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Home page > Articles > The Green Movement and Its Global Sigificance/Pravu Mazumdar

The Green Movement and Its Global Sigificance/Pravu Mazumdar

Wednesday 8 September 2010

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Feminist school: Pravu Mazumdar studied physics in New Delhi and Munich and has a doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Stuttgart, West Germany. He lives as a writer and teacher of German in Munich and teaches philosophy at the University of Stuttgart. His areas of work include art and philosophy, and his books are closely related to French Postmodernism, in particular the philosophy of Michel Foucault. Forthcoming is a book on terrorism and colonialism: Das Niemandsland der Kultur, Berlin: Matthes & Seitz, 2010 (October).

Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani’s article “The Green Movement and the Myth of Shame of the Middle Class”* is rather instructive to an outsider unfamiliar with the intricacies of Iranian politics. Her analysis reveals the movement in its ‘essence’ and pluralism as its political backbone: as the prime factor constituting its appeal to a modern mind. One understands, that pluralism for this movement is much more than a question of political correctness, moral superiority or tactical intelligence. In a deeper sense it seems to be inseparable from the very grain of the political vision and practical energy of this movement, supported as it is by so different political forces as women, workers, minorities. Strike off pluralism, and you have eliminated the style and spirit of this movement.

Ms Khorasani’s analysis further reminds us that pluralism is essentially inseparable from a decentralisation of power and a non-violent bent of mind, evoking associations of Gandhi and Foucault. For in a concrete political context pluralism involves the mutual acceptance of multiple world-views united by one common and minimal goal. In the Gandhian movement Hindus, Moslems and Christians could accept their religious differences and unite under the banner of their common interest, which was swaraj or self-government, understood not only as a political demand, but, more essentially, as a style of living and thinking, which involved self-sufficiency, heightened consciousness regarding ones resources and potentialities and an “oceanic circle” of linkages. In a similar vein it seems that the Green Movement proposes much more than a mere political agenda. It proposes – just as Gandhi did – nothing less than a mode of social and spiritual existence. That is where the strength and undiminished relevance of Gandhi’s movement lie. That is where the strength of the Green Movement lies.

The pluralism of the Green Movement, one understands, is also closely related to its organisational structure, which is not dictated by a centre or a central ideology, but rests essentially on communicative relations. It is well known, that these relations have been enabled not only on an instrumental level by latest digital technology, but also on the level of issues and ideals by the minimal common goal of civil rights in conformity with an existing constitutional framework and its potentiality for amendment. Power, as Foucault has repeatedly stated, is not something mystical issuing from a totalitarian centre, but something capable of strategically connecting things like institutions, architectures, bodies. It is something, which takes the form of (communicative) relations traversing individuals, their bodies, their verbal exchanges and their non-verbal practices. Ms Khorasani’s article allows the reader to conclude that the strength of the Green Movement lies in a transparency engendered by its pluralism and enabled by a culture of communicative freedom as proposed time and again by Mousavi, consisting in a free exchange of experiences and thoughts between neighbours and collective practices of social reflection and enlightenment.

The most striking implication in Ms. Khorasani’s reflections is the idea that this pluralism, which is responsible for the strength and tenacity of the Green Movement, stems from the role of the middle class. For there are only two possible ways, in which the middle class can participate in social movements. It can either function as the impotent centre of a society at war, vacillating between the upper and the working classes and earning thereby the contempt of both. Or it can function as a decentred and decentring “centre” of a society, creating the space necessary to represent the manifold interests of the classes, minorities, subcultures, individuals involved in the struggle. It is true, that such a movement cannot include in its agenda the totality of the problems and issues of all the groups involved, but only a set of minimal demands concerning civil liberties, the fulfilment of which would however be profitable to all. The middle class as a decentred “centre” of society is thus a space or social medium capable of transmitting the experience that political practice can function as a partial methodology that no longer intends an ultimate and total solution. The minimal solution proposed by such a practice is no longer to be judged as a betrayal of totalitarian ideals or as a contemptible deflection from a revolutionary programme, but rather as a partial yet real step towards attainment of a better life.

To sum up: the non-violence inherent in the pluralism of the Green Movement involves an active acceptance of difference incarnated in organisational structures reminiscent of Wittgenstein’s “family resemblance” and transmitted along lines of communication connecting all those who are prepared to cooperate rather than confront each other in realising minimal goals of improvement of the common lot. This is where the Green Movement, to say the least, appears an impressive experiment. Even though the outcome of this experiment is uncertain, even though it faces severe challenges from within and without, it can already be seen to have brought things into motion.

Considering the global nature of the economic and ecological issues challenging humankind today, the Green Movement with its cooperative rather than confrontational style offers a paradigm for political action, which is inspiring for people in other parts of the world involved in struggles for changes necessary to the ultimate survival of our global community. The significance of this movement can only be fathomed when it is taken in its universal intent: not only as a form of political action, but beyond that as a thought process of considerable relevance to contemporary emancipatory aspirations.


* - "The Green Movement and the Myth of Shame of the Middle Class" in English:

http://www.iranianfeministschool.org/english/spip.php?article340

Source in Persian:

http://iranianfeministschool.org/spip.php?article3282

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