The Green Movement Charter
by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles
16 Jun 2010 16:47
Mousavi issues historic document.On the first anniversary of the huge demonstrations that took place on June 15, 2009, protesting the rigged June 12 presidential election, Mir Hossein Mousavi, the most important leader of the opposition, released what he calls a Charter for the Green Movement and invited all to contribute to its development. The Charter calls for sweeping reform, but also reaffirms the Green Movement's commitment to the principles of the Islamic Revolution. As Mousavi himself declares in the Charter, his positions are not the last word, and they can and should be improved upon to make a declaration with which every Iranian can identify. The Charter begins with a preamble:
On the first anniversary of the 10th presidential election we proudly stand tall -- even if we have been whipped, wounded, and imprisoned -- with demands for freedom, social justice, and national sovereignty, and assured of victory with the help of God, because we want nothing other than the nation's rights.
From the lies, fraud, and violations of the law that were used in the election, the question of "where is my vote" was born, and you the people, with utmost clarity and without any ambiguity, shouted this question powerfully in a historic, peaceful march on Khordad 25, 1389 [June 15, 2009]. Except for those made blind and deaf by their superstitions and greed, everyone at the national and international levels heard you. But what was the response [of the ruling elite]? Was it anything other than murder and imprisonment, putting chains on the bare feet of the jailed and attacking the university dormitories?
The crimes in Kahrizak [detention center] and the murders on Khordad 25 and 30 [June 20, 2009), and on the Day of Ashura [December 27, 2009] will never be erased from the national memory. And they must not, because that would be tantamount to committing treason against the blood of the martyrs and the innocents [who were murdered]. How can we forget about the shots fired directly at the people and the police cars that ran them over [on the Day of Ashura]?
But the blood and pains [of the innocents] also tore apart the lies of the dictators and revealed the corruption that had been concealed behind the pretense to sacredness. These bitter events and the way the government opposed all the strata of our nation, from day laborers, teachers, and university students to journalists, academics, clerics, managers, bazaaris, women, men, the young and the old, all the social activists, and the poor and middle classes, demonstrated to everyone what the root cause of all of [our] problems is.
That our country executes more people than any other nation relative to its population is not due to the sins of the sinners, but due to the destruction of justice, good management, and good government in our society. The fact that even the daily expedience and urgent affairs of government have not forced the bureaucracy and those who demand absolute power to cease their lying, corruption, and contempt for our Constitution and laws, only indicates the deep penetration of malfeasance into the innermost layers of the political system. It is at such layers that those whose interests are based on the [exploitation of] hundreds of billions of dollars in oil income and the importation of $70 billion a year in goods and products, as well as the control of all financial and monetary institutions without any effective monitoring, have entrenched themselves.
Today, the nation's wealth is being plundered by those who pretend to be holy, but the nation has yet to see any of the most corrupt prosecuted and brought to trial, despite all the claims and loud declarations [by the ruling elite]. What happened to the great case of [corruption] that was investigated by the Majles, but was closed overnight in a barter deal?
[The "barter deal" to which Mousavi refers is the reported arrangement under which the judiciary will not prosecute President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's first vice president, Mohammad Reza Rahimi, and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahimi Mashaei, in return for Ahmadinejad's team not pushing for the prosecution of judiciary chief Sadegh Larijani's brother Mohammad Javad Larijani, who has apparently been involved in vast corruption and theft.]
Who dares to talk about the great case of corruption whereby, under the guise of implementing Article 44 of the Constitution [which mandates privatization of most industries], a great portion of the national wealth has been transferred to centers of power and influence, and reveal the facts about this plundering of the nation's resources that has created great economic trusts? Who is brave enough to talk about the catastrophe of the absence of any monitoring of the financial affairs of the military and security organizations and the quasi-governmental organs that influence the country's economy? The nation is asking again: Is this the just Islamic state that we struggled to establish? What problems does transparency create that they [the hardliners] have to resort to secrecy and hiding from the nation? Have you forgotten the golden principle of that old man [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] of Jamaran [where he lived] that states, "Do not do anything that would force you to explain it to the nation"?
My dear comrades of the Green Path of Hope,
It is now a year since the birth of the unique Green Movement, and during this time the Greens have come a long way on the path of hope. By rejecting the ruling establishment, by going back to their own homes and developing and expanding their social networks, strong and reliable relations between the various strata of the nation have been established. The social networks have created miracles in the area of informing [the nation] of political-social and cultural [developments]. All we need to do to understand this is to glance at their artistic productions, the amount of news and information that is exchanged, and the analyses that are going on in a completely democratic way. The Green Movement has created a powerful wave of debate and discussion concerning the critical problems among the people that is unique in our recent history.
Today, more than any other time in history, the people recognize those who violate the fundamental rights of the nation. They are aware of the repeated violations of their human rights and dignity by the judiciary-security establishments. They know full well those who have ignored and destroyed the national accord [the Constitution], particularly with regard to the fundamental rights of the people. At the same time -- in spite of all the bitter, sad, and bloody events -- due to the widespread discussions, wisdom has dominated emotion throughout, which is why those who have done everything in their power [to manipulate the Movement] have not been able to force the people, who have been hurt and had [their loved ones] martyred and jailed, to resort to violence. Resistance and peaceful struggle has been our best weapons against bullets and electric shocks and foulmouthed, cultureless vigilantes.
Millions of our people can see today how those with daggers in their hands run after our women and men, old and young. They know those who, due to their debased sensibilities, use the ugliest words against those [participating] in peaceful demonstrations. In response, our people have created the most beautiful songs, have given each other the most meaningful posters, and have made numerous films and photos about the lives and struggle of the people, circulating them to make their sad stories permanent, eternal.
My dear comrades of the Green Path of Hope
At the beginning of the second year of the Movement, and at the recommendation of some friends, a Charter for strengthening the collective identity of the Green Movement has been prepared that is now presented to you.
It is only natural that the suggested Charter may not be able to address every different view and demand. But what motivated and encouraged your humble comrade to draft it was the solution that some of the voters found last year just before the election. In the human chain [formed by Mousavi supporters just before last June's election] from Tajrish [in northern Tehran] to Railway Station Square [in southern Tehran], there were people who said that they were prepared to elect the bad [Mousavi] over the worse [Ahmadinejad], and this choice strengthened that unforgettable chain. True reforms begin with recognizing and accepting the responsibility for electing this or that [candidate].
This Charter is a first step and, God willing, over the course of its evolution, the Green Movement will make it more complete and more beautiful.
The Root Cause and Goals
1. The emergence of various deviations from and gradually erected impediments on the path of achieving such goals and ideals as justice, independence, freedom, and the Islamic Republic for which the people won the glorious Islamic Revolution; the emergence of authoritarian tendencies among some government officials; violations of the fundamental rights of citizens; insults to human dignity; government mismanagement; the growing [economic] gap and economic and social poverty; neglect and even violation of laws by those responsible for enforcing the law; and the gradual and painful abandonment of morality are what gave rise to the people's protestations, whose powerful emergence as the Green Movement was demonstrated after the 10th presidential election in 1388 .
2. The Green Movement is loyal to human, moral, Iranian, and religious values and principles, and is dedicated to the reform and cleansing of the system that has existed in the Islamic Republic of Iran in the years after the Revolution. It is based on these principles that it considers its struggle as taking place within the framework of the Constitution and regards respect for people's views and votes as the target of its efforts.
3. The Green Movement represents the continuation of the struggle of the Iranian people for freedom, social justice, and national sovereignty, goals that were also pursued in the Constitutional Revolution [1905-1911], the movement for nationalization of the oil industry [1951-1953], and the Islamic Revolution [1978-1979].
4. Rereading of the recent [national] history of the struggle for social-political goals indicates that only by strengthening civil society, expanding the environment for societywide debate, elevating the level of the awareness [of the people] and the free flow of information, [enabling] effective participation by political groups and parties, and providing the necessary setting for the free activity of intellectuals and social-political activists who are loyal to the national interests within the framework of changing existing conditions, can we achieve the goals of the Green Movement. This necessitates an accord on a minimum number of demands and common goals, and the establishment of harmony among all the forces that, despite their own independent identities, accept pluralism in the Green Movement and are willing to work under the same banner.
The Fundamental Solutions
1. The Green Movement is an all-encompassing movement that never considers itself mistake-free and, by rejecting any sort of absoluteness, emphasizes the expansion of the environment for debate both within and beyond the Movement. The monitoring of the path of the Movement and its development by all supporters, particularly the intellectuals and analysts, is vital to protect the Movement from slipping into the path of authoritarianism and corruption.
2. In the view of the supporters of the Green Movement, the Iranian people all want a free, proud, and developed Iran. The Green Movement supports pluralism and is against exclusion of any thinking. As result, enmity toward any segment of society is not acceptable to the Green Movement. Making efforts to discuss and debate with our competitors and enemies in a healthy environment and informing the various segments of our society about the aims and principles of the Movement are the duty of all those who consider themselves supporters of the Green Movement. We are all Iranian and Iran belongs to all of us.
3. Activating and expanding the social networks -- both real and in cyberspace -- and enriching the environment for debate over the fundamental goals and identity of the Green Movement are activities deserving of particular attention by all Green Movement supporters.
4. While the Green Movement emphasizes its independence and separates itself from those forces that are foreign or not nationalist, it does not seek an isolated, chauvinistic path. Justice, freedom, independence, human dignity, and morality are universal values, and learning from the experience of those nations that struggled to realize such values, accepting the critiques and insights of all freedom fighters and those who peacefully struggle for human freedom and dignity, is also part of the Green Movement's way.
The Green Identity:
The Iranian-Islamic Treasure Trove
1. While accepting pluralism within the Green Movement, the Movement emphasizes the necessity of a faith that is about kindness, morality, and respect for human dignity and rights, and believes that the way to strengthen the religious values in society is by strengthening the moral aspects of Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Uniting our Iranian-Islamic heritage, creating social zeal for the development and advancement of the country, avoiding forcing people to follow a certain ideology and manner, challenging the use of religion [to advance one's agenda], and preserving the independence of the clerical and religious organizations from the government are the only means that can protect the high moral position of religion [in Iran] and the continuation of its distinguished role in Iranian society, which is one of the most important principles of the Green Movement.
2. The secret to the survival of the Iranian-Islamic civilization is the coexistence and convergence of national and religious values in the history of our land. In this vein, the Green Movement emphasizes the protection and strengthening of the high values of Iranian culture and our accumulated wealth in the form of our national traditions and customs, and sets as its goal making people aware of the special national and religious traditions that give us our identity.
3. Throughout the history of its struggle for freedom and independence, the Iranian nation has demonstrated time and again its self-reliance and unity based on [certain] principles. Relying on this national heritage and collective wisdom and rejecting self-centrism and arrogance, the efforts of the Green Movement of Iran in pursuit of its goals are based on collective agreement and rejecting those elements that want to create chaos. It believes that this [agreement] is possible if it is the result of collective wisdom based on a monotheistic understanding.
4. The Green Movement is an Iranian-Islamic movement that seeks a free, developed, and advanced Iran. On this basis, any Iranian who accepts reliance on monotheistic collective wisdom as the way to build a better tomorrow is counted among the supporters of the Green Movement. The Movement considers Iran as belonging to all Iranians.
1. People's determination of their own fate is a fundamental principle of the Green Movement, and elections are the best way to put this principle into practice. It is on the basis of this principle that the Movement will continue its efforts to safeguard people's votes until such time as free, competitive, fair elections, without any vetting [of candidates], can be guaranteed. The people's will and vote are the source of legitimacy for political power, and the Green Movement views any vetting of election candidates [by the Guardian Council] as violating the Articles of the Constitution that recognize people's rights, and will challenge it.
2. Achieving such goals as freedom and justice is possible only if the national interests and sovereignty are taken into account. The Green Movement, adhering to this principle, opposes any action that undermines the national interest and violates national independence, and considers this one of its basic tenets.
Values of the Green Movement:
Human Dignity and Avoiding Violence
1. The first social value of the Green Movement is defending human dignity and human rights, regardless of ideology, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social position. The Green Movement emphasizes that the establishment and guarantee of human rights is one of the most important human achievements and a result of collective wisdom. These are God-given rights that no ruler, government, parliament, or power can annul or unjustifiably limit. Attaining such rights necessitates respect for such principles as equality, compromise, debate, and peaceful resolution of conflicts, whose realization is possible only when the necessary environment for a free press, the prevention of censorship, the free activity of nongovernmental social networks, and the modification and reform of laws in order to prevent any discrimination between citizens is provided.
2. The Green Movement is a civil movement that believes, as one of its core principles, in avoiding violence within the framework of the civil struggle. Believing that only the people will be the victims of violence, the Movement believes in debate, peaceful struggle, and the employment of peaceful means as core values. The Green Movement will use all peaceful methods in its struggle.
Justice, Freedom and Equality
3. Justice has a special, high position among the values and ideals of the Green Movement. Fair distribution of all resources, whether social, political, economic, or otherwise, is one of the Green Movement's unalterable goals, for whose attainment it is necessary to make an all-out effort. Spreading justice in society is possible only if the political system acts independently, both internally and externally, without any kind of servitude to or reliance on political, economic, and social organizations and power centers, and can guarantee the economic development and advancement of the country in such a way that there is social justice for all.
4. Due to the necessity of addressing the needs and demands of all the strata and classes of the society, the Green Movement emphasizes the links between the middle and lower classes of society -- those that are most vulnerable to social-political pressures. Relying on Article 9 of the Constitution, the Movement opposes denying people's rights in the name of protecting the independence and territorial integrity of the country. While emphasizing the political, cultural, economic, and military independence of the country, it views recognition of people's right to decide their own fate as the only way of defending the nation's interests and borders.
5. Establishing freedom and equality is one of the core, undeniable goals of the Islamic Revolution that the Green Movement also emphasizes. Rejecting the elimination of any type of monolithic or exclusionary thinking, [applying the same] to the press and political [groups], and opposing the physical elimination of any thinking or viewpoint are at the top of the Green Movement agenda. In this vein, it is necessary to make efforts to free the people from any type of domination: political (dictatorship), social (discrimination and social inequality), and cultural. The Green Movement emphasizes its support for women's rights and rejection of any type of discrimination based on gender and ethnicity, and emphasizes the rights of ethnic minorities.
6. The Green Movement believes that security does not imply security only for the government, but security for every Iranian. Security must be established for all Iranians, so that they can live free of fear under protection of the law. The independence of the judiciary, noninterference by military forces with political and economic affairs, and dealing with the organizers and members of the so-called plainclothesmen are central demands of the Green Movement.
7. Executing all Articles of the Constitution, particularly those that govern the rights of the people (chapter 3 of the Constitution), is a primary goal of the Green Movement.
8. Some of the best ways to achieve this, which deserve special attention, include releasing the political prisoners; eliminating all illegal limitations on the activities of political groups and social movements, such as the feminist movement, and the framing of their activities as security issues; putting on trial the perpetrators of the election fraud and the torture and murders of the election protestors; and identifying and putting on trial those in the various layers of the government who justify violence against the people.
Respect for Individual and Societal Creativity
1. Unfortunately, it must be admitted that the many iniquitous political, social, and economic policies of the ruling elite have lowered the society's moral standards and social capital. The Green Movement emphasizes the necessity of the revival of morality as the basis for the social lives of the people of Iran, and it will be loyal to moral principles.
2. The Green Movement is neither an organized political party, nor an unorganized and aimless collection of various people. Reviewing the historical experience of the Iranian people indicates that, at historic junctions, they have been able to demonstrate their high capabilities, shrewdness, and wisdom; by relying on their creative power, they have paved the way for achieving their goals. The Green Movement relies on its principles and social networks, and the wisdom, ingenuity, and civil creativity of the Iranian nation, and believes that achieving such ideals as justice and freedom is directly linked with the blossoming of such creativity. The [recent] motto "Every Iranian is a center [of news and information]" should now be changed to "Every Iranian is a movement."
Respect for Laws and Negotiation
1. The Green Movement is pursuing the ideals and goals of the Islamic Revolution, relying on critical rereading of what has happened since the Revolution -- particularly in the relationship between the nation and the government -- and on the national accord of the people of Iran, meaning the Constitution. It wants a better future for the Iranian nation.
2. In this vein, execution of all articles of the Constitution is the main and fundamental principle of the Green Movement. The Movement believes that only through a return to lawfulness, forcing the various organs to obey the laws and confronting those who break the law regardless of their position, can the nation prevail over the various crises with which it has been grappling and move along the path of development and advancement. At the same time, the Green Movement asserts that respect for the law does not mean its selective use by the ruling elite. Conditions must be provided to ensure that the laws cannot be used to justify arbitrary violence, baseless accusations, and violations of the fundamental rights of the citizens where illegal violence, injustice, and discrimination become the law.
3. The laws of the country, including the Constitution, are not permanent and unchangeable written documents. Every nation has the right to correct its course by correcting and modifying its laws. But it should be recognized that the only changes and modifications in the Constitution that can be accepted are those that result from public debate and discussion, through the participation of every strata of society and all social groups, and without the use of force.
4. Expanding civil society and strengthening the public domain are among the fundamental principles of the Green Movement. The Movement believes that protecting the goals of the Islamic Revolution and ameliorating the consequences of the present crisis require negotiation and discussion among the representatives of various schools of thoughts and political groups, and in this vein the Movement will accept any invitation for transparent negotiation and discussion with the aim of defending people's rights and resolving social problems.
5. The Green Movement wants to strengthen the national economy in the international arena and investment [in Iran], with the goal of increasing the purchasing power of the Iranian people. The Movement advocates a wise foreign policy based on transparent and constructive relations with the world, and rejects adventurism and demagogy in foreign affairs. The Movement seeks the elevation of the dignity of the great and enduring nation of Iran.
Your humble comrade,
Mir Hossein Mousavi
While one may agree or disagree with some of the principles and goals that Mousavi has laid out, it is clear that this is a historic document. Anyone who is interested in establishing a democratic political system in Iran and in the true rule of law should, in my opinion, support the Charter and Mousavi. Such support does not and should not imply agreement with everything that the Charter espouses, nor blindness to Mousavi's past. But at this critical moment in Iran's history, Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and their comrades deserve our utmost support.
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