By John Foran
Century Of Revolution: Social activities in Iran (Social pursuits, Protest an...
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Additional resources for A Century of Revolution: Social Movements in Iran
Social democratic societies, many known as the Anjumans of the Mujahidin, were formed throughout the country. Members of these anjumans were mostly workers, craftsmen, and young activists from merchant families. The headquarters of the Anjumans of the Mujahidin (literally meaning "warriors of the jihad, or holy war") was the Organization of Iranian Social Democrats in Baku, which was composed primarily of Iranian immigrant workers and merchants. 13 Many of these workers were radicalized by the experience of the 1905 Russian revolution and the activities of the Azari social democratic organization Himmat, which was formed in 1904.
The tobacco movement hence culminated in a nationwide tobacco boycott. 78 When news of the boycott reached Shirazi, he was prudent enough not to deny its authenticity. The nationwide boycott, followed by huge demonstrations at the shah's palace that left dozens of people dead and wounded, eventually forced the shah to repudiate the concession by the end of January 1892. The connection between class interests and religious opposition is therefore a matter of historical fact. The merchants, small traders, and craftsmen protested foreign economic infiltration by first attempting to boycott foreign goods or petitioning the king for the protection of their trade for many years preceding the tobacco concession.
This move backfired, however, and produced considerable unrest in the city. The bazaar was shut down and the people began convening at the Shah-i Chiragh. 58 Among the first religious principles the merchants invoked against the concession was the one that pertains to the consent of the buyer and seller. The merchants argued that this Islamic principle was violated because the concession required that all tobacco growers sell their product to a British monopoly. The merchants also began sending complaints and petitions to the eminent Mirza Hasan Shirazi, the sole marfa'-i taqlid (highest religious authority of the time) in Karbala.
A Century of Revolution: Social Movements in Iran by John Foran