Statement: Stand by the Protesters in Iran!

, by Collective

The following is a statement by the Iranian leftist diaspora in the United Kingdom, France and Germany who have formed a loose coalition of academics and militants to express their support for the ongoing popular uprising in Iran.

This statement signed by more than 70 academics, militants and independent political groups calls upon the global left to break its silence and express its solidarity with the people of Iran.

The full list of the signatories to this statement, including David Harvey, Catherine Malabou and Etienne Balibar, as of November 27, 2019, is below.


We are protesting against problems in the whole system in general. We reached a crisis where we noticed that the system cannot handle it anymore

— a protester in Chile

Our world is on fire. Not only forests but also cities are burning all over the world. Social conflicts of all sorts are erupting, spreading their flames across the planet: Algeria, Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, Hong Kong, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, you name it. Located within this global context of struggles against the social hell of neoliberal, financialized capitalism, there has been another mass uprising in Iran since November 15, 2019.

Sparked by the sudden tripling of fuel prices, tens of thousands of Iranian people have been protesting in more than 100 cities throughout the country. Of course, the fuel price per se did not generate such a huge and widespread uprising. Rather, it is 40 years rule of the privileged oligarchy on the basis of authoritarianism, systematic exclusion of opponents, dispossession and expropriation which have made millions of people unemployed, extremely precarious, depriving them from the basic conditions of life (education, healthcare, food, and housing).

Just as 30 pesos increase in subway fares turned the already raging fire into an inferno in Chile, so too, the fuel price sparked the recent uprising in Iran (the same goes for WhatsApp tax in Lebanon, the cancellation of fuel subsidies in Ecuador, and so on). “It is not about 30 pesos”, a Chilean poster proclaimed, “but 30 years of neoliberalism.”

Since Friday, the people in Iran have been courageously fighting against the heavily armed personnel of the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), as well as armed plainclothes militia thugs (known as Basij) who are economically dependent on the regime. The people had every “right” in this world to defend themselves against the systematic state-violence, build barricades on the streets, block highways and occupy local areas and roundabouts.

The forgotten and the invisible in Iran made themselves visible by starting fires. The fire to these people is the yellow vest to the French surplus population and proletarians. Both give voice to the voiceless. While the BBC Persian TV and reactionary loyalist media (Iran International, Manoto etc.) prescribe the liberal doctrine of “peaceful, civil protest,” the Iranian youth are self-conscious of the fact that “a people without hate cannot triumph,” that “material force must be overthrown by material force,” and that they have the right to legitimately defend themselves against the state violence systematically aimed at killing the citizens.

“Enough is enough” is the message of the people in the Global South and beyond. As students have chanted in one of Tehran’s universities, “the people are fed up, enough with slavery.” Like our sisters and brothers in Iraq and Lebanon, the Iranian people are absolutely fed up with the authoritarian capitalism reducing their lives to a mere vegetable existence, the systematic corruption intrinsic to mafia capitalism, and the sub-imperialism of the Islamic Republic in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Yemen and the region as a whole.

They are not only opposing the tripling of the fuel price but the Islamic Republic in its entirety. No other slogan, chanted by our comrades in Lebanon, can better express the spirit of struggles in the current conjuncture: “All means all” (كلن يعني كلن).

The ruling class has responded to this radical, practical negation of all existing powers with an iron fist. The systematic violence employed by the Islamic Republic to paralyze the uprising is unprecedented in scale and intensity. The authorities have completely shut down the internet for four successive days, transforming the country into a big black box, slaughtering the people with impunity. According to Amnesty International, hundreds have been injured, thousands arrested, and “at least 106 protesters in 21 cities have been killed,” although “the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200.”

There are many videos showing the police shooting demonstrators in the head and chest — as we observed before in the case of Iraq. This happened mainly in the Kurdish and Arab provinces whose discriminated people are once again at the very forefront of the uprising and have paid the highest price.

The Islamic Republic has been successful so far in achieving its goals. They have seized the opportunity provided by the US sanctions to realize their neoliberal dreams in order to be able to both recover the current budget deficit and increase their military operations in the region. To do so, they have shut down the internet by virtue of which they have brutally slaughtered their opponents. Internationally speaking, there has been no specific media coverage, no international condemnation of the state repression, and very little solidarity from the global left — in other words, the bloodbath is carried out in silence. This is possible because, while the oppressed classes in Iran and the Middle East have no illusion about the “anti-imperialist” role of the Islamic Republic, many on the left still believe in the ideological self-representation of the regime as an anti-imperialist force standing against the US and its regional allies.

The left needs to learn from the oppressed classes to simultaneously oppose US imperialism (especially US sanctions) and the Islamic Republic’s interventions in the region.

We, the undersigned academics and militants, urge the global left to break its silence and express its solidarity with the people of Iran and their resistance.

It is pointless for us to demand anything from the Islamic Republic, but we will demand from our comrades and progressive forces all over the world to be — in any possible form — the voice of the oppressed people in Iran suffocated by the forced isolation. We also call on the international left to condemn the atrocities of the regime against its own people.

Finally, we stand in solidarity with the Iranian protesters who are reclaiming their dignity by refusing austerity, authoritarianism, militarization of society, as well as any other form of domination that stifles their autonomy and freedom.

Signed,

Adrienne Bonnet (Comédienne/Metteure en scène)

Agitations (France)

Ahmed Shawki (Chicago, Illinois)

Alain Deneault (directeur de programme au Collège international de philosophie, Paris)

Ali Zohdi-Tehrani

Anahita Hosseini (Exiled Iranian leftist, University of Sussex)

Arash Ganji (writer and translator, secretary of the Iranian Writers Association)

Arnaud François

Arpita Das (Founder-Publisher, Yoda Press, New Delhi, India)

Amin Hosouri (Leftist militant, Germany)

Amir Kianpour

Dr Andrea Brock (Lecturer, University of Sussex)

Andrew Berman (Peace and Justice activist, Veterans for Peace, USA)

Dr. Andrew Newsham (Senior Lecturer in International Developmentو Department of Development Studies)

Dr. Angela Dimitrakaki (University of Edinburgh)

Antifascist Culture (Αντιφασιστικός Πολιτισμός, Greece)

Aurélie Jeantet (Enseignante-chercheure, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3)

Azadeh Shourmand (Feminist militant)

Dr. Barbara Umrath (Researcher, Germany)

Béatrice Rettig

Behnam Amini (York University, Canada)

Behrang Pourhosseini (ATER Chargé de Cours au Département de Philosophie, Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis)

Beyond Europe

Bijan Kiarasi (Militant Leftist, Germany)

Bill Fletcher, Jr. (Executive editor, organization for identification only,USA)

Bita Samimizad (University of Bonn)

Brian Gibbons (Fairview Park, Ohio, USA)

Bob Brecher (Professor of Moral Philosophy Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics & Ethics University of Brighton)

The Campaign to Defend Haft Tapeh Prisoners (Iran)

Catherine Malabou

Clint Burnham (Professor and Chair of Graduate Program Department of English Simon Fraser University)

Cinzia Arruzza

Committee of Solidarity with Hong Kong (Independent, militant collective, Hong Kong)

Christiane Vollaire, Philosopher, CNAM, Paris, France

Dariush Arjmandi (Sweden)

David Harvey (Distinguished Professor, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York)

Dinah Rajak (University of Sussex)

Éric Alliez (Professor of Philosophy, Paris 8).

Éric Michaud (directeur d’études Ehess, Paris)

Etienne Balibar (Ancien Professeur à l’Université de Paris-Nanterre)

Farhad Nomani (Professor Emeritus, The American University of Paris)

Farokh Ghahremani (Ex-political prisoner and editorial member of the “Prison’s Dialogue”)

Fatemeh Karimi

Fatemeh Masjedi (Academic activist, Berlin)

Gene Ray (Geneva School of Art and Design)

Gholam Khiabany

Gianmaria Colpani, lecturer at Utrecht University

Glenda Andrade, CRESPPA - GTM (Université Paris 8)

Gordon Asher - Independent Scholar

Greg Albo (Professor York University, Toronto)

Hadi Enayat (Aga Khan Centre)

Hemad Sheybani (Leftist militant, journalist)

Homayon Iwani (Ex-political prisoner and editorial member of the “In Defence of Marxism”)

Hostis Journal

Iman Ganji (Freie universität berlin)

Ivana Bago (Independent Scholar, Zagreb)

Jean-Christophe Goddard (Université de Toulouse Jean-Jaurès Coordinateur du Consortium Erasmus Mundus EuroPhilosophie)

Jacob Rogozinski (philosopher, professor at Strasbourg University)

Jaleh Jane Mansour

Jean-Claude Bonne (directeur d’études École des Hautes Études en Science Sociale Paris)

Jeff Derksen

John Malamatinas (freelance journalist)

John Simoulidis (Assistant Professor, Department of Social Science, York University)

Jose Rosales (PhD candidate, Stony Brook University)

Judith Rodenbeck (Associate Professor Media & Cultural Studies University of California, Riverside)

Jules Falquet (Sociologist, feminist, Université de Paris)

Kamran Matin (Sussex University, International Relations Department)

Kamal Khosravi (Marxist author and theorist)

Kanishka Goonewardena (Associate Professor, University of Toronto, Department of Geography and Planning)

Kaveh Kermanshahi (Human rights activist)

Kollektiv aus Bremen (Germany)

Mahdi Ghanbari (PhD student at York University, Canada)

Mahmoud Khalili (Ex-political prisoner and editorial member of the “Prison’s Dialogue”)

Manjanigh Collective (Slingers, Germany)

Myriem Auger (Docteure en sociologie Université Paris 8)

Mariana Silva (Artist)

Matthieu Renault (Associate Professor, University Paris 8)

Mehrdad Emami (Phd Candidate, Middle East Technical University, Turkey)

Mehri Abbassi (Ex-political prisoner and editorial member of the “Prison’s Dialogue”)

Meredith Tax (writer, New York)

Michael Hardt

Mila Mossafer (Leftist militant and editorial member of the “Prison’s Dialogue”)

Mohadese Zare

Mohammed Reza Nikfar

Mohammad Salemy, Organizer, The New Centre for Research & Practice

Mohsen Ziaei

Mojdeh Arassi (Ex-political prisoner and editorial member of the “In Defence of Marxism”)

Nanna Heidenreich, Professor for Digital Narratives/Theory at ifs / internationale filmschule köln, Cologne/Germany.

Nancy Holmstrom (Professor of Philosophy Emerita, Rutgers University - Newark)

Nantes Révolté (Militant, Independent Collective, France)

Nara Cladera (Réseau syndical international de solidarité et de luttes)

Narges Nassimi (Leftist militant, journalist)

Nasser Teymourpour (Conceptual artist)

Nazanin Noori

Nicolas Jaoul (Anthropologist, CNRS, France)

Nicholas S.M. Matheou (Researcher at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London)

Omid Shams (PhD research fellow University of Portsmouth, School of Law)

Patricia Morton (Associate Professor, Media and Cultural Studies Department University of California, Riverside)

Peter Hallward (The author of ‘Damming the Flood’)

Peter Hudis (Professor of Philosophy, Oakton Community College, USA)

Philippe Bazin (Affilié à Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Dijon)

Pierre Rousset, Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF), France

Plan C, Kurdistan Cluster (Independent Collective, London)

Plateforme d’enquêtes militants (Militant, Independent Collective, France)

Prison’s Dialogue (An initiative of Iran’s exiled former political prisoners)

Ralf Streck (freier Journalist, Baskenland/Deutschland)

Raymond Bellour (Directeur de recherche honoraire au CNRS)

Rohini Hensman (writer, researcher and activist, India)

Rose-Anne Gush (Lecturer in Art Theory/Art History, University of Applied Arts, Vienna.)

Rouen dans la rue (Militant, Independent Collective, France)

Sabine Bitter

Sai Englert

Sara Cvetkovska (Utrecht University)

Sasan Sedghinia (independent left Researcher)

Sama Khosravi Ooryad (Utrecht University)

Saman Aftabkaaran (independent researcher and militant)

Sandro Chignola, Professeur (Università di Padova)

Sanem Güvenç (Emily Carr University of Art and Design)

Sara Tileria Durango, doctorante en Sociologie. Université Paris 8 - Cresppa/GTM

Saygın Salgırlı (University of British Columbia)

Sebastian Budgen

Shahrzad Mojab (University of Toronto)

Shekoufeh Mohammadi (Researcher-Professor, Universidad Autónoma de México, Mexico)

Shokoufeh Sakhi (Ph.D. Independent scholar, York University)

Chowra Makaremi, anthropologist, research fellow, CNRS Paris

Sina Zekavat (Anti-war activist and member of the Alliance of MENA Socialists)

Siavash Mahmoudi (Ex-political prisoner and editorial member of the “In Defence of Marxism”

SOAS Students Union

Stephan Dobson (Contract Faculty, Department of Social Science, York University)

Stefan Kipfer (Associate Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University)

Syrian Cantine (Paris, France)

Syrous kafaei (Activist of the labor movement and editorial member of the “Prison’s Dialogue”)

Tatiana Mellema (PhD student Art History UBC)

Dr. T’ai Smith (University of British Columbia)

Trevor Stark (Assistant Professor of Art History, Department of Art, University of Calgary)

L’Union Communiste Libertaire (France)

Véronique Bontemps (Research Fellow at CNRS (Centre Nationale de la recherche scientifique), Iris, France)

Yasmin Nardi (Researche Fellow, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifiqe (CNRS), Paris)