chapter  12
12 Pages

The Islamic Left: from radicalism to liberalism

ByE RVA N D ABRAHAMIAN

Since the 1979 revolution, religious intellectuals in Iran have reinvented themselves. Before 1979, they championed root-and-branch revolution and drastic socio-economic transformations. In recent decades, they have lowered their expectations to piecemeal reforms, particularly political liberalization. The key words in their previous lexicon were engelab (revolution), emperialism (imperialism), shahid (martyrdom), mostazafin (dispossessed), towhid (solidarity), khish (roots), and gharbzadegi (Western intoxication). The key words in their current lexicon are demokrasi (democracy), azadi (liberty), barabari (equality), pularalizm (pluralism), hoquq-e beshar (human rights), jame-e madani (civil society), moderniyat (modernity), goft-e-gou (dialogue), moshkerat-e siyasi (political participation), and, a new term coined in the late 1990s, shahrvandi (citizenship).