by DGR News Service | Dec 26, 2022 | ANALYSIS, Colonialism & Conquest, Culture of Resistance, Human Supremacy
Editor’s Note: The mainstream environmental movement has been co-opted not only into believing that renewables can save the planet, but also in the tactics used to accomplish that. A lot of the movement uses advocacy as the one and only strategy against systems of power. The main problem with the advocacy is that it places power in the hands of the state and diminishes the power that we have as individuals and as communities. On the contrary, the organizing model recognizes the power that we hold and focuses on increasing that power through collective, coordinated actions. (For more on this, read Jane McAlevey’s book “No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in a New Gilded Age.”)
This is an editorial piece by Hugo Blanco, a Peruvian peasant and political figure. It is a call to action for all to recognize the power we have as individuals and as communities to organize into a powerful social movement.
Republish from CLIMATE&CAPITALISM
At times we are struck by a feeling of reporting the same news over and over again. Such as the death of a Kukama child poisoned by leaking oil, together with the memory of other deaths marked by the same, obscenely inhuman cruelty. The same news of a river filling up with crude oil or a mine tailing killing our people. And another horrific murder inside a police station, the mob of uniformed beasts furiously beating vulnerable children, pregnant women and the elderly.
It is perhaps because the people’s life of the last 530 years has been one of struggle, resisting the death that comes brandishing and bullets.
Nonetheless, we are now well aware that these attacks by the capitalist system — pollution, persecution, and prison — are neither accidental nor isolated incidents. Rather, they are planned, strategic acts of war against the people, in the service of the growth of capitalist development. That is, not for the development of alternatives but of ever-increasing profits.
The Mapuche people and the women of Iran, the communities of Colombia’s Cauca Valley, the Zapatistas, and dark-skinned immigrants are not suffering collateral damage, nor are they affected just by economic interests. Rather, they are military targets of those protecting the transnational corporations and banks that deal in gold, gas, timber, water and crops. It is all about money and power.
At times the military objective is the people’s consciousness, in which case they spread a mass of lies and nonsense that can still end up convincing the public. We can come to believe, for example, that it is a very good idea to become the world’s largest exporter of asparagus, leading to eliminating the biodiversity by planting only asparagus. The crop is kept far from us while the people starve in a landscape rendered sterile.
Or it can seem reasonable that the high mountains are worthless in their natural state, that the waters are polluted in order to make us the leading exporter of copper, and again we are left with the with the hill health that comes from living in a sterile environment.
All of this is for our benefit in name only, as those who profit from these services are not the ones who dig and sow. We are left with nothing but the land rendered sterile.
Later they will tell us that our votes are needed in order to ensure that all of this can change. We will have to participate in the elections, join the campaigns and cast the right votes. However, it is hard to believe that when we know that over there in the national government they take by centimeters what has been lost by kilometers in our forests.
And it is harder still when we catch on that official justice is just another mercenary bought and paid for. (Just look at how many corrupt prosecutors are at large in Abya-Yala, holding hands with the genocidal armed forces while in the embrace of servile news media!)
Social movements in defense of our territories — whether at the level of the community, neighborhood, individual, spirituality or consciousness — are our hope to tackle hunger, sickness and environmental destruction. And it is by organizing and sharing our experiences that we can progress from demanding our rights to recovering our lost autonomy. There are as many realities in the struggle for life as there are landscapes in our Mother Earth. Each people has its own altitude, latitude, language and history.
In the beginning God had it easy, as He only had to create where there was nothing. We, on the other hand, have to create in the midst of pain, alienation and discouragement; we have to clean up the polluted rivers while keeping up our courage.
But that is what we are here for, to transform the world and ourselves. The sun and rain will be there for us in our struggle.
This is the Editorial from the current issue of Lucha Indígena, the newspaper published by Peruvian peasant leader and ecosocialist Hugo Blanco. Translation courtesy of Christopher Starr. Derek Wall’s biography, Hugo Blanco: A Revolutionary for Life, is an excellent account of Blanco’s lifelong struggle for indigenous rights.
by DGR News Service | Dec 12, 2022 | ANALYSIS, Education, Movement Building & Support
Editor’s note: Less than five years ago in Ireland, a woman getting an abortion could get a longer sentence than her rapist. That changed with a referendum in 2018, where the people of Ireland voted for abortion rights. The following article is written by one of the organizers of the Yes campaign: a campaign that reached out to people leading up to the referendum to get them to vote Yes for abortion rights. IN this piece, Clodagh Schofield describes her experiences with using powerful conversations as a tactic in the campaign.
As social beings, we tend to be reluctant to voice our opinions if we believe that those around us would get uncomfortable because of it. It might be because we think others don’t agree with us, or simply because the topic is an awkward one (like abortion). Voicing our opinions in such situations can be a small, yet powerful, way to start a discussion on a topic. It can lead to an exchange of ideas and people beginning to understand each other’s perspectives. Sometimes, it can also be part of a wider strategy to influence public opinion.
While DGR does not believe that changing public opinion in itself can lead to a cultural shift required to save the world, we do believe it is an important part of our movement. It is also a tactic that you can use with the people around you which requires relatively less time and energy and a higher amount of courage. Let us know if you have started uncomfortable conversations around you, and the effects you observed.
By Clodagh Schofield/Commons Library
Overturning the abortion ban in Ireland meant equipping people to share their stories and spark conversations with their friends and family.
In Ireland on May 25, 2018, the Yes campaign to repeal the nation’s 8th Amendment abortion ban won after receiving nearly two-thirds of the over 2.1 million votes cast.
The victory resulted in part from people across the country having hard conversations about abortion. Let’s take a look at how the campaign helped start and support the tough talks needed to shift perceptions about deeply held values.
In Ireland’s landslide win for abortion rights, a long-silent majority appeared to vote Yes. The Yes vote also won decisively in rural counties thought to be the heartland of the No campaign. Why?
After the vote, 39% of people polled about what changed their minds to Yes cited a conversation with family or friends. Thousands of people with traumatic abortion experiences broke their silence and inspired others to speak up.
But it wasn’t by accident that people across Ireland had these difficult conversations over tea, at sporting events on the weekend, in the car, after school and online. In fact, when polled in January, four and a half months before the vote, over half of voters said they would be too uncomfortable to talk about abortion with people in their lives.
The Yes campaign helped people start and maintain conversations, modeled positive values-based talk that didn’t play into the opposition’s messaging frame and ran a grassroots effort that gave people agency over their conversations.
The campaign also recognised the value of each person. In Ireland, where abortion has been banned since the 8th Amendment was passed in 1983, everyone has a story about abortion. When it comes time to vote, a person needs just one story to change or affirm how they mark the ballot.
I worked on the Yes campaign and see valuable lessons in sparking difficult conversations for campaigners working elsewhere in the world on issues that, like the Ireland abortion referendum, are steeped in centuries-old mixes of institutions, politics and values.
Help people start conversations in diverse ways
It’s not easy to talk about abortion on a personal level. Different people need different prompts and various levels of support.
Groups used a variety of approaches to help people start conversations. Amnesty International partnered with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and asked members to pledge to have conversations with those around them on itstime.ie (unfortunately the site is now retired). Local groups of the official Yes campaign held some amazing conversation cafes. My favourite tactic was so simple: the Abortion Rights Campaign produced badges for supporters which read “Talk to me about Repeal.”
At Uplift, we ran a number of different campaigns to encourage people to start conversations. We also equipped people to have effective and meaningful conversations.
Early in the campaign, we ran an online conversations training on Crowdcast. We focused on using stories and values based communication to approach undecided voters. We followed up conversations with a microsite, letstalkrepeal.ie [Link not working 27 April, 2022]. Engagement with these resources was strong. Feedback was also good. The program provided an accessible low bar ask for people who supported Yes and wanted to step up but not into leadership roles.
We launched Mobilisr [link not found 29 April 2022], a peer-to-peer messaging program, in the run up to the vote. People used it to get in touch with their Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Telegram contacts to either start a conversation about abortion care, or ask them to get out and vote. People were slow to start using Mobilisr but activity picked up once users had used the tool at least once.
By 25 May, the app converted extremely well – especially as users could select as many people in their contacts as they chose to send a prefilled but customisable message. Lightweight and adaptable, this tool shows huge promise for starting conversations with users outside of a campaign’s existing reach.
We segmented lists into people who were a Yes vote, people voting No, and undecided voters. Strong pro-choice members were recruited to have conversations with undecided voters. One volunteer trained and supported a team of “e-Repealers” who offered undecided people the opportunity to have a conversation via email using Freshdesk. Though at times a little rough and ready, this program was entirely volunteer run. The program fostered earnest and often complicated discussions between very different people.
Focus on your values and vision, not the opposition’s framing
Campaigning was organised locally but most Yes groups used messaging focused on care, compassion and change.
At Uplift we worked with Anat Shenker-Osorio to develop messaging. We talked about abortion as a part of healthcare and shared stories of individuals instead of speaking of women collectively. We also shared a vision of the society where everyone has the freedom to decide whether and when to become a parent.
The tone of the Yes campaign paved the way for powerful conversations between people on an issue that’s historically untouchable. Even the No campaign acknowledged that Yes campaign messaging grounded the debate and prevented it from becoming as toxic as it could have been.
Empower people with campaign ownership
The Abortion Rights Campaign, one of three partners in the official Yes campaign, is an unashamedly radical organisation with no paid staff and a flat structure. Local groups have a strong sense of campaign ownership built through years of distributed community organising and grassroots fundraising.
But a campaign with few paid staff still needs leaders. The referendum campaign facilitated opportunities for people to step in, learn and take on campaign roles. The challenge was in finding lightweight, scalable and impactful ways to connect and resource them.
A voter only needs one story in mind to vote Yes
In the end, the aim of the Yes campaign was to make space for brave people to talk about their abortion care experiences in a country that banned abortion. We also created a situation in which those stories would have power.
Together4Yes and campaigning NGOs like Uplift and Amnesty International targeted personal story video ads on social media. We gave particular weight to stories of “hard cases.” These included people who were pregnant as a result of incest or sexual assault and cases of fatal foetal abnormality. These stories were so powerful with undecided voters that the No campaign tried to do a double-take in the final week and argue for a compromise that would enable abortion in those cases.
In Her Shoes, a volunteer-run Facebook page, is a great example of how people created a way for others to share personal stories. The format was simple. People sent in their story with a picture of their shoes. Posted anonymously, these stories went viral again and again. It became possible for people to feel surrounded by anonymous women, wearing Vans, sandals, runners and heels, who’ve kept their struggle secret from those around them for years.
By far the most powerful story of the referendum campaign was that of the late Savita Halappanavar. Savita’s parents shared their daughter’s story in one of the most watched videos of the campaign. In it, they called on the people of Ireland to remember their daughter and vote Yes.
Halappanavar had a septic miscarriage and was denied a requested abortion in a hospital when it was determined that her life was not sufficiently threatened. She died shortly thereafter. Eight percent of Yes voters polled by Irish national broadcaster RTE said they voted yes because of Savita.
In the same poll, 43% of Yes voters said people’s personal stories in the media convinced them. 34% cited experiences of people they knew. Creating safe and respectful platforms with reach for these stories was crucial to the success of the Yes campaign, and gave people the tools they needed to talk to those around them.
A people-powered catharsis
As a woman living in Ireland, knowing that this fight was won by the people around me makes me feel that broken trust is now mending. Reflecting on the campaign, many have said that the country is changed forever: stories have come to light that will never be hidden again. In listening, and acting compassionately, we’ve gone through a catharsis.
As an organiser, this campaign taught me that it’s valuable to pick moments when people are passionate and ready to act. As important is providing tools for people to follow through on that passion by connecting with people around them: family, friends and social networks.
People power, properly organised and resourced, can beat a huge budget and Cambridge Analytica style dark ads. More on that later.
The online conversation training by Uplift can be replayed in Crowdcast.
Featured image: A mural outside the Bernard Shaw Pub in Portobello, Dublin depicting Savita Halappanavar by Zcbeaton via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)
by DGR News Service | Dec 5, 2022 | ACTION, Culture of Resistance
Editor’s note: The Rojava conflict, also known as the Rojava Revolution, is a political upheaval and military conflict taking place in northern Syria and Iraq known among Kurds as Western Kurdistan or Rojava.
In this social revolution a prominent role is played by women both on the battlefield and within the newly formed political system, as well as the implementation of democratic confederalism, a form of libertarian socialism that emphasizes decentralization, gender equality and the need for local governance through direct democracy.
As an eco-feminist organization, DGR agrees with Women Defend Rojava that all women should aspire to the principles of self-defense. That this consciousness must be established in society as a culture of resistance. The power of the State will always attack those who resist and rise up against patriarchal violence and fight for a free life. As part of the women’s revolution, the Rojava takes an important role in building alternatives to the current patriarchal-capitalist world system and defending them.
“A society can not be free with out women’s liberation” (Abdullah Öcalan)
This is an open letter from Women Defend Rojava and other signatories requesting an investigation into Turkey’s alleged use of chemical weapons in Kurdish people based in Syria and Iraq.
Open letter from Women Defend Rojava
On the occasion of November 30, the Day of Remembrance of all Victims of Chemical Warfare, we write with deep concern about disturbing allegations of the use of prohibited weapons by the Turkish military in its ongoing military operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Moreover, we are writing at a time in which the Turkish state is once again targeting civilians inside Syria and mobilizing for another possible ground invasion.
On October 18, local media released video footage showing the impacts of alleged chemical weapons exposure on two PKK guerrillas. Both were among 17 of the group’s fighters who lost their lives as a result of alleged chemical attacks in recent months.
The footage followed a report published by the NGO International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) last month that examined other allegations of Turkish chemical weapons use and called for an international investigation based on its findings.
In 2021, human rights monitors and local media reported at least once instance of civilian harm potentially caused by alleged Turkish chemical weapons use. The authors of the IPPNW report attempted to meet with the impacted civilians, but were blocked from doing so by the Kurdistan Regional Government.
We understand that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) can only investigate allegations of chemical weapons use when a request is made by a state party.
However, it is our view that these existing mechanisms do not reflect the realities of warfare today. Peoples without states and non-state political and military actors are deeply involved in modern conflicts. So are autocratic regimes that stifle the voices of those who wish to hold their governments to account for their behavior in war.
Both of these conditions are relevant here. The Kurdish people do not have a government that can speak up for them. They live under repressive regimes with powerful allies in the West—Turkey, for example, is supported by its NATO allies despite consistent evidence of serious human rights abuses.
This means that, while Kurds are disproportionately more likely to be subjected to war crimes and violations of international law as a result of their status as an oppressed minority, they are also disproportionately less likely to have access to justice mechanisms to hold perpetrators accountable.
In order to be effective, human rights law and the laws of war must be implemented as universally as possible, free from political considerations. There should be as many avenues as possible for credible allegations of human rights violations and violations of the laws of war to be investigated by impartial international bodies—particularly serious violations like the use of prohibited weapons.
Furthermore, these investigations should not simply be aimed at the historical record. They should build towards justice and accountability for all who violate international law, as well as durable political solutions to ongoing conflicts.
To that end, we the undersigned make the following recommendations:
To the OPCW:
- Amend investigation procedures to allow greater access to justice and accountability for alleged chemical weapons use.
- Investigate allegations that Turkey may have used chemical weapons in Iraqi Kurdistan.
To the government of Turkey:
- End all cross-border military activity in Iraq and Syria immediately.
- Cooperate fully with local and international investigations of alleged chemical weapons use and other alleged war crimes and human rights abuses and hold perpetrators accountable if violations are found.
- Return to peace negotiations with the PKK to resolve the Kurdish issue by political means.
To the Kurdistan Regional Government:
- Allow international investigators full access to impacted regions and communities to determine if Turkey has used chemical weapons in its military operations.
To concerned governments:
- Request an investigation of alleged Turkish chemical weapons use via existing OPCW mechanism.
- End arms sales and security assistance to Turkey.
- Pressure Turkey to end cross-border military operations in Iraq and Syria.
- Support and assist in return to peace negotiations between Turkey and the PKK to resolve the Kurdish issue by political means.
To international civil society:
- Support the demands listed here by signing this letter and engaging with relevant governments and international institutions.
November 30, 2022
- Souad Abdelrahman, Head of Palestine Women’s Association – Palestine
- Dr Goran Abdullah – Scotland
- Ismet Agirman, Kurdish activist – UK
- Prof Dr Tayseer A. Alousi, Secretary General of the Arab Assembly for Supporting Kurdish Issue and President Sumerian Observatory for Human Rights – Netherlands
- Dr Maha Al-Sakban, Centre for Women’s Human Rights board member – Iraq
- Mick Antoniw MS, Senedd Constituency Member, Welsh Labour Group, Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution – Wales
- Chiara Aquino, PhD Candidate, University of Edinburgh – Scotland
- Benedetta Argentieri, Journalist and filmmaker – Italy
- Rezgar Bahary, Journalist – UK
- Naamat Bedrdine, Politician and writer – Lebanon
- Walden Bello, International Adjunct Professor of Sociology, SUNY Binghamton, and recipient ot the Right Livelihood Award (aka Alternative Nobel Prize) in 2003 – USA
- Janet Biehl, Independent scholar, author, artist – USA
- Jonathan Bloch, Writer – UK
- Baroness Christine Blower, House of Lords – UK
- Debbie Bookchin, Journalist and author – USA
- Prof Bill Bowring, School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London – UK
- Jane Byrne, Teacher – UK
- Robert Caldwell, Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies, University at Buffalo – USA
- Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) – UK
- CND (Campaign Against Nuclear Disarmament) – UK
- Margaret Cerullo, Hampshire College – USA
- Maggie Cook, UNISON NEC member – UK
- Mary Davis FRSA, Visiting Professor of Labour History at Royal Holloway University of London – UK
- Defend Kurdistan Initiative – UK
- Mary Dibis, Mousawat for Women – Lebanon
- Penelope Dimond, Writer and actor – UK
- Gorka Elejabarrieta Diaz, Basque Senator, Director EH Bildu International Relations Department – Basque Country
- Federal Executive Committee of Women’s Union Courage – Germany
- Silvia Federici, Author and Professor Emerita of Social Science, Hofstra University – USA
- Andrew Feinstein , Executive Director, Shadow World Investigations – UK
- Dr Phil Frampton, Author – UK
- Freedom Socialist Party – Australian Section
- Freedom Socialist Party – USA Section
- Andreas Gavrielidis, Greek-Kurdish Solidarity
- Lindsey German, Convenor Stop the War Coalition – UK
- Selay Ghaffar, Exiled women’s rights activist from Afghanistan
- Prof Barry Gills, Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science – UK
- Dr Sarah Glynn, Writer – France
- Mustafa Gorer, Kurdish activist – UK
- Kirmanj Gundi, KHRO (Kurdistan Human Rights Observer) – UK
- Prof Michael Gunter, General Secretary of EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) – USA
- Rahila Gupta, Chair of Southall Black Sisters – UK
- Kazhal Hamarashid, Board member of the Toronto Kurdish Community Centre – Canada
- Niaz Hamdi, KHRO (Kurdistan Human Rights Observer) – UK
- John Hendy QC, Barrister – UK
- Nick Hildyard, Policy analyst – UK
- Ava Homa, Writer, journalist and activist – Canada/USA
- Srecko Horvat, Co-founder of DiEM25 & Progressive International
- Dr Stephen Hunt, PiK Ecology Network – UK
- John Hunt, Journalist – UK
- Alia Hussein, Women’s Affairs Committee of the General Federation of Iraqi Trade Unions – Iraq
- Lord Hylton, House of Lords – UK
- Serif Isildag, Journalist – UK
- Ruken Isik, Adjunct Lecturer at American University – USA
- Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Crymru – Wales
- Jin Women’s Association – Lebanon
- Ramsey Kanaan, Publisher, PM Press – UK
- James Kelman, Author – Scotland
- Gulay Kilicaslan, Department of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University – Kanada
- Nida Kirmani, Women Democratic Front, Haqooq-e-Khalq Party – Pakistan
- Nimat Koko Hamad, Associate researcher and gender specialist – Sudan
- Kongra Star Women’s Movement – Rojava & Syria
- Claudia Korol, Founder of Popular Education Collective Pañuelos en Rebeldía, Feministas de Abya Yala – Argentina
- Balazs Kovacs, Consultant – UK
- Kurdish Women’s Relations Office (REPAK) – Kurdistan Region of Iraq
- Şeyda Kurt, Journalist and Writer – Germany
- Coni Ledesma, International Women’s Alliance (IWA) Europe – Netherlands
- Dr Anjila Al-Maamari, Center for Strategic Studies to Support Women and Children – Yemen
- Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet – Scotland
- Fazela Mahomed, Kurdish Human Rights Action Group – South Africa
- Saleh Mamon, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) – UK
- Dr Carol Mann, Director of Women in War – France
- Mike Mansfield QC, Barrister – UK
- Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Lecturer of Political Sociology, Fellow of Darwin College, University of Cambridge – UK
- Zahraa Mohamad, Journalist – Lebanon
- Francie Molloy, MP for Mid Ulster – Ireland
- David Morgan, Journalist – UK
- Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, Green Party Member of the House of Lords – UK
- Maryam Namazie, Human rights activist, commentator, and broadcaster – UK
- Dr Marie Nassif-Debs, President of Association Equality-Wardah Boutros – Lebanon
- Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, General Federation of Trade Unions – UK
- Margaret Owen, O.B.E., President Widows for Peace through Democracy – UK
- Prof Felix Padel, Research associate at Center for World Environmental History, University of Sussex – UK
- Sarah Parker, Anti-Capitalist Resistance – UK
- Patriotic Democratic Socialist Party (PPDS) – Tunisia
- Peace in Kurdistan Campaign – UK
- Maxine Peake, Actress – UK
- Rosalind Petchesky, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Political Science, Hunter College & the Graduate Center, City University of New York – USA
- Dr Thomas Phillips, lecturer in law at Liverpool John Moore University – UK
- Eleonora Gea Piccardi, University of Coimbra, PhD candidate – Italy
- Ulisse Pizzi, Geologist, UK engineering consultancy – UK
- Dr Anni Pues, International human rights lawyer – UK
- Radical Women – USA
- Radical Women – Australia
- Bill Ramsay, Ex-President Educational Institute of Scotland and Convenor of Scottish National Party – Scotland
- Ismat Raza Shahjahan, President of Women Democratic Front – Pakistan
- Trevor Rayne, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! – UK
- Gawriyah Riyah Cude, Women’s Trade Union Forum – Iraq
- Dimitri Roussopoulos, Writer, editor, publisher, political activist – Canada
- Nighat Said Khan, Women Democratic Front, Women Action Forum WAF – Pakistan
- Dr Michael Schiffmann, Linguist, English Department of the University of Heidelberg, Translator – Germany
- Paul Scholey, Morrish Solicitors – UK
- Bert Schouwenburg, International Trade Union Advisor – UK
- Chris Scurfield, Political activist – UK
- Stephen Smellie, Deputy Convenor UNISON Scotland and NEC member – Scotland
- Geoff Shears, Vice-Chair of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies(CLASS) – UK
- Tony Shephard, Musician and graphic designer – UK
- Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation – UK
- Radha D’Souza, Professor of law at the University of Westminster – UK
- Oskar Spong, Operator – UK
- Chris Stephens MP, Glasgow South West – Scotland
- Steve Sweeney, International Editor, Morning Star – UK
- Tooba Syed, Women Democratic Front – Pakistan
- Greta Sykes, Writer and artist – UK
- Tim Symonds, Novelist – UK
- Joly Talukder, General Secretary of the Bangladesh Garment Workers Trade Union Centre – Bangladesh
- Latifa Taamalah Women’s Committee – Tunisia
- Shavanah Taj, General Secretary Wales TUC – Wales
- Lisa-Marie Taylor, CEO of FiLiA – UK
- Saadia Toor, Women Democratic Front – Pakistan
- Tom Unterrainer, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation – UK
- Prof Abbas Vali, Professor of Modern Social and Political Theory – UK
- Dr Federico Venturini, University of Udine – Italy
- Andy Walsh, Chair, Greater Manchester Law Centre – UK
- Julie Ward, Former MEP – UK
- Arthur West, Secretary, Kilmarnock and Loudon Trades Union Council – Scotland
- Prof Kariane Westrheim, Chair of EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) – Norway
- Alex Wilson, PhD student at York University in Toronto, Ontario – Canada
- Dr Fiona Woods, Lecturer, Technological University Shannon – Ireland
- Paula Yacoubian, Member of Parliament – Lebanon
- Rosy Zúñiga, Latin America and Caribbean Popular Education Council CEAAL – Mexico
by DGR News Service | Nov 7, 2022 | ACTION, Culture of Resistance, Male Supremacy, Protests & Symbolic Acts
Editor’s note: On September 16, a 22 year-old woman (Mahsa Amini) was brutally tortured and killed by the Iranian state for improper wearing of hijab. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, has made a public statement that the protests happening in the country are being backed by the Western countries, and that Mahsa Amini was not tortured in their prison. Given the history of US-backed regime changes across the world from Central and South Americas to the Middle East, including Iran itself, concerns among anti-imperialists about the recent protests are not an indication of paranoia.
Whether or not the protests are backed by imperialist tendencies of the West, the plight of the women of Iran should not be discarded either. For the past forty decades of theocratic rule in Iran, women’s human rights have been violated in more than one occasion. They have faced many injustices, the death of Mahsa Amini and of the hundreds of people (especially young women) who protested her death is just the latest of which. Regardless of the West’s imperialist tendencies, these injustices should be addressed first and foremost.
The following statement was released by Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women (DOIW) on September 23. Since then, many protestors have been killed, arrested and persecuted.
Victory to the united struggle of the brave women and men of Iran; For liberty, and freedom from theocratic tyranny and the repeal of all laws that undermine women’s human rights!
Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women(DOIW) emphatically condemns the killing of Mahsa (Gina) Amini, by the security forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We convey our condolences to Mahsa’s grieving family and to all freedom-loving women and men of Iran. The regime’s Guidance Patrol arrested this young woman of 22 as she travelled on Tehran’s Metro with her brother under the pretext of having “bad hijab”. As a result of the brutality of the regime’s guidance patrol and beatings while in custody, Mahsa Amini died in hospital on 16th September. This new crime of the Islamic Republic has provoked the anger of the long-suffering people of Iran. The name and memory of Mahsa Amini has turned into a rallying cry for the people who have come out to the streets to rise up against oppression, dictatorship and social injustice. On Mahsa’s temporary gravestone, is written: “Darling Gina, you won’t die, your name will become a code”. Today, Mahsa Amini’s name has indeed become the rallying cry for the people rising for freedom.
In the past forty years, the reactionary Islamic regime of Iran has used systematic violence to secure its self-interest, and to trample shamelessly on the social and human rights of the people of Iran, particularly the women of Iran. The Islamic Republic of Iran has presided over deepening poverty, economic and social insecurity, promoted the practice of embezzlement and hypocrisy in the state, has plundered the national wealth for the personal interest of the ruling elite and their associates, and has been directly responsible for violence and crimes against countless women and men. These have ranged from the forced hejab and medieval laws against women, to the torture, rape and execution of hundreds of girls and women supporters of left-wing organisations or mojaheds during the 1980s, or the mass killings of political prisoners in the summer of 1988, the execution of Fatemeh Modaresi, the consultant member of the Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran in 1989, the brutal murder of other dissidents such as Parvaneh Forouhar in the 1990s, and Zahra Kazemi, Zahra Bani Yaqub, among others, in the torture chambers of the regime, and the murder of Neda Agha Soltan in street demonstrations. These atrocities continue to this day and the people have had enough.
The regime’s denial of responsibility over the death of Mahsa Amini has fuelled people’s anger. At first the regime claimed that Mahsa had died due to ill health, something that her family have denied vehemently. The regime’s contradictory position on this tragedy, mimics their denials and lies immediately after the Revolutionary Guards’ downing of the Ukrainian plane over Iran in December 2019.
The people of Iran have been living with the fallout of the regime’s neoliberal policies, with its resultant poverty, deepening class divide and prevalent corruption, with the poor, women and the young bearing the brunt, and they have little to lose in this unequal fight.
Street clashes continue to rage in more than 80 cities and towns in Iran, despite access to the internet having been curtailed to stop communications. The women and men of our country have shown indescribable courage to stand against the brutal security forces of the regime and despite the heavy cost in this unequal struggle – fists against bullets – they are holding fast. The echo of people’s slogans conveys their demands: “Death to Dictatorship”, “Down with Theocracy”, and latterly “Woman, Life, Freedom” – a slogan that has emerged in these protests to reflect women’s particular aspirations – is a reminder of Marx’s position that a society is only free when its women are free. Today, the women of Iran are fighting courageously for their freedom and for the freedom of the society from theocracy.
“Woman, life, freedom” by TheGfarce is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
Since Thursday 22nd September, different organisations, including Iran Human Rights have announced that at least 31 have been killed in the protests. Some reports put this figure at 50. There are reports of the arrest of a large number of protesters, including reporters, civic and political activists, women, students and former political prisoners. At present the prisons of Iran are full of workers’ rights activists, teachers, national minorities, religious minorities such as the Baha’is, dissenters, artists, and students.
At present, the Islamic Republican regime continues its brutal suppression, cutting off the internet and access to social networks. In 2019 during the people’s uprising, more than 600 innocent people were killed among them 23 children and youngsters under the age of 18. The regime cut off the internet then too (killing with the lights out), and shamelessly lowered the official number killed to 224 people instead. Then the regime accepted no responsibility for its atrocities, and in September 2022, the regime is repeating its brutal suppression of the people as before.
Today, too, the regime’s guns are aiming at the hearts of the women and youth of Iran. Ra’isi, the President of the regime, was one of the main perpetrators of the murder of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. Just as he spoke of human rights at the UN General Assembly, on the 21st of September, the 15 year old Abdollah Mohammadpur, and the 16 year old Amin Ma’refat were shot dead by the regime’s armed police. The mass arrests continue all over Iran.
DOIW condemns the brutal suppression of the people and believes that victory in the fierce struggle that is ahead of us, for democratic rights and freedoms, social justice, and an end to discrimination, in other words, the realisation of the protesters’ demand “Woman, Life, Liberty”, can be secured only through the united struggle of all progressive social and political forces and the dismantling of the religious dictatorship that rules Iran. Our victory depends on the separation of religion from the state, and the establishment of a national and democratic republic in Iran.
Finally, the Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women, appeals to all progressive forces the world over, especially progressive women’s organisations, to condemn this latest atrocity perpetrated by the Islamicists in Iran- the arrest and killing of Mahsa (Gina) Amini under the pretext of carrying out “religious laws and decrees”- and condemning the killings in Iran especially of our young people, and to condemn the detention of freedom fighters in our country. With your solidarity you can extend the reach of these protests and let our brave people’s call for justice be heard worldwide.
“Solidarity with Iranian Protests (52383249139)” by Matt Hrkac from Geelong / Melbourne, Australia is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Statement by the Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women
23rd September 2022
Banner Photo by Artin Bakhan on Unsplash
by DGR News Service | Oct 19, 2022 | ACTION, Movement Building & Support
The Deep Green Resistance Fall Fundraiser Event
Our way of life — industrial civilization — is destroying the planet.
From coral reefs to the great forests, the last strongholds of the wild are falling. The climate is destabilizing. And we are entering the 6th mass extinction of life on Earth. Ecological collapse is here.
This unprecedented crisis demands extraordinary solutions. And yet, governments and mainstream environmental groups are failing to chart a path towards a livable future. What is to be done?
This November 19th, join the philosopher poet of the deep ecology movement Derrick Jensen, radical eco-feminist author and strategist Lierre Kieth, and special guests Saba Malik, Robert Jensen and Dahr Jamail for a special 3-hour live streaming event, Collapse: Ecology, Climate, and Civilization starting at 3pm Pacific Time and hosted by Deep Green Resistance.
This event will explore issues of collapse (ecological, climatic, and civilizational) with a focus on organized, political resistance to slow and mitigate the worst aspects of collapse and accelerate the positive impacts. There will be opportunities to ask questions and participate in dialogue.
This event is also a fundraiser, because the mainstream environmental movement is funded mainly by foundations which don’t want foundational or revolutionary change. Radical organizations like Deep Green Resistance rely on individual donors to support our work.
We are raising $25,000 to fund a national speaking tour, a community-led hydropower dam resistance campaign in the Philippines, land-defense campaigns addressing mining and biodiversity, training programs for activists around the world, and other organizational work.
Whether or not you are in a financial position to donate, we hope you will join us this November 19th for this special event!
You can view the event live on Givebutter or on Facebook.
I was surrounded and about to surrender
when she broke the battle
and carried me from the frontlines.
When, at last, we were safe and alone,
she cradled me in her arms,
warmed me by the fire in her breast
and let the starlight falling
from her smile shine away
the horrors of the night.
She offered to bathe my wounds there
in that kind gaze pouring from her eyes.
They were the color of brown stones
dancing in the dappling sunshine
under the pure, precontact currents
of strong, clean Alaskan streams.
I must have flinched there
at the fierceness of her generosity
because she asked me if
I was still afraid.
It was too selfish to say
“I fear you’ll push me away
from your bright radiance
back into the black combat
you pulled me from.”
No matter what I really wanted,
I could not ask her to hold me there
forever. Or, even for the rest of my life.
I could not ask her to do this
because I remembered
when she introduced herself,
there were eagles
and killer whales in her name.
I hate talons in chains,
and the sight of bloated bodies
floating belly up
in concrete prison pools in parks
that don’t amuse anyone anymore.
So, I told the whole truth.
I was afraid I would linger there
overlong, while all the streams were strangled,
the songbirds silenced, and the salmon starved.
I was afraid that if I shed my armor
to press my bare skin to hers
I’d never rise to fight again.
Her laugh was as gentle
as the first snowfall on
a transboundary bay.
Her kiss was as soothing
as the first sunshine on
a post-blizzard day.
She said: eagles leap from their nests,
killer whales kill,
warriors know when to make war,
and we will fight side by side,
my scared, tired man.
All my dams crashed down, then.
The sword fell from my hand.
And I learned I could
make love and make war
with this true warrior woman
Will Falk is a writer, lawyer, and environmental activist. The natural world speaks and Will’s work is how he listens. He believes the ongoing destruction of the natural world is the most pressing issue confronting us today. For Will, writing is a tool to be used in resistance.