To the Bazaar, Comrades!

By Al Giordano

Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has made the following call for mass action tomorrow, Wednesday, morning throughout the cities and towns of Iran.

Leading opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, has just posted Khatami's call to his Facebook page:

In the name of God

We will not waste our energy, but act efficiently. We have conveyed our words to the coup-makers to the world in the streets. Now we need to change our strategy.

From this Tuesday, at 9 every morning we will all go to the bazaar in our towns all over the country. If they prevent us, the bazaar will close. If they do not, there will be such congestion that the business will get interrupted and the bazaar will close. If they disconnect the telephone lines, again all activities will get interrupted and the bazaar will close. As much as possible, we will shut down the whole town and go to the bazaar to shut it down.

Take everyone with you. Bring the children, too –without any slogans-without green signs-without sit-ins; pretending to go shopping but not buying anything. We will only think of shutting down the bazaar, but do not leave any traces, not even a victory sign by our hands. NOT AT ALL.

We will only think of victory. Bring the children, all the towns of Iran, without slogans, without slogans, without slogans, quietly, quietly, quietly, without greens, without sit-ins, without fighting. If anyone starts quarrels or shouts, we will not join because we pretend to be going shopping. There is no need to fear, and everyone will come. No fights, no bloodshed, no slogans, no sit-ins. If they prevent us, we simply return because we mean to shut down the bazaar, not to assemble. If they shoot tear gas, the bazaar will close. We will act smartly and will not engage in any sort of fights although if any fighting happens the bazaar will close due to insecurity. But we will not engage in any fights, and calmly and solely think of victory. With the congestion the bazaar will shut down, or no one will be there. Under any circumstances we will win. Dear Mr. Mousavi: We do not need your martyrdom and self-sacrifice; we need your leadership until we reach our goals. Until 9am Tuesday, the 3rd day of the martyrdom of June 20th martyrs, we will have enough time to inform everyone.

Inform friends by any means: through websites, foreign media…. From Tuesday towards bazaar.

Send this message to friends and the addresses below so that it gets widespread all over our dear Iran. This strategy is effective and there is no need to fear, and will bring millions of Iranians into the scene without any bloodshed. Rest assured this strategy is so effective that the enemy will soon start denying and making rumors, and will start struggling. Do not believe them because this program will continue. Do not listen to rumors and inform everyone by whatever means possible.

Wishing for success.

This is quite brilliant on a tactical level. It is a method of contributing to a General Strike without calling it one. It gives the bazaari shopkeepers a pretext to shut down the bazaars - the backbone of Iranian commerce - without risking losing their market posts (as the State has threatened). It allows demonstrators a large degree of stealth heading to and from the "demonstration" without placards or wearing green or anything else to call attention to them as individuals. It focuses the struggle in a highly public place - one that exists in every city and town - where if the State chooses violent repression it will provoke even more opposition from previously unmobilized forces.

How does the regime deal with that? It leaves no good choices for those trying to hold on to what is already a shaking grip on their power.



Use the enemy's rule book against them

I seem to remember a certain authentic journalist discovered the limits of someone's solidarity with the cause over a few rules for folks wanting to make radical change...

Rule 2: Never go outside the experience of your people.
The result is confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 3: Whenever possible, go outside the experience of an opponent. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

Rule 6: A good tactic is one your people enjoy. “If your people aren’t having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.”

Rule 7: A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues.

Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for your purpose. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this that will cause the opposition to react to your advantage.”

Communication too!

By getting everyone to the same physical place in a way that the authorities are going to have trouble preventing, they're also making it possible for people to communicate with each other and coordinate and get word from the outside. That will have to be done carefully, of course, in such a public place - but I imagine it's a lot more possible in a crowd than by trying to get information widely disseminated by word of mouth without drawing suspicion with more "normal" popluation movement.

Khatami's Strategy

I agree wholeheartedly with your rules.  All of these come into play in planning and organizing.  Check out my website (, where I incorporate and build on your ideas.

Thanks for putting this out!

Shop til Iran drops

I may just be projecting a Western stereotype, but this is very amusing in light of the prominent role of women in the Iran protests. Women love to shop! How could there POSSIBLY be anything wrong with women going shopping? All of them. At the same place. Simultaneously. heheheh


This isn't just a smart move in and of itself, but also a well-timed feint as the government moves further to crack down on photos and videos of the "Sea of Green." What better counter (and something of a tweak at the regime's whiskers) than delivering the empty simulacrum of Business As Usual that the ruling regime proved inept at creating on their own - and throwing it back in their faces?

Al, you've talk about how this episode in history will reveal strategies and tactics to be emulated in the future, and this is IT.

That's the difference!

After 911 GWB said we should all go shopping, but now we see we should just pretend to go shopping!

Kidding aside, looking forward to seeing how this next phase plays out... fascinating.  And since I have no way to tell one from the other, I'm assuming this FB posting is legit?  It certainly has the ring of truth to it.

Makes sense to me

Iranians, this sounds plausible.  My thoughts are with you.  How I wish I could contribute.  Be peaceful, be careful. 

John Slade -- BINGO!

The first thing I thought of when I read this was "Hey, somebody in Moussavi's clique has a copy of Rules for Radicals and is not afraid to use it."

In fact -- takes quick break to hunt down my own copy; flips through pages -- on pages 146 through 148, we have a very similar planned action, against an upscale department-store chain that refused to hire blacks for any but the crummiest jobs.  Alinsky's plan -- which he made sure was leaked to the store's managers by the known stool pigeons in the group's midst -- was to have three thousand black people, all in their Sunday best, descend upon the store for some "shopping".  This many black people in a hitherto-lily-white spot would send the regular clientele running for the exits.  Even better:  The black people would be trying things on, asking clerks questions, having them check to see if the merchandise came in different colors, et cetera -- and then not buy a single thing until the very last hour of the day, when all sorts of items would be selected and demanded to be shipped to the "purchaser's" house COD -- and then rejected.

The plan never needed to be implemented, because as expected, the stoolies reported the news to the management, and the management immediately scheduled a meeting with Alinsky's group.  Soon thereafter, 186 jobs opened up and blacks were hired for the sales floor and executive training.


I think this has something

I think this has something to do with Ahmedinejad's business interests as well.

I think he controls many (all?) of the retail food distribution channels ?



Women's dream...

A day of superfluous window Wonderful THAT will be!!




This tactic was deftly illustrated by two scenes in Van Sant's "Milk."  1. Hostile liquor store owner warns Harvey & Scott they'd better re-think moving their gay selves onto Castro Street.  2. Harvey strolls into the liquor store to congratulate his neighbor on such a tremendous increase in sales -- while the store is packed with gay men buying booze.

sort of a standing sit-in?

On a larger scale, it reminds me a bit of ACT-UPs campaign against Cracker Barrell, where they would target individual restaurants, fill every seat and order nothing but coffee (all while tipping the waitresses copiously, of course).

From an organizing standpoint, my stupid question would be, what do people do, if they can't demonstrate (or spend) while in the bazaar? Mass rallies use rituals to fight the inevitable listless drift of attention that results from standing around.

It will be a great success

Great tactic. I applaud and hope it will be a great success. I am in NZ. Can I also come and join you guys on your Bazaar rounds. I will be keen to watch this experiment.


Finally, someone is making some sense here!



Dire New Reports From Iran

Via a proven reliable iranian twitterer, apparently reporting a massacre that has happened or is happening now in Baharestan ( and apparently in Lalezar Square as well):

* in Baharestan we saw militia with axe choping ppl like meat - blood everywhere - like butcher - Allah Akbar

* they catch ppl with mobile - so many killed today - so many injured - Allah Akbar - they take one of us

* Lalezar Sq is same as Baharestan - unbelevable - ppls murdered everywhere

* they pull away the dead into trucks - like factory - no human can do this - we beg Allah for save us

* we must go - dont know when we can get internet - they take 1 of us, they will torture and get names - now we must move fast

No other reports of the violence yet, but I hear that CNN had an interview with a woman in Iran who was describing a similar scene at the same place. Nico Pitney at the Huffington Post says he will post a video shortly.

Economics behind this strike?

My understanding is the small-scale open markets are one of the few sectors not under state control, and which also produce little to no revenue for the government.  A few thousand oil workers going on strike would probably cause much, much more damage to the "economic underpinnings of the regime" than a million merchants and shoppers going on strike. And making it hard for people to purchase food and other necessities always has the possibility of backfiring.

On the other hand, the markets are an interesting place for visible action, as it’s a setting that makes repression and violence much more difficult, visible and costly. I think that may be the thinking behind this tactic.

Those twitter posts

There has been bloodshed since this all began, but those twitter posts are very disturbing and make it sound like it's getting stepped up. On the other hand, it occurs to me that flodding twitter with fake posts like that would be a very smart tactic on the government's part. In the short term, a large number of protesters would be terrified and stay home. Then when it later came out that the reports were false or greatly exagerated, the government comes out looking more reasonable and the movement looking hysterical and hyperbolic. Don't let the robes and beards fool you; the Ayatollas wrote the book on technologically cutting-edge agitation back in the 70s with their underground distribution of anti-monarchy cassette tapes. So I wouldn't put something like that past them.

At least some of the violence is still very real, of course. Fisk's latest shows the striking parallels between the protesters and the Palestinian intifadas.

Firing on protestors

Videos of dead and dying Iraqis today on Citizen Tube. The Twitter posts look to be true.


The conservative aligned mayor of Tehran is calling to allow peaceful protest. The atrocities are causing the SL to lose friends. (huffpost)

Kicking the family of Neda out of their home seems pretty dumb public relations to me, also. (Huffpost)

I have to think the next level is a general strike, if it can be done.

Global solidarity Friday 26th June

List of worldwide actions in solidarity with Iranian workers this Friday.

Nonviolent Guerilla Tactics Needed in Iran

At this point the protesters need to shift gears.  I have serveral recommendations here:  Nonviolent Guerilla Tactics Are Now Needed in Iran:

Why O Why? OT...

Re: Governor Sanford...

OK, why is it OK for Gov Sanford to take a hiking vacation to some hills, but when Candidate Barack Obama takes a vacation to Hawaii (his family home state), he's an un-American exotic? Cokie Roberts asked why B.O. couldn't have vacationed in Hilton Head SC instead!

Oh, wait...Gov Sanford just disappeared and left the state of South Carolina for five days with no word to anyone and no emergency plan to "clear his head" in one says anything about responsibility...

Oh, wait...Gov Sanford (boo-hoo) had an affair...has been having one with a married woman for over a year...but asks for forgiveness...and suddenly all of the Repubs are so "understanding and prayerful"...

Why O Why was it different for President Clinton and his *blow job*...(sorry)

Why O Why can so many Republicans and Christian Conservatives make such a big deal about getting into other people's bedrooms and thwarting their desire to marry and commit for life to someone they love, yet find it OK when THEY commit adultery and break their own marriage problem...


waterprise2 AKA Pam

Liberal with a Capital L!


UK Report- Rafsanjani has support to remove Khamenei

Highly paid province residents form official mob

This gives some explanation, where they get these brutal militia. It is poor guys from the provinces, who can achieve a good life with their pay for savaging the people of Tehran, and who are kept isolated in Tehran so they do not get any doubts about what they are doing. I guess it shoes you something about the moral values of some rural people:-(

from the guardian:

Newspaper Roozonline has an interview (in Persian) with one of the young plainclothes militiamen who have been beating protesters.

UPDATE: Robert says the man is paid 2m rial per day, which would be about £1220 for ten days of work. A hefty fee, even by UK standards. A reader writes: "You can imagine what that kind of money means to a villager from Khorasan".

The Guardian's Robert Tait sends this synopsis:

The man, who has come from a small town in the eastern province of Khorasan and has never been in Tehran before, says he is being paid 2m rial (£122) to assault protestors with a heavy wooden stave. He says the money is the main incentive as it will enable him to get married and may even enable him to afford more than one wife. Leadership of the volunteers has been provided by a man known only as "Hajji", who has instructed his men to "beat the counter-revolutionaries so hard that they won't be able to stand up". The volunteers, most of them from far-flung provinces such as Khuzestan, Arak and Mazandaran, are being kept in hostel accommodation, reportedly in east Tehran. Other volunteers, he says, have been brought from Lebanon, where the Iranian regime has strong allies in the Hezbollah movement. They are said to be more highly-paid than their Iranian counterparts and are put up in hotels. The last piece of information seems to confirm the suspicion of many Iranians that foreign security personnel are being used to suppress the demonstrators. For all his talk of the legal process, this interview provides a key insight into where Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, believes the true source of his legitimacy rests.

After that video...

... I don't think I'd be inclined to "bring the children".

New Tactics are in order

Perhaps there is a purpose to continued  demonstrations but it seems to me these folks are just way outmanned/gunned.  The new tactics must be smarter than leading themselves to slaughter to I hope the strike/bazaar idea works.  Something's gotta give soon, huh?  One way or the other?

The Sanford story was a welcome (silly) distraction.  But now that mystery is solved and it's just another philandering man.  Fun while it lasted...

Horrific stuff. They have

Horrific stuff. They have gotten away with such things and worse before, but this time feels different. Previous uprisings and crackdowns, and examples being sited from history such as China in 89, even Oaxaca in 2006, did not generate these kinds of divisions right in the heart of the regimes in question. Something's gotta give.

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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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