We the signatories of this statement,  refuse to separate our opposition to U.S. imperialism and any imperialist war drive on Iran,  from our support for the progressive and revolutionary  social justice struggles of Iranian women, workers and oppressed minorities against their regime.

Statement from a group of international socialist feminists in solidarity with Iranian women’s struggles

February 10,  2018

As socialist feminists,  we support  the courageous Iranian women who have been taking off their headscarves in public to express their opposition to the compulsory hijab in Iran.   Since December 27, dozens of women have taken off their scarves in public places and have been arrested or temporarily released after posting heavy bails.

These brave women who believe that wearing the hijab should be a matter of individual choice without any imposition from above,  reflect the wishes of a majority of the Iranian public  according to the Iranian regime’s own polls.

In fact, since December 28, 2017,  a wave of popular protests and strikes has been spreading throughout Iran in opposition to the Islamic Republic.  These protests have included broad sectors of the Iranian working class,  women and men, mostly young,  and have  been preceded by and continue to involve protests and strikes by employed and unemployed workers,  students, teachers, healthcare workers, retirees,  the dispossessed, political prisoners and the families of political prisoners.   They include members of various oppressed national minorities such as Arabs, Kurds and Azaris as well as persecuted religious minorities such as Baha’is.

The latest expressions of opposition to the compulsory hijab by individual women have been not only part of this new wave of popular protest, but  also part of a four-decade long resistance by Iranian women against the Islamic Republic,  and  for civil rights and  human rights.  Despite severe repression,  Iranian feminists have expressed themselves  through novels, blogs, websites, group discussions and  translations of works by international feminists.

Some socialists,  inside and outside Iran,  have belittled the  protests against the compulsory hijab as “liberal feminism” and “not radical enough.”  In the words of a seasoned socialist feminist inside Iran however:  “Today,  Iranian women need freedom from headscarves, full veils or any cover.  They need the civil rights that they have been denied.  Once the expansion of the demonstrations leads to the realization of these freedoms. . .  the struggle can go beyond them and become the beginning of women’s struggle against the reification of social relations.”

Almost 40 years ago,  Tens of thousands of  Iranian women throughout Iran, marched and protested  for five days from  March 8 to March 12, 1979 to commemorate International Women’s Day and  to say no to Ayatollah Khomeini’s order to make the hijab compulsory and  abolish the limited rights which the family protection law under the previous regime gave them.   Those brave Iranian women who had participated in the revolution against the repressive regime of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi,  chanted:  “We Didn’t Make a Revolution to Go Backward.”

At that time, some Iranian socialist men supported the women’s protests.  However, most  Iranian socialists and socialist organizations opposed the protests and called on women to stop their marches and sit ins because they were “diverting” the struggle from the main goal of opposition to U.S. imperialism and the monarchy.

International leftist feminist, Kate Millett, and  socialist and Marxist feminists like Claudine Moullard, Leila Sebbatt, Simone De Beauvoir, Raya Dunayevskaya  however, reached out to Iranian women with statements of support, articles,  or in the case of Millett and De Beauvoir’s colleagues,  actual fact-finding trips to Iran to meet and March with Iranian women.    They recognized the importance of women’s protests against the compulsory hijab  and the women’s liberation struggle in general as an effort to deepen the revolution and challenge Khomeini’s drive to impose a counter-revolution.

Today, we the signatories of this statement,  refuse to separate our opposition to U.S. imperialism and any imperialist war drive on Iran,  from our support for the progressive and revolutionary  social justice struggles of Iranian women, workers and oppressed minorities against their regime.

We too are suffering from rising authoritarianism,  right-wing populism, and neo-fascism in the U.S., Europe, Russia, China,  South Asia, Africa,  Latin America, Australia as well as whole of the Middle East.

In the West,    hard fought women’s rights  in what have been  known as “ liberal democracies”  are under severe attack.   At the same time,  the new “Me Too Movement” against sexual harassment and sexual assault is growing , and targeting  the abuse of women in all spheres whether government,  academia or the arts,  corporations or factories,  service sector jobs or the family.   African American women who have always experienced the triple oppression of racism, sexism and capitalism continue to represent the most radical dimension of women’s struggles.

Given the global nature of the assault on women,   it is extremely important for women who oppose capitalist imperialist patriarchy, misogyny, racism and homophobia to come together and link our struggles  to find a  new direction forward  and to develop  an alternative  humanist way of producing, living, organizing  and relating to our fellow human beings and to nature.

Toward this aim, we salute our Iranian sisters and reach out to them in solidarity.  We call on others who agree with this statement to join us in this effort.


If you wish to add your signature below,  please contact the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists at [email protected]

AfaryFriedaAlliance of Middle Eastern SocialistsUSA
AfaryJanetProfessor of Religious Studies and Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa BarbaraUSA
AfsharSaidIranian JournalistEurope
AjlyakinSaraSyrian activistBrazil
AkhtarNaziaNew India Fellow – 2017-2018, Hyderabad, IndiaIndia
AnandhiShanmugasundaRamProfessor, Madras Institute of Development of Studies, Chennai , India.India
AngelikiValsamakiteacher, member of the Network for Social and Political Rights,Greece
ArdalanParvinIranian Feminist Activist and journalist,  EuropeEurope
AsadpourRoyaMember of the Swedish Left PartySweden
AshrafiParvinsocialist activist and translator, CanadaCanada
Axletreestudent, Marxist feministChina
AyoubJoeyFounder of Hummus For Thought
Regional Editor at Global Voices Online for the MENA region
AzizJoanaAnarchist activist and feminist writerUSA
BieseckerAdelheidUniversity of  Bremen, Germany.Germany
BoChanChinese MarxistChina
BruckDorothyEmeritus Professor,   Victoria University, Melbourne, AustraliaAustralia
BurmeisterGayle former organiser for the National Union of Workers,  and longtime women’s rights activist,  AustraliaAustralia
ChanShaun Marxist feministHong Kong
Chang QiWeiChinese college student(marxism-leninism)China
ChelliahLalithasocialist feminist unionistAustralia
Chi LeungLamrevolutionary socialistHong Kong
CollinsJoanmember of the Irish ParliamentIrland
CruiseMaureenRegistered Nurse

Health Care & Social Justice Activist

DehkordiSaraManjanigh collective, GermanyGermany
DewanRituPresident, Indian Association for Women’s Studies, Vice President, Indian Society of Labour Economics.India
DiWangQueer and Worker’s Service Center(volunteer),Marxist Feminist.China
EpsteinBarbaraProfessor Emerita, History of Consciousness Department, University of California, Santa Cruz.USA
EvelethAnnwriter and activist, member, Anti-War Committees in Solidarity with the Struggles for Self-DeterminationUSA
FengShuningStony Brook University, left-winged non-partisanChina
FergusonAnnProfessor Emeritus of Philosophy &Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Univ. of Massachusetts AmherstUSA
FlatschartElmarUniversity of ViennaAustria
FriarRedAthlete,Marxist feminist,bisexualChina
GalyonShiyamSyrian American feminist and campaignerUSA
GhazzawiRazan Syrian Palestinian scholar and activist, EuropeEurope
GilbertHelenRadical Women: A Socialist Feminist OrganizationUSA
GolkarNiloofarPolitical Science PhD student, York University, TorontoCanada
González Ana Isabelanthropologist, Universidad de Buenos Aires, ArgentinaArgentina
HaleSondraResearch Professor,Anthropology and Gender Studies, Univ. of California, Los AngelesUSA
HaugFriggaProfessor Emerita in Sociology and Social Psychology, Univ.  for Economics and Politics, HamburgGermany
HayatiMaliheIranian women’s rights activistEurope
HensmanRohiniwriter and independent scholarIndia
HillMonicaManaging Editor of the Freedom Socialist,Voice of revolutionary feminismUSA
HolmstromNancyProf Emerita Philosophy, Rutgers University, USAUSA
HongxvFeigraphic designer, undergraduate student, LevellersChina
HosseinzadehSima feminist-activist, social researcher,   TorontoCanada
Huskystudent, feminist,pansexualChina
JuarezElizabethLatina Feminist and Independent Activist in U.S. and member of Feminicidos en Mexico: Esta Es La Verdad Que Se Oculta (Femicide in Mexico: This is the Hidden Truth)Mexico
KatrinakiSylviacollege student, member of the Red Fractal collectivityGreece
KatsimatidouChrysatrade unionist in the field of retired bank employees – editorial team of elalibertaGreece
KazuKusumotoJapanese ttransboy,  Volunteer at Beijing LGBT Center, Intern at Beijing Gender, group member of BCome and Japanese translator of QAF Chinese site.Japan
KeralaMaya SIndia
KeyanHaucommunist, internationalistChina
KonstantinaDoganouCollege student, member of the Red Fractal collectivity,Greece
KoskosiEfitrade unionist teacher, editorial team of elalibertaGreece
Lilithsocial worker with focus on sexual issuesChina
LinSangMaxist feminist, PostgraduateChina
LiuYaxuanMarxist feminist, genetic nihilismChina
LiuChihyenSecretary of Queer and Worker’s Sercives Center, Gay, FeministChina
Liu YanGianStudentChina
Luozhifeminist, support Iranian women’s movementChina
LyuShiyaoChinese Revolutionary MarxistChina
MajedRimaSociology professorLebonon
MengSixie founder of LGBT Equal Rights Board ,Marxist feminist, gender QueerChina
MingXueTrotskyist Feminist in ChinaChina
MoeinYasaminMaster student, Human Rights Law, Istanbul Bilgi UniversityTurkey
MomoTrotskyist feminist in ChinaChina
MoonTerryManaging Editor, News and LettersUSA
MosAthenasketcher, former trade unionist in the press, member of OKDE -SpartakosGreece
MrieLoubnaSyrian civil rights activist and journalistUSA
MukherjiRinaIndependent Journalist/Academic researcherIndia
MurphyRobynneChairperson,  Jobs for Women Film Producers Group,  Australia,Australia
NasserAfrahYemeni journalist and activistSweden
PatríciaTrópiaProfessor, Social Science Institute, University of Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil.Brazil
Pervyi luchKlub NGO organizerChina
PolitiLedapostgraduate student of Art History, Aristotelio University ofGreece
PriceSusanCo-Convenor, Socialist Alliance, AustraliaAustralia
RadicalWomenA socialist feminist organizationUSA
RäthzelNoraUmeå University, SwedenSweden
RenTianXiangstudent ,Trotskyist-FeministChina
RezaeiRoghayeh Researcher, and activist in the field of Women in the Middle EastUK
RizzoMarytranslator-activist and blogger, ItalyItaly
RosasTreceagrupación de género de Razón y RevoluciónArgentina
RoueihaFouadSyrian-Italian journalistItaly
SallehArielUniversity of SydnyAustralia
SamanpourMortezaResearcher and Translator, EuropeEurope
SchymanGudrunParty leader, Feministiskt Initiativ/SwedenSweden
SeelhoffCherylWriter and activist,   U.S.A.USA
ShoraShehla RashidPhilosophy studentIndia
ShuangHuaMarxist feministChina
ShurmandAzadehWomen’s Studies Scholar, EuropeEurppe
Socialist Forumn*Lebanon
Team of Elalibertatrade unionist teacherGreece
TohidiNayerehProfessor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Director of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, California State University, Northridge, USAUSA
TreeLesbian FeministChina
TullyJohnHonorary Professor, College of Arts and Education, Victoria University, MelbourneAustralia
VandekerckhoveAshleygrassroot feminist activist and student Master Gender and DiversityBelgium
XianglongLiumember of Sunflower LGBT in Hangzhou,Marxist Feminist.China
XiaoheLuoQueer and Worker’s Service Center(secretary) , Marxist Feminist, gender Queer,Chinese translator of Socialist and Gay Liberation(SWP.1995)China
XinChiChinese TrotskyistChina
YinSuhecollege student ,Marxist sympathizer ,support of socialism and the feminist movementChina
YubaiChengChichao reading club, MarxistChina
YuchengYangChinese Marxist Feminist, MLMist.China
YunxueSuxiaChinese TrotskyistChina
Yuval-DavisNiraProfessor Emeritus, Cemtre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London. X NiraUK
ZekavatSinaanti-War Committees In Solidarity with The Struggles for Self-DeterminationUSA
ZhanghaoWuMarxist FeministChina
ZuurCherylformer President, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, Local 444, U.S.USA


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