04. Futurists and the Iranian Experience
Iran being the cradle of the first major reactionary revolution of our times, means that freeing Iran from the Islamic Republic nightmare, and moving towards the future, offers the best example for the world, as to how to overcome major pre-industrial setbacks and to go towards a post-industrial society.
Going beyond the industrial society, will be in its most explicit form in Iran, in contrast to countries like the U.S., that are gradually spawning this development. The Iranian experience will have a central role in formulating the ways to progress towards the future post-industrial societies, the same way in the 18th Century, the American and French Revolutions, were so central to set a new paradigm of building the coming industrial society, for most other countries, that were searching for solutions, to go beyond the Medieval society.
What is very disappointing is that the Futurists have mainly ignored the developments of Iran, and have only seen the Iranian situation as an issue of US-Iran relations, whether at the time of the Shah, or at the time of IRI and hostage-taking. If one looks at the publications of the World Future Society in the last 20 years, there is hardly any article about Iran. Among the futurists, only Daniel Bell has made a reference to Iran and the Salman Rushdie issue, and Alvin Toffler has made a few occasional references to Iran.
I think Iranians and those who understand the Iranian situation, will be the ones who can bring the awareness about Iran's experience to the world, and help the futurists of other countries to see the significance of the Iranian upheaval and setbacks, and to understand its relevance to the post-industrial development in general, when the epochal post-industrial change, is challenged by powerful pre-industrial forces like the Islamists, and by the retrogressive social structures of the past, such as the strength of Islamic fundamentalism shown in the Islamic Friday Prayers of Middle East.
I think the Iranian people forming a futurist party and leading and spearheading the epochal change of Iran to a full bloom post-industrial society, can become an example for the world, in making this new paradigm shift from the industrial to the post-industrial world. The challenge in Iran is forming and building a Federal Secular Democratic Republic.
As I have explained in later chapters of Futurist Iran book, the insistence of Reza Pahlavi and the monarchists to return the rule of Pahlavi family to Iran, has wasted a lot of energy of Iranian people, to deal with the monarchy, which has been history for over 25 years, and had already been even voted out in a referendum in Iran.
The monarchy distraction is just for the selfish goals of a deposed family, with another retrogressive goal of returning Iran to an obsolete past, to regain their bygone power and wealth, and it has stopped the pro-democracy movement of Iran, from concentrating all the forces of opposition on eradicating the retrogressive system of Islamic Republic, to replace it with a futurist republic, and again like the time of 1979 Revolution, a retrogressive force, this time the monarchy, is trying to restore its lost power in Iran, by using the people's movement.
Regardless of these distractions, Iran and Iranians will have a leading role in formulating the proper solutions for building the post-industrial society, and that can help others in other parts of the world, by setting an example of developing a post-industrial society in our era, especially in an undeveloped country, encompassing all aspects of life.
For the secular and democratic forces of Iran, to provide proper leadership for this future development of Iran, there is a need to form a futurist party, that can lead such a change, or else even if the power is won, a proper progressive leadership will be absent, and we all know how such absence of a futurist leadership in 1979, ended up in retrogression, and it cost Iran and Iranians so dearly, when choosing a reactionary paradigm as a solution. This is why I have proposed a detailed platform for founding a futurist party of Iran.
One may think that being a futurist is just to learn the views that are well documented in the works listed in the book catalog of the World Future Society. Undoubtedly those books are the best collection of futurist literature around. But to really understand what modern futurism involves, the experience of Iran is the most telling example for any futurist, and it is still a living event.
When approaching Iran, we have to specifically answer some important issues of the political development, firstly the continued strength of the organization of the Shi'a clergy in Iran's judicial branch, and other branches of the state, and its strength in civil institutions like the real estate title companies, and the fact that the absence of separation of state and religion, was true long before the birth of Islamic Republic.
Thus the need to specifically call for removal of clergy's status in all state offices and the need to call for removal of *all* Islamic laws in Iran, including Qessas laws, is the real definition of secularism for Iran. Secondly the absence of development of federalism, is another major factor hindering the growth of democracy in Iran. And thirdly the strength of state economy, has been the foundation of endurance of despotism in Iran, under various regimes. These are crucial issues for achieving progress in Iran.
Some of these topics, such as the position of Shi'a clergy in Iranian state, may have no significance for a futurist who focuses on the development needs of the United States, nonetheless, the pre-industrial obstacles stemming from other religious and ideological influences are not much different, and thus Iran's experience sets a paradigm for futurists, for tackling the challenge of pre-industrial forces to new civilizations, in other parts of the world.
Iranian experience highlights the pre-industrial obstacles and the relevant solutions, when progressive forces do not want to create another obsolete despotic system, with a stagnant economy and with more violations of human rights, when replacing an existing retrogressive system. Such so-called "new" pre-industrial systems, replacing the industrial system, are not progress towards a post-industrial society, and are simply a retrogression wrapped up, as a solution, to the problems encountered by the crisis-ridden industrial world.
References Chapter 4