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    Posted June 21, 2009 by
    Tehran, Iran

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    Open letter of support to the demonstrators in Iran


    Open letter of support to the demonstrators in Iran

    Friday 19 June 2009

    This morning Ayatollah Ali Khamenei demanded an end to the massive and forceful demonstrations protesting the controversial result of last week's election. He argued that to make concessions to popular demands and 'illegal' pressure would amount to a form of 'dictatorship', and he warned the protestors that they, rather than the police, would be held responsible for any further violence.

    Khamenei's argument sounds familiar to anyone interested in the politics of collective action, since it appears to draw on the logic used by state authorities to oppose most of the great popular mobilisations of modern times, from 1789 in France to 1979 in Iran itself. These mobilisations took shape through a struggle to assert the principle that sovereignty rests with the people themselves, rather than with the state or its representatives. 'No government can justly claim authority', as South Africa's ANC militants put it in their Freedom Charter of 1955, 'unless it is based on the will of all the people.'

    Needless to say it is up to the people of Iran to determine their own political course. Foreign observers inspired by the courage of those demonstrating in Iran this past week are nevertheless entitled to point out that a government which claims to represent the will of its people can only do so if it respects the most basic preconditions for the determination of such a will: the freedom of the people to assemble, unhindered, as an inclusive collective force; the capacity of the people, without restrictions on debate or access to information, to deliberate, decide and implement a shared course of action.

    Years of foreign-sponsored 'democracy promotion' in various parts of the world have helped to spread a well-founded scepticism about civic movements which claim some sort of direct democratic legitimacy. But the principle itself remains as clear as ever: only the people themselves can determine the value of such claims. We the undersigned call on the government of Iran to take no action that might discourage such determination.

    AGAMBEN, Giorgio, Università IUAV di Venezia, Venice

    ALAMDARI, Kazem, California State University, Los Angeles

    ALLIEZ, Eric, Middlesex Universtiy, UK

    AMSLER, Sarah S., Language and Social Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham

    ANDERSON, Kevin B., Professor of Sociology and Political Science, University of California, Santa Barbara

    ASAD, Talal, Graduate Center, City University of New York

    BADIOU, Alain, École Normale Supérieure, Paris

    BALIBAR, Etienne, Paris X, Nanterre, and University of California, Irvine

    BALKAN, Nesecan,Hamilton College

    BANUAZIZI, Ali, Professor of Political Science and Director, Program in Islamic Civilization and Societies, Boston College

    BAYAT, Asef, Professor of Sociology and Middle East Studies, Leiden University

    BEHROOZ, Maziar, Associate Professor of Middle East History, San Francisco State University

    BENHABIB, Seyla, Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, Yale University, New Haven

    BEYER, Vera, Kunsthistorisches Institut der Freien Universität Berlin

    BIENIEK, Adam, Jagiellonian University, Chair of Arab Studies, Institute of Oriental Philology, Cracow, Poland

    BOCHENSKA, Joanna, Dept. of Kurdish Studies, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland

    BOGDAN, Jolan, Dept. of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths College, UK

    BOSTEELS, Bruno Bosteels, Cornell University

    BRAULT, Pascale-Anne, Professor of French, Dept. of Modern Languages, DePaul University

    BRUNO, Michael, Dept. of Philosophy, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR

    BRUSTAD, Kristen, Associate Chair, Dept. Of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin

    BURGE, Tyler, University of California, Los Angeles

    BURGERS, Jan-Willem, Australian National University

    BUTLER, Judith, University of California, Berkeley

    BUTT, Gavin, Senior Lecturer & Programme Leader in MPhil / PhD,

    CARDIN, Maryam, IUT of the University of Marne-la-vallée

    CHOMSKY, Noam, MIT, Cambridge MA USA

    COHEN, Joshua, Stanford University

    COLE, Juan R. I., Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan

    DABASHI, Hamid, Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, New York

    DE CARO, Mario, Dept. of Philosophy, University of Rome

    DI LUCIA COLLETI, Laura, Conseillor Province of Venice

    DOGRAMACI, Sinan, University of Texas at Austin

    DOLEZALEK, Isabelle, Freie Universität Berlin

    DOMINIAK, Piotr, Chairman of ASK Association in Raciborz, Poland

    DORFMAN, Vladimiro Ariel, Duke Universtiy, Durham, North Carolina

    DÜTTMANN, Alexander Garcia, Goldsmiths College

    EHSANI, Kaveh, Assistant Professor of International Studies, DePaul University

    EISENSTEIN, Zillah, Professor of Politics, Ithaca College

    ENGELMANN, Stephen, University of Illinois at Chicago

    EPSTEIN, Barbara, History of Consciousness Dept., University of California, Santa Cruz

    FALK, Richard, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University

    FARHI, Farideh, Dept. of Political Science, University of Hawai'i at Manoa


    FASY, Thomas M., Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City

    FATIMA KHAN, Mahruq, Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

    FIELD, Hartry, Professor of Philosophy, New York University

    FORAN, John, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara

    FRIEDLAND, Roger, Professor of Religiou Studies and Sociology, UCSB

    GAJEWSKA, Katarzyna, University of Poland

    GANDJBAKHSH, Amirhosseing, Research Director, National Health Institute, Washington DC

    GANZ, David, Universität Konstanz, Germany

    GARRETT, Don, Dept. of Philosophy, New York University

    GASIOROWSKI, Mark, Political Science and International Studies, Louisiana State University

    GLOGOWSKI, Aleksander, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland

    GODMILOW, Jill, University of Notre Dame

    GOLE, Nilufer, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris

    HÁJEK, Alan, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University

    HALLWARD, Peter, Middlesex University, UK

    HASHEMI, Nader, Assistant Professor of Middle East and Islamic Politics

    HEGASY, Sonja, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin

    HERRERA, Linda, Institute of Social Studies (The Hague)

    HIBBARD, Scott, DePaul University, Chicago

    HOEFERT, Almut, University of Basel

    HONNETH, Axel, University of Frankfurt, Germany

    IVEKOVIC, Rada, Collège international de philosophie, Paris, Université Jean-Monnet, Saint-Etienne

    JIMENEZ, Maria, Université Paris Sorbonne, Paris IV

    KAPLINSKY, Raphael, Professor of International Development, The Open University, UK

    KESHAVARZIAN, Arang, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, New York University

    KHOSROVANI, Sahar, University of Maastricht

    KORBEL, Josef, School of International Studies, University of Denver

    KOWALIK, Tadeusz, professor of economics and humanities, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw

    KOWALSKA, Beata, Jagiellonian University, Poland

    KOZLOWSKI, Pawel, Professor of economics, Polish Academy of Sciences

    KUMAR, Victor, University of Arizona

    LARRIVÉE, Pierre, Aston University, Birmingham

    LEMISCH, Jesse, Professor Emeritus, History, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, USA

    MARTINON, Jean-Paul, Dept. of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths College, UK

    MASROUR, Farid, Dept. Of Philosophy, New York University

    MCFARLAND, Andrew, Political Science Dept., University of Illinois,

    MCINTYRE, Michael, International Studies, DePaul University, Chicago

    MEHDIZADEH, Hamidreza, Illinois Institute of Technology

    MEMMI, Paul, Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense

    MOALLEM, Minoo, UC Berkeley

    MORUZZI, Norma Claire, University of Illinois at Chicago, Political Science, History, Gender and Women's Studies

    MOSES, Claire G., Dept. of Women’s Studies, University of Maryland

    MOSHTAGHI, Nazgol, University of South Florida

    NAST, Heidi, DePaul University, Chicago

    NATCHKEBIA, Irina, Tbilisi University

    NEGRI, Antonio, Collège International de Philosophie

    NESPOULOUS, Jean-Luc, Université de Toulouse, Le Mirail et Institut Universitaire de France

    NOYAU, Colette, Dépt des Sciences du langage, CNRS, Université Paris-Ouest

    OBDRZALEK, Suzanne, Dept of Philosophy, Claremont McKenna College

    PATTERSON, Ian, Director of Studies in English, Queens’ College Cambridge

    PETTIT, Philip, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University

    PHELPS, Christopher, Dept. of History, The Ohio State University

    PIRVELI, Marika, Szczecin University, Poland

    POTTER, Robert, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

    PRÉVOST, Sophie, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris

    PRINZ, Jesse, Professor of Philosophy, City University of New York

    PROUST, Joëlle, Director of Research, Institut Jean-Nicod, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Ecole Normale Supérieure

    PSTRUSIŃSKA, Jadwiga, Head of Dept. of Interdisciplinary Eurasiatic Research, Institute of Oriental Philology, Jagiellonian University, Cracow

    RAKOWIECKA, Karolina, Jagiellonian University, Cracow

    RAKOWIECKI, Jacek, Collegium Civitas, Poland

    RANCIÈRE, Jacques, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris (St. Denis)

    REZAEI ,Ali, Dept. of Sociology, University of Calgary, Canada

    RIGGLE, Nicholas Alden, Philosophy, New York University

    ROMAN, Richard, University of Toronto

    ROSENTHAL, David M., Professor of Philosophy, Cognitive Science Concentration Graduate Center, City University of New York

    ROSS, Eric B., Visiting Professor of Anthropology and International Development Studies, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

    SAHNI, Varun, Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA),            Ganeshkhind, Pune

    SANBONMATSU, John, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dept. Of Humanities and Arts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA

    SCHAEFER, Karin, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany

    SCHELLENBERG, Susanna, Professor of Philosophy, Research School of the Social Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra

    SCHIBECI, Lynn, (retired) Dept. of History, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico

    SCHIELKE, Samuli, Centre of Modern Oriental Studies, Berlin

    SCHRECKER, Ellen, Professor of American History at Yeshiva University, New York

    SCHWABSKY, Barry, Senior Critic in Sculpture (retired), Yale University

    SEDGWICK, Sally, University of Illinois, Chicago

    SHAHSAVARI, Anousha, Persian Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin

    SHEIKHZADEGAN, Amir, University of Freiburg

    SIEGEL, Susanna C., Professor of Philosophy, Harvard University, Cambridge

    SIMPSON, Dick, Head of the Political Science Dept., University of Illinois, Chicago

    SINGPURWALLA, Rachel, University of Maryland, College Park

    SOSA, Ernest, Rutgers University Philosophy Department

    SPERBER, Dan, Institut Jean Nicod, CRNS, Paris

    STEINSEIFER, Martin, Universität Giessen

    STUART, Jack, Minneapolis, MN

    Tabb, William K., City University of New York

    TAVAKOLI-BORAZJANI, Farifteh, Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Iranistik

    TAVAKOLI-TARGHI, Mohamad, Professor of History and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto

    TISSBERGER, Martina,  Freie Universität Berlin, Dept. of Educational Sciences and Psychology

    TOHIDI, Nayereh, Professor and Chair, Gender and Women’s Studies Dept., California State University, Northridge

    TOSCANO, Alberto, Goldsmiths College, UK

    UNGER, Peter, Professor of Philosophy, New York University

    VAHDAT, Farzin, Vassar College, New York

    VAN BLUEMEL, Emeritus Professor of Physics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Worcester, MA

    VAN BRUINESSEN, Martin, Chair of Comparative Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies, Dept. of Theology and Religious Studies, Utrecht University

    VICTORRI, Bernard, Directeur de recherché CNRS, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris

    WATZL, Sebastian, Dept. of Philosophy, Columbia University

    WHITE, Stephen, Dept. of Philosophy, Tufts University

    WINANT, Howard, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara

    ZIAI, Hossein, Director of Iranian Studies, UCLA Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Los Angeles, CA

    ŽIŽEK, Slavoj, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia and the European Graduate School

    ZUK, Agnieszka, University of Nancy

    ZUPANCIC, Alenka, Institute of Philosophy of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts

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