Woman, Life, Freedom
In the forty fourth anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, the very economic, political, and social fabric of the country has so drastically unravelled by crisis that one cannot see any clear and achievable perspective for its ending whilst the current political set-up exists in the country. It is for this very reason that the oppressed people of Iran – women and men who are struggling for freedom and equality – have become the standard-bearers of a historical and fateful battle to end the inhumane conditions which exist, and they do so valiantly with unprecedented sacrifice in the streets of cities all over the country.
The standard of fundamental protests which has been raised today by women, students, pupils, teachers, workers, activists and artists, queers, authors, and the general oppressed public of Iran, in all places in the country, from Kurdistan to Sistan and Baluchistan, and has attracted unprecedented international support, is a struggle against misogyny, religious and national oppression, and is a revolution against all forms of religious or non-religious dictatorship which has been imposed on us — the vast majority of the people of Iran – for more than a century in the past.
These protests are defiant. They are risen from the context of great and modern social movements engulfing the country. These are the rising of a generation which does not intend to flinch to defeat, a generation which intends to put an end to a century of historical backwardness and no longer tolerates that the ideas of a modern, prosperous, and free society in Iran should remain in the margins.
After the occurrence of two great revolutions in the contemporary history of Iran, great social progressive movements of workers, teachers and retirees, women fighting for equality, students, the youth and those against capital punishment have now retained a position that they can impact the history of the country, and shape the political, economic and social structure of the society based on their mass actions from below.
It is or this reason that this movement intends to put an end for ever to the establishment of any power from above and be the harbinger of a social, modern, and humane revolution for the emancipation of the people from all forms of oppression, discrimination, exploitation and dictatorship.
We, trade and civil organisations, the signatories of this manifesto recognise that it is by concentrating our efforts to unite and connect social and trade union struggles that we can end the existing inhuman and destructive situation. It is for this purpose that we believe the realisation of the minimum demands listed below should be the first decrees and outcomes of the fundamental struggles which the people of Iran have waged. These demands are in our views the only way for the founding of a new, modern, and humane society in the country. We urge all those honourable people who believe in freedom, equality, and emancipation, whether they are in factories, at universities or schools or in localities or the world at large, to hoist the standard of these demands at the high summit of freedom.
Our demands are as follows:
- Immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, the prohibition of any thought crimes for political, trade union or civil activities, and the public prosecution of perpetrators and authorities responsible for the oppression of people’s protests.
- Unconditional freedom of belief, expression and thought, press, forming of political parties, establishment of local and nation-wide trade union and civil organisations, assembly, strikes, marches, social networks, and audio-visual media.
- Immediate abolition of any kind of capital punishment, execution, revenge killing, and the prohibition of all forms of mental and physical torture.
- Immediate proclamation of the complete equality of women and men in all political, economic, social, cultural, and family domains, the unconditional removal and abolition of laws and conventions which discriminate against gender and sexual orientations, the recognition of LGBTQ+ rainbow society, decriminalisation of all sexual orientations, and unconditional recognition of the rights of all women to control their bodies and their destiny and to prevent any form of patriarchal control over them.
- For religion to be recognised as a private affair of individuals and not allowed to interfere or be present in the political, economic, social, and cultural laws and norms of the country.
- Provision of safety at work, job security, immediate increase in wages of workers, teachers, civil servants and all employed workers and retirees with the involvement, intervention, and agreement of their elected representatives of independent and nation-wide organisations.
- Abolition of any laws and norms that are based on national and religious discrimination and oppression, the establishment of suitable supporting infrastructure for equitable distribution of state resources for the development of culture and arts in all regions of the country, and the provision of necessary and equal resources for learning and teaching of all spoken languages in society.
- Dismantling of the organs of suppression, curtailment of the reach of state and direct and permanent engagement of people in the affairs of country through local and national councils. Removal of ay state or non-state authority by electors at any time should be recognised as the fundamental rights of the electors.
- Confiscation of the properties of all real or legal persons and all state, quasi-state or private institutions which have plundered directly or through state rents the properties and social wealth of the people of Iran. The proceeds of such confiscation should be spent immediately on modernisation and renewal of education, pension funds, environment, and the needs of regions and sections of the people of Iran who have been deprived and enjoyed the least resources during the reign of both regimes of monarchy and Islamic Republic.
- Ending of the destruction of environment, implementation of major policies for the renewal of environmental infrastructures which have been destroyed in the past century. Returning to public ownership those parts of the environment (such as pastures, coasts, forests, and hillsides) which under the guise of privatisation have deprived the rights of public towards them.
- Prohibition of child labour and the provision of subsistence and education for every child irrespective of the economic and social circumstances of their families, the general provision of welfare through unemployment benefits and substantive social benefits for all people who have reached the legal age to work or are unable to work. Provision of free education and healthcare for all people.
- Normalisation of foreign relationships at the highest level with all countries of the world based on justice and mutual respect, banning of nuclear armament and endeavour for world peace.
In our view, the existence of potential and real subterranean resources in the country, the presence of a people who are conscious and gifted, and the advent of a generation of youth who have every motivation to provide for a happy, free, and prosperous life, make the above minimum demands, aspirations which can be immediately realised and implemented.
The demands in this manifesto are the general outline of our beliefs and it goes without saying that as we continue in our struggle and as we gain strengths in our solidarity, we will endeavor to present them in further details.
⎯ Coordinating Council of Trade Organisations of Educators in Iran
⎯ Free Union of Workers of Iran
⎯ Union of Student Organisations of United Students
⎯ Centre for the Defence of Human Rights
⎯ Syndicate of Workers of Sugar Refinery in Haft Tapeh
⎯ Organising Council for the Protests of Contractual Workers in the Oil Industry
⎯ Community of Educators of Iran (Khafa)
⎯ Voice of Women in Iran
⎯ Independent Voice of Workers in the National Steel Group in Ahvaz
⎯ Centre for Defence of Workers Rights
⎯ Trade Society for Electricians and Metal Workers in Kermanshah
⎯ Coordinating Committee for Establishing Workers Organisations
⎯ Union of Retirees
⎯ Council of Retirees in Iran
⎯ Organisation of Progressive Students
⎯ Council of Free-Thinking Secondary Students
⎯ Syndicate of Painters in Alborz Province
⎯ Committee for Establishing Workers Organisations in Iran
⎯ Council of Retirees of the Social Security Organisation (Basta)