An update by the IASWI and Current Situation:
Since summer 2009, the IASWI activists and colleagues have been involved in supporting the people’s struggles in Iran in recent months by contributing to the formation of alliances and initiatives amongst progressive forces in abroad in support of workers’ and people’s struggles in Iran. Our colleagues in the UK organized weekly protests outside Iranian embassy and in other locations in London in collaboration with other progressive groups. They also helped organizing activities on June 26th day of action in London as well as a solidarity night with workers in Iran. In Canada, our colleagues helped in formation of a joint non-partisan campaign in support of workers in Iran and a progressive council in support of people’s struggles in Iran. Our activists also helped organizing two rallies outside the Iranian embassy in Ottawa, one was on June 26th day of action in collaboration with a number of unions and labour activists. Our colleagues in France, Switzerland and Sweden have been engaged in support of progressive movements in Iran and in Paris they engaged in a number of protests since June 2009. Our Farsi website has continued to work regularly, but the English website has had some technical difficulties, which has been mostly rectified.
Meanwhile we have continued, though more slowly because of the above factors, to work on a number of worker-related issues and initiatives.
Current situation and progressive practices:
It is important to emphasize that the Iranian labour movement and its progressive groups and organizations boycotted the June 2009 presidential election. The labour movements never supported any factions of the Islamic Republic regime. Likewise, the IASWI supports people’s independent struggles against repression of their rights and freedoms and for freedom, equality and social and economic justice for all. We also call on the freedom of all political prisoners in Iran including all workers and labour activists. We do not support Mousavi’s “green movement” which is a pro-capitalist/ pro-Islamic Republic project by the so called “reformists” within the Islamic regime of Iran. We certainly differentiate between people’s struggles and daily protests in recent months for freedom and equality and Mousavi’s, Karoubi’s and Khatami’s … “green movement”. We strongly support people's struggles against the Islamic Republic and for social, economic and political justice; at the same time, the recent history has proven that when it comes to the working class, all factions within the Iranian ruling class, from employers’ organizations to the “supreme leader” Khamenei to former president, Mohammad Khatami, to the current president Ahmadinejad to former prime minister, Mirhossein Mousavi, … have no hesitation whatsoever to stand brutally against workers’ rights and freedoms. Workers have clearly shown that they need their own independent organizations and working class autonomy in order to move forward and achieve their rights and demands. We believe this is the most effective way, which would also allow workers as a class to support and lead people’s movement for freedom and equality in Iran. Needless to say, there have been many steps forwards and some backwards in recent years; however, as you can see below in the letters written by the leadership of the Haft Tapeh Sugarcane workers’ Syndicate, we now have numerous labour leaders and activists in Iran that are assertively demanding their rights, and are calling on all workers’ organizations in Iran and around the world to support them. They are also asserting that they would very much prefer all labour and progressive organizations around the world to connect with them directly and they would like to connect with other workers in other countries directly as well. This is a major principle of worker to worker solidarity, which makes solidarity initiatives transparent and bottom-up.
When the IASWI was formed in 1999, we could rarely see the existing level of open activism by workers and their representatives inside Iran. Although, despite ongoing government repression, there have always been struggles, protests and walk outs, what we see today and in the past five years, with many activists courageously taking risks and openly challenging the status quo, is a great achievement. This also calls on all of us in solidarity movements in support of workers in Iran to evaluate our work and identify the best practices for future.
Workers in Iran are showing the new path to us. They are saying to all of us that they still need workers’ support and solidarity even more strongly than before; at the same time, they are saying that they want to see more direct worker to worker and more transparent solidarity initiatives. They are also providing their direct contact information so activists around the world can directly link with them. They are making it abundantly clear that the working class in Iran is hoping to mutually rely on their fellow sisters and brothers and comrades and their genuine organizations in Iran and other countries; and that’s the way to go. The IASWI totally supports that and will do our best to promote it.
For more information, please contact:
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)