A new year: a new spring?
A political spring may not be allowed to blossom
Spring heralds the beginning of Eid, the Iranian new year. The melting snows offer a chance to assess the year that closed.

This was a year of intense belt-tightening. Wages fell in real terms – unpaid wages was the norm. The more people struggled the less they had in their hands. It was a year of deep economic hardship for the majority – the worse since the revolution.

It was a glorious year for the bazaar, the state rentiers, the middle men, the merchants. All year round they bought life on the cheap and sold on the exorbitant. They moved ceaselessly between their office, Swiss banks and the city of London. It is no exaggeration to say that the level of plunder was unparalleled in living memory.

It was a terrible year for state violence. Those who controlled the real centres of power continuously outdid themselves in breaking yesterday’s record in using violent means. And not a day passed in which they did not openly justify and glorify their right to use violence to maintain the system.


Yet with such a background it was astonishing that the year was so full of life, full of creativity, full of the blossoming of hope and of passion for living. The creator of such wonders were the people. It was they who renewed their understanding of the tyranny imposed on them and who understood the tight bonds linking their destitution to the organisation of power. Who came to believe that without freedom you could not even fill an empty stomach. Who discovered the link between gaining freedom and shattering the security of those who wield power and breaking up their fragile unity and unanimity. They came to the bitter truth that they could not hope for even a free smile unless the powers that boil out of dark wells and rest on fountains of blood are chained up.

It was the people who, in search of light and truth, stepped unto new paths and redefined their destiny, rediscovering the extraordinary power in their empty hands. They resolved to force the wheel to cease turning on its old axis. They filled the scene with their spectre and prophesied the end of twenty one years of purgatory.

It was the people who, faced with the bullet, the knife and the bludgeon, learned new techniques: How to take cover, how to ambush, how to tunnel, how to use the tiniest opportunity to create possibilities. How to combine the struggle against class inequality with the battle against cultural darkness and social and political oppression. They combined street tactics with off-street battles. Campaign for wages with that for water and electricity. They used direct revolt to prepare the ground for a brilliant use of the ballot box, and vice versa.


Now with the new year upon us the pages of the political calendar are still only in mid season. The season’s end may not be too close, the road may not be one way and short cuts may not appear. Last summer and winter people scored over the dark, oppressive, unjust, and despotic regime in two huge battles. But for the war to come to a conclusion the road is long .

The bullets piercing the head of Said Hajjarian in the last few days of the year had a clear message. We may be surrounded, said the holders of real power and privilege, but we will not surrender. If we cannot save our rule through the law, then long live the law of the gun. If those who were once part of us act as a screen shielding the advance of the people, then they too we will eliminate.


It would be foolish to belittle this threat. The noises coming off scene are ominous. It is not entirely obvious that the people are sufficiently prepared for what is to come.


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