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]

Abraham Ammu * India
Afary Frieda Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists USA
Afary Mona Psychologist USA
Afary Janet Professor of Religious Studies and Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara USA
Afshar Said Iranian Journalist Europe
Ajlyakin Sara Syrian activist Brazil
Akhtar Nazia New India Fellow – 2017-2018, Hyderabad, India India
Anandhi ShanmugasundaRam Professor, Madras Institute of Development of Studies, Chennai , India. India
Angeliki Valsamaki teacher, member of the Network for Social and Political Rights, Greece
Anuradha * India
Ardalan Parvin Iranian Feminist Activist and journalist,  Europe Europe
Asadi Leila * USA
Asadpour Roya Member of the Swedish Left Party Sweden
Ashrafi Parvin socialist activist and translator, Canada Canada
Axletree student, Marxist feminist China
Ayoub Joey Founder of Hummus For Thought
Regional Editor at Global Voices Online for the MENA region
Aziz Joana Anarchist activist and feminist writer USA
Azizi Arash Writer USA
Barker Lou-anne * Australia
Bhaiya Abha * India
Biesecker Adelheid University of  Bremen, Germany. Germany
Bo Chan Chinese Marxist China
Bruck Dorothy Emeritus Professor,   Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia Australia
Burmeister Gayle  former organiser for the National Union of Workers,  and longtime women’s rights activist,  Australia Australia
Burte Aruna * India
Cal Elenda * Spain
Chakravarti Uma * India
Chan Shaun  Marxist feminist Hong Kong
Chang Qi Wei Chinese college student(marxism-leninism) China
Chelliah Lalitha socialist feminist unionist Australia
Chenxing Zhang feminist China
Chi Leung Lam revolutionary socialist Hong Kong
Collins Joan member of the Irish Parliament Irland
Cruise Maureen Registered Nurse

Health Care & Social Justice Activist

Daou Bernadette * Lebanon
Dasgupta Rajashri * India
Datar Chhaya * India
Dehghan Mahtab * Europe
Dehkordi Sara Manjanigh collective, Germany Germany
Dewan Ritu President, Indian Association for Women’s Studies, Vice President, Indian Society of Labour Economics. India
Di Wang Queer and Worker’s Service Center(volunteer),Marxist Feminist. China
Epstein Barbara Professor Emerita, History of Consciousness Department, University of California, Santa Cruz. USA
Erika China
Eveleth Ann writer and activist, member, Anti-War Committees in Solidarity with the Struggles for Self-Determination USA
Feng Shuning Stony Brook University, left-winged non-partisan China
Ferguson Ann Professor Emeritus of Philosophy &Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst USA
Flatschart Elmar University of Vienna Austria
Friar Red Athlete,Marxist feminist,bisexual China
Galyon Shiyam Syrian American feminist and campaigner USA
Ghazzawi Razan  Syrian Palestinian scholar and activist, Europe Europe
Gilbert Helen Radical Women: A Socialist Feminist Organization USA
Golkar Niloofar Political Science PhD student, York University, Toronto Canada
González Ana Isabel anthropologist, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina Argentina
Guizhen student China
Hale Sondra Research Professor,Anthropology and Gender Studies, Univ. of California, Los Angeles USA
Haug Frigga Professor Emerita in Sociology and Social Psychology, Univ.  for Economics and Politics, Hamburg Germany
Hawk Victoria lesbian China
Hawk Gloria lesbian China
Hayati Malihe Iranian women’s rights activist Europe
Hensman Rohini writer and independent scholar India
Hill Monica Managing Editor of the Freedom Socialist,Voice of revolutionary feminism USA
Hilt Kathryn Australia
Holmstrom Nancy Prof Emerita Philosophy, Rutgers University, USA USA
Hongxv Fei graphic designer, undergraduate student, Levellers China
Hosseinzadeh Sima  feminist-activist, social researcher,   Toronto Canada
Husky student, feminist,pansexual China
Irani Sholeh Journalist Sweden
Irelia Im Student China
Juarez Elizabeth 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) Mexico
Katrinaki Sylvia college student, member of the Red Fractal collectivity Greece
Katsimatidou Chrysa trade unionist in the field of retired bank employees – editorial team of elaliberta Greece
Kazu Kusumoto Japanese ttransboy,  Volunteer at Beijing LGBT Center, Intern at Beijing Gender, group member of BCome and Japanese translator of QAF Chinese site. Japan
Kerala Maya S India
Keyan Hau communist, internationalist China
Kidwai Ayesha India
Kjerst Grinde Norway
Konstantina Doganou College student, member of the Red Fractal collectivity, Greece
Koskosi Efi trade unionist teacher, editorial team of elaliberta Greece
Lilith social worker with focus on sexual issues China
Lily doctor China
Lin Sang Maxist feminist, Postgraduate China
Liu Yaxuan Marxist feminist, genetic nihilism China
Liu Chihyen Secretary of Queer and Worker’s Sercives Center, Gay, Feminist China
Liu Yan Gian Student China
Luozhi feminist, support Iranian women’s movement China
Lyu Shiyao Chinese Revolutionary Marxist China
Mahloujian Azar writer Sweden
Majed Rima Sociology professor Lebonon
Maki Chnoor Sweden
Maki Sheler Sweden
Manchanda Rita India
Masjedi Fati Researcher Netherlands
Mehra Madhu India
Melabianakis Zetta Greece
Meng Sixie  founder of LGBT Equal Rights Board ,Marxist feminist, gender Queer China
Ming Xue Trotskyist Feminist in China China
Moein Yasamin Master student, Human Rights Law, Istanbul Bilgi University Turkey
Momo Trotskyist feminist in China China
Moon Terry Managing Editor, News and Letters USA
Mos Athena sketcher, former trade unionist in the press, member of OKDE -Spartakos Greece
Mrie Loubna Syrian civil rights activist and journalist USA
Mukherji Rina Independent Journalist/Academic researcher India
Murphy Robynne Chairperson,  Jobs for Women Film Producers Group,  Australia, Australia
Nasser Afrah Yemeni journalist and activist Sweden
Nikpour Zahra * Italy
Paranjape Swatija * India
Paranjape Swatija * India
Patrícia Trópia Professor, Social Science Institute, University of Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Brazil
Pennell Miranda * UK
Pervyi luch Klub  NGO organizer China
Phadke Sandhya * India
Politi Leda postgraduate student of Art History, Aristotelio University of Greece
Price Susan Co-Convenor, Socialist Alliance, Australia Australia
Radical Women A socialist feminist organization USA
Ramachandran Vimala * India
Räthzel Nora Umeå University, Sweden Sweden
Ren TianXiang student ,Trotskyist-Feminist China
Rezaei Roghayeh  Researcher, and activist in the field of Women in the Middle East UK
Rizzo Mary translator-activist and blogger, Italy Italy
Rosas Trece agrupación de género de Razón y Revolución Argentina
Roshanaei Nassim Journalist Europe
Roueiha Fouad Syrian-Italian journalist Italy
Ruo-ming Gao Student China
Salleh Ariel University of Sydny Australia
Samanpour Morteza Researcher and Translator, Europe Europe
Schyman Gudrun Party leader, Feministiskt Initiativ/Sweden Sweden
Seelhoff Cheryl Writer and activist,   U.S.A. USA
Shen JiaLe Student China
Shora Shehla Rashid Philosophy student India
Shuang Hua Marxist feminist China
Shurmand Azadeh Women’s Studies Scholar, Europe Eurppe
Socialist Forumn * Lebanon
Team of Elaliberta trade unionist teacher Greece
Thessaloniki Thessaloniki Greece
Tohidi Nayereh Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Director of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, California State University, Northridge, USA USA
Tree Lesbian Feminist China
Tully John Honorary Professor, College of Arts and Education, Victoria University, Melbourne Australia
Vandekerckhove Ashley grassroot feminist activist and student Master Gender and Diversity Belgium
WeSpeakOut * India
Xianglong Liu member of Sunflower LGBT in Hangzhou,Marxist Feminist. China
Xiaohe Luo Queer and Worker’s Service Center(secretary) , Marxist Feminist, gender Queer,Chinese translator of Socialist and Gay Liberation(SWP.1995) China
Xin Chi Chinese Trotskyist China
Yao Wesley Student China
Yin Suhe college student ,Marxist sympathizer ,support of socialism and the feminist movement China
Yubai Cheng Chichao reading club, Marxist China
Yucheng Yang Chinese Marxist Feminist, MLMist. China
Yunxue Suxia Chinese Trotskyist China
Yuval-Davis Nira Professor Emeritus, Cemtre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London. X Nira UK
Yuyang Zheng Student China
Zekavat Sina anti-War Committees In Solidarity with The Struggles for Self-Determination USA
Zhanghao Wu Marxist Feminist China
Zuur Cheryl former President, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, Local 444, U.S. USA


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