If this broad class was previously less inclined to join political, social and labour movements given its vital dependence on various administrations, it is now, in the course of this unexpected event, in the process of slipping out from Big Brotherʹs lap. More specifically, the possibility has been opened up by political scuffles within the ruling bloc. Conservative tendencies and those opposed to Rouhani who dreamed of using this classʹ grievances to their own ends, thought they could tilt the electoral field in their favour for the coming decisive presidential election by firing up the cauldron of economic woes as Ahmadinejad had. Now the cauldronʹs lid has flown off and political figures on all sides find their faces scorched.
Diffuse sense of nostalgia
This boiling cauldron is the outcome of the policies which govern the Iranian economy. This situation is not limited to Iran, but rather a global condition. Capitalism has fallen into a crisis of neoliberalism and its political consequences. The Rouhani administration is no longer keen to join global labour markets, for such a move would bring repercussions that they would prefer avoiding.
Even the reactionary demands some protesters have voiced in recent days (e.g. slogans calling for a return of the dictatorships of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his father) are in fact the Iranian form of a longing to return to the past, a sentiment brought about by discontent with the present situation, whose expressions we see elsewhere also as in Brexit and Trump.
What is moderation?
The moment he threw his hat into the ring for the presidency, Rouhani presented himself as heir to the legacy of Hashemi Rafsanjani and christened himself a moderate with neoliberal economic policies. In such a situation of moderation, nothing in fact remains moderate: in order to construct a moderate position, things must be done away with, voices silenced.