iran der späten 70iger : The Seductions of Islamism – Revisiting Foucault and the Iranian Revolution .

FEBRUARY 2004 MARKED THE TWENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY of the Iranian Revolution. From September 1978 to February 1979, in the course of a massive urban revolution with millions of participants, the Iranian people toppled the regime of Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1941-1979), which had pursued a highly authoritarian program of economic and cultural modernization. By late 1978, the Islamist faction led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had come to dominate the antiregime uprising, in which secular nationalists, democrats, and leftists also participated. The Islamists controlled the slogans and the organization of the protests, which meant that many secular women protesters were pressured into donning the veil (chador) as an expression of solidarity with the more traditional Iranian Muslims. By February 1979, the shah had left the country and Khomeini returned from exile to take power. The next month, he sponsored a national referendum that declared Iran an Islamic republic by an overwhelming majority. Soon after, as Khomeini began to assume nearly absolute power, a reign of terror ensued.

Progressive and leftist intellectuals around the world were initially very divided in their assessments of the Iranian Revolution. While they supported the overthrow of the shah, they were usually less enthusiastic about the notion of an Islamic republic. Foucault visited and wrote on Iran during this period, a period when he was at the height of his intellectual powers. He had recently published Discipline and Punish (1975) and Vol. I of History of Sexuality (1976) and was working on material for Vol. II and III of the latter. Since their publication, the reputation of these writings has grown rather than diminished and they have helped us to conceptualize gender, sexuality, knowledge, power, and culture in new and important ways. Paradoxically, however, his extensive writings and interviews on the Iranian Revolution have experienced a different fate, ignored or dismissed even by thinkers closely identified with Foucault’s perspectives.(…)

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February 26, 2008 at 6:15 pm