A notion exists amongst leftist ideologues: If a revolution takes place that isn't started by the poorest elements of society, then it has no merit and shouldn't be supported. The concept behind such a notion is simple: Every society has more poor people, than rich people, therefore the poor are more the public than the rich or middle-class, and thus not a "People's revolution. This is, of course, utter bollocks. While being poor is not a negative, it's also not a virtue in itself, otherwise there wouldn't be so many movements to eradicate poverty. And there are good reasons for that: The poor tend to not have much chances for upward mobility, less access to quality education or health-care, and usually more susceptible to the sway of religious leaders, who provide them with hope that one day they won't suffer anymore, set above those who are richer or more affluent than them by a mighty and just God who will end their suffering. Also, do their economic condition, they are usually less engaged in most political discourse, due to their focus on putting food on the table, and are also more likely to lend their voices and political loyalty to whatever politician that would appear to help them or provide welfare or charity to them, no matter what his end-goal may be. I have seen this tactic being used by both the Egyptian government and the MB, so I kind of know what I am talking about.
This kind of vote-buying and political pandering are usually the hallmarks of socialist or Islamic regimes, and let's use two of my favorite examples: Venezuela and Iran. Or, better yet, Ahmedinjad and Chavez. Both were democratically elected on platforms of fighting corruption and change. Both used the state's resources in order to buy the support of the poorest segment of the population, by giving them handouts that won't sustain them for long and that make them dependable on the "dear leader" figure, on the expense of their country's economy and overall development. In such societies, you usually find the opposition to the country's program coming from the lower to upper middle-class, while the richest of the population usually finds ways to adapt and co-exist with the new elite of the country (i.e. the new president's men). Such regimes are also usually very anti- freedom of speech and criticisms, usually deploy thugs or security forces in plainclothed uniforms to beat protesters against them, and generally create the illusion that they are the protectors of the country and the people from a dangerous far-away enemy that aims for their destruction, and spend most of their time attacking said enemy in the press and in rallies. The enemy, as you all know, has been Bush's USA, which both leaders have repeatedly accused of trying to invade their countries and overthrow their government, which happend in neither country really. Anyway..
The point of all of this, is that the people most opposed to the programs of such leaders, are the middle-class, and the young student population. And in the opinion of such ideologues or orientalists, who usually are young or middle-class themselves (god forbid), that makes them invalid:
A sort of pernicious cliché has entered our discussion of Iranian
politics, namely that the Western press cannot be trusted because
American reporters are too lazy to leave North Tehran and too dazzled
by the appearance of a vocal minority of upper-class Iranians who are
congenial to our self-image. We believe Iran is overrun with people who
think like we do, the argument goes, because these are the people who
talk to us. It is true that the movements of American reporters in Iran
are controlled and curtailed to the point where Tehran is the main, if
not the only, point of access, apart from the hard-line holy city of
Qom. I cannot speak for all American journalists who report from Iran,
but I’m sure I’m not the only one who is acutely aware of, and
frustrated by, the lack of insight into the rural heartland this
affords us. The best that we can do is to familiarize ourselves with
the full spectrum of urban life, across class and cultural boundaries.
Most Iranians, after all, live in cities, of which Tehran is only the
Michael Totten, as well, voices his disdain to such notions:
I will never forget the similar line peddled about Lebanese in March
and April of 2005. I was there when the “March 14” revolution was in
full swing, and I heard from even some Western expats who lived in Beirut that the demonstrators were mostly liberal and “bourgeois” Christians from the “Gucci” class.
It was wrong, and it was contemptible. What ignited that revolution
was the assassination of a Sunni prime minister. Around a million
people – more than a fourth of the entire country – demonstrated in
Martyr’s Square and demanded the ouster of the occupying Syrian
military dictatorship. There aren’t a million liberal “bourgeois”
Christians in all of Lebanon. In any case, the Christians as a
community have proven themselves far less reliably anti-Syrian and
anti-Hezbollah than the Sunnis.
But why do such third-worldist orientalist think this way?
The Westerners I’ve met personally who believe and write this sort
of thing suffer from a condescending Third Worldism and a barely
concealed contempt for Middle Eastern people whom they don’t think are
“authentic.” Arabs and Muslims (and presumably now Persians) aren’t
supposed to hate terrorists or yearn for democracy like Americans do.
They’re supposed to be in thrall to “resistance” and every other
morally and politically bankrupt ideology that attracted the afflicted
expats to the region in the first place.
My experience has also been similar. Too many people, who in their heart of hearts hate US-backed regimes for their "tyranny", "undemocratic ways" and let's not forget "torture", immediately change their tone the moment an anti-US regime does the same. Using such logic, Egypt is a dictatorship controlled by a brutal security apparatus that oppresses the people and has fake support rallies by usually by forced government workers, and Iran is a democracy where the government has to stand against a minority of US-friendly bourgeois and has authentic rallies of support that the poor attend out of their love for the elected president.This way Saudi is a fanatic theocratic terrorist sponsoring country where no human rights are respected, but Iran, ehh, they support the resistance, so we can't call them for doing the exact same thing. That would be, ehh, counter-revolutionary.
Needless to say, they can't publicly say that. So instead they will talk about anti-Iran bias, or western media propaganda, or how this is the will of the people. Ignoring, for example, that without an openly democratic society, where all points of views are debated, and where there is freedom of the press and political expression, then the people really have no will to speak of. Fuck, candidates can't run if the regime doesn't like them: how much is their will respected under such a regime? They will start yelling at people that the election was fairly won (as fairly as one can win an election when one controls the media, the state resources, and let's not forget appoints the head of the government body that monitors and counts the ballots) and that protesters are unrepresentative minority of the population whose views should be dismissed, nevermind that they include (that we know of and can prove under a complete media blackout) students, regular iranian people, clerics, garbage collectors and, now, doctors and nurses. And needless to say, those people represent all classes of society, not just the poor, and thus makes them actually more representative of whatever person the government bussed in and promised a bag of potatoes and rice for their support. But of course, they won't admit to that, because that level of intellectual honesty contradicts their goals and beliefs, and we can't have that. So they will continue looking and searching for whatever random (and god knows there are like 5 only) article that proves their point, and they will repeat verbatim the talking points of the Iranian government propaganda apparatuses, hoping in their heart of hearts that the green revolution gets crushed under the boots of brutes and government thugs, so that their intellectual dishonesty gets validated, no matter what the price.
Now, it's impossible to prove either side right or wrong, especially with the absence of election monitors, a blockage of all communication methods the eviction of international media, and the brutal crackdown that the government conducted (and that not a single one of those subhuman third worldists has condemned so far) on the student population. But, there is one thing that I will leave you with, and please think about it: There is not a government in the world, that has conducted a fair election, and then followed it with a communication blackout and the institution of martial law. Not one!
Think about it!