Revolution #157, February 22, 2009


A Bold Call from March 8 Women’s Organization (Iran-Afghanistan)

In the 1980s thousands of revolutionary women were arrested in Iran. The theocratic regime told them if they wanted to live they had to renounce their revolutionary beliefs and swear allegiance to Allah. Many brave women stood firm and were executed. A number who refused to capitulate managed to escape the hangman’s noose. Now today, some of those survivors are part of the March 8 Women’s Organization (Iran-Afghanistan)—which has issued a bold call for International Women’s Day saying: “Join women of Iran & Afghanistan in their struggle against the women-hating Islamic Republic of Iran and the imperialist U.S. empire... We will march and rally in solidarity with them in the streets of Los Angeles!”

What is extremely significant about this call and action is that these women are declaring to the world:

“We have been fighting the reactionary Islamic Republic of Iran for the last 30 years. But we are NOT fighting to trade one oppressor for another one. We are not fighting to liberate ourselves from the clutches of the outmoded social, ideological, political system represented by the Islamic Republic of Iran—to let another outmoded system like U.S. imperialism replace it.”

In fact, the dark and deep nightmare of life for women in Iran continues. A theocratic society where women are denied basic human rights and men can ban their wives from working outside the home. Where there is no right to abortion and a woman’s testimony in court is worth half a man’s. Where a woman who doesn’t cover her hair faces jail and up to 80 lashes and it is still legal for a woman found guilty of adultery to be stoned to death.

Such horrors are rampant not only in Iran but in other parts of the world like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kurdistan, and India. And meanwhile, in the so-called “civilized West” violence, abuse, degradation and discrimination of women, body and soul, is often an ugly hidden secret—from the family to the work place to the corporate offices.

And the U.S. is continuing its mission of Empire, using its three magic words, “war on terror, “ to justify every kind of horror—from rendition and torture, to invasion and bombing, to the systematic bombing of wedding parties. And the lie—that U.S. imperialism brings “freedom to women” in the Middle East—is used as part of justifying all this. This is not only hypocritical but disgusting. When the U.S. invades and occupies a country, what happens to the people? What happens to the women? Tens of thousands of families uprooted. Whole villages destroyed. Massacres. Rape, torture and death. And what does it say about the U.S. army—when 4 in 10 women at a veterans hospital reported being sexually assaulted by men in the military?

As the U.S. threatens war on Iran—it is all the more important for people in the U.S. to stand together with and take up the struggle of the March 8 women. We here, in the belly of the beast, have a special internationalist responsibility to support people in other countries who are fighting against their home-grown oppressors AND against U.S. imperialism. And we must oppose any efforts by our own government to invade, occupy and oppress these countries—who the U.S. so hypocritically claims to be “liberating” with their soldiers of murder and massacre.

There is a real need and a real basis for many people to unite with and act in solidarity with these revolutionary IWD actions in Los Angeles. The March 8 call and news of the LA events should be gotten out broadly to students, youth, writers, intellectuals, artists and activists, people of the oppressed communities, including to immigrants from the Middle East and other parts of the all those who really hate the horror women face here in the U.S. and around the world. This call should be read on the radio, put up on YouTube, read in classrooms and passed out on the streets. In the coming weeks, marches, programs and other events should be held in solidarity with the march in Los Angeles. Prominent and influential voices should endorse the March 8 call. Messages of solidarity should be sent to LA. People should arrange media interviews for the March 8 organizers. And, if you can, GO to Los Angeles and be part of the March 8 events. (See INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY for list of events and contact information.)

The IWD March 8 call harkens the spirit of brave revolutionary women throughout history who dared to defy their accusers; who bravely faced death rather than capitulate to their oppressors; who dedicated their lives to bringing about a whole new world. Let us find all the ways to both express solidarity as well as highlight and amplify the significance of the bold stand and actions being taken by the March 8 Women’s Organization. Let this internationalist message ring and reverberate around the world.


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