Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Iran's public opinion on JCPOA deal and other matters

Given the orange idiot's anouncement yesterday of USA's exit from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal with Iran, and because in his speech he referred to the "Iranian regime" and to "dictators, while implying that the people of Iran do not back their government's stance on the issue, let's see what the actual polls of actual;iranians opinions tell us: Opinion poll in Iran, January 2018 / Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) & IranPoll. Some selected stats:
- Iran’s political system needs to undergo fundamental change. 16,4 strongly/somwhat agree, 76,7% strongly/somewhat disagree
- Iran’s current level of involvement in Iraq and Syria is not in Iran’s national interests: S/s agree: 32,6% S/s Disagree: 61,2%
- In your opinion, how important is it for our country to develop its nuclear program? Very/somewhat: 85,8%, Not important: 9,6%
- In July 2015, Iran and the P5+1 countries reached a comprehensive agreement in regard to Iran’s nuclear program, which is also known as the JCPOA. In general
and based on what you know about the JCPOA, to what degree do you approve or disapprove of this agreement?

S/S Approve: 55,1% S/S disapprove: 33,8%
- How confident are you that the United States will live up to its obligations toward the nuclear agreement? V/S confident 11,6%, Not confident 86,4%
- How would you rate American President Donald Trump’s policies toward Iran on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means completely hostile, 5 means nether hostile nor friendly, and 10 means completely friendly? 0-3: 82,9%, 4-6 13,8% 7-10: 1,2%
- If the United States takes measures against Iran that are in violation of the JCPOA agreement, do you think:
  • Iran should retaliate by restarting the aspects of its nuclear program that it has agreed to suspend under the JCPOA: 58.7%
  • Iran should continue to live by the JCPOA agreement and should seek to resolve the issue by taking its complaints to the UN: 37,7%
- If the United States decides to withdraw from the JCPOA agreement and reimpose sanctions on Iran, but other P5+1 countries remain committed to the agreement and do not reimpose sanctions, what do you think Iran should do?
  • Iran should withdraw from the JCPOA 52.8%  
  • Iran should remain committed to the JCPOA 39.0%  
 - What do you think should be Iran’s response if Trump threatens to re-impose U.S. sanctions lifted under the JCPOA unless Iran agrees to increase the duration of the nuclear limits it has accepted under the JCPOA?
  • Iran should accept Donald Trump’s demand 1,4%
  • Iran should agree to renegotiate the JCPOA but only accept increasing the duration of the nuclear limits it has accepted under the JCPOA as part of a deal that includes the US lifting more sanctions on Iran 27,2%
  • Iran should not agree to increase the duration of the limits it has accepted under the JCPOA under any circumstances. 64,4% 
- Thinking about how the JCPOA has worked out so far, which view is closer to yours? 
  • The JCPOA experience shows that it is worthwhile for Iran to make concessions because through compromise Iran can negotiate mutually beneficial agreements with world powers. 21.9% 
  • The JCPOA experience shows that it is not worthwhile for Iran to make concessions, because Iran cannot have confidence that if it makes a concession world powers will honor their side of an agreement. 67.4 
- In your opinion, how important is it for our country to develop missiles?
v/s important: 94,9%, not important: 4%

-  As a general rule, what do you think is the better approach for Iran to pursue in trying to solve the problems it is facing in the region:
  • Seeking to become the most powerful country in the region 46.2%
  • Seeking to find mutually acceptable solutions with other countries through negotiations 49.4% 
- In your opinion should Iran increase its support of groups fighting terrorist groups like ISIS, decrease it, or maintain it at the current level?

  • Increase 54,8%
  • Decrease: 10,2%
  • Maintain it at the current level 31,7%

Some people say that going forward, Bashar Assad should not be allowed to remain President of Syria because he is an incompetent leader who used excessive force against Syrian civilians and let ISIS gain control of territory. Others say that Bashar Assad did what was necessary to keep Syria together and whether he remains the president of Syria should be decided by the Syrian people. Which view is closer to your perspective?

  • Bashar Assad should not be allowed to remain President of Syria 9.2%
  • Syrian people should decide whether Bashar Assad remains as President of Syria 84.0   
-  Which of these is closer to your view about the situation in Yemen?
  • Iran should help the Houthis defeat their opponents 46.7%  
  • Iran should not get involved in Yemen’s domestic conflict 41.2 %
Which position is closer to yours? 1. Islamic and Western religious and social traditions are incompatible with each other and conflict between the two is inevitable; or 2. Most people in the West and the Islamic world have similar needs and wants, so it is possible to find common ground for peaceful coexistence?
  • Conflict is inevitable 35,2%
  • Common ground possible 58,1%
-  In your opinion, to what degree should our country's policymakers take religious teachings into account when they make decisions?
  • A lot/somewhat: 77%
  • Not a lot / Not at all: 20,8%
Thinking about how much political freedom people in Iran have, do you think they have too much, too little, or just about the right amount of political freedom?
  • Too much 9.2%
  • Too little 30.4 
  • Just about the right amount 56.2 
- Do you think the government tries to exercise too much control over people’s personal lives, not enough control, or about the right amount of control?     
  • Too much 17.6%
  • Too little 17.9 
  • Just about the right amount 57.7     
In your view, is global climate change a very serious problem, somewhat serious, not too serious or not a problem?
v/s serious 94,3%
not serious / not a problem: 3,8%

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Society of Social Media

Literary Experiment: Take the first 9 theses of Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle (1967), and replace the word "spectacle" with "social media". Fix the syntax. The result is, well, interesting:

1. The whole life of those societies in which modern conditions of production prevail presents itself as an immense accumulation of social media. All that once was directly lived has become mere representation.
2. Images detached from every aspect of life merge into a common stream, and the former unity of life is lost forever. Apprehended in a partial way, reality unfolds in a new generality as a pseudo-world apart, solely as an object of contemplation. The tendency toward the specialization of images-of-the-world finds its highest expression in the world of the autonomous image, where deceit deceives itself. Social media in their generality are a concrete inversion of life, and, as such, the autonomous movement of non-life.
3. Social media appears at once as society itself, as a part of society and as a means of unification. As a part of society, it is that sector where all attention, all consciousness, converges. Being isolated - and precisely for that reason -this sector is the locus of illusion and false consciousness; the unity it imposes is merely the official language of generalized separation.
4. Social media are not a collection of images; rather, they are a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.
5. Social media cannot be understood either as a deliberate distortion of the visual world or as a product of the technology of the mass dissemination of images. It is far better viewed as a weltanschauung that has been actualized, translated into the material realm - a world view transformed into an objective force.
6. Understood in their totality, social media are both the outcome and the goal of the dominant mode of production. It is not something added to the real world - not a decorative element, so to speak. On the contrary, it is the very heart of society's real unreality. In all their specific manifestations - news or propaganda, advertising or the actual consumption of entertainment - social media epitomize the prevailing model of social life. They are the omnipresent celebration of a choice already made in the sphere of production, and the consummate result of that choice. In form as in content social media serve as total justification for the conditions and aims of the existing system. They further ensure the permanent presence of that justification, for they govern almost all time spent outside the production process itself.
7. The phenomenon of separation is part and parcel of the unity of the world, of a global social praxis that has split up into reality on the one hand and image on the other. Social practice, which social media's autonomy challenges, is also the real totality to which the social media is subordinate. So deep is the rift in this totality, however, that social media are able to emerge as its apparent goal. The language of the social media is composed of signs of the dominant organization of production - signs which are at the same time the ultimate end-products of that organization.
8. Social media cannot be set in abstract opposition to concrete social activity, for the dichotomy between reality and image will survive on either side of any such distinction. Thus social media, though they turn reality on its head, are themselves a product of real activity. Likewise, lived reality suffers the material assaults of social media's mechanisms of contemplation, incorporating the socialmediatic order and lending that order positive support. Each side therefore has its share of objective reality. And every concept, as it takes its place on one side or the other, has no foundation apart from its transformation into its opposite: reality erupts within the social media, and the social media is real. This reciprocal alienation is the essence and underpinning of society as it exists.
9. In a world that really has been turned on its head, truth is a moment of falsehood.