Revolution #169, June 28, 2009
Correspondence from readers
Demonstrators in L.A., San Diego support people's rebellion in Iran
We have been going out to the Iranian demonstrations at the Los Angeles Federal Building at nights and on the weekends. On a week night, there have been up to 700 people, and on the weekends 2,000 have been demonstrating. We’ve been taking out issue #168, the Manifesto (Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage—a Manifesto by the RCP,USA), and the CPI(MLM) statement, “You Wanted a Fight? Let’s Fight.” Our table included several works by Bob Avakian—Bringing Forward Another Way, Away With All Gods: Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, and Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy—as well as the Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.
We’ve noticed a change in the mood of the demonstrators over the past week. At the beginning, there were different trends involved in the demonstrations, including supporters of the Shah. People were facing off against each other and street fights broke out. At that time, most of the signs read, “Where is my vote?” This past weekend the dynamics of the demonstrations began to change. People were calling for unity and support for those who were out in the streets in Iran. There were very few people with the “Where is my vote?” sign, even though many were still wearing green. The biggest shift in the mood is that there are now many signs calling for an end to the theocracy. One sign had all the theocratic contenders with an “X” across their faces.
In a demonstration during the morning on the weekend, there were almost no Iranian flags at all, but at the evening demonstration, there were about 50 flags. We asked people about the flags and were told that “we don’t support the Shah or monarchy of any kind—this flag represents 2,500 years of history. We resent that the mullahs have changed our flag.” A couple youth had t-shirts with RDAI—Revolutionary Democratic Army of Iran. One was carrying the flag. He said that they do not support the Shah but want to see a democracy, bring down the government, and get rid of the mullahs. There were a handful of people who said we need a revolution, but how that would come about was a big question.
There were still a few Shah supporters in the evening demonstration, and most were older. These people were putting forward that the communists were responsible for the mullahs getting into power.
In San Diego, there was a significant demonstration of up to 500 people at the Federal Building. The majority of people were young immigrants. A significant section of the people at this demonstration was in opposition to both the IRI and any intervention by the U.S. Some know of the role of the U.S. in overthrowing Mossadegh and putting the Shah in power, and many spoke about Mousavi’s role as Prime Minister in the murder of thousands of revolutionaries.
The signs in San Diego read, “My vote didn’t count,” and many people were wearing green. A few had IRI flags and were chanting “Praise Allah” on one corner. To this, people on the opposite corner replied in Farsi and English, “Death to the IRI.” Some people had the old Iranian flag but were not Shah supporters. It was definitely contentious.
We had conversations with many people in L.A. and San Diego. Here is a sample of what they were telling us.
- A woman in her 40s, who has been in this country for eight years, said she was a Marxist-Leninist back in Iran and had been involved in women’s issues there. She was very happy to see communists in America. She bought the Manifesto and got a copy of Revolution. She was very excited about our IWD events here, and said she’s been looking for something here.
- There were two Black men in their 20s with one of their young sons. They said that they had been watching the demonstrations on television. They decided to wear green to support the people in Iran who were standing up. One of them said the U.S. election was rigged when Bush won here, but no one opposed it, and they should have. And now the Iranian people are standing up and he wanted them to know there were people here who stand with them. He got a paper.
- Another woman who is Assyrian (a national minority in Iran) bought a paper and talked about being involved in women’s issues. She got the paper off of the Dr. Tiller article. She was surprised to find communists in the U.S. and wanted to know more about it.
- Another woman in her 40s was crying. She apologized for being so emotional but she had been in jail and tortured in Iran and was weeping for the students in the streets right now, knowing what they were up against. She said she admired the sacrifices people in Iran were making and she wanted to be strong for them. She wants to stay in contact.
- A man in his 30s or 40s talked quite a while about his experiences in Iran and that he has been thinking about going back there now. He said, “This is an historic period and people needed to be a part of it.” We got into “Bringing Forward Another Way” with him and it was controversial in that he had difficulty in grappling with how supporting either the U.S. or the Islamic fundamentalists strengthens both.
- A woman told us that she had three members of her family hanged in jail by the IRI in the 80s.
- A man said, “I prefer communism to this, but it failed because they tried to go too far and too fast in China.” We talked to him about this and he got the Manifesto.
- A Kurdish man we met, while we were building for IWD at a university, came out with us and passed out flyers in Farsi to a few Kurdish people he met. His father, a political leader in the Kurdish movement, was shot dead in front of him by the IRI when he was 11 years old. He doesn’t want U.S. intervention and is totally opposed to the IRI. He’s contradictory in that he has been looking at things from a nationalist perspective, but since he has met us he is starting to talk about looking for ways to get to a better world for all of humanity. He bought the Manifesto and is going to discuss it with us.
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