Revolution #195, March 14, 2010

International Women's Day, 2010

Los Angeles

"If women of Iran can brave death and batons and torture, we can laugh and dance at a little rain!" Sunsara Taylor's call to march as the skies darkened captured the spirit of the defiant, inspiring and joyous rally and march—often through pouring rain—by 150-200 in celebration of International Women's Day in Los Angeles.

International Women's Day 2010—"Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for REVOLUTION!" was called by the International Women's Day Coalition and endorsed by over 20 groups and individuals. This year's celebration took on special meaning: there was a palpable sense of standing shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people—especially Iranian women—who've risen up against the hated, misogynist Islamic Republic and who "refuse to choose between the Islamic fundamentalist theocracy or U.S. imperialism, as they aim to bring into being a world without this oppression."

As people gathered, the chants reflected the mood: hatred of women's oppression and an intense desire to be rid of it: "Women, half of humanity—we'll fight until the whole world is free." "Women in Iran are catching hell, against this madness, it's right to rebel."

A diverse group of 25-30 Iranians were there—some veterans of the 1979 revolution, some from a new generation awakened to political life by the current uprising. Many students, women and men, turned out from universities, colleges and high schools in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. For many of them it was their first IWD.

The rally took the energy and sense of global purpose and connection higher with a diverse blend of speakers and statements, including a powerful poem read by two young Iranian women in memory of a classmate murdered in the uprising; half-dozen students from the Critical Thinking Group at Cal State LA; the VP of Hollywood NOW, who delivered an impassioned call on behalf of women across the world; Nargis Khestoo, an Afghan-American student at UC Berkeley, who performed her spoken word piece—"I am woman hear me rooooooooooooooooooooar with a voice too loud to ignore...."

An Iranian representative of the March 8 Women's Organization (Iran-Afghanistan) declared, "Revolution is what we need, not one word more, not one word less" (in opposition to the slogan "Islamic Republic, not one word more, not one word less").

Sunsara Taylor spoke of the inspiration and hope people the world over should draw from the courageous uprising in Iran. She said one of the most hopeful things about this uprising is that there are communists within it—seeking to gain influence and give leadership so that this upsurge becomes not something that people will look back on in their old age as the "good old days," a "glimmer of light" in a still-repressive society—but as the beginning of a whole new world, of revolutionary successes first here, then there, until the whole world is liberated. She called on people to get into the revolution in this country, to be part of what the RCP calls "fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution."

The march through Westwood—with torches "lighting the way forward," was electrifying. 125 people took part—chanting, singing, and dancing. An Iranian woman turned her red scarf into a prop, ripping it off her head, waving it in the air, dancing and chanting, "Down with the Hejab!" Two students from Glendale, who'd never been to IWD, said, "We're telling everyone we know... it doesn't stop here."

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