Revolution #262, March 11, 2012

Statement from 8 March Women's Organization (Iran-Afghanistan)

The Separation of Religion from the State and the Overthrow of the Anti-Woman Islamic Regime in Iran is the First Step toward Women’s Emancipation!

Revolution received the following statement which was written by the 8 March Women's Organization (Iran-Afghanistan:)

March 8 is on its way. Heartbeats intensify, and our sights are set on the struggle of our sisters all around the world, to join together, hand in hand, for a world free of gender oppression.

For yet another year, we followed, day by day and moment by moment, the struggle of women all around the world. We became furious with the attacks on women in Tahrir Square, those brave women who refused to be kept out of the struggle in Egypt. With women protesting in Wall Street, we women challenged the defenders of "Democracy and the World Capitalist Order". In Libya we women cried out that we don’t need Sharia laws. We women in Greece poured into the streets and shook the "United and Free" European order, and we women in the US are fighting for abortion rights and against pornography and patriarchy.

The beautiful voice of "Amol Al-Maslosi" from the occupied streets of Tunisia, conveyed the message of “I am the voice of rebels. I am free, and my world is too...” and this is the cry of women in the Arab countries. In these times women, in huge numbers, powerful and fearless, have poured onto the streets and captured the headlines of world media and overturned the image of Muslim women. We are determined to turn our struggles into a worldwide hurricane for putting an end to the inferior position of women.

We, the women in Iran, experienced a reversal with the coming to power of the anti-women regime of the Islamic Republic, thirty-three years ago. We genuinely fear that history may repeat itself in the Arab countries.

We witnessed how in Iran, from the uprising of 1979 through the protests in 2009, revolutionary and progressive forces dropped women’s demands under the pretext that those demands were not the main points of the revolution. With that position they disarmed themselves in the face of reactionary Islamic forces, and because of that, the whole revolutionary movement rapidly accelerated down the hill to defeat.

Today, we know extremely well that presenting basic demands, a programme and an outlook for the liberation and equality of women is a dividing line question for progressive, militant forces seeking to move society forward. 

We, the women of Iran, have felt in our flesh and blood that the ideological foundation, symbol and parameters of an Islamic regime are based keeping women in an inferior position, in fact, slavery, by totally denying their rights. Reactionary religious forces, hand in hand with their international partners, stole the fruit of the people's just struggle.

We have been imprisoned by the forced wearing of the hejab for over thirty years. We also know that the hejab, whether compulsory or by choice, is a symbol of the slavery of women and brings them under the domination of the other half of society.

With the coming to power of anti-women reactionary Islamists, we saw how religion meant utter obedience before God’s representatives on earth, meaning daily punishment for our disobedience and rebelliousness.

The implementation of Islamic laws over the past thirty years has suffocated women in Iran. We know full well the effects of Islam in power and the implementation of Sharia laws in theocratic Islamic governments such as Iran. Whether it be the backward and reactionary Taliban or the Karzai government in Afghanistan, the harsh feudal regime of Saudi Arabia, the "soft and secular" Islamism in Turkey, or the government in Iraq ... they have all brought nothing but degradation, absolute oppression and slavery for women.

We organized the biggest demonstration against the compulsory hejab on March  8, 1979. Since then, in our struggle for our basic rights against the Islamic Republic regime, we have been tempered and accumulated enough experience to know that the first step in the emancipation of women is the complete separation of state and religion, which can only be obtained as a result of the overthrow of the anti-women Islamic Republic order in its totality.

On March  8, 2012, we will be in the streets to shout that the struggle of our sisters in the Arab and other Islamic countries, united with all the progressive forces there, is the first step of our struggle for the complete separation of religion and state. This is the message of women in Iran, under the rule of an Islamic regime, to our sisters all over the Middle East and North Africa.

Look at the slave-like conditions of millions of women in Iran. Do not allow this  experience to be repeated. Focus your conscious struggle on keeping the reactionary Islamic forces from coming to power.

We women have to be at the forefront of struggle against the rotten religious and traditional customs upheld by backward Islamists. It is our daring struggles that can bring the most progressive forces to the battlefields to resist numerous reactionary forces. It is our continuous and uncompromising struggles that can assure that the people's struggle for emancipation can flourish.

Only our perseverance can beat back both reactionary Islamic forces and their imperialist backers – who, under the pretext of "humanitarian intervention" or "defending women’s rights", have ruined the lives of millions of women in Iraq and Afghanistan. Through their puppet regime in Libya, they forced Sharia laws and polygamy on women, and now they dare talk about defending women’s interests in Iran. We know well, that the male chauvinist imperialists are seeking their own interests, and they will never free a single woman on this planet. We women in Iran will not allow them to force another historical reversal on us in our name. The Islamists and the imperialists are all patriarchal and reactionary, and must be thrown into the dustbin of history.

We must not confine ourselves to what might seem possible. We must identify the obstacles and demand the impossible, keep our sights high and climb rocky and huge mountains. We must fly over the old order of religion, capitalism, and patriarchal society to gain momentum and capture new and higher mountaintops of emancipation, where the freedom and equality of women is carved out and shines as a centrepiece.

Let us join together to celebrate International Women’s Day on a massive scale, with pride and joy, with our struggles focussed against patriarchal order that rules the world.

8 March Women's Organization (Iran-Afghanistan)


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