International Journal of Middle East Studies

Research Article

Class Struggle in Post-Revolutionary Iran

Mansoor Moaddela1

a1 Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology Eastern Michigan University, Ypsiklanti


Classes are objective positions defined by the social relations of production. These positions broadly determine, among other things, the occupants' political and ideological orientations and their potential to participate in revolutionary movements. The conflict between and the contradictory nature of these positions are the underlying mechanisms for the generation and reproduction of class struggle. Nevertheless, a simple structural analysis is insufficient for analyzing the role of classes in a revolutionary movement. Classes are not static entities fixed once and for all, nor are they completely determined by “objective” economic “facts” such as the social relations of production.1 To understand the success of the dominated classes in a revolutionary movement, one must analyze their level of class formation—namely, the capacity of the members of a class to realize their interests. Class capacity is contingent, among other things, on the level of organization and mobilization of the members of the class. Rather than deriving automatically from the structural positions, class capacity is “rooted in traditional culture and communities.”2 Class boundaries, interests, and mobilization are always shifting: interests change, coalitions are formed and break up, positions in the economy are created or destroyed, and demobilization occurs.3 Classes are continually organized, disorganized, and reorganized.4 The methodological strategy adopted in this article to demonstrate the importance of class in shaping the economic policy of the Islamic Republic is based on the analysis of the significant and controversial issues that appeared in the post-revolutionary period. It will be argued that these issues were a manifestation of class struggle and that the way they were finally resolved reflected the balance of class forces.5