Spontaneous Uprising in Iran? – LewRockwell

In just the past few days during which Iran has seen anti-government protests, much has been written and said about Iranians’ desire for freedom, mixed with speculation about whether or not the ayatollahs’ Islamic republic is in danger of collapse.

The following is not another such analysis. Rather, this is an attempt to address the underlying assumptions of most of the sage pronouncements to which we are treated – assumptions that are as lacking in substance as they are ubiquitous. Three of these myths are noted below.

Spontaneous popular uprising – not

“Arise ye pris’ners of starvation, Arise ye wretched of the earth!” The stirring words of the socialist and communist anthem, The Internationale, encapsulate the sense most people have of revolution as the result of unbearably oppressive conditions. At some point “The People” can stand no more, and in noble wrath they rise up as one against their tormenters!

There’s just one little problem. That has never happened, it isn’t happening now, and it never will happen.

Revolts and revolutions (see below) almost always occur when things are getting better but expectations have outpaced performance. Or when things had been getting better but there’s been a setback, either economically (like in Iran today, where President Rouhani’s neoliberal economic reforms have cut consumer subsidies paid under his predecessor, Ahmadinejad) or in 1917 Russia (problems with the conduct with the war and the economy).

Even then, revolts and revolutions don’t take place unless other conditions are present. One of them is relative freedom to protest and even, in some cases, to engage in subversive activities. For example, why did revolt “spontaneously” break out in Russia in…

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