In the past, we undertook the task of translating and publishing a series of enlightening roundtable discussions that we had conducted with several revolutionary committees in Iran. These captivating dialogues have provided us with an exceptional insight into the aspirations, perspectives, and collective ethos of these dedicated revolutionary groups.
The present text unveils a collaborative statement crafted by these committees as they come together to commemorate the Jina uprising. This collective statement serves as a poignant expression of their shared values and a visionary blueprint for the future of Iran. As we delve into this statement, we gain a deeper understanding of their unwavering commitment to the principles of revolution and their persistent endeavors to usher in profound transformation within Iran. The statement is as follows:
On the commemoration of Jina’s revolutionary uprising, we must take a moment to reflect on the path we’ve traversed together and the necessary measures to continue our journey. Among these measures, a crucial one is our return to the streets. The anniversary serves as an opportunity for fresh beginnings. Reclaiming the streets through mass demonstrations is undeniably infused with hope and the promise of victory. However, this hope must be grounded in a clear understanding of what needs to be done to confront the prevailing disparities and challenge the Islamic Republic– the current ruling regime– to make victory more attainable; otherwise, the result would not be anything other than an escalating number of prisoners, and increased migration.
When those who had grown weary of oppression cried out, “Woman, Life, Freedom,” they resounded from the depths of a society steeped in extreme inequality and inhumanity. Now, it is imperative to clarify who precisely “we” are, the ones who raised this impassioned cry, and to contemplate our path forward on the anniversary of the Jina popular uprising. “We” represent the workers and the oppressed who bear the heavy burden of the class divide; “We” embody the ‘women’ grappling with gender inequality; “We” encompass the “Queer” community, facing numerous forms of oppression; “We” include “the disabled,” who are denied their citizenship rights; “We” consist of Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Baluchis, Lors, Turkmens, and many others, all suffering under the yoke of centrist nationalism under various banners; and lastly, “We” are the inhabitants of this land, grappling with the devastation of nature, the ravaging of forests, the desiccation of wetlands and rivers, etc.
For “us,” freedom devoid of social justice implies the perpetuation of the current state of affairs, wherein the majority of workers are denied even the basic necessities for a life filled with prosperity and well-being, so they must continually battle for their very survival and the right to a dignified life. Meanwhile, a minority who possess great wealth not only remains indifferent to altering social relations but actively endeavors to impede any form of progress or development.
Therefore, it becomes imperative to establish a clear understanding of what we are willing to risk and sacrifice for. The inherent worth of our endeavors should not merely revolve around escaping the current state of affairs at any cost. Instead, it should center on the aspiration to construct a world devoid of inequality, oppression, and exploitation, one that is rich with the vision of prosperity, freedom, and equality on the horizon. We must be fully aware of the ideals we fight for and the kind of world our dreams envision.
Let’s remember that in December 2017, when the students raised their voices with the chant, “We don’t want a king, we don’t want a mullah, only the formation of a council,” they were calling for the administration of universities and similar educational institutions to be vested in their core constituents – a collective comprising “professors,” “students,” and “employees.
When the workers resounded with the cry “bread, work, freedom, council administration” in the midst of 2018, they were, in essence, advocating for a shift from the prevailing modes of “public” and “private” management within these “workshops and factories” to a system of administration led by the workers themselves through workers’ councils.
When teachers advocate for the “necessity of free education,” they are essentially underlining the imperative of transcending the paradigm of the “commodification of education” and emphasizing the tangible realization of accessible and universal education for all.
When the Arabs of Ahvaz, during the Thirsty Uprising, raised their voices with the declaration, “We will not surrender, we will win, or we will die,” they were essentially asserting their unequivocal right to ‘self-determination,’ detached from the constraints of ‘uneven development’ logic.
When retirees demand their rightful access to appropriate and sufficient “insurance” and “pension” benefits, expressing their discontent through rallies, slogans, and messages of frustration directed at inept officials, their underlying desire is to take charge of the management of “pension funds” by themselves.
These, among numerous others, serve as illustrations of the alternatives people aspire to establish in lieu of the top-down repressive methods imposed by the Islamic Republic. The Islamic Republic, in essence, represents a “capitalist, patriarchal, and centrist system of Shiite Persians,” and unless its individual components are systematically dismantled, replacing it with any other regime would effectively entail a return to the existing status quo, replete with all its attendant hardships and afflictions.
When we encounter certain groups and factions within the opposition advocating that the only solutions to people’s problems lie in “secularism,” “establishing a relationship with the USA,” or even in the pursuit of “meritocracy,” it becomes evident that these groups are, in fact, overlooking the intricate web of interconnected factors contributing to oppression and inequality.
When we declare our readiness to combat all facets of oppression and inequality, irrespective of the guise it may assume, be it as ‘workers,’ ‘women,’ ‘queers,’ ‘oppressed nations,’ ‘university and school students,’ or as part of the larger masses oppressed and exploited, we envisage the faces of those suffering individuals: the ‘Kolbar’ Kurdish woman, the ‘Arab petrochemical worker of Mahshahr,’ the ‘Turkish daily wage farmer worker,’ the ‘Bushehri child bride,’ the ‘young Baloch fuel carrier,’ the ‘Lor Shouti,’ the ‘Gilak rice farmer woman,’ the ‘Afghan child laborer,’ the ‘homosexual person,’ and every impoverished laborer who struggles for a mere morsel of sustenance. Thus, from our standpoint, true “change in the status quo” will only materialize when these members of society and social classes are liberated from the quagmire of poverty and hunger, attaining prosperity and equality. Such a transformation can only be achieved through our own concerted efforts, through the establishment of “committees,” “nuclei,” and “workplace organizations,” forming a network of interconnected, nationwide “organizations.”
For us, democracy transcends the mere confines of “ballot boxes” and “elected representatives” who are susceptible to lobbying and corruption. We aspire to foster the utmost involvement of the people in shaping our collective fate, and achieving this pinnacle of participation necessitates dismantling the “private ownership of means of production and reproduction, resources, mines, etc.,” embracing the “socialization of domestic work,” and instating “collective and council administration” of production and service entities, all in alignment with the wishes and desires of the majority of society.
We witnessed that during “floods” and “earthquakes,” it was the people themselves who, in a more organized and efficient manner than government agencies, swiftly came to one another’s aid and assisted the victims of these natural disasters. Conversely, we observed how governments often abandoned their citizens, at times even engaging in looting rather than providing assistance.
We advocate for the management of workshops and factories by the workers themselves, agricultural land to be overseen by farmers, hospitals to be administered with the active participation of nurses, doctors, and patients in consultation, schools to be guided by the joint efforts of teachers and students, universities to be collectively managed by students, professors, and employees, offices to be run by employees in collaboration with their elected representatives, and residential areas to be governed by the residents of those localities.
Democracy, which advocates entrusting the management of affairs solely to the so-called elected experts and politicians through appointments, is essentially a deceptive form of democracy that can swiftly devolve into lobbying and concealed dictatorship.
That’s why, in addition to the rallying cry of “woman, life, freedom,” we propose the slogan “bread, work, freedom, council administration” as a means to safeguard against the exploitation of the concept of “freedom” by various right-wing and pro-Western forces.
We ask all workers, women, farmers, oppressed nations, and the LGBTQI+ community who are fighting for freedom, justice, and the establishment of the council administration to unite in the struggle for bread and freedom against our common enemy; and avoid misinterpretation of the revolution as merely a regime change. The revolution is, indeed, about constructing a thoroughly transformed society that stands as an alternative to the current unstable and oppressive state of affairs and strives to surpass it. Our vision is to build a society where production is driven not by the profit-seeking of a privileged few but by the collective needs of the community. We advocate for the simultaneous presence of freedom and equality within our society, ensuring unrestricted and universal freedom of expression, the abolition of the death penalty, and, in essence, a free and socialist society where every individual contributes according to their abilities and receives according to their needs.
We must remain vigilant, recognizing that as the Islamic Republic falls, a new revolution begins. We need to maintain a continuous and organized presence on the streets to actively shape our own destiny. It’s crucial that we don’t allow politicians and capitalists to once again dominate us under the pretext of a democracy based on the ballot box, employing various names such as ‘Constituent Assembly’ and so forth.
For us, the revolution is an ongoing journey, and the need for change will persist as long as workers, women, and oppressed nations continue to oppose capitalism, patriarchy, and the concentration of power. They remain steadfast in their pursuit of shaping their own destiny.
Youth Revolutionaries of Sanandaj neighborhoods
Gilan Revolutionary Committee
Javad Nazari Fatahabadi Committee
The Red Revolutionary Youth Committee of Mahabad
Zahedan Revolutionary Youth Core