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]
|Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists
|Professor of Religious Studies and Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
|New India Fellow – 2017-2018, Hyderabad, India
|Professor, Madras Institute of Development of Studies, Chennai , India.
|teacher, member of the Network for Social and Political Rights,
|Iranian Feminist Activist and journalist, Europe
|Member of the Swedish Left Party
|socialist activist and translator, Canada
|student, Marxist feminist
|Founder of Hummus For Thought
Regional Editor at Global Voices Online for the MENA region
|Anarchist activist and feminist writer
|University of Bremen, Germany.
|Emeritus Professor, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
|former organiser for the National Union of Workers, and longtime women’s rights activist, Australia
|Chinese college student(marxism-leninism)
|socialist feminist unionist
|member of the Irish Parliament
Health Care & Social Justice Activist
|Manjanigh collective, Germany
|President, Indian Association for Women’s Studies, Vice President, Indian Society of Labour Economics.
|Queer and Worker’s Service Center(volunteer),Marxist Feminist.
|Professor Emerita, History of Consciousness Department, University of California, Santa Cruz.
|writer and activist, member, Anti-War Committees in Solidarity with the Struggles for Self-Determination
|Stony Brook University, left-winged non-partisan
|Professor Emeritus of Philosophy &Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst
|University of Vienna
|Syrian American feminist and campaigner
|Syrian Palestinian scholar and activist, Europe
|Radical Women: A Socialist Feminist Organization
|Political Science PhD student, York University, Toronto
|anthropologist, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Research Professor,Anthropology and Gender Studies, Univ. of California, Los Angeles
|Professor Emerita in Sociology and Social Psychology, Univ. for Economics and Politics, Hamburg
|Iranian women’s rights activist
|writer and independent scholar
|Managing Editor of the Freedom Socialist,Voice of revolutionary feminism
|Prof Emerita Philosophy, Rutgers University, USA
|graphic designer, undergraduate student, Levellers
|feminist-activist, social researcher, Toronto
|Latina 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)
|college student, member of the Red Fractal collectivity
|trade unionist in the field of retired bank employees – editorial team of elaliberta
|Japanese ttransboy, Volunteer at Beijing LGBT Center, Intern at Beijing Gender, group member of BCome and Japanese translator of QAF Chinese site.
|College student, member of the Red Fractal collectivity,
|trade unionist teacher, editorial team of elaliberta
|social worker with focus on sexual issues
|Maxist feminist, Postgraduate
|Marxist feminist, genetic nihilism
|Secretary of Queer and Worker’s Sercives Center, Gay, Feminist
|feminist, support Iranian women’s movement
|Chinese Revolutionary Marxist
|founder of LGBT Equal Rights Board ,Marxist feminist, gender Queer
|Trotskyist Feminist in China
|Master student, Human Rights Law, Istanbul Bilgi University
|Trotskyist feminist in China
|Managing Editor, News and Letters
|sketcher, former trade unionist in the press, member of OKDE -Spartakos
|Syrian civil rights activist and journalist
|Independent Journalist/Academic researcher
|Chairperson, Jobs for Women Film Producers Group, Australia,
|Yemeni journalist and activist
|Professor, Social Science Institute, University of Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
|postgraduate student of Art History, Aristotelio University of
|Co-Convenor, Socialist Alliance, Australia
|A socialist feminist organization
|Umeå University, Sweden
|Researcher, and activist in the field of Women in the Middle East
|translator-activist and blogger, Italy
|agrupación de género de Razón y Revolución
|University of Sydny
|Researcher and Translator, Europe
|Party leader, Feministiskt Initiativ/Sweden
|Writer and activist, U.S.A.
|Women’s Studies Scholar, Europe
|Team of Elaliberta
|trade unionist teacher
|Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Director of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, California State University, Northridge, USA
|Honorary Professor, College of Arts and Education, Victoria University, Melbourne
|grassroot feminist activist and student Master Gender and Diversity
|member of Sunflower LGBT in Hangzhou,Marxist Feminist.
|Queer and Worker’s Service Center(secretary) , Marxist Feminist, gender Queer，Chinese translator of Socialist and Gay Liberation(SWP.1995)
|college student ,Marxist sympathizer ，support of socialism and the feminist movement
|Chichao reading club, Marxist
|Chinese Marxist Feminist, MLMist.
|Professor Emeritus, Cemtre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London. X Nira
|anti-War Committees In Solidarity with The Struggles for Self-Determination
|former President, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, Local 444, U.S.