French Editorial: Backing Its Women, Iran has Erupted!

September 26, 2022 editorial of the Workplace Newsletters of the Etincelle fraction of the NPA. Translated from French.

On September 16, a 22-year-old woman named Mahsa Amini died at the hands of Iran’s morality police. Her crime was to have worn her veil “inappropriately.” Some Iranian women – whose images have been seen around the world – immediately took to the streets to remove and burn their veils, a symbol of their oppression, which a reactionary, misogynistic Islamic regime has imposed since 1983. Their slogan and their struggle “Women, life, freedom” echoes other women’s struggles for emancipation, in particular for the right to abortion. Hence the demonstrations of support around the world. And the women’s struggle in Iran has led to the beginning of a mobilization of the whole country against the regime of the ayatollahs and the mullahs.

The day after Mahsa Amini’s death, all businesses were closed in her home region of Kurdistan. The mobilization instantly took a political turn: Iranians demanded the fall of the Islamic Republic: “Death to the dictatorship!” A few days later, the streets of 100 cities in the country were invaded by protesters, and all the symbols of oppression and the regime were targeted: portraits of the Supreme Leader, Khamenei, propaganda posters, banks, police stations. Many even went up in smoke. This murder was the last straw for those experiencing gender oppression, and more broadly, impoverishment and class exploitation.

Iran is going through a period of inflation that is much more violent than in the West, because of the economic sanctions that the United States and Europe are imposing on the country. Nevertheless, the religious reactionaries in power govern for the benefit of a profit-hungry bourgeoisie that is a fierce enemy of the working classes. The wages of workers and engineers are not always paid. Inflation has reached 60 percent.

After several days of revolt, the determination against the regime and its police is still ongoing, especially among the youth. The state would like to silence the protest by all means: Cutting the internet, staging fake pro-regime demonstrations, but above all by an increase in repression. The police have shot at the demonstrators, and more than fifty people have been killed.

But the mobilization is continuing and has taken a political turn: “Down with the oppressor, whether he is a mullah or a Shah,” can be heard everywhere (the Shah was the tyrant – a friend of the West – who was removed in 1979 and replaced by the regime of the ayatollahs). Bourgeois democrats are waiting for their turn, the political situation is open, and it is explosive. The country has a tradition of strikes, and has many determined militants despite the harsh repression. There is talk of a general strike. The imperialist leaders of the world are closely scrutinizing this situation, because Iran has so much in common with other countries that are hit with inflation, and those too could explode with rage. It’s a fear for them, and a hope for us.