A team of revcoms and supporters and volunteers traveled from New York City and elsewhere to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, October 22. They were taking part in the “March for Iran” protest against the Islamic Republic—in support of the courageous and inspiring uprising now taking place in Iran, detonated by young women refusing to comply with the regime's law requiring women to wear the hijab (head covering) in public.
We’d been inspired by the stirring call from the Communist Party of Iran Marxist-Leninist-Maoist (CPI-MLM): People of the World: Take up the Cry of Revolution from Iran as Your Own! and we were on a mission to fulfill our internationalist responsibilities—especially living inside the belly of this imperialist beast, which has rained so much suffering on the Iranian people—to stand with the people of Iran and to widely distribute this urgent call from the CPI-MLM to the thousands of Iranians and others likely to be there.
We encountered sharp controversy and contentious struggle but also a wellspring of openness to our presence and to the CPI-MLM statement—which got out (in Farsi and/or English) to around half of the crowd of some 5,000 or more.
More on the Crowd and Response
The protesters were overwhelmingly Iranians of all ages, men and women, with groupings of women very noticeable. (There was, shamefully, little presence of non-Iranians from the U.S., and no visible organized presence from U.S. anti-war and social justice groups.)
The size and spirit of the protest pointed to the enormous energy and desire for change unleashed among Iranians around the world by the heroic, society-shaking uprising sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16 after she was taken into custody by Iran's “morality police.”
Different political trends were in the mix—from a significant presence of reactionary pro-monarchist, pro-U.S. sentiment... to the flyer with its call for people everywhere to take up the cry for revolution from Iran and for the urgent need for a real revolution to put end to this regime and the suffering of the people in Iran—and to make a breakthrough for the emancipation of humanity.
We set up a table which, in addition to the CPI-MLM statement, displayed the announcement of the special, upcoming programming on The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show featuring a major interview with Bob Avakian, a sampling of writings by Bob Avakian (some in Farsi), as well as the Emergency Appeal from the International Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now, an initiative which is needed even more now with the savage repression unleashed by the regime against the upsurge, including the deadly armed attack on inmates and fire at Evin Prison, where many political prisoners are held.1 Next to the table stood a huge banner with the title of the CPI-MLM statement.
Some people were drawn to the table by the banner. And when we later carried it in the march from the Mall, where protesters gathered, to the White House, a number of people took pictures of it. The banner also appeared in coverage of the D.C. protest broadcast on BBC’s Farsi channel. Many receiving the leaflets were surprised and interested in hearing, it seemed for the first time, of a revolutionary communist group in Iran. Some rejected it. But in many cases, when we talked briefly about some of its content, many thanked us and took it back. An older Iranian man created his own poster with the flyer taped to it.
Our presence also provoked an angry response from counter-revolutionaries and the situation got really intense and confrontational. We stood our ground ... and these thugs grew more aggressive and threatening. An official marshal came by and told us to leave to avoid incident. We pointed to who was really causing an incident, stating that we not only have the right but the responsibility to be here, standing with this uprising and popularizing the statement. At this tense moment, two older Iranian women from the crowd around us stepped forward, arguing with the marshal that these thugs should not be allowed to push us out, and that we should be here. One of these women held up the CPI-MLM flyer. The marshal relented and we kept our table. Later in the rally, an announcement was made from the stage that people have the right to distribute materials.
The centrality of the struggle of Iranian women to this uprising was evident throughout the day. One younger woman who was born in Iran told us that she had panic attacks every time she saw the police here in the U.S.—because they triggered memories of the morality police in Iran, and the deep terror and trauma they inflicted on all Iranian women.
One older man said, “In Iran women are treated like appliances, like refrigerators: you can have as many as you want and do whatever you want with them. What people need to understand is the tremendous bravery and courage of the young women going out into the streets now—we’re so proud of them.” Another middle-aged Iranian woman told us that her parents had been executed when she was eight years old for being political activists. “We don’t want to live under this terror anymore!,” she said.
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“I’m very proud of what we did today. A day of internationalism is always a good day.”
This whole experience underscored for our whole crew the importance and urgency of getting out this and other statements from the CPI-MLM and the revcoms at protests like this.
That night, one member of our crew from the Revolution Club texted “Hi everyone, just wanted to say how important it was what we did today—how much heart it gives to our comrades in Iran who are taking up the new communism and applying it, and the people of Iran to see us here in the U.S., the belly of the beast, supporting their struggle to free Iran and all of humanity. It really mattered!”
At 11:00 pm another volunteer texted: “just got home. I’m very proud of what we did today. a day of internationalism is always a good day.”
We all felt the same.
From the Communist Party of Iran Marxist-Leninist-Maoist:
People of the World: Take up the Cry of Revolution from Iran as Your Own!
- Download and print PDF in English
- Read in Spanish
- Read in Farsi