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Iranian reformers: to resign or not to resign?
The Daily Star
By Ahmad Sadri
June 21, 2003
To resign or not to resign is the question gnawing at the reformers of Iran, today more than any time in their six-year tenure. Irans regional and international isolation and the extreme proximity of the business end of the Great Satan have increased the stakes of the resignation game. Reformers have warned (most recently in an open letter signed by 137 MPs) that a semblance of legitimacy is the only prophylactic against American intervention. And yet, the hard-liners continue to treat the threats of resignation as a game of chicken. They appear to dare the reform to go ahead and make their day, damn the resulting American
occuberation (occupation plus liberation.) It may be too late for the reformers to extract real concessions with a credible show of will to resign. But such a will never existed, because the concept of resignation as a moral and practical act has not been worked out in Irans emerging political culture. The reformists feel pinned. Resigning may appear as dereliction of duty, while staying on continues to cast them as the fall guy in a political charade.
There is no doubt that the hard-liners are playing hard ball. The unrelenting waves of right-wing revenge that have whipped the hapless ship of reform for the past five years are once more gathering as a squall of new aggression by the goons of the Hizbullah. Meanwhile the noose of the right-wing judiciary continues to choke the life out of the reformist students and intellectuals. The Council of Guardians has again humiliated President Khatami and the Parliament by rejecting their twin bills aimed at reclaiming a measure of political authority for the elected institutions of the Parliament and the presidency. The bill will be returned to the Parliament and a watered-downed version of it will probably pass the Council of Guardians just in time to do next to no good for an outgoing reformist Parliament and president. The strategic merits of mass resignation aside, the reformers will do well to ponder the legitimacy and feasibility of political resignation as an integral part of any democratic social order.
Politics is a bid to participate in the acquisition of power for the purpose of implementing an ideal. As ideals are not always attainable in their entirety, a responsible politician might have to compromise in order to gradually approach his or her goal. Compromise might be a dirty word in the parlance of logicians and moralists but it must not be considered as such in the world of responsible politics. An uncompromising artist is in all likelihood a good artist but an uncompromising politician is nothing but a fanatic.
However, compromise is only a means for achieving a political goal. Like the search for power, compromise is never legitimate in itself or as means to private ends. Once a politicians axial ideals have been compromised there remains no room for compromise. Once hope for attaining or approaching the ideal is lost both compromise and the search for power must cease. Thus, resignation is of the essence of democratic political ethics. A political system devoid of resignations must be viewed with suspicion.
Of course, it will not do to exhort others to abandon their livelihood on idealistic grounds. As modern politicians might face the moral obligation to resign at any time, they must be financially and psychologically prepared for a Plan B in their lives.
They must emerge into politics from a suspended profession and possess a will to leave the glories of public office for a humble but honest living. The German sociologist Max Weber argued that politicians must live for and not off politics. I believe that with the rejection of the twin bills by the Council of Guardians that moment arrived for the Iranian reformers. The ongoing spontaneous combustion of Tehrans streets is another sign of the hopelessness of the cause of political reform.
Ahmad Sadri, professor and chairman of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Lake Forest College, Illinois, USA, writes a regular commentary for The Daily Star http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/20_06_03_d.asp
"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me
posted on 06/22/2003 8:37:15 AM PDT
Irans regional and international isolation and the extreme proximity of the business end of the Great Satan
have increased the stakes of the resignation game.
I don't know what I like best about this line; the grudging, bitter admission of doom, or the fact that it was written by an American college professor.
Iran, you are surrouned. Come out with your Mullahs up (preferrable attached to trees) and everything will be OK!
posted on 06/22/2003 8:48:07 AM PDT
by Steel Wolf
(The slow blade penetrates the shield.)
DOCTOR have you been surfing on FR Honey
OMGGG students are watching Fox news and Mullah cracking down THAT IS VERY FUNNYY RACK THEMMMM
Rack Iranian students LOLOLOL!!!!
posted on 06/22/2003 10:35:04 AM PDT
(Not everybody in it for truth, justice, and the American way=Det Lennie Briscoe)
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