Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Islamo-fascist regime continues its repression. What follows is a selection of recent articles, all taken from the website of the Iranian Workers' Solidarity Network, a site that Molly recommends highly, though it is certain that their politics and mine differ
considerably. What they show is the breadth of the repression and the barbarism that it entails. Lest this be taken as an example of something far away, both in distance and culture, I remind the reader that despite the fact that the recent elections in the USA have put the development of an indigenous fascism in the most powerful country in the world off that such a thing is more than possible later. If the Obama Administration should fail in its project of halting American decline, something that is entirely possible, then all that stands between us and a victorious American fascism is the stupidity of American fascists. Make no mistake about it. Fascism will not come to America or any other country dressed in the robes of a nostalgic subculture hoping to recreate the Third Reich. Like most of classical fascism outside of Germany it will come dressed in anti-capitalist rhetoric (whatever the reality behind the words) and religiously blessed - just as it has been in Iran. We need to support the people of Iran who are struggling against their domestic version of fascism because such an ideology cannot be allowed to succeed anywhere, or it will threaten everywhere. All it takes is for the American fascists to extend their populism beyond their cultural obsessions and into economics.

Anyways, here's what is happening in Iran these days.

According to the Co-ordination Committee for the Creation of Labour Organisations on Wednesday 18 February 2009 Shiva Kheyrabadi and Susan Razani, two female labour activists, were flogged.(Their photos are above-Molly) The flogging sentences were passed against Ms Kheyrabadi, Ms Razani and two other labour activists in August 2008. Their crime was taking part in a May Day rally in Sanandaj (in Iranian Kurdistan).

On 5 August 2008 the 101st branch of the criminal court in Sanandaj sentenced the four to this brutal, barbaric and medieval form of punishment because they had taken part in the 2007 May Day celebrations in the city. The court sentenced Ms Susan Razani to receive 70 lashes and be jailed for nine months; Ms Shiva Kheyrabadi 15 lashes and four months; Abdollah Khani (Abeh Nejar) 40 lashes and 91 days; and Seyyed Ghaleb Hosseini 50 lashes and six months in prison. The defendants were given 20 days to lodge an appeal with the Kurdistan province court.

The Iranian regime is not carrying out this policy from a position of strength. The whipping of workers is a desperate attempt by the regime to dampen the combativity and high morale of the workers who, despite having no legal trade unions and suffering from the crippling economic situation, continue to fight for their rights.

Last year, weeks before May Day, the authorities began a campaign of intimidation and terror against the new labour movement so that 2008’s rallies and celebrations would not be as big and radical as those in 2007. In February 2008 three labour activists were flogged and a further eight were also sentenced to receive the lash.

The flogging of Ms Kheyrabadi and Ms Razani exposes the Iranian regime and shows the whole world its true colours. Despite the nuclear technology, the satellites and big rhetoric about scientific and medical advances, deep down this regime remains a medieval and reactionary beast with a cruel and dark heart. In flogging workers this regime is committing an act that has been banned in Britain since the reign of Queen Anne in early 18th century!

Please send a protest letter to put pressure on the Iranian regime to stop flogging labour activists and to release all class war prisoners immediately and unconditionally.
Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network21 February 2009
Here is a story about the other two labour activists mentioned above.

Two more labour activists flogged!
On Saturday 21 February Abdollah Khani and Ghaleb Hosseini were summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office in Sanandaj (in Iranian Kurdistan). The two labour activists were then arrested so that their sentences could be carried out.

The two activists were arrested last year for taking part in the 2008 May Day rally in Sanandaj. They were sentenced as follows: Ghaleb Hosseini, six months in prison and to receive 50 lashes, and Abdollah Khani, 91 days in prison and 40 lashes.

At 11:00 a.m. they were flogged and at 1:30 p.m. the two activists were taken by the security force of the Prosecutor’s Office to serve their custodial sentences in Sanandaj’s central prison.

The flogging of Abdollah Khani and Ghaleb Hosseini follows that of two female labour activists, Ms Kheyrabadi and Ms Razani, on 18 February. Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network utterly condemns this medieval and reactionary punishment that was carried out for the workers merely exercising what is their undeniable right. May Day is Labour Day for all workers across the world and they should all commemorate it without any harassment from the police and the courts.
Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network
23 February 2009
The repression isn't limited to workers but extends to any progressive forces in Iranian society-such as students. Here's another article about the aftermath of a recent student demonstration in Tehran.
Over 70 students arrested after clashes at Amir Kabir University:
The Iranian regime's attempt to re-bury war dead from the Iran-Iraq War in the grounds of the university sparked protests from hundreds of students, clashes with the security forces and over 70 arrests.
Manoeuvres to prevent protest
The security forces, with the co-operation of officials from the Ministry of Science and Amir Kabir University (in Tehran), since last week had made arrangements so that the burial ceremony would go ahead without any protests. Mr Rahaii, the University’s Chancellor, had made a request to detain four students locked up at the University, to bar 12 students from entering the grounds of the University, and to contact the families of protesting students to put pressure on them. All these steps were taken to make sure that there were no protests.

During the past two days, after students objected to “burying the martyrs” (i.e., war dead) in the grounds of the University, the authorities changed the ceremony into a public one, so that they could easily bring in the Pasdaran and basiji forces into the campus. From Sunday (22 February) they even publicised this on billboards all over Tehran. On Sunday Ayatollah Khamenei published a statement welcoming the re-burial ceremony to stave off any protests (yet he did not send one for the re-burial at Kashan University on the same day).

In addition, Fars, ISNA and many other news agencies of the authoritarian faction, have published many reports about the advantages of re-burial at the University, trying to threaten the dissenting students. One of the latest cases was when a website published a report that basiji talebs (religious students) in Qom province had held a meeting to express their support for the re-burial.

The students’ protest
Despite all these pressures, the students of Amir Kabir wrecked this charade of re-burying the war dead. By chanting slogans like “Dictator of the day, the war dead have become your excuse”, “Down with the Taleban, both in Kabul and in Tehran”, “Basiji get lost”, “Guns, tanks, basijis are no use anymore”, “Down with the dictator”, “Useless basiji, you’ve made the Koran into a spear”, the students protested against the tense security situation at the University.
Click on the following:
Photo reports of the protest: 1 and 2.
Videos of the protest: 1 and 2.
Brutal attack on the students
The Pasdaran and the basiji forces, who, because of their presence, could not imagine that there would be any protests from the students inside the campus, reacted angrily and brutally by beating the students. The supposed agents of Islam, who were armed with knives, pepper spray and martial arts’ weapons, took out their frustration on the students.

Over 60 students were injured and around 20 were taken to various hospitals. Three of the injured are in a critical situation. Students have injuries consistent with the use of knives, knuckle dusters and fists on their bodies. As the students were taken to hospital, Intelligence Ministry agents were posted at the hospitals to prevent news of the injured students’ situation spreading.
Photos of a leading basiji attacking the students.
After burying the coffins and beating the students, the arrests started. Within a few minutes of the re-burial ceremony ending, all those arrested were taken away in red vans. At the time there was no information about where they were being taken.

Then Intelligence Ministry agents, helped by the University’s security personnel, were present at the gates to stop anyone leaving the University. Even though many students wanted to stay on campus for a few hours because of the unsafe situation, the Chancellor announced that no one could stay after 7:00 p.m. and asked security to clear the University of all students. At the same time Intelligence Ministry agents, helped by security, checked the IDs of students and arrested those who had been protesting.

According to the latest figures over 70 students were arrested, with most of them being taken to police station no. 107 on Palestine Square. But there is no information about where some of the other students are being held. The University’s security personnel are present at police station no. 107 helping to identify the arrested students. All these students have been photographed and their student cards have been confiscated. The police and security forces have been abusing and swearing at the students; they were particularly angry about the “Down with the dictator” slogan. By Tuesday (24 February) over 40 students were released, with nearly 30 still under arrest.

This statement is based on a report posted on the Amir Kabir University students’ website.
Iranian Workers' Solidarity Network24 February 2009
Then, of course, there is the everyday ongoing repression against any workers who try to speak up for their rights. Here's the story of one such individual, Taba Azadi.
Labour activist Taha Azadi tried for "acting against national security":
Taha Azadi, a member of the Steering Committee of the Free Trade Union of Iranian Workers was tried by the Revolutionary Court in Kangan on 15 February. The judge accused him of acting against national security and conducting propaganda against the Islamic system.

Taha Azadi was arrested on May Day 2008 because of commemorating Labour Day. He was imprisoned for 47 days, during which time he was subjected to physical and psychological abuse.

In addition to denying these charges, Taha Azadi said that commemorating Labour Day was his and every other worker’s right: “If you think that commemorating May Day, which is the undeniable right of workers, is an act against national security and propaganda against the Islamic system, then that’s your opinion.” In continuing his defence Taha Azadi, by pointing out the placards and banners that were photographed, said: “As you can see on these placards we want a better life and we workers see these demands as our right.”

At the end of this trial, which lasted 15 minutes, Taha Azadi was told that the court’s verdict will be sent to him. The Free Trade Union of Iranian Workers has condemned this trial.

Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network strongly condemns the baseless accusations of the regime’s court and calls for all Taha Azadi’s charges to be dropped immediately and unconditionally.
Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network
22 February 2009

No comments: