Iran: “Khiyaban”, special issue in English, October 2009

, by Khiyaban

 Iranian revolutionary movement: a closer look

Introduction

This volume contains a collection
of articles published
in “khiaban”, an underground
publication, launched at the
beginning of the mass protests
against dictatorship in Iran in
June this year.

We have so far published 49
issues of the journal, and it
has been distributed widely
among protesters in Iran.

This English version is produced
by the helping hand of a
variety of contributors, mostly
anonymous, both inside and
outside the country. Special
thanks to Revolutionary FlowerPot
and the editors of the
journal.


 We rely on the streets

“Khiyaban”, #1

By Simin Mesgari

Mousavi knows too well how deep the
wound is. He also knows that his green
bandage is only a first aid cover for this
wound and not a cure.

Mousavi knows that he cant be both the
cause of pain and cure at the same time.
Mousavi knows that not all “this” is for
him.

He knows very well, and we also know
very well that had there been a “better”
candidate than Mousavi with a “lesser
evil past” which had chosen yellow colour
for his campaign, the nation would have
gone yellow and Mousavi would have
demoted to Ahmadinejad’s position. …..
One can’t know all this and not be scared
about the consequences of what has
been unleashed. These protests can get
out of control.

The ultimate demand of this campaign
is far from presidency of Mousavi, even
though its official colour is still green.
Velayat-e Faqih or the “Guardianship of
the Islamic Jurists” is the red line which
Mousavi has expressed he won’t cross
– this red line is now being crossed by
those wearing green.

No longer can either of the political
camps – [reformists and conservatives] –
control the streets, however both of them
are trying to. One with guns and batons,
the other by inviting people to mourn for
the dead at mosques – which are traditionally
the political powerbase for the
Revolutionary Guards and Basiji (the
voluntary paramilitary group) who are
practicing their aiming skills on the bodies
of our brother and sisters.

Streets are dangerous, not just for us but
more for them. That’s why they are trying
to pull us from the street by inviting us to
attend the Friday prayers after we have
mourned for our dead brothers and cried
over our destroyed homes. Ironically it is
Mousavi who is inviting us to attend. To
make a joke out of our protest, they are
inviting us to attend mosques, because
they are scared of “streets” but they
should know that “we rely on the streets”.


 Media and the streets

“Khiyaban”, #1

A bloody page in Iran’s modern history
seems to be turning in the events we
are witnessing. In past days and nights,
Tehran and many Iranian cities have not
stayed calm as peoples’ burning rage has
thrown daily life into flux. The people in
the streets are playing a game of cat and
mouse with violent thugs; youth are in revolt,
and the elderly rack their memories
for re-learned lessons of the calamitous
events of the 1979 revolution to pass on
to the young.

Again, after thirty years, people are leaving
the doors of their homes open [to give
refuge] to courageous youth, and we hear
from many how great people are, and
how quickly they can change. Over the
past days’ witness to events, we were
different people, different slogans. During
the campaign until election day, the
huge crowds of people that had taken
to the street with the green wave were
spirited, the bliss of unawareness reigning
over them. Yet since the results were
announced, the situation changed and
people became angry, and sought the
crest of the wave to propel them beyond
the ignorance, repression and hundreds
of lies. During recent days and nights,
the tide has again turned.

Like Azar of 1953 [CIA-backed anti-Mossadegh
coup] and Tir of 1999 [reformist
protests and regime crackdown], and
– according to many present at the time
– even like the protests of the revolutionary
years and 1963 [clergy-led anti-shah
protests]!!! Yes, we are seeing the naked
face of repression. We see the green
wave of reformism in its entire expanse,
as it brings us into a shared arena with
the existing system.

Killing us and calls
for calm have only
made the situation
more acute. Now we
have more questions;
more than just issues
with vote counting.

We want a different
voice. We do not
want to be sacrificed
to corruption and
graft again, for the
nth time, our interests
ignored. We do not want a slaughter that
would set society back thirty years. We
do not want a repeat of the fraud of 1979.

We do not have any media but the world
has gotten smaller so we no longer see
one thing on the streets but read something
else in world media. We do not
want the next generation to be ignorant
about what happened on the streets of
Tehran, Esfahan, Tabriz, Shiraz, Mashhad,
Ahvaz, Kermanshah, and the rest
of the cities, large and small. We will
represent a new voice in this power play:
the voice of the people crying out in the
streets. The people who have no delusions
about colors and who demand.


 A Safe Nest for the Seeds of Our Hopes

Khiaban #16 / Monday, July 6, 2009

By Seemin Mesgari

What has been happening over the
past month in the streets of Iran leaves
no doubts among any skeptics that
the people know best what›s in the
paramount interest of their own country!

If until now, some have been holding
onto the fantasy of exported peace and
freedom of the Iraqi and the Afghani (!)
type, or have put all their media effort
into colorizing or velvetizing the people›s
uprising to the benefit of one of the ruling
factions, people›s struggle up to now
has shown that the fate of this country is
neither being figured in the hands of the
imperialists nor in the internal lobbies of
the ruling system, but in the streets and
in every single house, and with the raised
fist of every single fighter and activist.

Any hope in any illusion other than this
fact is doomed to disappointment, and
any effort at reducing this struggle to a
family fight [between the ruling elites], is
doomed to failure!

In view of the principle that any path to
the elimination of the enemies of freedom,
equality and popular sovereignty passes
through the ranks of the people, the voice
of every freedom- and justice-loving
individual and group that cannot be
present [in Iran] in this struggle can be
turned into an effective voice. A prime
example is the voluble voices of the
Iranians outside Iran, who, from the very
beginning of the struggle of the Iranian
people in the streets, though not literally
shoulder to shoulder, have formed their
lines of struggle outside the borders
of Iran in the same spirit and voice, in
unison with the Iranian people›s demand
for change.

The fact that every individual,
organization and line if thinking comes
to the side of the Iranian people for their
own reasons is a separate discussion,
which is neither in the scope nor the
intention of this note. But, the tools
employed by the Iranians living abroad,
in their solidarity with and support of
the activists inside, are limited tools
which can mainly be summarized into
demonstrations, bringing to the attention
of the world media what is happening
inside Iran, and trying to pressure
mostly European and the American
governments to unambiguously condemn
the crackdown and the killings and the
arrests by the Iranian government.

If we take a fair look at what has been
done and being done outside the country
for those inside, we cannot deny the
positive effects of the information
dissemination efforts and pressuring
of the government leaders in those
countries ...

But, what compels me to write this note is
the exaggeration of some Iranians living
abroad regarding the utility of putting
any hope in world›s statesmen/women.
Of course it is very useful to keep up the
pressure on world leaders, but holding
out huge hopes about their steadfastness
of assistance, given the record of the last
thirty years, is not very realistic.

If the people›s historical memory is short,
all evidence points to the fact that the
memory of politicians is much shorter. Let
us not forget that in the political games
played by the statesmen of the word it
is self-interest, not humanistic or human
rights considerations, which have the
primary say.

After three weeks of killings and violent
crackdowns and arrests and immoral
and illegal, tortured confessions, it is
the arrest of the British embassy staff
in Tehran that turned the Iranian events
into a crisis situation for the European
parliamentarians, and got them to start
considering an unambiguous position
and some practical steps. And perhaps
the possible freeing of those staff will be
portrayed as a ‹positive step of building
confidence› taken by Iran!

But, even in the midst of all this,
European countries such as Italy and
Germany that have the biggest capital
investments and trade with the Iranian
government, find themselves fighting
against plans for and ratification of any
proposals for actions against the Iranian
government.

Therefore, focusing and trusting these
governments, for consultation/pressuring,
should not make Iranians living abroad
overlook or neglect the main focus of the
struggle and the ongoing events inside
Iran.

The hope for a fundamental change
passes through the ranks of the fighting
people of Iran inside the country, and
given the untrustworthiness of any other
form of alliance, especially with any
statesmen/women — all this renders
the movement of our fighting people the
safest nest for the seeds carrying the
saplings of freedom and equality in Iran.


 A Velvet Coup?

Khiaban #13/July 4, 2009

In a meeting with a group of families of
those detained in recent days, [former
president] Khatami called the recent
events a ‹velvet coup›. This was an implicit
reply to Ahmadinejad›s characterization
of the recent events as a ‹velvet
revolution›, which was defeated by the
government.

However, to call it ‹velvet coup› is as
much of a lie as calling it a ‹velvet revolution›.
A coup that has murdered hundreds
of people in the most violent fashion, that
has shut down all the news and communication
lines, that has arrested and subjected
to torture a vast number of political
activists, and has locked up thousands of
youth and dissidents in torture/imprisonment
camps — how can all this be called
velvet like?

In a few coup›s in the modern world
history, such level of ruthlessness and
violence has been employed; and in very
few cases in the world has a coup stood
in such absolute confrontation with the
civil society. Numerous coup›s, that in
their own right would not be described
as ‹velvet like›, operated with far less
onslaught and killing than the Khamenei-
Ahmadinejad coup.

Using the term ‹velvet like› by Khatami
to describe it is to paint a gentler face
of the coup, so as to secure himself and
his friends the possibility of cooperation
and friendship down the line with the
coup regime. He has made up his mind
about staying with the system at any
price. Therefore, he has no choice but to
justify the symbiosis of his faction with
the coup regime at every step. Yesterday,
Ahmadinejad›s move was a coup d›etat,
today it›s a velvet coup, and perhaps
tomorrow there will only remain a colorful
piece of velvet to be spread on the throne
of the rulers.

But, as Khatami obfuscates, Ahmadinejad
spins misinformation yarn: he claims to
have defeated an American velvet revolution.
A velvet revolution whose planners,
like all velvet revolutions, were part
of the power structure. He wants to deny
the absolute opposition of the people to
the ruling system.

But, a new era has begun. And nothing
about it is velvet like.


 18th of Tir/July 9: From 1999 to 2009

Khiaban #17/ Tuesday, July 7, 2009

By Amir K.

July 9th/18th of Tir is close. Both sides
are preparing. Massive nationwide protests
by the people, and their prevention
by the state. The government has announced
the day off, so as to reduce the
traffic and Tehran’s daily crowds. SMS
services have been turned off again to
disrupt the organizing. But, the people are
organizing by the word of mouth, and using
any cracks to inform as many people
as possible about the July 9th protests,
and forming numerous small cells, so as
to descend upon the streets again with all
their strength.

July 9th/18th of Tir, is the anniversary of a
student uprising against
state violence and the
attacks of the death
squads on the Tehran
University campus, in
1999. In that year too the
death squads and forces
of crackdown attacked
the Tehran University
campus, watering the
soil with the blood of students. Students’
reaction was unequivocal: an uprising.

The state, however, came forth, wielding
two blades: violent crackdown and
deceit.

It was said to return to your homes and
to pursue your grievances through legal
means. A majority of the students, who
still harbored illusions about Khatami, left
the streets. They were promised that soon
some committees created by the people’s
popular president would uproot those
who, vigilante-like, had allowed themselves
the right to violate the university’s
sanctity. The more radical elements of
the movement stayed, and the government’s
wolves went after them. Once the
streets were emptied of the people, on
July 14th, Khamenei’s thugs took over the
streets and bellowed out howls of victory.
And the city was once again under the
control of the government.

The law convicted a single soldier for
stealing a student’s shaver. All others
were found not-guilty. Some were
promoted to high-ranking embassy staff
in Iranian embassies abroad. Some were
promoted to directors and other cultural
figures. On the other hand, the Ezatollah
Ebrahimnejad’s were buried in scorched
earth. Numerous students spent many
years of their lives in the regime’s prisons.
At that time, a generation of student
dissidents was liquidated so that a dictatorial
Islamic regime shall remain.

Ten years have passed. This time, it
was not only in universities but in all of
Iran that a line of blood was drawn. And
again, some hands are working hard to
turn the streets over to the enemies of
the people, with the promise of pursuing
things legally. But, this time, people have
paid a very high price for their practical
knowledge. They have realized that they
are the many. The millions. And the power
of their unity cannot be broken by any
oppressive machinery.


 Thinking of Action

Khiaban #18 / July 8, 2009

By Milad S.

Translated by “A Friend of the Movement”
The purpose of this note is to point out
some of the obstacles to the expansion of
the Iranian communists’ activities.

1. For taking further and well-thought
steps, we have to discard a number of
erroneous notions. The first misconception
is to perceive contemporary Iran as
a ‘post-revolutionary’ society. Iran is not
in a post-revolutionary situation, in which
another revolution is necessary.

The
current movement is a new sequence of
the revolutionary process that started in
1978. The internal conflicts of the ruling
factions, the machinery of oppression and
the forms that people’s struggle take, their
slogans and demands, all these are parts
of a historical period that started with the
Iranian Revolution in 1978.

We should
perceive the present popular movement
in such a broader context, and discard
any prevalent sort of sociological analysis,
even those that in appearance seem
class-based. We will explain this. This
means that the movement that started on
June 15 [2009] is a continuation of the
people’s struggle in answering questions,
which they themselves had posed in the
society through the overthrow of Shah’s
regime: How can we establish freedom,
independence and a people’s republic in
Iran? How can we run the society based
on people’s sovereignty, and without
relying on any of the pre-capitalistic
institutions, without the royal court and
its allies?

The first answer, the Islamic
Republic, has failed that test. It was not
the Iranian revolution that failed the test;
such a statement is meaningless. Those
political alternatives pertaining to the first
sequence failed.

The revolution itself,
however, is still young. This is not to say
that the course of the events, forms of the
struggle and the behavior of the forces
in this sequence are a repetition of what
happened between 1977 and 1980. Quite
the contrary, this movement is different
in form and content, and its enemy is
not the classic dictatorship of the Shah,
but an Islamic regime, which emerged
from the same revolutionary process and
claims to have inherited the demand for
republicanism, freedom and the independence
of the Iranian people (this is
a reference to the emblematic tripartite
central slogan during winter 1978-79,
trans.note).

In the historical events of June 15 [2009],
this claim was unambiguously taken
back from the ruling regime. When Moussavi
and the Participation Front [jebhey-e
mosharekat] end up in opposition to the
main symbol of the Islamic Republic, i.e.,
velayat-e faqih [rule of religious jurists],
and in effect stand alongside the people
(not just in words, but in social objectivity),
this is indicative of the fact that the
Islamic Republic separated its path from
that of the revolution, which amounts to
the political suicide of the regime. From
this point on, the 1979 revolution will
anew seek its own identity and fate, is
no longer an Islamic revolution as this
regime called it; what it is will be determined
by this very movement in its references
to that revolutionary memory.

The
easiest example is the ‘Allah-o Akbar’
slogan. The slogan was first used during
the uprising in 1978-1979. Today, it is
employed against the regime that once
had transformed that symbol of protest
to an ideological alibi for establishing
political Islam. By employing the same
phrase, people indicate the radical level
of their demand that goes beyond the
phrase. People are employing the religious
Arabic wording ‘Allah-o Akbar’ as a
metaphor for something else in Persian:
Death to the dictator. Here the content
goes beyond the phrase. If we don’t see
this difference, we will misunderstand
people’s slogans and, worst of all, we will
move away from the people and leave
the initiative to others. Therefore, in the
first instance, any radical political force
in Iran must synchronize its behavior,
position and outlook with the calendar
and sequences of the Iranian Revolution.

This means: Don’t interpret! Don’t
make up slogans that seem revolutionary!
Be the thought for an action. (The
word employed in the title of the article
in Persian is “eqdam” which means the
initial, commencing phase of an action,
the intentional component of an undertaking.
The title of the text reads “fekr-e
eqdam”, thought of/for an action, which
is deliberately ambiguous; it both means
a thought or idea discernable through
action and the deliberations before an
action.) An idea that pertains to such
an action is the articulation of the very
people’s demands. Its point of departure
is the people’s — all the people’s — pain
and suffering, their capabilities as well as
shortcomings.

The Iranian people, when
they take the initiative to wrest back the
political cause from their rulers, are not
Muslims, nor idolaters, nor liberals or
royalists, nor demanding the overthrow of
anything, nor a sect wishing to establish
a socialist republic based on premeditated
plans. No people have ever been
like that. If a people have overthrown any
system, it has been because that system
blocked the collective movement of the
people; if a people in some places transformed
their councils/soviets into a new
form of republic, this was because in the
course of their struggles, they achieved
all-encompassing and universal goals,
for which that form (the councils, soviets,
etc.) was found to be optimal; if they rose
to do away with private property in a
factory, some neighborhood, this city, a
given country, this was because in their
daily battles they realized that this form
of property was an obstacle to the realization
of a humane life. We must think
of communism as an equivalent to these
conditioned propositions, which means
we must free our ideals from burdensome
clichés. Anyone who wants to stage the
last scene of another revolution as the
first act of a revolution here is not thinking
of any concrete measures for action.
He is, at best, a plagiarist.

2. In the
writings of leftist activists in Iran, we see
two burdensome concepts, which have
caused the scattered, oppressed and
wounded figure of the left to turn even
more scattered. One is the seemingly
unproblematic concept of the ‘middle
class’. Interesting that this concept is
seen precisely in such analyses that
most certainly contain class in their titles,
and in which quotations from Marx or
Lenin abound. However, Marx has never
used anything called middle class, with
the particular meaning envisioned by
these writers, in his historical analyses.
On the contrary, this is a contemporary
sociological concept.

‘Middle class’ is a
deeply vague and ideological concept.
Middle of what, and how did this middle
become a class? In the present misery,
hospital workers and staff, our school
teachers, the factory workers and the
youth who have been deprived of employment
and who live in dormitories are not
middle class. In the midst of the summer
solstice in the third world, what middle
class?

These are laboring forces, the
very thing you have been looking for, and
right in front of your eyes, in the streets
of self-representation and in the alleys
of common interests. They have, at least
momentarily, felt their capacity to impose
their presence in the public arena of
our cities and from now on nothing will
remain the same as before, including
the meaning of democracy. The ashes of
petty-bourgeois academism is incapable
of understanding the simple fact that
people who, reliant on solidarity, claim a
common objective for all are no longer
the same as a formless mass.

Besides this, this movement has as yet
not benefited fully from the independent
presence of the organized poor. The
current presence of a section of the rulers
alongside the movement has also caused
some confusion. The most wrongheaded
policy in the current situation is to busy
ourselves with polemics with this
segment of the rulers to prove that they
cannot be our fellow travelers. From the
people’s point of view, such arguments,
no matter how brimming with revolutionary
phrases, resemble the arguments of
the two factions of the rulers. Such is not
communist activity.

Expansion of
people’s movement means helping to
build popular organizations amongst
those people whose voice is not counted,
not recognized by the state. Joining of
the poor alongside presence of the
laboring forces will show any petty-bourgeois
ideological illusion to be what they
are: moralistic speech making. It is at
such a [historical] moment, but not
earlier, that those few journalists advocating
neo-liberalism will be forgotten.
Do you see how the difference between
people and their enemies is cognizable?

It suffices that people organize themselves
around all-encompassing demands
and grasp their own representation
in a common cause. Slogans such as
“Give me back my vote!” has, neither
immediately nor necessarily, anything to
do with acceptance of the elections game
or parliamentarianism. We see that many
people who had boycotted the elections
participated in the rallies. It does not
even relate immediately to Ahmadinejad
and the overthrow of the Islamic Republic,
but goes farther and deeper than
these things.

This lack of immediate
relation must be taken as our point of
departure. The important point is the
collective uprising to claim our crushed
rights; this readiness to rise up for the
right to have a vote must be understood
the way it actually is, beyond ideological
imageries about elections, and must be
expanded to include other rights of the
people.

3. The second reason for lack of
cohesion, I think, relates to a mistake by
the communists about who the addressee
is.

One component of such a mistake
concerns the concept of ‘enemy’. In short,
it is simplistic to think that the enemy of
my enemy is my friend, and, vice versa,
to consider those who are not friends of
the people as the enemy. Enemy and
friend are asymmetrical terms. We don’t
determine the enemy by their beliefs and
speech, but the criterion is their objective
behavior in concrete conditions.

The
enemies are those who take up arms
against the expansion of the people’s
movement and are destroying their
organizations. ‘Enemy’ is a concept,
whose use is akin to that of a weapon,
which must be pointed in a particular
direction and at a certain target. Friends
who are fond of Marx should believe that
this is exactly what Marx says. Running
hurriedly into the arena, and without any
popular backing calling the people whose
flags are not our desired colors ‘the
enemy’, is akin to firing an empty gun in
the darkness. Let us reach some
conclusions from these three points:

A. If
the communists are on the side of
revolution, and are capable of discerning
the historical demands of the Iranian
Revolution, and are able to understand
the logic of its development, then they
must welcome the disintegration of the
governmental coalition called Islamic
Republic, and must welcome the joining
with their ranks of segments of a republican
system that claimed to have answers
to the demands of the Iranian Revolution.

They must not forget that this split among
the different factions of rulers was
caused by the very movement of the
people, and not by the infighting of the
two factions, as declared in sociological
analyses. No! Any infighting within the
ruling system occurs against the background
of a revolutionary society, and
always has three sides.

If we look at the
behavior of the people from this angle, we
can easily see how the people in effect
are constantly pushing forward this
segment of rulers [that has joined them]
with all its resources, and at least for the
short-term. Once, a while ago, it was
possible for Khatami to avoid such a
position, but for Moussavi any retreat is
tantamount to political suicide or even a
threat to his life. Intellectual friends,
militant comrades!

Abandon exposing
every inconsistency in their statements;
in doing such things, you are actually
looking at the whole thing from the top,
and staring wide-eyed only at the surface
appearance of their infighting, and by
necessity you will be limited to playing
the role of the permanent pen-wielding
critic of the policies of those upstairs,
without giving any space or chance to
communism as a positive idea to be
constructed.

From the point of view of the
people’s movement and its inventiveness,
the separation of a segment of the rulers
and its alignment alongside the people’s
demands is a non-negligible victory.

Without having any illusions about this
segment or its historical background, this
victory should be protected. Otherwise,
and by proposing ideas about the class
nature of this segment and by repeating
hasty misreadings of the separating line
between ‘proletariat’ and ‘bourgeois’, you
would be underestimating the present
force of the people’s movement.

Instead
of this petty-bourgeois incredulity, turn to
organizing the labor forces, turn to
expanding the struggle among the poor
and the workers, disseminate awareness
among the people based on tangible
given demands, get to work alongside
them for formulating concrete and
relevant demands, and thereby acknowledge
yourself as part of a common
cause.

B. The relationship between the
people and the communist activists and
intellectuals is not one of a passive
‘addressee’ and an active ‘agent’. A lot of
friends in the Iranian left seem unable to
inspire confidence. They are trapped in
intellectual labyrinths, in which workers
or poor people can not recognize
themselves, and at times they produce
road maps such as would befit those by
parties boasting millions of members. For
communists, the dialectic of addressing
is a complex one.

If an intellectual or an
activist has more time to read and think,
this does not make them a popular
movement’s engineer or an expert on
budgeting and planning for the people’s
movement. This type of engineer-like
thinking among the left has its own
reasons. But, what is important here is
that, the people, when in a struggle or
when voicing slogans in a demonstration,
are both ‘addressees’ and ‘agents’.

Every time we address the people, it is
because we want to make their own
voices heard, and to make possible their
right to address all.

This important fact
must be present in the very first words
that we utter publicly. This means that if
we voice a slogan, it must express a
demand that is achievable even though it
appears for now impossible, and is based
on a responsible examination of reality
and real capacities of social forces;
meaning, our slogans are consistently a
minimal expression that can embrace a
maximum of imaginable objectives, not a
blind maximalism that bears no relation
to the real conditions.

This means that
our slogans are part of the collective
understanding and our enthusiasm a
co-conspirator in the plans that the
people, before us, have forged against
the dominant grammar of power. “Do not
fear, do not fear; We are all together
here!” This slogan engages in no exaggerations,
nor does it encourage any
singular voice, and is not vague, either. It
is effective and encouraging, and paves
the way.

This togetherness of all for a
common claim beyond the governmental
powers and the media discourse is a
thousand times more radical and revolutionary
than using worn out clichés. This
inventiveness of the people is the source
of strength for the communists. Please do
not say that you would separate out and
arrange two camps facing each other,
and that “co-presence of all” is a bourgeois
slogan. That is not the case.

In its
best form, capitalism can only guarantee
the wellbeing of a minority among the
millions of people deprived of their rights.
‘All’ is both the ‘addressee’ and the
‘addresser’, a historical moment that
extends beyond the limits of capitalism;
class struggle signifies that a certaingroup, as a social class, stands on the
way of this progression.

To misread
Marx, Lenin and others is worse than not
reading them at all. That which is
encouraging for our young forces, is their
objectively better possibility of success,
compared to the period of 1978-1981. The
weakness and the scatteredness of the
leftist militants from the 1978 revolution,
at this moment can be a positive point for
the creation of new communist forces
that have learned from the past, and
stand alongside the people to solve
crucial problems of the movement, using
their ideas and without concepts that are
estranged from our lived experience.

I
will end this note with a reminder: one of
the best articles about the conditions of
realization of historical demands of the
1978 revolution was written by the
reformist thinker Sa’eed Hajjarian,
published a few days before the [June 12,
2009] elections.

Hajjarian’s thesis, in a
reference to Rosa Luxembourg’s slogan,
‘Socialism or Barbarity’, was that in
today’s Iran, the choice is between
barbarity and civility. We must read this
thesis correctly, meaning with the
opposite intention of the writer. You have
the best chance of success, because the
Iranian Revolution at each new phase,
each time clearer than before, shows that
socialism, or better to say communism, is
the only possible civility for the future of a
free Iran.

If we do not act thoughtfully and
intelligently, tomorrow we will end up
looking blindly for the spent shells after
shooting those bullet-less guns; something
that some left-leaning friends have
been busy doing for too many years.


 People’s Organization

Khiaban #22/ July 13, 2009

Amir K.

Thirty days have passed since what they
called the presidential elections. Thirty
compact days, during which in tandem
with the terror, the bullets, tortures and
the regime’s lies, the collective consciousness
and awareness of the people
have developed and morphed. The true
nature of the Islamic Republic and its
anti-human laws and regulations has
been exposed to all, and people have
discovered the power of their numbers
and their togetherness.

Those wisps of illusion that had forced
many into sweet thoughts of step-by-step
change have been blown away, and the
flames of awakening have spread across
the rooftops in the country. In their fight
against the coup regime, people have
come to see the deep contradiction between
a system based on velayat-e faqih
[guardianship/rule of religious jurist] and
a popular system based on people’s will.

When their singing throats became the
targets of the regime’s bullets, the people
saw the anti-human nature of the Sepaah
[Revolutionary Guards] and the Basij.
People found out all about the regime’s
daily, hidden crimes, when it became
apparent to all that their social wealth
had been spent to procure the latest and
most sophisticated instruments of police
oppression, and the most technologically
advanced know-how at the service of
spying and controlling the citizens.

Kamenei issued the command for the
killings, and every day since a new
corpse is handed to still another grieving,
yet rage filled, family opposing them.
That inept clown, Ahmadinejad, talked of
freedom, while thousands of the country’s
youth were lined up in death camps,
awaiting to receive their daily dose of torture.
This regime wrote illusory letters to
their promised Mehdi the messiah, while
the nation’s mothers in search of their
disappeared children were insulted in the
corridors of the Islamic halls of justice,
and saw the catastrophe of the events in
their shaken hopes.

This consciousness has grown and a collectivity
has made it impossible to breath
the suffocating air any more. To make the
passage from consciousness to proactive
action, to go from understanding the
oppressive, unjust and corrupt social
relations to changing those relations and
building a just, free and equal society
— this passage is dependent on organization.
Let them speak of easy solutions
for change, those who are horrified of
the people’s power, and those who have
tied their hopes to the replacement of
a layer of today’s rulers with a layer of
tomorrow’s rulers. Leave them with their
dreams and ideas such as a Green TV
station that would remote control the
people from afar, and render them into
political observers, not actors.

However, the people, who did not remain
mere observers of the coup and intervened
in their fate with their own lives if
need be, are marching far ahead of the
colored dreams of that crowd. The people
have realized that to overthrow this
organized injustice, they need their own
organization. An organization that, unlike
the party suggested by Moussavi, will not
submit to an existence in the poisoned
crevices of the coup regime’s laws, an
organization that will grow in order to
smash open the cracks in the system and
reach to the air of freedom.

A large people’s organization is an association
of small organizations, which
sprout and gather strength from within
the heart of the struggle against the coup,
and which will guarantee the people’s
rule by defeating this anti-human system.


 Local Solidarity Committees Against the Coup

Khiaban #23 / Tuesday, July 14, 2009

by Amir K.

How can we confront the coup? One
alternative being spoken of with lots
of fanfare is to keep our gaze on those
above: [they say] let’s just wait for Moussavi
and Karroubi and their fellows to
form a political front, and then let’s wait
some more to see what actions they propose.
Or else, let’s put all our efforts into
getting the U.N. and the developed nations
to reject this coup regime and force
them into accepting to hold free elections.
Or else, let’s just keep staring at the TV
screen or the YouTube videos, waiting for
them to tell us what to do.

This alternative
puts its prayers in the ‘greats’ and
the ‘experts’; ‘great’ people whose source
of greatness is far from clear. Have they
earned their greatness in a struggle
for people’s crushed dreams? Or have
they earned greatness through owning
pistachio orchards, large import-export
companies, daily presence on the television
networks, or long history of service
in the Sepaah [revolutionary guards], or
blood connection to this or that ayatollah,
and on and on?

In such alternatives, where are the people?
Is it possible to change the current
unjust social relations based on prejudice,
without people creating new social
relations through their struggle? Is it
possible to act like a television audience
and [expect to] create a humane government?
Can we really keep our eyes fixed
on those above and wait to see what
conclusions are reached in Moussavi and
Karroubi’s meeting, or what Rafsanjani
will say in the Friday prayers?

But, another alternative does exist.
Decentralized and spontaneous forms
of people’s organizations have created
a much more powerful movement, which
— regardless of Obama’s reactions and
irrespective of whether the reformists in
the regime stand with the people or stick
to their own interests — has united to
defeat the coup
regime, and has
put its trust in
the power of the
people. This alternative
should
be supported
and participated
in actively.

Local solidarity
committees
against the coup
can be one of the forms carrying the task
of joining all the forces and the abilities of
every single individual, people who pay
the biggest price for the [current] social
existence. This movement can transform
the citizens from being victims of this
regime of velayat-e faqih into free and
equal citizens in a people’s governance.

By forming committees made up of men
and women, of young and the middle
aged, in places of living and neighborhoods,
we can defend ourselves against
the coup, and fight them with a bigger
force. These committees can put to good
use the variety of capabilities of their
members and create a collective force.

In these committees, different methods
of resisting the coup can be discussed
and collective decisions can be reached.
We can discuss what kinds of slogans to
raise and how to participate in protests.

Some members of the committees can
gather a collection of news and analysis
and pass them on to other members and
their neighbors, and even put them up
in public places. If a family member of a
committee affiliate is among the latest
detainees or the
disappeared, we
can help them
either legally, or
financially, or
even by providing
them with a
car, a ride, etc.

The youth can
discuss slogan
writing [on the
walls] in the
adjacent neighborhoods, and devise suitable
methods for it. We can give spiritual
support to those who have experienced
soul-crushing events. In working class
neighborhoods, workers can discuss
issues relating to mass dissents in factories
and workshops, out of the reach of
the company officials, supervisors and
foremen.

We cannot and must not limit ourselves
to the slogans and demands available
on the [mainstream/official] media. We
can unite around real demands and daily
problems. In their fight to gain back their
rights, girls and women — who in their
places of work, face sexual harassment,
discrimination, having to endure unbearable
working conditions, unequal pay
and rights, and other such obstacles that
prevent them from a life of freedom and
dignity — can use these committees to
find people with similar thoughts and can
then act collectively.

Those who, in the current system in order
to make a living, have to leave the house
at five in the morning and don’t get back
home until well into the dark of the night,
can unite together to stop this death
machine that has destroyed their lives. In
these committees it can be learned that
we do have rights, and we do have our
own thoughts: whether about our daily
problems or about big subject matters
such as the running of the state, the running
of the prisons and the courts and
the police, and about the workings of the
television and the newspapers.

This small minority, which in broad daylight
is hostile toward any demands for
the citizens’ human rights, which resorts
to cheating, lying and killing, has zero
right or legitimacy in deciding our fate.
People’s solidarity against the coup is not
a ‘plan’; rather, it is a reality, a reaction
that has already started among the people,
exactly because the coup has stood
for the absolute abolition of people’s
rights. Ordinary people have shown and
will show the most steadfast resistance,
exactly because they are fighting for their
lives, for a dignified living, which has
come under open attack by the rulers.


 Return to Law Or Create New Laws?

Khiaban # 26 / July 18, 2009

Amir K.

Yesterday, the city’s streets belonged
to the people once again. Rafsanjani’s
leading of the Friday prayer [at Tehran
University] became a justification for
mass gatherings and demonstrations in
the city. On route to and from the Tehran
University, from the early morning till long
after dark, Tehran’s streets were witness
to huge and united crowds, who had
opened a way through the shields and the
truncheons, and filled the hot summer air
with their slogans.

It is now more than a month that the
streets have become the most important
arena for struggle, changing hands in
turns between the dissenting people and,
on the other hand, the oppressive forces
of the regime. At times, the people have
taken back the control of the streets, at
other times death squads have established
their reign over the streets. The
system knows that to consolidate a new
era of sinister rule, it must control the
streets just like before the electoral coup;
and the people too know that, in order
to put an end to decades of tyranny,
discrimination and inequality, they must
make the city streets their own.

The
end result of this fateful fight will determine
the people’s future life. So, it is not
without reason that the people, holding
their heads high and ready for death,
with steadfast steps and smiling lips, are
confronting the darkest and the bloodiest
regime of the era. The rhythms of the
accelerated waves of their movement has
compacted their social history, and the
seeds of their hopes and anticipations in
mere moments have already turned into
healthy saplings standing tall.

In the Friday prayer sermon [of July 17th],
Rafsanjani did not stand with the organizers
of the coup. But, did he stand with
the people? His suggested solution was
to return to law.

This demand, however,
has no relation to the current demands of
the people. Interesting how the fundamentalists
too invite the reformists to
submit to the law, and insist that Moussavi
and his cohorts refuse to accept the
legal institutions (particularly the Interior
Ministry and the Guardian Council).

The truth is that the people, as a result of
the experience of their glorious confrontation
against the coup, have discovered
that countless existing laws are in
contradiction with a just and dignified
life. In the very widespread presence of
the people in the streets yesterday, once
again vast numbers of people were subject
to beatings, large-scale arrests, and
reports of guns firing [at people] have
been published. People are being oppressed
by institutions, which gain their
legitimacy from the existing laws.

For all
the people, the opportunity for public assembly
to dissent and protests is a right,
and they are furious over the violent answer
of the regime to dissent. Some have
even come to the protests with placards
displaying an article of the constitution
guaranteeing the freedom of assembly
and peaceful demonstration by any
group. However, these placards usually
skip the rest of this article, which clarifies:
“Unless it is against Islamic principles.”

And by reading the constitution more
carefully, we see that according to the
existing laws, in effect the regime has the
option to decide which assemblies are
against the [Islamic] principles and which
ones are not.

As a result, when the murderous coup
regime speaks of the illegality of the recent
demonstrations, they are not far off
the mark. For the current laws sanction a
small minority, hovering above the people
and beyond their oversight, to [legally]
crush any opponents. However, although
the behavior of the coup regime may even
have a standing on the basis of the current
national legal system, it has become
clear for everyone that these laws are
not based on justice, but are simply tools
at the service of injustice and brutality
against the society.

The people have entered the arena to
reclaim their rights, and if there exists
contradictions between the laws and the
social rights [of the people], people are
demanding the laws to be changed and
want to create new laws that recognize
and protect their rights. ‘Returning to law’,
from the people’s point of view, is nothing
but a return to 30-year old subjugation.

People have taken to the streets in order
to create free political spaces. They are
fighting for the creation of new social
laws. And this goal cannot be achieved
but through the destruction of an oppressive
and anti-human legal system, and
the creation of a new set of laws based
on citizens’ rights, freedom and social
justice.


 The Fourth Corner of the Revolution Square

Khiaban #27 / July 20, 2009

By Milad S.

Many have woken up by the warm
gunpowder on the streets. The people’s
movement accelerates, casts its skin and
paves its path. At the same time, at three
corners of the Revolution Square in Tehran,
old ideas comment on the movement.

1. Some, not few in numbers, declare,
“Look! This is the twittering of the Green
Reform on the internet and the victory of
the Middle class! Look! This is the solution
to the suffering of all, something like
Embrahim Nabavi (a satirist, known for
his anticommunism _ trans. note).” They
say: This is the rare presence of a new
generation that hates the Revolution;
armed with reason and caring for capital
and with genuine respect for public and
private property, they have started their
movement.

Guided by TV broadcasting
from faraway places, they carry on
a peaceful struggle. These people don’t
trespass the limits of the Islamic Republic
because deep inside they are liberal
Muslims, and being liberal means being
contemporary, and contemporaneity is
something like what in Persian we call
the dialogue between civilizations plus
multicultural music styles.

They also say that the young generation
doesn’t know anything about 79. They say
that our middle class has generated a
youth that reads Kant’s Perpetual Peace,
is tolerant and re-interprets Political
Islam. This generation has supposedly
found the precious essence of life: careless
about social issues, in love with
parliamentarian democracy, and since
this is an Iranian brand of love, it knows
no limits; even the Council of Guardians
(the institution that decides who is
supposed to run for elections and monitors
the elections, well-known for their
support for Ahmadinejad) is the incarnation
of Locke’s ideas. They say that this
youth just wants to be free, like all other
youngsters that we have seen in American
TV series. They want a normal life in
this world order and their ultimate goal is
to found Islamic start-ups.

But the people on the streets, many of
them seem to have attacked the symbols
and limits of the Holy Republic. It
doesn’t look like they care much about
World Bank and Council of Guardians.
Sometimes, their faces and dress do not
look like whatever is imagined to be the
middle class. Their sneakers do not wear
a known label.

If you pay attention, you realize that
Moussavi’s economic program didn’t have
much to do with world market guidelines.
It seemed, for whatever reason, to claim
a return to the “Pure Islam” of the first
year of the revolution. At any rate, there
was a significant difference between that
program and those who believe economy
is a science and neoliberalism a scientific
proposition.

It should be said that this ideological
superimposition upon reality does not fit
the demands of today’s youth. They suffer
from unemployment, are fed up with university
entrance tests, with being humiliated
by their foremen, fed up with TV ads,
unemployment, addiction and Islamic
moral patrols. It should be said that they
don’t any longer stand for the impossibility
of making their voices heard.

And above all, they have found a language
for thinking in this popular solidarity
that is books and cities away from
those half-serious, half-journalistic,
half ironic analyses. If you listen carefully,
you will hear the echo of the 1979
slogans. To these people, remember,
even though all schoolbooks are filled
with the upside down story of what happened
between 1976 and 1981, if you
listen carefully, you will hear the sound of
their steps on the brink of a conclusion:
to turn the order upside down has a clear
prospect.

Perhaps your ideologies are not a report
from the movement, not a thought for this
movement, but a simplistic and limited
interpretation of it, a reflected image on
the surface of a pound.

We say that for a society issued out of
a revolution, a society ridden by social
injustice, a society in which the social
rift is not only blatant but in all its
cultural manifestations obscene, in such
a society any ideology that propagates
indifference towards millions who are not
counted, who are not included as part of
the society, conveys oppression and fascism
- willingly or not. And if unwillingly,
so much the worse!

2. Others say that this protest movement
is the reaction of the rich against
an offensive by the poor and the working
class. The capitalist magnates stand
against Ahmadinejad, and the Basijis are
the real children of the depths. They ask,
don’t you see that this is a war between
the children of the rich together with
the middle class, against the deprived
masses, particularly the peasants? Or
they would say, don’t you see that this
is a war between two factions of power
about their share of the wealth? Some
would add that the historical epoch is that
of the struggle for national sovereignty
and Ahmadinejad is a variant of Bolivarism,
an ally to Chavez.

These “class based” analyses would drop
quickly before a simple and easily comprehensible
piece of reality: Hey’at-haaye
Motalefé (Associations of Merchants,
or Chamber of Commerce). These lords
of mercantilism, these multimillionaires,
support Ahmadinejad wholeheartedly.
What are they then, the national bourgeoisie
the allies of the poor on earth?

Perhaps, you misunderstand the historical
epoch you live in. National sovereignty
in 2009 in Iran? Or Bolivarism in Iran?
What could these words possibly signify?
Besides, the conflict and the infighting
between two ruling factions does not
happen in the middle of the desert, it is
happening in the heart of a revolutionary
society. Both these factions are the
result of the revolution; they are not from
somewhere else. You’ve read too many
leftish western media who do not have a
clue about this situation and suffer from
inconsistencies in their own political
theories.

Basiji militia is a paramilitary organization
with strong presence in the poor
areas. In the last eight years we have
witnessed a re-orientation in their mode
of operation. If earlier, for instance
during the uprising among the poor in
Eslamshahr (a suburb of Tehran), they
functioned mainly as an instrument for
control and oppression of the people’s
power, now under Ahmadinejad they
have tried to attract the poor, to speak on
their behalf. This was thought up as an
innovation by the security-intelligence
institutions and their advisers. They tried
to coin a sort of Islamic Bolivarism combined
with some lessons learned from the
Lebanese Hezbollah. In reality, they filled
the vacant space left by independent
popular organizations, and created a
privilege rentier system for a few among
the poor.

The basis of their operation was the
distribution of rentier income, in a very
limited extent, among the poor in order
to reduce their social demands to the
possibility of a few to escape the misery.
In exchange, these Basijis expect that
the poor [recruits] should actively support
their clampdown on the popular movement
on the streets. They expect that the
poor bow their heads before war generals
who are stealing the fruits of the collective
labor that belong to all the people.
They expect that the poor should kill their
brothers and sisters.

As we see it, this police state has committed
a miscalculation. Their expectations
do not fit the reality. The poor have
no motivation for supporting this system,
and not only that, in the course of events,
they would build up their own independent
organizations exactly due to the
regime’s insistence and demand for their
active support [in their efforts] against the
presence of any protests on the streets.

The imperial discourse about the nuclear
industry and nuclear weapons does not
have much rallying power either in these
quarters, because the independent sovereign
state is not an issue for the poor and
the workers. It is not an issue at all in Iran
for many historical reasons. The issue
for the poor is to get rid of poverty and to
have the society recognize their rights.
Perhaps, the poor will even start to organize
themselves inside the mosques and
Basiji organizations and cast this skin.

The financial bankruptcy of the government
will not in the coming months
allow the rulers to set up a new farcical
version of some Islamic Bolivarism. To
understand the real obstacles for selforganization
among the poor is the main
concern for communists. On the other
hand people who are on the streets, will
soon find out that the ideological imageries
propagated by the first group does not
correspond to their reality and the reality
of their struggle. They will find their allies
among the poor. Communists work
towards such a development.

3. Still
another group claims that this is a movement
with democratic and bourgeois
demands. They say that since according
to our statistics we have huge masses
of peasants, and since this movement is
driven mostly by petty-bourgeoisie, then
this movement is part of a democratic
revolution. The proof of this claim? Some
quotation from Marx about peasants in
Europe in the nineteenth century. They
say: Since we are very precise in our
theory, we have separated the democratic
phase from the socialist phase
of the revolution, and have a detailed
roadmap for securing the victory of this
movement. Bourgeois democracy, for a
country like Iran, with its backward and
uneven capitalist development, is still
progressive and so we support these demands.

We intend to conquer the castle
of power, and we have calculated all the
details based on a quotation from Lenin
in an article in 1899 about capitalism in
Russia. We are the civil engineers of the
revolution and we will build a democratic
bridge. Later, when the industrial workers
are in majority, we will extend this bridge,
and our state will abolish private ownership
by a governmental decree; and all
shall obey the state. We are so precise
that we have separated socialism from
communism, political revolution from social
revolution, the democratic revolution
from socialist revolution, politics from the
mode of production. For now, we await
the congress of councils of workers and
peasants, which are democratic but not
socialist, to join us in order to create a
democratic republic in Iran.

Is that so?

Firstly, what peasants? Have you read a
single volume on the current agricultural
situation in Iran? 25% of the population
lives on agriculture. Except for small
northern provinces with a dense population,
the rest are spread out in small
villages across a vast desert landscape.
Have you ever thought why the peasants
didn’t have any decisive role in any social
movements since the Constitutional
Revolution, during the twentieth century?
The situation is changing but not in the
shape or in the direction you are thinking.
The peasants are abandoning their lands
in increasing numbers.

Secondly, there is the claim that the capitalist
relations in Iran are undeveloped
or suffer from anomalies. There is not
enough space here, but friends, honestly
capitalism, when expanded into this land,
has been and will be what we have. Its
anomalies are its only normal way of
functioning in a place like Iran. In their
texts, these friends
are inspired by
some formula about
industrialization
through accumulated
capital gained
through peasants’
labor. They have
read some lines
about NEP and the
Soviet Union during
the 1920s and 30s.
But not even a line
or a word in such a
history corresponds
to Iran or to contemporary capitalism.

If we think that the demand for nullifying
the elections, at this stage, is progressive,
this is not because we believe Mr.
Moussavi would secure the hegemony
of industrial/productive capital against
financial-mercantilist and rentier capital.
It is because we think this slogan, at this
stage, creates a certain possibility for
intervention by the laboring forces in the
workplaces and living spaces. Otherwise,
over here, there is no such a thing as the
hegemony of industrial capital. Look at
the price of labor force and the cost of
industrial production in Iran, and compare
it with China and South East Asia before
making your roadmaps. At the age of
post-industrial capitalism, this capitalism
will never give birth to a majority of
industrial working class in Iran, unless
your Democratic Republic starts with
catastrophic measures concerning wage
and social welfare. This is not a brilliant
idea.

Thirdly, a mode of production is not
something apolitical. You are mistaken.
You limit all the different senses of the
political to parliament, the state and its
institutions. Intervention in the mode of
production in society is politics itself.
Intervention in how to run a factory or
a residential neighborhood is politics.

It is not necessary to quote Marx about
villages in Europe. What’s needed is to
understand that Marx’s Capital is not an
academic book of expertise in economics
but the articulation of the conditions of intervention
in the mode of production; an
intellectual work that accompanied the
workers’ movement. It was written with
this purpose according to the author.

Finally, your bridge towards the top of the
mountain has nothing to do with theoretical
precision. Because there is no top
and no Simorgh (Simorgh is a mythical
bird residing on the top of a mountain in
Iranian mythology. The well-known story
relates that a large group of birds once
attempted to search for this mythical
creature; after an adventurous and perilous
journey, they end up at a high peak
wherein the bird was supposed to live;
there is no fabulous bird called Simorgh
at that place. It is an empty space. Finally
they, who after the journey were decimated
to thirty (‘si’ in Persian) birds (‘morgh’),
realize that Simorgh was their own flight
and presence._ trans. note).

You become Simorgh. This means that
people during their own struggle, in this
factory, in that neighborhood, surpass
the form of private property. It does not
happen through a memorandum by the
proletarian state. The question how exactly
this will happen, under which exact
forms, this is not determined by us. We
do not know. This is because history and
a movement are not the same as nature,
not the same as the rotational orbit of the
earth around the sun, and we are not sitting
in an observatory.

On a more theoretical note, communism
is not powerful because it is exact, but
because it remains connected and loyal
to the notion of truth. And truth, this current
under the bridges of imagination,
moves, runs its course, is a movement.

As a movement, it determines its course
and finds its own proper names, otherwise
it is not a people’s movement, and
won’t be self-determined. Its depth and
length depends on the resistance by the
enemy, the degree of solidarity, the capacity
to move beyond obstacles and to a
horizon that is clear. The horizon is clear
but not exact. It is not up to intellectuals
to bring out its exactitude.

4. I believe that all these three standpoints,
three corners of the Revolution
Square, regardless of their ideologies,
are based on observations that are
neither accurate nor completely false.
Their mistake consists of inappropriate
generalization of the observation.

Each of them, standing at three corners
of the square, has seen one side and one
part of the people’s movement. In order to
have an overarching view, it is necessary
to stand in the middle of this square.
In the centre of the square, you will see
the unfolding of thirty years of revolution
in each passing second of the collective
presence.

The main question is not the
wealthy classes and their children, nor
the right wing ideologies, not the war between
the poor and the rich, nor even the
form of government. The main question
in this movement is that people want to
participate in running the society at any
possible level; in their neighborhoods,
their workplaces, local or nationwide. All
this because their rulers have reached
a point that they believe their absolute
incompetence is actually a precious little
dress befitting this people, and think of
the people as the receivers of alimony
and hand outs from the state institutions,
under the name of a republic the people
wanted to create.

The question that determines the direction
and orientation of this movement is
this: If we want to intervene and participate
in running our own society, under
which name do we claim such things? A
nation? The Umma’ (religious community),
the wretched of the earth, the wretched
awaiting the return of the messiah? Some
minors under the protective supervision
of the ‘supreme leader’? And those who
do not heed our demands, those who oppress
us, by which right are they entitled
to do so? Because they are armed?

Because they are rich and have taken
over the wealth created by our labor and
the mines of this land? Or that God has
given them such privileges? Or because
they are defeated generals from the war
against Iraq?

This movement is not ambiguous. Its
horizon is defined by articulation of the
possible answers to such clear questions.
To formulate the question is half of
the answer.

The communists, standing together with
people will expend effort to find answers
to these questions. Communists, outside
the state power and state-oriented
discourses, work towards organization
of people in order to limit the state
power and force it to abide by popular
demands. This should be seen in their
words and deeds and this is the source
of people’s confidence in them. Communists
are not technicians of political
science, concerned with taking over the
state apparatus, and they do not write
instruction manuals on how to topple
regimes.

Communists work for expanding
the democracy. Against discrimination,
ignorance and injustice, they propose
their programs. They translate the future
into the protection of nature and the environment
in which people live and work,
everywhere and case by case. They carry
out their programs with popular organizations,
not by state power. They force the
state power to abide by their demands or
abdicate. The place of the idea of communism
always and without exception
is defined outside the state power and in
popular organizations.

Our engineers will laugh at us: what a
stupid idea when you can do all this in
a more efficient way by taking the state
power. It suffices to take over the state
and start the work. To them we say, this
belief has been part of the statist ideology
against democracy, ever since Athens.
This has been the principle of the rich,
all the way up to the modern bourgeoisie,
against the political cause. For the
communists, however, democracy is an
interventionist movement and the very
definition of the political.

The point is that the fourth corner of the
Revolution Square, the point that connects
the square to the revolution is not
one of its angles, it is not at all a question
of a two dimensional surface; this point
is suspended in the middle of this space
called Revolution Square.


 Pressure from below, haggling above; or Pressure from below, people’s power from below?

Khiaban No. 32 / Wednesday, July 29,
2009

Amir K.

People are not leaving the streets.
Tomorrow, the city’s streets will belong
to the people again. Different groups of
people and countless dissenting citizens
are preparing memorials for the martyrs
and the dead of the current Iranian
revolution. Until now, names and details
of 78 martyrs have been published.
Many families, due to pressure from the
regime’s security and intelligence forces,
have stayed silent and have not shared
their immense grief with other people.
These killings started with the direct and
unambiguous order of Ali Khamenei,
the leader of the Islamic Republic, in his
June 19th Friday prayers speech. He said
that from the next day anybody who took
to the streets to protest would be held
responsible for the loss of their own life.

People, however, took up this responsibility
and, in the face of the supreme jurist’s
bullets, machetes and knives, took to
the streets to demand their rights from
this regime of injustice. The brutality and
ruthlessness of the supreme jurist’s death
squads was beyond compare. The order
was to employ the maximum violence in
order to impose an atmosphere of terror
on the people and bring a graveyard-like
silence to the society. That mediocre
clown, Ahmadinejad, took up the directive
of the supreme leader, using the
dissent-killing machineries of the Sepaah
[Revolutionary Guards] and the Basij.

The gangs of ruthlessness and brutality
had their eyes on the 1980s experience
and were imagining the absolute success
of the state terror. What fools’ dreams!
This time, it was not merely a small, vanguard
group at the forefront [of the fight],
whose sacrifice of their lives even could
not save the barricades of street resistance
from falling. This time the entire
society had risen and they had erected
their street barricades against a criminal
minority.

In this bloody struggle — in which the
people, armed with their solidarity, hope,
desire for freedom and a collective love
were on one side, and a governance
equipped with the most horrific instruments
for murdering its own citizens on
the other — countless of the purest of
this land’s children have fallen. Countless
martyrs have become witness to the
naked violence of a system of deceit and
criminality, which has put its claws into
society’s lifeline, sucking its blood, growing
corpulent. Countless youths gave
their lives to bring to society freedom and
a new world.

Their martyrdom was the result of an
organized mass killing by a regime,
which, after taking away people’s right of
free speech, right to dignified work, right
of assembly, right of self-determination,
right of clothing, and all their other rights
in a most merciless fashion, is now taking
away from them even the right to life. The
resistance of the people and the youth
does not fit within the framework of the
rulers’ calculations, and the continuation
of this resistance and people’s solidarity
against the coup regime is shaking the
rulers’ palace of religious despotism.

The fortieth day memorial of the martyrdom
of Neda and all those who were
killed the same day by the bullets of the
regime, so that freedom and resolve
would not fall, is a new day in the fight to
bury the dark night of this land forever.
People have stood up, and each day with
their protests and innovations, they enrich
and deepen their movement.

Some, with their thinking and beliefs rooted
in the circumstances prior to June 12,
are still following the “pressure from below,
haggling up above” solution. In this
view, people’s movement in the streets,
in their workplaces and places of living
will give a section of the rulers — who, in
this view are thought to be more with the
people, and work for the good of all — a
more powerful backing, and in the lobbies
of power in the halls of the parliament
and the cabinets, enable them to extract
more concessions from the other group
of rulers, who are openly and unambiguously
the enemies of the people. In this
view, by suffering the costs of building
pressure on a despotic and merciless
power from below, people will enable the
more moderates within this closed circle
of rulers to impose petty reforms on the
other faction, which is reliant on oppressive
military forces.

In previous years and in smaller and
weaker movements, this logic may have
had some buyers, but in the days after
June 12, any tendency that takes up
this viewpoint will isolate itself and lose
people’s support.

Today, people have concluded that they
shall not give any blank checks to any
layer of the ruling politicians, to any
reformists and seekers of change [from
above]. They want their own control over
all [social] matters. The rule of a religious
group such as the supreme leader,
the Guardian Council, the Assembly of
Experts, which are backed by military
and economic institutions that have no
accountability to the people, stands in
direct opposition to the governance of the
people over their own fate.

The only thing that can lead to an improvement
of the people’s real life conditions
is a pressure from below leading to
the taking of power from below and by the
people. People want to determine their
society’s public laws themselves, and
want to do so freely. They want all social
institutions to be elected by the society
and be accountable to them and under
their oversight.

The existence of military institutions such
as the Sepaah and the Basij, which, in the
hands of power thirsty groups, easily turn
into instruments of killing people, are of
no use to the people. The society wants
to determine by itself which institutions
are needed for its security and how those
institutions work. A university president
who has not been elected by the students,
the professors and the university
staff, but selected by powers standing
above the society, easily and as it has
happened, become collaborator with
death squads killing the students.

Parliamentary representatives elected in
a system other than one under people’s
control can come to reveal themselves,
as they have done these days, not as representing
the people, but as functionaries
and paid, rudderless hoodlums at the
service of a coup regime of terror.
People want to create a new social
system, in which in their places of work,
in their places of living and in their cities,
the methods of management and responsibilities
are determined by the people
and in realistic fashion, and in which the
source of legitimacy and lawfulness is
the people, not a group believing themselves
to be religious scientists claiming
to be god’s replacement on earth. It is for
these demands and with such outlook
that the society has entered the arena of
struggle with all it has, with all that the
regime has left people with: their lives.
If you take a good look at their determination,
you will realize that they will
achieve their goal.


 A General Strike or Tactical Strikes?

Khiaban # 33 / Saturday, August 1, 2009

By Amir K.

The Iranian people’s recent leap against
a criminal minority in power had a
strange uniqueness. Which is that, as
opposed to the usual trend of opposition
and revolutionary movements, which
start out as a series of small and scattered
protests that end in large protests,
transforming the social and political
structures, the Iranian movement began
with large protests. People, who were
astounded by the announced election
results and by the obviousness of the
fraud, were only waiting for a call to take
to the streets. Although the call for protests
on June 15 was officially rescinded
[by Moussavi], nobody could stop the
millions of citizens from pouring onto the
streets to show Ahmadinejad and Khamenei
who the few specks of dust were, and
to show whether the ‘few’ described the
people or the rulers.

From that day on, large-scale demonstrations
were replaced by small and
scattered protests for two main reasons.

The first reason is that people’s peaceful
demonstrations were countered by the
regime’s bullets, and in effect martial law
was established by the regime’s death
squads in Tehran and other cities. The
second reason was Moussavi’s refusal to
call the people to the streets. Moussavi
and his colleagues preferred to keep the
millions-strong presence of the people on
the streets to merely a shadow of it, and,
by resorting to threatening this monster
that had escaped the bottle, convince the
Khamenei-Ahmadinejad gang to return
the rules of the game to the situation
prior to June 12. Since the network of
people’s organizing cells and committees
fighting the coup are still growing
and are not able to organize coordinated,
widespread demonstrations, large demonstrations
have given way to a series of
small protests, which as a result of their
continuation and increased organization
will again display their evolution to large
demonstrations, during the days that this
regime of oppression and terror will be
overthrown.

However, from the very first days of the
people’s confrontation with forces armed
to the teeth, the need was felt for the
second arm of the people’s movement;
meaning, a general strike. Refusing to
work and bringing to a half the wheels
of production is the most important tool
and foundation from which people can
enforce their power against a criminal
minority in power. All the wealth that
this money-hoarding criminal bunch has
gained and so generously splurges on
oppressing the citizens has been procured
from the collective social wealth,
which, due to the present workings of
the system, could be expropriated, away
from the overseeing eyes of the people.

The rulers are trying to show that they
are the basis and foundation of society,
and that people are mere beggars utterly
dependent on them. But, in reality, it is
the people who produce and reproduce
the social existence, and the ruling gang
an appendage of a lively and dynamic
society, an appendage that feeds leechlike
on the social order. However, just as
the large, millions-strong demonstrations
showed the system the level of regime’s
‘popularity’, a general strike will show
the system and every individual in the
society wherein the source of all life and
wealth lies.

Therefore, the need for a general strike to
help the movement, confronting terror in
the streets with nothing in hand, quickly
took shape in the society’s collective
mind. Especially given that the movement
had just experienced huge demonstrations
and imagined the start of strikes as
large strikes.

But a general strike did not take shape.
At least, not until now. This is because
the speedy shaping of the [general strike]
idea had not considered some of the
preparatory work needed for a general
strike, and had imagined the formation of
a general strike as taking a similar path
as the huge demonstrations of June 15.
But, a general strike does not take shape
with the call of a political leader, even if
that leader is popular, or else the current
of events has put them at the leadership
of the movement.

A general strike needs
nationwide unions of workers and employees,
in different productive/industrial
and service sectors of society. But, thirty
years of constant repression of workers
and union activists, the lack of possibility
of forming independent unions at places
of work, and such similar considerations,
has minimized the realistic possibilities
for organizing a general strike in the
country.

Another problem is the lack of clarity of
goals and demands of a general strike.
After the millions-strong show of force
by in the streets by the people — whose
demands and needs go far deeper than
those of the reformist leaders, who at this
moment have the most means of communicating
with the people (compared
to political activists outside the regime)
— the reformist leaders are incapable of
determining the goals of a move such
as a general strike. The goal of organizing
another election no longer has the
reach it had before the start of the mass
killings. At this moment, the people have
come to see the important role of the
supreme leader [valiye faqih] and the
legal structures of the Islamic Republic in
oppressing political and social freedoms
in the Iranian society.

They want to see
the murderers of people to be brought
to justice, and this means specifically
Khamenei and the leaders of the Revolutionary
Guards and the Basij. But these
goals are well beyond the goals of the
reformists, who do not want any deep
fracture developing in the political structures
in Iran. As a result, the reformists
are evading expressing any concrete
goals. They are unwilling to voice their
minimalist demands, thereby losing the
people’s support and in turn losing their
only weapon in confronting the coup
organizers. Therefore, the crucial demand
for organizing the people around a
general strike has remained blurred and
unexpressed.

But the people know that, in order to defeat
the coup and for re-appropriating the
society from coup-generating laws, they
also need their arm of strikers.

A phase will be reached when people, in
the course of their long street struggle,
will find a level of local and collective
organizations that will daily enable them
to coordinate and organize more widespread
street actions; a network which
in a not-distant future will be able to
organize the final demonstrations. At that
time, as a result of the evolution of tactical
strikes a general strike too will take
shape, and it can be reliant on a nationwide
organization that will arise out of
the unions/organizations that develop
in the course of these tactical strikes.
As a result of tactical strikes, people’s
demands too will find a clearer, more
tangible shape.

We can point to different spheres. For
example, in the area of the press and the
media, the current censorship dominating
all publications has reached a suffocating
level. A censorship much like that of
the Shah’s during the martial law period.
The reaction of those journalists, media
workers and staff [during Shah’s marital
law], in their strike with the goal of
abolishing censorship of media, was able
to have an important effect in the society,
and strengthened powerfully the demand
for freedom of the press in the people’s
movement. Or, take the sphere of lawyers.

The new judiciary memorandum,
which completely eliminates the independence
of the lawyers’ guild, is a tangible
and real problem for all the lawyers, and
after much protest, Shahroudi [head of
Judiciary] suspended the new rules for
six months. A general sin-in/demonstration
aiming to abolish the new rules completely
can maintain the lawyers’ guild’s
independence, and can initiate discussions
for the complete independence of
the entire judicial system.

The demands of productive/industrial
workers for just compensation, which
today are stifled on a wide scale by
the regime, can not only facilitate the
task of organizing the workers, but in a
highlighted fashion can turn the right to a
dignified life and the abolishing of class
discrimination into a general demand of
the society.

The ability to organize and consolidate
popular organizations will grow and take
flight in these very compressed days that
will determine much. People’s demands
and goals will become clear and visible
in the very course of their struggle: in the
public and collective discussions and
arguments over the general problems of
society on the one hand, and the daily
problems and needs specific to places of
work, on the other. A general strike, much
like a collective dream, is beautiful and
will break the back of this coup d’etat. The
current system wants us to put aside our
dreams, and to continue a real, excruciating
life under a fascistic [form of] Islam.

But, these days, we have seen the power
of dreams with our own eyes.
In tehran, the personnel of a hospital due to
the protest against the murder of demonstratores
and Prosecution of injured by security
foces were on a symbolic strike.


 Field, Place, Trajectory

Khiaban No. 36 / Tuesday, August 11,
2009

By Milad S.

1. 17th Shahrivar

We are witnessing a gradual transformation
and redirecting of the slogans. It
took less than two months for the people
to move from the demand for annulment
of the elections to the collective
realization that the real nature and the
legal framework of this republic are the
real obstacles in the way of the movement.

The more elaborate forms of mass
meetings, organization of thousands of
small cells, the increase in capabilities
for printing and distributing nightly fliers
and news bulletins — these are all indicative
of a widened field for movement.
With the joining in of different regions,
the movement is also redefined at each
stage: the widening of the local protests
against [what happened in] Naziabad,
in 17th Shahrivar (southern neighborhood
of Tehran with a dominantly poor
population), is an example of the spreading
of the struggle from neighborhood to
neighborhood.

Alongside the evolving field of struggle
and the spreading of movement from
one neighborhood, one place to another,
the trajectory and the possible horizons
of this movement too undergo changes.
The widening of the popular protests is
not merely quantitative, just as the rising
number of organized groups or the
increased facility in printing and distributing
two-page night fliers are not merely
an improved dissemination of the news.

The slogans and the forms of dissent as
well as the demands being raised can
encompass yet larger segments of the
material social reality. This is a movement
in which we can already see the
capability for the claims, and the inevitability
of returning to the basic demands,
of the 1978-79 revolution. The experience
of the period of 1977-81 means understanding
solidarity as organized popular
demands. Along this trajectory, in the
process of popular self-organization at
any given place, the communists walk
alongside the people.

If the people gradually reach the conclusion
that the corrupt police patrols are
not protectors of the people but aggressors
against their lives and livelihoods,
the worst kind of hoodlums, and if they
realize from their own practical experience
that self-management over their
local affairs is a better guarantee for
more security, peace and humane life;
then this practical realization and the end
of the humiliation, will mean the practical
discovery of a common cause.

The
experience of the winter of 1357 (late
1978- early 1979), the spectacular fall of
criminality, the practical distribution of
needed goods in different neighborhoods,
particularly in working class and southern
districts of cities, are all experiences
still remembered today due not only to
the mass mobilization of the people but
especially due to people’s foresight in
forming neighborhood committees. The
communists stand alongside the people
so that this time around nobody shall
hijack these committees in the name of
ideology or for any particular economic
interests.

2. Communists

“Communists” means the collective
practice of all those working for connecting
the mass struggle for particular and
localized demands, with social justice
as their horizon, and with a belief in the
possibility of self-management/control in
places of work and living. Based on these
principles, communists expend effort in
organizing the laboring forces and the
people. Acting among the people, in small
groups, means multiplying the communist
ideals.

I believe that this definition helps
best in overcoming many obstacles.
Communism is an old ideal. In this land
of Iran, those in the Mazdaki insurrection
(c. 496 AD) were among the forerunners
of this ideal. This ideal is based on a
single thought: by sharing the collectively
produced wealth, by participation of all
in the running of society, we will achieve
social justice, legal and real equality,
and the possibility of growth and freedom
for each individual, regardless of color,
creed or religion.

This old ideal, with the dawn of capitalism
and the development of culture and sciences,
nowadays is not only a possible
vantage point but a necessary way out
of the existing misery. Our world does
not have much forte left for speculative
total destruction and private benefit of
a few. It is enough to look at the torched
earth of Africa, abandoned by Capital,
or to look at the destroyed environments
in Iran or all over the world. This ideal,
today more than ever, is attainable; it is
enough to just see that humanity today
has achieved levels of science and innovation
unparalleled in human history.

Production and intellect are intimately
connected. Even for farming a plot of
land, you need at least some years of
schooling. Such were inconceivable only
two hundred years ago. The fact that
capitalism had a progressive role in this
development is not disputed, at least
not by communists who have read Marx.

The point, though, is that this progressive
function is relative and historical,
not eternal. And the last two hundred
years have shown clearly that Capital’s
governing logic is today not only insufficient
and unfeasible, but is in fact a
detriment to both creativity and people’s
wellbeing. Shantytowns and slums,
governance by corruption, torture camps
such as Kahrizak and Aslavié industrial
complex (a remote petro-industrial complex,
infamous for its inhuman working
conditions_ trans. note), the Basiji’s, and
the last thirty years of Iranian history, all
attest to this.

Furthermore, I think that the specific form
for struggle should be a function of the
ideal. Political parties were one of the basic
forms in the struggles during the 20th
century. Political party formation in its
widest social sense, not only in Iran but
in the majority of places in the world, was
synonymous to communists’ commitment.

This, however, in my opinion, does not
necessarily mean that this form is extrahistorical.
Based on historical conditions,
and the dominant social relations, including
security considerations, we must
responsibly ask: Is this form efficient
today, does it contribute to multiplication
and dissemination of the communist ideal
and to organization of the people?

3. Analysis for doing what?

I think that the criteria for evaluating any
concept, be it grand or small, about the
world, the era, or Iran, is the conjectural
conclusions of the communists’ efforts
and organizing experience; otherwise,
abstract thinking will waste your labor,
and academism will have us happily busy
with rearranging and recomposing successive
drafts. Understanding capital’s
mechanisms and dynamics, understanding
the present antagonisms and the current
movement’s place within the world
and the region, all these must be discussions
and arguments that, just like tools
of labor, aim at societal intervention. So,
perhaps the most appropriate thing to
do is to ask questions whose meaningful
absence is an obstacle in the path
of the new generation of communists.

Will the mercantilist capitalists, those
in the Chamber of Commerce [Otaaqh-e
Baazargaani] and Merchants’ Association
[Hey’ate Mo’talefe], still exist if this
state falls, or will they perish? Why will
they perish? If the state were their representative
and not the other way around,
why would their existence be dependent
on this state? Why is it that for the last
thirty years, except for the war years,
we have faced a constant and increasing
growth of the service sector, educational
sector, and financial capital? What
is the exact nature of the foundations
[bonyaad’s_ government run, formally
‘private’ corporations run crony-capitalist
style _ trans. note] and the Revolutionary
Guards? Why is it that the Iranian banking
system can be bankrupt, according to
the official sources of the regime itself,
yet some capitalists, whom some friends
have generously given the honorary label
of bourgeoisie, exist? Why didn’t they
react? Is it because they still constitute a
weakling of a class, in transition? If that
is the case, then where does all this huge
volume of liquidity in circulation come
from, where does it become capital, and
where does it go; where is the circulation
of capital?

The experiential givens and tangible
facts, which fit our lived experiences and
are observable in the available data,
must be relevant for our analyses. Why
have some friends fallen so in love with
“Iran’s transition from something to something,”
or with “Iran’s capitalist malformation”?
Malformation can only mean that
there is a prototype somewhere else. I
think one problem is the frequently misunderstood
phrase, ‘a capitalist society’.

Nowhere on earth is the society limited
to capitalism, nor is capitalism a laboratory
experimental phenomenon. Capital
has its own logic, which is fundamentally
alien to human considerations. It is the
closed circuit of production, distribution
and accumulation: neither humans nor
their environment find any place in its
calculations, unless they are factors for
increase or stabilization of the rate of
profit. The civil legal codes of a European
society (if this is what the notion of
malformed Iranian capitalism refers to) is
not the exact copy of capital’s logic, but
the outcome of a long struggle between
capital and the laboring forces, affecting
the legal institutions of those societies.

Also, analysis must not be merely a
‘know-it-all’ type of expression. The
objective is to better understand how
Ahmadinejads can be reproduced in the
heart of this society, and how these creatures
and their state apparatus is connected
to the world capitalist system. And
from those two questions, firstly to arrive
at conclusions that make it impossible for
a system of oppression to exist, and secondly
to allocate the material conditions
for the possibility of communism.

In a forthcoming writing, I will return to
these questions. In the current situation, I
believe that the most important principle
must be the readiness, with open eyes,
to accompany the movement and to
render blunt and ineffective the dreadful
and oppressive violence. Wherever the
machinery of oppression thinks they have
driven us back, we have just avoided
the range of their bullets, in order to set
up new spaces in our next steps. The
cooperation of the street and the work
places, the neighborhoods and places of
work will change the directions taken by
the movement. The changes of direction,
in order to become stable forms of selfmanagement,
will need the knowledge
and the effort of those who, in practice,
believe in freedom and people’s equality,
regardless of color or creed.


 Political gamesmanship with a burned lamp? (On the Organization of The Green Path of Hope)

Khiaban #39 / Saturday, August 22, 2009

By Amir K.

The decision to found the Organization of
the Green Path of Hope was announced
[August 15, 2009], accompanied with a
wave of hoopla and media hype on the
part of the reformists and political forces
close to them. An organization purported
to be neither a political party, nor a political
front, but something beyond those
and designed alongside the rich and
extensive movement of the people. Living
in Iran, however, has taught us all to look
behind the stated claims, and through the
cracks and seems of the purported claims
to look for the actual truth.

What is the Organization of the Green
Path of Hope? As has been reported so
far, this organization is composed of a
small central committee, consisting of
four or five people, including Moussavi,
Karroubi and Khatami. A larger consultative
committee will be formed, composed
of political and social experts and
analysts; and its body has been stated as
being the spontaneously created committees
and people’s innovations, whose
formation is said to be based on social
networking and will benefit from a high
level of autonomy.

In this very initial proposal, the similarities
between this organization’s basic
organs and that of any other political
party’s are obvious. It has a central committee,
composed of a number of well
known political figures, and a political
bureau composed of political and social
thinkers/analysts. For years now, the
reformists have been critiquing political
party building as something belonging to
the past (the era of the presence of communism
in society), and have introduced
different forms of campaigning and social
networking as the democratic vessels
suitable for the new age of globalization.
Of course, we have to be fair and point to
some of the differences between Organization
of the Green Path of Hope and a
contemporary understanding of a political
party. In a modern political party, all the
party organs are elected and the highest
political organ is the party congress.
The central committee and the political
bureau are elected by the party congress,
and during the time between two congresses,
they lead the party with the aid
of other party organs.

However, the reformists, the liberals
and phony democrats, who for years
now have been critiquing democratic
centralism in leftist parties, and despite
their waxing philosophical about, “You
yourself are the leaders; you yourself are
the media,” and despite providing various
arguments based on social networks,
lack of central decision making, reliance
on people’s innovations and other
such oratory — these same people are
now founding an organization, in which
the masses of the organization have no
say in the choosing of the members of its
leadership and its central organs.

The workings of this organization are
very clear, and the blindness of some
political forces regarding this is astounding.
The behavioral model of the Organization
of the Green Path of Hope is this:
the members of the central committee are
political figures, who are the symbols/
personification and actualization of the
organization, and the victory of the organization
translates
into their coming
to power. Standing
beside these
individuals is the
consultative committee
or the political
bureau or, if we want
to talk in more contemporary
phrases,
the main think-tank
of the organization,
chosen and invited
for cooperation by
a few in the leadership.
In his interview,
[editor-in-chief of the
pro-Moussavi newspaper Kalameh, and
senior aid to Moussavi, Alireza] Beheshti,
has said clearly that the members of the
consultative committee will be invited to
this committee. This group is responsible
for proposing solutions and organizational
tactics.

On a lower organizational level, we come
to committees connected to the high
level ones, which are formed in different
social spheres, where they carry out their
activities. At the depths of the pyramid
of the green organization, we come to
those groups that don’t have a direct
connection to the organization, but have
been formed spontaneously and innovatively
by the people, and intend to share
their resources and capabilities with the
entire society.

The connection between
the leadership and this bottom layer is
not organizational but media-based,
and depends on possibilities created by
new capabilities that modern media and
information technologies, especially the
Internet, have brought about. It is this part
of the organization that is the subject of a
lot of advertising and, by whose aggrandizement
and highlighting attempts are
made to equate the organization with the
movement. It is said that, in order to become
a member of this organization, no
membership forms need to be filled. Anybody
can consider him/herself a member
of the organization and commence their
activities. Behind this people-oriented
facade, however, we must look at a few
unpleasant points.

Official membership in this or any organization
in Iran bears a cost. Even today
and under conditions where the members
of the central committee are free, it
is likely that any lower ranked member
of the organization can be arrested,
and charged with a thousand madeup
‘crimes’ by the regime, subjected to
torture and execution. And that, with a
central committee that, when confronted
with murder, torture and imprisonment
[and rape] of the movement’s activists,
merely calls for pursuing the matter
legally through the courts of this very
system. Now imagine a time when the
regime starts to arrest the members of the
central committee of this organization,
the very people who have been part of
this regime for thirty years; in that case,
what do you think the regime will do to
some unknown youth who is a member of
the organization but has not a thread of
a connection to this regime in any way,
form or shape?

As a result of such
potential dangers, the
masses of the people
will not be rushing to
become members of
an organization that
is legal, and would
consequently even
hand over a print-out
of members’ names
to the government
prosecutors if they
should ask for them,
to prove the organization’s
good intentions
to the court.

Looked at another way, the organization
and its leaders are not interested in getting
involved with the problems of defending
their members’ rights of political
activity. Hence the need for the appearance
of the phrase, ‘autonomous social
networks’. In this way, they circumvent
the problem of having to defend the ‘right
of political activity’. Now, anybody can
consider him/herself a member of the organization,
without there being any document
that can be turned into ‘evidence’.
Hence, the possibility for absorbing large
numbers of people and the youth.

Due to the lack of official membership of
the masses of people within the organization,
there will also be no need for organizational
responsibility and accountability
by the leadership to the rank and file, to
the members. Consequently, the same
group that decided the central committee
and invited the political bureau members
for cooperation can assume the control of
the organization forever and in any form
it wishes, since it has never been elected
in any party congress and is not answerable
to any such
congress either.

(Isn’t it truly amazing
that some are
mesmerized by
this proposal for a
green organization
yet consider themselves
democrats,
and have subjected
to endless criticism
all Iranian parties
and organizations
existing till now,
calling them Stalinist,
though many of
these were based on much more progressive
and internally coherent mechanisms
than this green organization.)

But it is possible for some to say: All that
true. But, nobody’s forcing those innovative
people into any activity. Every network
acts independently, and there is no
oversight or control. Who can force any
group or individual who’s not an official
member of the organization to do any
kind of activity?

Yes, you are right. But, let’s move a bit
farther out so that we get a wider point
of view, so we can see a bigger segment
of the process. The consultative committee
determines the general lines and
solutions, which, in the lower committees
— in the spheres of women’s struggles,
the youth, universities, sportspeople,
etc. — are combined with the considerations
of those specific committees and
then advertised and propagated.

That
large autonomous social network is
active in units that have limited capabilities.
Any innovative undertaking by this
large social network that goes along
or strengthens the general line of the
organization will meet with approval and
gets relayed and reflected. Innovations
that run contrary, do not get relayed and
get isolated. Through this mechanism, the
organization benefits from people’s help,
without needing to follow up on people’s
demands, and without any differing or
discordant paths finding a foothold in the
organization.

If you are familiar with the website Balatarin,
it is a revealing example of the way
such a network functions. On the one
hand, everybody is allowed to participate
in it and to express her/himself. However,
if your expressions don’t go along
with that of the majority of the network
participants, with lots of negatives you
find yourself falling farther away from the
readers’ eyes, and those with expressions
along the network’s majority line
of thinking get lots of positive credits
and find their writings right up front. The
social networks under consideration by
the reformists work in exactly the same
way. By forming organizational committees
in different spheres, this organization
begins engaging in popular politics
with an advantage. The political activists
of this supposedly autonomous network,
on the one hand are in contact with the
leadership and the consultative committee
and, on the other, with the mass
media.

As a result, any autonomous
member in this network
can only be effective if,
and only in so far as, she/
he spreads the political
line determined up above.
If anybody sings a different
tune, he/she remains
in the network, but will be
put on mute.

Even though the current
era calls for actions, the
reformists are still fond
of playing with phrases.

The Participation ‘Front’,
Green ‘Path’ of Hope.
They are desperately
trying to seem like an umbrella. Alas, the
storm leaves no umbrellas standing.


 For Organizing

Khiaban #40 / Monday, August 24, 2009

By Milad S.

1. In the current struggle, the main force
is the people. ‘The people’ means the
laboring forces, the industrial workers,
teachers and students, employees of the
health and services sectors and the office
workers, university students, the unemployed
and the poor. Different segments
of the population have joined the street
protests to different degrees, ranging
from general mobilization in some parts
to hesitance and waiting in other parts.

The foundational principle is that the
laboring forces, in widely varied working
situations and at times without cultural
or organizational continuity in a country
consisting of different peoples, do not
need centralized guidelines; rather, they
need a multiplicity of guidelines, and
different kinds and fields of activities.

Therefore, based on the heterogeneous
conditions of the existence of laboring
forces, the first principle of organizing is
the definiteness of place.

This principle has two components.
Undoubtedly, organizing industrial workers
and organizing low-ranking office
workers/staff or teachers are subjected
to different circumstances, their demands
too vary, and likewise the situation in a
small town in Kurdistan is not the same
as that in the country’s capital. In the
course of the collective overall organization
of these demands, the heterogeneity
of places rediscover each other through
all-encompassing demands and move in
the same direction.

The decisive factor
here is that this co-direction of the movement,
which based on its logic is a passing
phenomenon, does not eliminate the
place-specific multiplicity of demands.
The second component of the principle is
the logic of belonging. If we expend effort
for the betterment of life in a specific
neighborhood, the Shiite and the Baha’i,
the Jewish and the Muslim, women and
men, they all belong to this neighborhood.

If we are attempting to organize a strike
in a factory, the Afghan workers, the Baluchi
and Khuzestani workers too work in
that factory, in that location. This belonging
to this very place must be obtained as
a right in its real effectiveness.

2. The second point is about the difference
between organizations of intellectuals
or supporters of the communist ideal
and the people’s organizations. At this
historical moment and due to the existence
of new communications capabilities,
forming of a network comprising numerous
small groups of communists, and
creation of a minimum of coordination
based on collective understanding and
agreement is possible and more adaptable
for social action.

A weakness of this
type of work is the time it takes to reach
collective agreements; obviously a centralized
leadership can reach decisions
more quickly. In my view, however, this
weakness can be compensated for with
the improvement of the means of communication,
especially with the help of the
infrastructure available outside the country.

On the other hand, the very process of
reaching collective decisions and agreements
is part of the very definition and
distinguishing feature of the communists’
work. In this very process, we can correct
the tone and content of our ideas. In other
words, the central committee is this very
pluralistic network, the communist ideal
is the work of independent organizing of
the people, and the polit-bureau too is the
collective decisions.

However, these communist groups are
not the same as the people’s independent
organizations. The goal of the organization
of the labor force is putting forward
people’s demands and creating conditions
for intervention in the process of
production of social wealth. Groups of
communist activists either bring forth the
idea of forming these organizations, or
in their actions they attempt to belong to
such organizations or to their leadership.

To imagine that the mere formation of a
communist group, reading some books
and engaging in theoretical discussions
is the same as communist activity is
completely mistaken. The end result of
the communists’ work should be the organization
of the people.

Any theory, any
level of competence in discussing the details
of the French or the October Revolution,
or any sociological theory can help
our work and help solidify our knowledge
of organizing, but these cannot replace
the people’s organizations. An association
of communists is only a part of the
people’s organizations. If this principle
is not forgotten, the group itself can find
ways of avoiding cliquishness and ossification
of their internal relations.

In some
experiences, for example, in order to
reduce the danger of becoming a closed
circle, simple formal mechanisms have
been used, such as limiting the number
of members to an odd number, e.g. three,
five or seven to a group. The oddness
of number disturbs an internal relations
based on pair relations and symbiosis to
a certain extent.

Another experience is
that when unanimity of ideas is impossible
while the conditions are pressing,
based on a lottery, one person is chosen
as the leader for a short period of time,
such as several weeks. This person’s
role is to cast the decisive vote when a
group cannot reach consensus. This role
is completely based on drawing lots, and
not on any individual characteristics of
the person. Specific actions: writing and
distribution of night-fliers; or creating a
preliminary cell in order to form a workers’
organization in a factory, or in order
to create a support fund for a teachers’ or
university students’ organization, in order
to create a secret or publicly announced
local free health clinic or a free school;
or any other project that is needed and
doable, is an effort directed toward presence
in a people’s organization in their
places of work or living.

3. Organizing of people is not a means
or a tool; organizing the people around
time- and place-specific demands is
the realization of the communist movement.

In today’s Iran, this very principle
is in fact the only way out of the endemic
crisis that has engulfed all the social
spheres. To escape this historical crisis,
no device or technique deployed by
the state will solve the problems. The
people’s organized presence, without any
ideological affixes or titles, is not only
the dam blocking the way of the capitalist
state apparatuses’ aggression against
the people’s livelihood and integrity, but
today even their body. These organizations
of the labor force, and the possibility
of their spread to the poor, is the way out
of the crisis for the entirety of the society.

To clarify the principle of the independent
organization of people, a line must
be drawn against a phenomenon that
has become prevalent in the last two
decades.

NGOs, or Non-Governmental
Organizations, are deeply ideological
structures. The boundaries of NGO activities
are defined by the space separating
the state power from the particular interests
of different socio-cultural groups in
society. This space, the civil society, has
been defined in contrast to the private
space based on private property, and
in contrast to the state as the public
discourse. This definition and this position,
is historically specific to bourgeois
societies. It is now decades since, in advanced
capitalist societies, capital itself
obliterated the boundaries between the
private space and the public domain.

Today, capital is extremely social and
no bourgeois is anywhere in sight; today,
the suburb itself is a factory for producing
surplus value. Capital has left no room
for civil society, and there are no neutral
or separating spaces in their bourgeois
sense. Besides, capital’s progress has
never shied from aggression against
the private space or the public/social
resources. Contrary to what the orthodox
would say, cultural products and creations,
including cultural identities too,
are not super-structural things. I don’t understand
the meaning of ‘super-structure’
exactly. The dominant culture, the media
and visual representations today are part
of the cycle of production and accumulation
of profit in a modern society; sexuality,
historical traditions and even childhood
are commoditized and are spheres
of investment.

Today, the defense of
civility does not occur in the suspended
space between the state and capital.
Exactly for this reason, a true liberal, not
these pretences of being liberal in academic
environs, but freedom-seekers and
those truly against totalitarianism, had
better join the communists.

The people’s independent organizations
are separate from state power, and this
independence is gained by them based
on their connections to the labor force, to
the production process and the places of
living. This means that these organizations,
in any place where possible, will
turn to self-management. To put it more
theoretically, the operational space for
these organizations is not the ‘public
space’, but a space based on the definition
of a common cause while forming
these organizations.

That which distinguishes
the work of communist groups
from that of the NGOs is firstly the control
that the people assume over their organizations,
and secondly going beyond the
civil society as an artificial space under
the control of capital.

Let it be said too
that, in my view, in today’s Iran the space
of social negotiation between particular
interests and the state will either rapidly
be transformed and move beyond the
limits of particular interests, or become
an appendage of the state, a charitable
activity.

As a result, under conditions
whereby the existing choices for a communist
group is either passivity or engaging
in cliquish discussions, being active
in such organizations while being aware
of their ideological limitations, can help
in gaining an initial experience of social
work.

4. Along the same lines, we must pay
attention to a misunderstanding. To be
a Muslim, either in good faith or just
in pretences, doesn’t have a jot to do
with “Islamist”, as in an adjective for [a
particular kind of] social interventionism.

Being a Muslim is an individual
concern, and we can probably find as
many kinds of personal Islamic beliefs
as there are Muslims in Iran. One Muslim
can be working alongside communists in
a popular organization and still remain a
very pious human, while another can be a
torturer in the basement rooms in the Evin
prison. And both could pray five times a
day.

These beliefs are not the determining
criteria for social behavior. The adjective
‘Islamist’, however, is a completely
different creature.

The problem of the Islamists in Iran, both
those ruling and those currently condemned,
during these past decades is
the conflation of the adjective ‘Islamic’
and being a Muslim.

This is an ideological
and totalitarian manipulation of some
people’s Muslim-ness. And all this, based
on fiqh [religious jurisprudence], meaning
the same legal rulings of the 16th century,
which were left behind almost one hundred
years ago. A Sixteenth century jurist
does what we see they try to do now. He
cuts off people’s hands in Sattar Khan
highway (a highway in Tehran, named
after one of the leaders of the Constitutional
Revolution, 1906, which abolished
religious interference in jurisprudence).

So, as you see, for the Islamists, “Islamic
democracy” means the Islamist people,
whose similarities with being a Muslim
occur only in name and in truth cannot
be anything but the state’s functionaries,
choose the best suited among themselves,
but claim this selection should
be valid for all Iranian people.

Such a
fictitious line of thought is fundamentally
incapable of understanding a thing called
‘society’. Let alone democracy.

5. In order to spread a single word among
the people, it takes efforts proving that
one can be trusted. Those who want to
shortcut history, make announcements
in the name of the people, and proceed
forward by manufacturing public opinion
— they consider people dupes and want
them to remain thus. Without having any
roots in people’s organizations, and
without a people who have gained social
consciousness in the process of fighting
for their rights, calling on the people to
engage in massive projects, no matter
how radical they may seem, at least for
the communists is meaningless.


 The University: Green Politics and Deep Politics

Khiaban #48 / Wednesday, September 23,
2009

By Amir K.

The university has never been a warm
and comfy house of learning. At least not
in Iran. Here, it has been a long alleyway
shaped by various struggles and fights
paving its path; a compact arena of struggle
between despotism and freedom,
between dictatorship and self-management/
autonomy, between the science of
oppression and control on the one hand,
and the science of liberation on the other;
the main artery of the contemporary political
history of Iran.

The Islamic Republic was strengthened
by its conquest of the universities. I do
not mean merely the shutting down of the
universities in 1980 and the violent elimination
of the vanguards of the student
movement in Iran, which in itself was
a seminal arena, and the courageous
resistance of the students — who fought
back when confronted with Khomeini’s
religious fascism and lost their lives, but
did not silently surrender to the cultural
counter-revolution of the Islamic Republic
— will shine in the history of the
[Iranian] university. But also, declaring
Tehran University to be the location of the
Tehran’s Friday prayers clearly highlighted
the relationship between the university
and the current regime. The spatial
conquest of the university perhaps was
primary to the conquest of the social discourse
and the military-political coup of
1981 and the [total] closing of the social
public space. [The process of] Islamizing
of the university was an important part
of putting shackles on the society by the
new power bloc, which had just begun
battering the body of the revolution.

The rapid consolidation of the ruling regime
within the space of Tehran University
was the response given by Khomeini
and his murdering cohorts to freedom,
diversity and the collective splendor that
the 1978 revolution had spread across
the green grass of Tehran University.
Taking the Friday prayers into the university
apace was done to guarantee
the [continued] control of the university
space by reactionary religious forces. [...]
The goal of the Shiite clerics was to impose
their own system of thought on the
modern structures of the university. The
weekly presence of numerous believers
in Islam in a space which is [supposed
to be] the main vessel of critical thinking,
and the weekly sermons of the religious
functionaries of the regime for the purpose
of disseminating their thoughts and
ideas, instead of disseminating concepts
and ideas by academics and progressive
forces, was a giant step in regime’s attempt
in burying the revolution.

Now and once again, the university has
been turned into the heart of the society.
People who, on September 18, raised the
slogan, “When the university opens,
Iran will see Armageddon!” (Daaneshgaah
ke baaz besheh, Iran qhiyaamat
misheh!
), understand well the importance
of fighting in the universities. The university
is that nerve center that, with its
[youthful] enthusiasm and idealism, can
blunt and nullify those mercantilist types
of calculations of a dictatorship-ridden
society. It is also a nerve center that can
prevent deviation and cooptation of the
people’s movement, and be the center for
providing consciousness and alertness
as well as defense of the interests of
those whose voices have been expropriated,
who have no spokespeople, and the
oppressed. The dictatorship too, with its
trembling, shows us the importance of
this fight. The organized assault against
the student activists, the absolute militarization
of the university, widespread
expulsions and the habitual Islamizing of
the university are the regime’s strategies
for defeating the people in the university
trenches.

The battle in the university is one of
appropriating that space as one’s own.
By determining the subjects, by [implementing
particular policies for] student
admissions, by enforcement of [gender]
apartheid, appointment of instructors
from their own ranks, dragging their own
ceremonies into the university space,
expulsions, and imposition of dispersion
and spreading of waves of reaction, the
regime tries to achieve its goals. But, the
students too, just like the ordinary people
at the beginning of their new revolution,
have realized that in order to defeat the
enemy they must capture the university
spaces. They do not fear, for they are all
together. They have the power to cut off
the hands of the rulers from their educational
and living spaces.

The university, up to now, has been a
collection of classes, spaces, doors and
gates, corridors and books as well as
cold and regime-afflicted discussions
that the students merely passed through;
a collection brimming with student populations,
who are nonetheless captives of
the rulers. A victory for the movement,
however, means taking back this space
from the regime. Victory does not mean
huge gatherings in defense of this or that
political leader, a gathering, at the end
of which everybody goes back to their
previous situations and only some photos
of flags and placards will remain of it in
some media. Overcoming dictatorship
means the creation of free and social
spaces. Without such creations, and
without taking back the university from
the dictatorship, only an illusion of victory
will remain in place.

Green politics or deep politics?

The higher education institutions in Iran
bring together within them millions of
students and tens of thousands of educators.
If we add to that number the staff
and workers employed in these institutions,
it can be observed that compared
to this large population, even thousands
of thugs, Basiji’s and killers of the regime
are insignificant. The Islamic Republic
can maintain its occupation of the university
only on the condition of the indifference
of a majority, just as it had an absolute
occupation established on the streets
only until the collective street movement
of the people. Today, however, nobody
in the university is indifferent. And this is
exactly our point of departure:

Green politics, in recent days has been
focused on showcasing the general
dissatisfaction regarding the coup. This
policy tries to challenge the legitimacy of
the current government and to legitimize
its own political alternative. Visualization
of its sign as the color green, slogan writing
its swift tactics, and organizing green
sit-ins and gatherings are the ultimate
tactics in its arsenal. This form of politics
is still confused because the reformist
leaders are as of yet incapable of formulating
their larger goals and strategies.

In this type of politics, the students keep
doing busywork while they wait for further
commands from the leadership headquarters.
In deep politics, however, the main strategy
is to take the university back from
the ruling regime and to re-appropriate
it. Women students who, in their dormitories
and university surroundings, are
subjected to discrimination, ridicule or
repression, can challenge the baseless
power of the religious interference and
university administration with the aid of
their collective organizations; students
can themselves determine the criteria
regulating what to wear, how to behave,
how to interact, etc. Their collective solidarity
is their real power for taking back
those spaces that in principle belong to
them. In defending their right to engage in
academic-related and political activities,
a majority of students can organize
themselves and break the blade of fear
and oppression. They can voice their
opinion about what to read and resist the
imposition, by the clergy, of reactionary
subjects on the university. They can take
control of their dormitory spaces into their
own hands and defend their living environment
against the fascists. They can
organize free seminars, extra-curricular
classes, study groups, or organize their
own gatherings and [political] actions
and determine their contents and defend
them. With such a strategy, with every
step taken backward by the dictatorship,
a free and democratic space is created
which in turn prevents the return of the
dictators. The commitment or the treachery
of political leaders will become clear
with their commitment to, or treachery
against, these collective efforts of the
students.

Such an effort will provide the foundation
for a nationwide federation or organization
of the country’s students. An organization
that is open to all, and different
groups are active within it while maintaining
their positions, as factions; an
organization that includes all students,
and for this very reason will turn into the
organized power of the students in the
fight to push back dictatorship and to
achieve freedom.


 Interview with Khyaboon, an underground Internet journal

(This interview with our publication was done by GlobalVoicesOnline and published in
this adress:
http://globalvoicesonline.org/2009/10/07/iran-interview-with-khyaboon-an-underground-
internet-journal/
we find it helpful for our non-persian reader as an introduction. although the English
version of interview is not completed as our original persian interview.)

Q: Why and when was Khyaboon first
published and who was your target audience?

The first issue of Khyaboon was published
on the 19th of June [one week
after the presidential election] before [the
Islamic Republic Leader] Khamenei’s
speech where he ordered repression
against the people. At first Khayboon was
published daily for a month, and since
then it usually gets published once every
two weeks. Khyaboon has been available
in hard copy and has also been sent to
email inboxes. So far there have been 48
issues.

Our audience is all of the public, but we
pay special attention to the part of society
that is engaged in the street struggle.
We publish guidelines and articles regarding
protesting, including articles for
internet security protection, facing tear
gas, social confronting torture, and so on.

Our audience are the same people who
are in the streets, the citizens who fight
in the street and society, they are people
who have been jailed, tortured and killed
Our news and analysis topics concern
ordinary people in streets: their destiny,
their voice, pain and bravery. These
people do not get attention in mass media
except coincidentally. We are trying
to take back the media from the Ayatollahs
and professional politicians, making
it more accessible to workers, women,
students, and all oppressed people. We
are a publication from within society and
for society, and not for a submissive one.

Q: Why you do not have any website or
blog?

Firstly, government filtering is the number
one enemy for websites criticizing the
authorities. Each attempt from our side
will quickly be faced by their filtering.
Instead we concentrate our efforts in an
area that the government cannot attack.
The second concern is security related.
We are not internet security specialists
and prefer to minimize security risks. A
few months ago Revolutionary Guards
announced that they were arresting several
people with alleged connections to
certain websites. The regime calls these
sites ‘immoral’.

It seems that security forces have capacities
for repression in the virtual world
that are unknown to us. If we work in a
centralized manner, even in virtual world,
our communications could be come compromised
and our colleagues’ lives could
be endangered for what they write. Our
invisibility and our non-centralized presence
are helpful to our safety, although
threats always still exist.

Q: Another publication Kalam Sabz is the
voice of reformists whose voice are you?

In Iran there is always difference between
the surface and depth of the society. You
are facing in public and official places
see a different kind of social life than
non official places. In Iran women wear
a kind of cloth in official places and wear
differently in home or non official places.
Reformists until a few months ago were
a part of establishment and had their own
parties, publishing their own journals and
organized their institutions. They took
part in establishment and had their own
word to say but in the depth of society
there are citizens who were repressed
and voiceless. Kalam Sabz is the protest
of society’s surface and Khyaboon want
to be the voice of depth of society.
Citizen/reporter/protester

Q: How you evaluate the impact of social
networking such as Twitter on the protest
movement?

Social networking and citizen media are
the fruit of protests against the dictatorship.
Submitting before a dictator means
the absence of citizens’ voices and social
atomization. Dictatorships struggle to
isolate people from distributed social
networking. In a dictatorship a citizen has
no voice and no media. Only rulers have
the voice and they have the exclusivity to
broadcast news.

In Iran, the Islamic Republic did its best
to destroy any association. The Islamic
Republic’s favorite citizen is the one who
lives alone, goes to work each morning
and is lost in traffic jams and metro
crowds, before coming back home at
night. The Islamic Republic’s favorite
citizen is not a member of any association,
syndicate, and has neither media nor
a voice.

But a citizen who fights a dictator will
organize him/herself, create social networks
and find a voice. At least in Iran
the reporter/citizen is not a precise word,
an appropriate word is reporter/citizen/
protester. Before the election, citizen media
mostly belonged to students, women,
and labour activists, who were on the
frontlines of the struggle. But today, at the
heart of mass struggle all protesters have
become citizen/reporters/protesters.

A citizen who comes to the streets to
protest the dictatorship and films it with
his mobile phone is no longer the lonely
human being of yesterday. In other words,
social networking does not create today’s
protests, but is the fruits of our struggle.

The struggle of a society against an
inhumane regime. Without struggle, these
modern technologies can even be of
service to the regime. But when a society
fights for its life, internet including Twitter,
Facebook, emails and other tools are
used by citizens. For example we do not
need big publishing houses for Khyaboon,
and we can distribute it safer by email
than on paper. But without human beings
to use them for the richness of their
social life, these technological tools are
meaningless.


 “What do the People Want?”

Khiaban 8

By Amir K.

The coup d’état government did not
expect the people to stand against it
with such courage and solidarity and has
lost its focus. The government continues
to fight and try to stand on its feet
again. But every action it takes backfires.
During a revolution a regime digs
itself deeper with every action it takes to
preserve itself.

The government closes existing semi-independent
media sources; freedom of the
press becomes a demand of the people.

The government tortures detainees;
outlawing torture becomes a demand of
the people.

The government tramples
on the people’s vote and defends its
right of rule by the few over society; rule
by the people becomes a demand of
the people.

The government sends the
guards and the basij to kill and crush the
people; the dissolution of these institutions
of repression becomes a demand
of the people.

The government throws
political opponents in prison; the release
of all prisoners becomes a demand of
the people.

The government represses
young people and women; the young
people and women turnout on the square
for their freedom.

The government denies
people the right to determine their own
fate based on religion; the separation of
church and state becomes a demand of
the people. The government uses existing
laws to repress the people; a change
in laws becomes a demand of the people.

The government uses economic pressure
to stop strikes; a society free from
economic pressure on living standards
becomes a demand of the people. The
government prevents freedom of worship;
freedom of worship becomes a demand
of the people.

The government declares
a ban on public gatherings; a system that
officially recognizes freedom of assembly
and protest becomes a demand of the
people.

The government fires a bullet
into the throat of a young women; the
voice of young women becomes louder
and more enveloping.

The government
is imprisoning writers; freedom of the
pen is becoming more universal. The
government is cutting off communications
among the people; free and easily
accessible communication networks
are becoming a more universal demand.
Owners of factories and manufacturing
centers are fighting demands for strikes;
labor control over industrial and manufacturing
centers is becoming a demand
of workers.

The government is jailing
people accused of belonging to political
parties and organizations; freedom of
political party and organization activities
is becoming a more widespread demand.

The government becomes more barbaric;
a noble life is becoming more important.

A transformation is beginning. At the
same time, pressure is building. New
dreams are taking shape in the consciousness
of society. Dreaming of all
that seemed impossible has become
universal with everyday of struggle. You
see the spark in people’s eyes. You see
the revolution.


“khiaban” is an independent media
without any affiliation with financial
and power institutions. it is a free
publication, accessible for everyone
through internet and via limited
printed circulation.

the lack of any financial resource is
a hard limitation to our initiatives.
we have a bank account in Sweden
that is managed by trusted people.
we are hoping that your solidarity
and contribution will make it possible
to finance our activities.

If you have an idea to donate,
please contact us at

Name of bank in Sweden: Nordea
Name of owner of account:
Jens-Hugo Nyberg
Account number: 155 69 28-8 SEK
IBAN: SE41 9500 0099 6034 1556 9288
BIC-Cod (SWIFT-adress): NDEASESS


xyaban gmail.com

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