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5 - “In a Forest of Humans”:

The Urban Cartographies of Theory and Action in 1970s Iranian Revolutionary Socialism

from Part II - Militarized Cartographies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 July 2021

Arang Keshavarzian
Affiliation:
New York University
Ali Mirsepassi
Affiliation:
New York University
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Summary

Historical analyses tend to agree that the Iranian Revolution was an overwhelmingly “urban” revolution. But how did the revolutionaries themselves see “the urban,” that is, the material, social, and ideological phenomena entangled with the processes of urbanization? In this chapter, the author explores how the arguably most prominent revolutionary Iranian socialist organization prior to the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Organization of the Iranian People’s Fadâ‘i Guerrillas, engaged “the urban.” The author examines a range of Fadâ‘i materials from the end of the 1960s to the end of the 1970s that reflect the organization’s theory and action through four analytical points related to “the urban,” namely, (1) as a central feature of the organization’s historical context and profile; (2) as elements in the organization’s revolutionary theory and strategy; (3) as a setting and resource for its armed action; and (4) as a site for detection of revolutionary potential. The author contend that the urban was used by the guerrillas to work through the global, that is, the universalistic pretentions of Marxist ideology and of Third Worldist revolutionary theory, toward an Iran-specific praxis. “The urban” became an abstract and concrete link, the author argues, connecting a transnational space of ideas to a particular, localized struggle for national liberation and thus, in short, to anchor theory in practice.

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Chapter
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Global 1979
Geographies and Histories of the Iranian Revolution
, pp. 141 - 177
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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