Why no strike strategy in Iran?
July 22, 2009 7:09 PM   Subscribe

Why hasn't Mousavi called for a general strike?
posted by bardona to Law & Government (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Of the workers? Because Iran's main export is oil. Here's some info from the CIA world factbook on the Iranian economy:
Most economic activity is controlled by the state. Private sector activity is typically limited to small-scale workshops, farming, and services. Price controls, subsidies, and other rigidities weigh down the economy, undermining the potential for private-sector-led growth

Unemployment rate:
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
12.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
12% (2007 est.)
note: data are according to the Iranian Government
Probably, Mousavi knows that the regime is not powered by labor market forces.
posted by pwnguin at 7:31 PM on July 22, 2009

The sense I get is that calling for a general strike is a pretty gutsy move that could herald how shallow his support is. That the demonstrators are just blowing off stream, and if he were to demand a significant sacrifice/risk from them, they would evaporate into thin air.

I will be very interested to see what other perspectives get offered here.
posted by DrGail at 7:32 PM on July 22, 2009

Cause he doesn't want to get whacked? Seriously, the impression is that the mullahs are letting this go on as long as they have precisely because he hasn't suggested something so dramatic or disruptive. Also, it appears that the moment for change may have passed. If that report is accurate, it seems that things in Iran have simmered down a bit, and the perception is that though this was a promising step, the true breakthrough is somewhere down the road.

Maybe next time.
posted by valkyryn at 7:34 PM on July 22, 2009

If you use your biggest gun, you no longer have anything to bargain with. Mousavi is in huge trouble, facing trial for treason, and at this point it's clear that there's not going to be a revolution even if he does call for a general strike. So I think he's trying to figure out a way to survive this, and he'll need some sort of clemency from Khameini in order to do it.

He is bargaining with a weak hand, but your hand in negotiations is stronger if you have both threats and concessions you can make.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:08 PM on July 22, 2009

Or maybe not.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 8:25 PM on July 22, 2009

Who knows, really?

Our knowledge of Iran's internal politics isn't very good. It seems like Mosavi's goal isn't revolution so much as major reforms. Either way, change takes time.

The idea that the time for change has passed is laughable. The 1979 revolution was extraordinarily fast moving as revolutions (anywhere) go, and it took a year to play out. The idea that the "mullahs" are speaking and acting as one is similarly ignorant. Its quite clear that the clerical establishment is fractured, and some observers have been arguing that the election result was a sort of military coup by the Revolutionary Guard.

The idea that a general strike wouldn't be an effective because their main export is oil is also just stupid. Citizens aren't going to give a damn how much foreign exchange the country has if the stuff they need day to day is hard to come by because merchants and truckers are striking. A general strike is also regarded (by some, at least) as a major symbolic move because they view widespread strikes as instrumental in toppling the Shah's regime.

Mosavi may worry about overplaying his hand by calling a strike, or he may be keeping an ace up his sleeve.
posted by Good Brain at 9:28 AM on July 23, 2009

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