What if People Voted for Monarchy?
I just read an article by a friend who wrote that if in a free Iran, the people of Iran vote for monarchy, it should be respected and accepted. Is this a correct position? No, I do not think it is a correct position! Why?
Well imagine if tomorrow the people of the United States in a free country vote for fascism, should it be accepted by a progressive democratic-minded individual? No it should not. In fact, in a democratic Weimar Republic, this thing did happen, where in a free country, people voted for the fascist Nazi Party and Hitler.
Should their error had been accepted? No! If I was a German and was living in Germany at the time, I would have said yes, I acknowledge that is the vote of the people, *but* I think the people have made a *grave* mistake, and I am *not* part of that mistake, and I will oppose that vote from the moment it succeeds, and will *never* accept it.
In fact, if the state of Germany at the time, had strong social and constitutional mechanisms of *judgment by the people*, the Fascist rule would have been overturned in a short while. But it did not, and unfortunately the same is true about Iran, which is way way behind even Germany of that time, to have much of mechanisms of *judgment by the people*, and this is why pushing "rule of law" in Iran, did not bring much of democracy. I have written on this issue in detail before:
Frankly if ever such a vote for monarchy happens in Iran, I seriously doubt it to be about Prince Reza Pahlavi and the Pahlavi monarchy. I think it will be about Rajavi and Rajavi monarchy. And I am not writing this humorously. I have explained my position before, and after the succession of Hafez Asad's son in the Baathist state of Syria, it is not hard to see MojAhedin's aspirations, which is not much different from Baath or North Korea's Communism, which is again another hereditary system.
And one should not be surprised if Mr. Rajavi goes all the way and makes his government an outright monarchy rather than the Democratic Islamic State which mojAhedin advocate now. And exactly this is why the principle of inheriting political position *must* be repudiated in no uncertain terms, not because of the fear of Reza Pahlavi, but because of the so-called republics that I noted, which can turn into monarchy at a whim, and creating constitutional mechanisms to block any inheriting of political power, is essential for a lasting democracy in Iran, along with the dissolution of state economy, that I have explained before, which is another pillar of despotism in Iran:
As far as the Pahlavi dynasty is concerned, there is nothing left of salatanate Pahlavi. No Ashraf Pahlavi or anybody really with a broad activity from the old royal family. Only Prince Reza Pahlavi has been active as an individual, and he has done a tremendous work to get the voice of Iranian people to the world public opinion, and I highly respect his work, and frankly I do not see his work of the last ten years as continuing the past monarchy, or even in direction of starting another monarchy:
The mistake of those people who write about monarchy is that they have not understood what a modern state is and their model of republic is a very outmoded system, which is as outmoded as the monarchy model of the monarchists, and this is why they do not really believe in their own republic model for democracy, in this day and age. For example a republic with Mr. Banisadr's tohidi economy, would be more fascist than even Shah's monarchy.
As far as the leftists, they have seen Vietnam, and so many other such republics, to know that it is as bad as any monarchy they can think of. In fact, the democratic ideals Prince Reza Pahlavi has been advocating, are a lot more advanced than all the leftist patchworks to modify the socialist republics.
Bottom line, Iran needs a 21st Century state, and we better get busy working on a constitution, which can guarantee democracy and progress in this day and age, and definitely the socialist models of the last century, and the monarchies of the past, and the Islamic and Nationalist modifications of such models, are not the solution for Iran's future.
Just like the time of American Revolution and the founding of Democratic Party, when writing of a new constitution, ushered in a new era, not only in the U.S., but in the world, we Iranians have a similar challenge ahead of us, although 200 years later, which means understanding all the glacial changes of our times need to be used as well, to formulate the new form of a futuristic democratic state for Iran.
I believe Prince Reza Pahlavi is as much part of such an endeavor to plan for a 21st Century state, as any Iranian who believes in a republic. The new state should be a federal state, creating the necessary checks and balances, to ensure the rights of Iran's minorities:
The new state should be a state which must *stop* the clergy from holding any office, even in the judicial branch of the government:
And the new state should *not* be based on a state economy.
One can call such a state anything one wishes. We can call it ITFCG standing for Iranian Twenty-First Century Government.
Monarchy has been outmoded for a long time and in Iran's case, the whole people's movement of the 25 years prior to the 1979 Revolution, has been in negation of the Pahlavi Dynasty. So Iran is not a place to have a Juan Carlos :-) Prince Reza Pahlavi's best role will be like Prince Sihanouk by separating himself from the past monarchy, and its Savak, in no uncertain terms, and to work for a 21st Century state in Iran.
Of course there will always be people who desire socialist republic or Qajar Monarchy or Pahlavi Monarchy or Rajavi Monarchy or many other choices. What is needed, is to create a political block, with plans for a 21st Century state in Iran, with a draft of a 21st Century Constitution. Old republican models of Iranian intellectuals are as outmoded as the models of the monarchists. A movement such as the Constitutional Movement is needed to define our ideals for our future state.
It is a mistake to go for minimum programs, where some deeply believe in one of those outmoded republics, but keep quiet for unity, and others believe in 1905 or Pahlavi Constitutions, and agree on such a minimum, and everybody knows that no one in that coalition really believes in its plans. That is useless.
We need to define what is the real 21st Century Constitution and that is what the people want from us, not a republic or monarchy, which we do not believe in ourselves.
And as far as the monarchy, frankly beyond 1905 and old Pahlavi system, there is no new Pahlavi monarchy waiting. What is waiting is a new dynasty, Rajavi dynasty, which has organization, and if a vacuum gets created, has a better chance than any other force to grab power in Iran, And of course Iran's Islamists, hardliners or so-called reformists, are and will be trying their best to get Iran to go the Chinese way of assimilating some of the opposition's ideals, in the IRI system, to keep the Islamic Apartheid intact, and to continue to keep non-Islamic forces out of power.
We need to go beyond the outmoded republican and monarchy models and start a Movement to formulate a Constitution, and such a Constitutional Movement can help to form a party like the original Democratic Party of Jefferson, which can lead the change in Iran, and can continue leading the country after the collapse of IRI. Otherwise, as intellectuals, we are not really adding anything to Iranian people's struggle for a future state, in safeguarding that the new upheaval, does not end up in another retrogression, like we did 24 years ago. We need to be futurists.
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher
January 15, 2003