رفتن به محتوای اصلی

Zan, Zendegi, Azadi (Woman, Life, Freedom)

Zan, Zendegi, Azadi (Woman, Life, Freedom)

On Sept. 13, Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old young Iranian woman, was arrested by Iran’s so called morality police for not wearing “proper hijab”. Couple hours later, she was lying in a hospital bed, fighting for her life. She was suffering from trauma to her head as a result of her head being smashed by a heavy object. Three days later she was pronounced dead.  An eyewitness has told that Mahsa had told her while in detention room that an officer had hit her on the head.
Police claimed she died of heart failure, but the Iranian people weren’t convinced. After years under a regime relentlessly harassing women and depriving them of the most basic human rights freedoms, Mahsa’s death created the longest and the most popular of protests during the past 43 years
Since her brutal murder, tens of thousands of people have protested in the streets of 155 cities across Iran. The response of the regime, as always, has been suppressing protesters by extreme violence. As a result, at least 469 people (including 63 children as young as 8 years old) have been killed, thousands have been injured, and 14 to 16 thousand have been arrested. These figures, as horrible as they are, do not depict the true numbers though. There are many dead and poisoned which for the fear of government, their loved ones do not dare to release their names.
In addition to the brutal murder of protesters on the streets, the Islamic Regime of Iran has recently started to execute imprisoned young protesters. So far, two people have been executed and news have emerged of the killing of several other detainees under torture in recent days

Dear Union members
Systematic oppression against Iranian women started the day after the new regime took power in 1979. The new regime, under the leadership of ‘Khomeini’, enforced mandatory hijab on women despite earlier confirmation from them that men and women will have equal rights. Women were forced out of working places step by step. They were deprived of the right to file for divorce and they lost custody of their children after divorce. By implementing the new liberalism economic measures, women received less payments for doing the same job as men. This put lots of pressure on women, in general, and on women workers in particular. 8 years of meaningless war with Iraq, left many families with single female head of the house. The implementation of US and European economic sanctions have worsened the situation even more. Women in Iran are considered second hand citizens. The government propaganda through its media encourages the medieval rules on women such as child marriage and the so called ‘honor killing’. Iranian people have been made poor. Women are even poorer
The 43 years of oppression against women needed a sparkle to ignite the fire under the ashes. In Mahsa Amini’s funeral, women removed their hijab and chanted: Woman, Life, Freedom. This slogan has now turned into a global feminist movement, the strongest feminine revolution throughout not only Iran but in the middle east region.
The ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ slogan originated in Syria during the fights between Kurdish female guerillas and the Islamic State terrorists. The Islamic State in their quest to establish their state, attacked Kurdish regions in Syria and Iraq. They killed men and they took women and young girls into slavery. In response, Kurdish women organized themselves in military groups and fought to death for their freedom. Their slogan was both encouraging and strategic. Woman stands for women freedom. Life stands for Men freedom while Freedom stands for the freedom of the society. As a whole, the slogan means a true free society cannot exist without the freedom of women and men
An important aspect of freedom is the ability of working class to organize themselves in unions. Without such organizations, the fight against capitalism will not succeed. The Islamic Regime of Iran is well aware of this fact. That is the reason for 43 years of detaining and killing of union activists in Iran
In Iran, at least during the last 10 years, workers and wage earners have held thousands of strikes, gatherings, and marches every year
There are many reasons for strikes. The most important reasons for the strikes and dissatisfaction of the working class are the low wages and the double pressure due to the difficult and dangerous conditions of the workplaces, as well as the prevention of the creation of independent labor unions and the continuous increase in inflation and the price of basic goods and housing. In the country, apart from Islamic labor organizations and trade unions, which are completely dependent on the government, there are several independent unions formed by workers and teachers but they are not allowed to operate freely and are severely repressed whenever they strike or protest. The leaders of these organizations were constantly being prosecuted by the police and imprisoned. Even now, a number of leaders of these organizations are in prison, and most of them have been sentenced to 5 years or more in prison. In order to imprison union leaders, the government presents them with charges such as acting against the country's security, which are fake excuses.
By systematically suppressing of the union rights, the regime eliminated almost all union rights of workers, kept wages below the frozen poverty line, and forced 95% of workers to work on three-month temporary contracts, so that whenever the employers wanted, they could fire protesting and disaffected workers without hindrance
On December 18, oil industry workers went on strike in 6 different cities. Before that, during the last 3 months since Mahsa Amini’s murder, nearly 100 labor strikes have been held to support and for solidarity with this movement
Workers and teachers and their families have a large role in this movement. For example, in the 2 big strikes that were directly and publicly carried out to defend the revolutionary movement, 230 workers were arrested. They were demanding the return to work of the fired co-workers during the previous strikes that happened in the petrochemical industry. The desire for solidarity with the revolutionary movement is increasing day by day
The decades long disastrous economic policies in favor of capitalism in conjunction with US sanctions has brought nothing but poverty, environmental crisis, inflation, and unstable market to Iranian people and especially to the working class.  The value of the country's currency is in free fall every day. Inflation and prices are increasing daily, and the value of wages and the purchasing power of wage earners is decreasing. According to official statistics, more than two-thirds of the country's 86 million population live below the poverty line, and about half of them are below the absolute poverty line. On the other hand, the government has shown that it is not able to control inflation and prices and adapt wages to market values. Therefore, it seems that the country is moving towards an inevitable social explosion. The crises have become so acute that it has provoked the anger and protest of other non-salaried groups such as small and medium business owners. Due to this deep and widespread and unprecedented dissatisfaction, a large part of these groups participated in the nationwide strike that was called by the leaders of the revolutionary movement of Woman, Life, Freedom. There are 3 days of national strike going on in Iran as we speak. In some cases, security police have forced shop owners to open their business and in other cases, they have shut down their business altogether
The result is that the capacity of protests is increasing, and if the current revolutionary movement can use it well, timely and correctly, it can bring about a democratic revolution. We are trying to provide the conditions for a general strike by encouraging workers and wage earners to strike more and organizing strike committees to deliver the last blow to the Islamic regime
Women, workers, religious and ethnical minorities, university students, environmental activists, human rights activists, and in one word, the majority of Iranian people have endured lots of pressure during the past 43 years. They have been imprisoned, tortured, forced to leave the country, and in many cases executed. As an example, in the summer of 1989, several thousand political prisoners, many of them belonging to leftist organizations were massacred in the prisons of the Islamic Regime. To this date, the government denies the massacre despite concrete facts proving this murderous act. To this date, union workers are persecuted just for fighting for better living and work place conditions. To this date, any leftist individual or organization is oppressed by security forces. Throughout the past 43 years, numerous freedom fighting people have been persecuted by this government. The numbers are increasing due the recent changes in the political and social sphere of the society

Dear Members of Union
The brave people of Iran fighting a just battle on the streets of Iran. You can help them by supporting their cause. As a feminist, as a worker rights activist, as a human right activist I hope you do whatever you can to support the freedom fighting of Iran. They win the battle eventually, but your support will help them to achieve their goals with less victims and faster
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with you
Woman, Life, Freedom

Roza Roozbehan
Member of USWLocal 1998
Dec. 20 2022

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