Mousavi Probably Didn’t Win

I’m in support of fair elections in Iran. That’s pretty easy to say, I know.

But I’m not particularly for Mousavi or Ahmadinejad.  And I’m slow to believe anonymous articles coming out of Iran claiming the election to be fraudulent. My reasoning here i s that there are lots of international interests in Ahmadinejad being removed from power and anonymous internet traffic denouncing the election results fits right in with what one would expect from US intelligence.

All that said, Ahmadinejad is an authoritarian who isn’t in support of things the majority of Iranians want. Such as the right to vote for the Supreme Leader instead of the holder of that post being dictated to the population. Mousavi doesn’t support this either however.

Another thing that bothers me is the lack of recognition in the Western press of the internal dynamics of Iran. This election is being written about as the people vs the government. This is how US politics is often written about as well and that version of events is often a smokescreen for ruling class fights.

  • What are the dynamics of the Iranian ruling class?
  • What are their interests in this election?

The NYTimes hasn’t made those questions a central point in their analysis and that is worrisome. Instead they have written more about the use of Twitter by wealthy Iranian college students. This kind of perspective skewing yellow journalism raises flags for me.

And finally, I have read that polls indicate only a third of Iranians have internet access. I would assume that this is the upper class layers of the population. It is known that Ahmadinejad has done significant wealth redistribution. This is never popular in countries with significant class divides. Therefore, to see lots of anti-Ahmadinejad information coming out of Iran on the net is predictable and because of the digital divide that exists there, not a good litmus for judging what is actually happening on the ground. Unfortunately, most folks outside Iran depend on the net for information on the situation. And in this case, as in many cases, the net opinions will have a very high class bias and the class realities of this political situation must be honestly taken into account and not simply dismissed as most seem to be doing. Here in the US, liberal political discussion is dominated by the middle and upper-middle class that has easy and frequent internet access. Those liberals are far more conservative than those with less wealth and less access to the discussion. If you were to only watch the US political discussion by way of the internet you would have a very biased and inaccurate view of the political situation here. You would likely not understand the political views of Black, Latin or poor Americans generally because of the way the digital divide acts as an economic censor to so many millions of political voices. As a Black person in the US I understand this dynamic quite intimately and am very wary of the political narrative we are being fed in regards to Iran. I don’t feel that the net saavy student movement in Iran represents the masses of poor people at all. Because it is reported that they are young and using Twitter, the story appeals to naive whites here who like to fetishize nonwhite people who accept the use of technology similar to white populations in the US but it really doesn’t make sense that these Iranians would be the group representative of the popular base in Iran. They are largely college students and business elements with far more resources than it appears most of the population. My point in all of this is that we need to be far more discriminating and discerning about information coming out of Iran and use our common sense (which apparently is all too uncommon in the West).

One Response to “Mousavi Probably Didn’t Win”

  1. According to Alexa’s rankings Twitter has 0.07% penetration in Iran. In other words it is hardly known there. Most of the Tweets are coming from these accounts; IranRiggedElect
    3146 followers. 31 friends.
    340 tweets in past 4 days. none before that.
    Top 5 words – iranelection, cnnfail, mousavi, tehran,
    All tweets in English
    Time: Bulk between 12pm and 2pm eastern standard time
    Most retweets: @StopAhmadi @IranElection09 @change_for_iran
    14,000 followers. 0 friends
    117 tweets in 2 days. none before that.
    All tweets in English
    Time: Bulk between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm eastern.
    Top 5 words: iranelection, people, police, right, students
    No retweets
    800 followers. 9 friends.
    196 tweets in 3 days. none before that.
    185 in English. 11 in Farsi (Arabic appearing letters. Not sure if it’s Farsi)
    Time: bulk between 2:00pm and 6:00pm eastern. Also 1:00am.
    Top 5 words: iranelection, rt, mousavi, tehran, march
    Most retweets: @IranRiggedElect @StopAhmadi
    6199 followers. 53 friends.
    1107 tweets in past 3 days. None before then.
    top 5 words: iranelection, ppl, news, rt, iran.
    All tweets in English
    Time: bulk between 9:00am and 5:00pm eastern
    Most retweets: @mohamadreza @mahdi
    1433 followers. 142 friends
    (protected account. cant see data)
    There is no way to know if these Tweets are even coming from Iran or from outside which is entirely possible. Then there is Henry Kissinger and the late Shah of Iran all over the news tonight. Interviewed on BBC Newsnight Kissinger says that while the US will not intervene in the current crisis, if the coup fails and “a popularly based government is not installed, then we may conclude that we must work for regime change in Iran from the outside.” The US has been funding destabilisation in Iran for years and to the tune of millions of dollars. They do expect to see some return on their investment as soon as possible. Ahmadinejad wont dance with the US. The other guy probabaly will given that he has in the past with his involvement in the Iran Contra goings on. So, he is their man. That there are splits with in the Iran ruling class are true but how much and how deep do they really run with out this sort of interference? Personally, I have no great love for either one but Ahmadinejad does have great support amongst many sections of Iranian society and has been active in redistributing Iranian oil wealth amongst many groups not just the wealthy. It does seem he won the election and this has all the hallmarks of yet another colour revolution funded by the National Endowment for Democracy.

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