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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2009
2:22 PM

CONTACT: Campaign for Peace & Democracy

Joanne Landy, Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Tel: (646) 207-5203, jlandy@igc.org

Academics' Declaration of Support for Iranian Demonstrators

WASHINGTON - June 26 - Yesterday the New York-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy circulated the open letter below from academics in support of the demonstrators in Iran. The statement was initiated by two scholars in the United Kingdom, Peter Hallward and Alberto Toscano. I has been signed by individuals from several countries; the initial signers include Etienne Balibar, Paris X, Nanterre, and University of California, Irvine; Jacques Rancière, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris (St. Denis); Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley;  Noam Chomsky, MIT, Cambridge MA USA;  Rada Ivekovic, Collège international de philosophie, Paris, Université Jean-Monnet, Saint-Etienne; and Slavoj Žižek, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia and theEuropean Graduate School. The full list of signers is below.

        The statement declares that "Khamenei's argument  that to make concessions to popular demands and 'illegal' pressure would amount to a form of 'dictatorship'] 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.

        The statement notes that "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."

        The statement was initiated in Great Britain, but the New York-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy gathered signatures from many of the U.S. signers. The full text of the statement follows:

Open letter of support to the demonstrators in Iran
Friday 19 June 2009

PETER HALLWARD, Middlesex University, UK
ALBERTO TOSCANO, Goldsmiths College, UK

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.

SIGNED BY:
  • Alenka Zupancic, Institute of Philosophy of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
  • Alexander Garcia Düttmann, Goldsmiths College
  • Etienne Balibar, Paris X, Nanterre, and University of California, Irvine
  • Jacques Rancière, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris (St. Denis)
  • Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley
  • Noam Chomsky, MIT, Cambridge MA USA
  • Rada Ivekovic, Collège international de philosophie, Paris, Université Jean-Monnet, Saint-Etienne
  • Slavoj Žižek, University of Ljubljana, Sloveniaand theEuropean Graduate School

OTHER SIGNATORIES:

ALAMDARI, Kazem, California State University, Los Angeles
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
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
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
BUTT, Gavin, Senior Lecturer & Programme Leader in MPhil / PhD,
COHEN, Joshua, Stanford University
COLE, Juan R. I., Mitchell Collegiate Professor ofHistory, 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
DORFMAN, Vladimiro Ariel, Duke Universtiy, Durham, North Carolina
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
FARNOODY-ZAHIRI, Nelly, UCLA
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
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
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
JIMENEZ, Maria, Université Paris Sorbonne, Paris IV
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,
Chicago
MCINTYRE, Michael, International Studies, DePaul University, Chicago
MEHDIZADEH, Hamidreza, Illinois Institute of Technology
MEMMI, Paul, Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense
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
NOYAU, Colette, Dépt des Sciences du langage, CNRS, Université Paris-Ouest
PATTERSON, Ian,Director of Studies in English,  Queens’ College Cambridge
PETTIT, Philip, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University
PIRVELI, Marika, Szczecin University, Poland
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
PSTRUSIÑSKA, Jadwiga, Head of Dept. of Interdisciplinary Eurasiatic Research, Institute of Oriental Philology, Jagiellonian University, Cracow
REZAEI ,Ali, Dept. of Sociology,University of Calgary, Canada
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.
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
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
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
ZUK, Agnieszka, University of Nancy

THE CAMPAIGN FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY (CPD) advocates a new, progressive and non-militaristic U.S. foreign policy -- one that encourages democracy, justice and social change. Founded in 1982, the Campaign opposed the Cold War by promoting "detente from below." It engaged Western peace activists in the defense of the rights of democratic dissidents in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and enlisted East-bloc human rights activists against anti-democratic U.S. policies in countries like Nicaragua and Chile. The Campaign sees movements for peace, social justice and democratic rights, taken together, as the embryo of an alternative to great power politics and to the domination of society by privileged elites.
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