The Starfish Revolution? in Iran
November 10th, 2009

Observers are talking about the Iranian uprisings of 2009 in smartmobbing terms. Here is part of such an analysis by Michael Ledeen:

Several thoughtful people have commented on an unusual element in the Iranian revolutionary movement, aka “The Green Path of Hope.”  Although there is a troika (Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami) that inspires many of the movement’s participants, there seems to be a lack of top-down leadership.  Indeed, Mousavi has been at pains to say that the people are the true leaders, that he is not creating a political movement but a “social network,” and that the strength of the Green Path derives from the spontaneous and creative actions of millions of Iranians.

It sounds a lot like the thesis put forward in the recent book, The Starfish and the Spider, which argues that top-down organizations are less successful than those that give maximum freedom to their people.  If you decapitate a spider, it dies, but if you lop off an arm of a starfish, it regenerates.  In like manner, despite a massive crackdown from the Iranian regime–thousands of arrests (now termed “kidnappings” by Iranian Tweeters), scores of executions, mass rape and other forms of torture, show trials and stern intimidation from political and military leaders, judges and clerics, the Green Path moves on, with its next publicly announced challenge to the regime set for December 7th.  Meanwhile, demonstrations and strikes continue across the country. . . .

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