Sunday, 21 June 2009

Open letter of support to the demonstrators in Iran,

Friday 19 June 2009

This morning Ayatollah Ali Khamenei demanded an end to the massive and forceful demonstrations protesting the controversial result of last week's election. He argued that to make concessions to popular demands and 'illegal' pressure would amount to a form of 'dictatorship', and he warned the protestors that they, rather than the police, would be held responsible for any further violence.

Khamenei's argument sounds familiar to anyone interested in the politics of collective action, since it appears to draw on the logic used by state authorities to oppose most of the great popular mobilisations of modern times, from 1789 in France to 1979 in Iran itself. These mobilisations took shape through a struggle to assert the principle that sovereignty rests with the people themselves, rather than with the state or its representatives. 'No government can justly claim authority', as South Africa's ANC militants put it in their Freedom Charter of 1955, 'unless it is based on the will of all the people.'

Needless to say it is up to the people of Iran to determine their own political course. Foreign observers inspired by the courage of those demonstrating in Iran this past week are nevertheless entitled to point out that a government which claims to represent the will of its people can only do so if it respects the most basic preconditions for the determination of such a will: the freedom of the people to assemble, unhindered, as an inclusive collective force; the capacity of the people, without restrictions on debate or access to information, to deliberate, decide and implement a shared course of action.

Years of foreign-sponsored 'democracy promotion' in various parts of the world have helped to spread a well-founded scepticism about civic movements which claim some sort of direct democratic legitimacy. But the principle itself remains as clear as ever: only the people themselves can determine the value of such claims. We the undersigned call on the government of Iran to take no action that might discourage such determination.

Written by Peter Hallward & Alberto Toscano

Signed by:

Noam Chomsky

Slavoy Zizek

Etienne Balibar

Judith Butler

Professor Rada Ivekovic, Collège international de philosophie, Paris.

Alenka Zupancic


Persian translation:

نامه‌ی سرگشاده در حمایت از تظاهرات‌کنندگان ایرانی

جمعه ۱۹ ژوئن ۲۰۰۹ (۲۹ خرداد ۱۳۸۸)

امروز صبح آیت‌الله علی خامنه‌ای خواستار پایان یافتن تظاهرات قدرتمند و گسترده‌‌ای شد که در اعتراص به انتخابات هفته‌ی گذشته صورت می‌گرفت. استدلال وی این بود که کوتاه آمدن در مقابل خواست مردم و فشارهای «غیرقانونی» نهایتاً‌ به «دیکتاتوری» منجر می‌شود و به تظاهرات‌کنندگان هشدار داد که ایشان مسئول خشونت‌های آتی خواهند بود، نه پلیس.

استدلال خامنه‌ای به گوش تمامی کسانی که به سیاست کنش جمعی علاقه‌مند‌ند آشناست چرا که بر منطقی متکی است که اولیای امور با اتکاء بدان از فرانسه‌ی ۱۷۸۹ گرفته تا خود ایران ۱۹۷۹ به مخالفت با عظیم‌ترین جنبش‌های مردمی عصر جدید برخاسته‌اند. شکل‌گیری این جنبش‌ها بدین واسطه بود که اصل را بر این می‌گذاشتند که حاکمیت متعلق به خود مردم است نه دولت یا نمایندگان‌اش. در «منشور آزادی» سال ۱۹۵۵ مبارزان ANC («کنگره‌ی ملی آفریقا» به رهبری نلسون ماندلا) در آفریقای جنوبی چنین می‌گفتند که «هیچ دولتی نمی‌تواند ادعای اقتدار کند مگر آن‌که این اقتدار بر اراده‌ی تمامی ملت متکی باشد.»

نیازی به گفتن نیست که ایرانیان خود باید جهت سیاسی کشورشان را تعیین کنند. با این حال،‌ ناظران خارجی (که شهامت تظاهرات‌کنندگان ایرانی را در هفته‌ی گذشته ستایش می‌کنند) باید یادآور شوند که دولتی که ادعای نمایندگی اراده‌ی مردم‌اش را دارد صرفاً به شرطی می‌تواند این کار را بکند که ابتدایی‌ترین پیش‌شرط‌های شکل‌گیری چنین اراده‌ای را محترم بشمارد: ‌آزادی مردم برای گرد هم آمدن بی‌هیچ مانعی و تشکیل دادن نیرویی کلی و جمعی؛ قابلیتی نامحدود برای بحث و دسترسی به اطلاعات، و به بحث گذاشتن،‌تصمیم گرفتن و به اجرا درآوردن شیوه‌ی عمل.

سال‌های متمادی حمایت خارجی از «ترویج دموکراسی» در بسیاری از کشورهای جهان باعث گسترش بدبینی موجهی نسبت به جنبش‌هایی مدنی‌ شده که ادعای مشروعیت مستقیم دموکراتیک دارند. با این حال، خود این اصل مثل همیشه واضح است: صرفاً مردم می‌توانند ارزش چنین ادعاهایی را تعیین کنند. ما امضاءکنندگان این نامه از دولت ایران می‌خواهیم دست به اعمالی نزند که مانع چنین تصمیمی می‌شود.



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