Revolution #192, February 14, 2010
From March 8 Women’s Organization (Iran-Afghanistan)
March in Support of Women Warriors in Streets of Tehran
Let us celebrate the International Women’s Day 2010 in solidarity with Iranian women who in the last 8 months have been braving street battles with the Police force and militia thugs of the Islamic Republic of Iran – one of the most brutal women hating regimes on the planet Earth. Many have been arrested, injured and even killed in these street battles and others have been picked up by the security forces in their work place, class rooms and university dormitories. These women who dare death need nothing less than the complete overthrow of the IRI – and this is a growing sentiment. And in doing this they need the internationalist support and love of their sisters – and their brothers – around the world. If they achieve this, it will be a new day for women in the Middle East and a victory for women’s liberation movement and for ending all oppression in the world.
Islamic Republic regime came into being 31 years ago as a result of defeat of Iranian people’s anti-monarchical revolution. The revolution was aborted when reactionary Islamic fundamentalists headed by Ayatollah Khomeini seized the leadership of the masses and used their energy and sacrifices to establish a reactionary theocratic state. The U.S. and other Western powers opened the way for Islamic fundamentalists to seize power. Less than a month after seizure of power, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a decree declaring Hejab a compulsory outfit for women. Tens of thousands of women took to the streets of Tehran in what is come to be known as: 5 days uprising. They fought and chanted: We Did Not Make Revolution to Go Backwards. This uprising was a call to all other strata of people to wake up. But most people did not see the truth that women’s oppression is a decisive feature of all reactionary states and social systems and women’s liberation is a determining feature of any real revolution. Our society paid dearly for this ignorance.
Now women of Iran are back on the offensive. Their fearless struggles in the streets of Tehran have elated and inspired many people around the world. But the road ahead is full of pitfalls and dangers. The political danger is that women are fighting heroically against guardians of this reactionary law and order but most of them are not armed with an understanding of what it takes to be liberated. Even their most basic demands have gotten lost in the midst of a general movement which itself is suffering from the same malaise.
One of the big hurdles in the way of women’s liberation movement is the reactionary Green leadership headed by Mussavi. This leadership is working to confine people’s aspirations and movement to “reforming” the IRI. It preaches to people that the epoch of radical change (revolutions) has finished and it is the epoch of extremely gradual change – ie, people first should sacrifice their lives to put these people into office and trust them to gradually improve the system. These leaders preach that the people should treat the Basiji Militia and Pasdaran Guards with love and compassion when attacked by them – which for women means to treat their rapists with love and compassion even while being raped. They preach to people not to get organized, instead come to street protests when the Green headquarters calls them to and come as individuals – just like going to the ballot box of one man one vote! They warn against debating different programs and roads for future society among people and promise that the sea of difference which exists between their agenda and the will of people will be dealt with later through “really free voting processes.” The fact that the Green leadership has suppressed and called off any demand or slogan in support of abolition of compulsory Hejab and anti-women Sharia inspired Constitution and Penal codes is a strong sign of their reactionary nature and agenda. Mussavi himself was prime minister in the first decade of IRI and worked whole heartedly to enforce inferior status of women under the IRI. Mussavi’s program and motto, as he himself has announced repeatedly is: “Islamic Republic – not a word more and not a word less.” But the Islamic Republic that he embraces so lovingly is a reactionary system based on subordination of women to men, covering women from head to toe is the linchpin of its moral tenets, and stoning those women who court the “wrong” men is a guarantor of its “social coherence.” Those who do not want to uphold such a reactionary social system must do away with the Green leadership too. Let us not forget that the “Campaign of One Million Signature” and its affiliates are acting as the arm of the Green leadership within the women’s movement.
Different arrays of reactionary forces are bent to crush and snuff out once again the Iranian women’s struggle for freedom and equality. This must not be allowed. A different way, a revolutionary road must be opened up. Revolutionary women think hard about these things and call upon women and other strata of people to adopt clear and unambiguous revolutionary perspective and warn that without this our sacrifices will become assets for another set of reactionaries in order to re-establish this system and even worse.
It is not just the national reactionary political forces who are jockeying to use people’s anger and resistance towards their own agenda. The big powers in the world are doing their utmost in order to prevent this upheaval from striking at them and their interests. The U.S. ruling factions are debating actively how to utilize the present upheaval in Iran in order to advance their imperialist interests in Iran and the Middle East.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is the most reactionary oppressive state that the women of Iran have experienced. But the imperialist ruling classes of the U.S. who have been ravaging the peoples of the Middle East with bloody ruthless wars of conquest and plunder are no better and their attempts to justify their crimes in the Middle East with hypocritical words about liberation of women is disgusting. They equally benefit from the oppression of women in the U.S. and around the world. In fact this oppression is built into their world capitalist system. U.S. imperialism invaded Afghanistan and Iraq in the name of a “war against terror” and the “liberation of women.” It ended up pouring terror on the people of Afghanistan and Iraq and reinforcing all patriarchal, tribal, and religious authorities. In most Gulf States in the Middle East which are run by U.S. imperialism (and their Islamic Sheiks), women are even deprived of driving. What CNN ads about the fantasy islands of Dubai do not inform you of is that part and parcel of this big world casino-real estate market involves trading young girls from Iran, Iraq, the Philippines, Afghanistan, etc. as prostitutes. The invasion and occupation of Iraq have fueled this slave trade across Middle East.
In our countries of Iran and Afghanistan and in the Middle East overall, Islamic fundamentalist forces claim to be an alternative to the world capitalist imperialist system. But Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East share the basic principles of the imperialist capitalist system, among which are sacred private property laws and women’s oppression along with using organized ignorance.
Women’s oppression has everything to do with the oppressive and outmoded political, economic, social and belief systems which dominate our countries and the world. Women’s overall conditions in societies across the world can only be defined as modern-day slavery. This is not in spite of the way overall human society is organized today across the world, but rather because of it. Women’s oppression is inscribed in every cell of our present social systems – be it societies ruled by Islamic fundamentalist forces or imperialists. Misogyny and women’s slavery, poverty, homophobia, racial and gender apartheid, child labor, religious slave mindedness, wars, holocausts and genocides are continuously produced by this system.
This system destroys us in a variety of ways. And once we rebel, its executioners suppress us and then show us the magic ballot box which supposedly holds the key to our emancipation. They tell us we should hinge our hopes on their democracy and that we should help boost their capitalist markets because these are supposedly the apex of human achievement. But capitalism has reached the apex of its rotten existence. It offers absolutely no way of reforming or moderating its dreadful way of life. This system will not go away on its own accord. It must be pushed out of existence by conscious people. We declare, if this system lives longer, it will tighten its noose around our necks and the lives of majority of the people of the world will become even more horrendous and amongst them, as usual, women will receive most of the brunt.
We have been fighting against our imposed inferiority and subordinate position for decades. Through the ups and downs of this battle we have better grasped the nature of the class systems that perpetuate our oppression. We have come to know that we must fight in an organized way. We have come to know better that having a crystal clear and uncompromising perspective for our battle is vital, because otherwise our fighting energy would be diverted in false directions such as a simple restructuring of women’s oppression and keeping the system intact. We can not allow ourselves to be duped by false promises and false roads. Revolution is our only way out. Women have the most to gain from revolution.
Common oppression makes the women of the world a vast and powerful army of the wretched of the earth who have nothing to lose and a world to win. Women’s oppression is international and the struggle to uproot it can and must have an internationalist character.
We are approaching March 8, which is a day of struggle against women’s oppression and a reminder to everybody that our movement for uprooting women’s oppression has a say on all kinds of oppression that the system metes out to different parts of humanity.
Let us celebrate IWD 2010 in the U.S. and around the world with this conviction and help women warriors in Iran to win their battle at this stage which is overthrowing the IRI and seizing their freedom and equality with their own struggle in unity with all other oppressed people in Iran.
Let us unite and decide to be clarion call of revolution in this age of amazing affluence and rampant cruelty, discrimination, injustice, destruction. Let us dare to break our chains and be emancipators of humanity.
March 8 Women’s Organization (Iran-Afghanistan)
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