Received from A World to Win News Service: The Women’s Campaign for the Abolition of all Misogynist, Gender-Based Legislation and Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran is preparing for actions on March 3 and March 8, on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
The Campaign, known by its Farsi name Karzar, in 2006 organised a successful series of marches over five days from Frankfurt, Germany to The Hague in the Netherlands. Approximately 1,000 people took part on the last day, mostly Iranian women but also women and men from Europe and around the world, some travelling long distances to give their solemn support to women in Iran whose oppression is legitimised by the legal system set up by that country’s rulers.
The Women’s Campaign plans a programme on two levels this year. They are organising local days of action on 3 March in many major European cities, including London; Paris; Frankfurt, Bremen and Gutingen in Germany; Stockholm; Helsinki; as well as Toronto, Canada. But the main and central demonstration of this year’s Women’s Campaign will be held in The Hague on 8 March, International Women’s Day itself. People from all over Europe will join the march that passes through the city centre, then goes on to the US embassy and from there the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“The Women’s Campaign march past the two embassies is symbolic,” Leila Parnian, one of the Campaign’s coordinators, told AWTWNS. “We will march first to the US embassy to express our opposition to the US threat of war against Iran, and all that the US has done against women in Afghanistan and especially in Iraq. We are aware that the US has no intention of bring democracy to Iran, and that it has no intention of liberating Iranian women. The situation of our sisters in Afghanistan and Iraq speaks volumes in terms of how women are suffering under US-established fundamentalist regimes on both countries. We are also aware of how Bush is treating women in US itself, where he is doing everything he can to deprive the women of their right to abortion. We have no illusions about US intentions and goals in invading Iran.” Explaining why the protest will also be taken to the Iranian embassy, she continued, “Our main slogan this year is: ‘No to reaction, No to imperialism, Advance toward a new world’, so we do not want to lean toward either side, neither relying on the US imperialists for ending women’s oppression nor supporting the reactionary Islamic regime that has been a major oppressor of women in Iran since its birth and has made the discrimination against women legal and a religious duty.”
The Women’s Campaign has defined itself by its clear position against both the Iranian Islamic regime and US imperialism. Another important aspect has been its efforts and some degree of success in uniting a broad section of women’s organizations and individuals around that position.
This is a necessity in a situation where, on the one side, the US imperialists are increasingly beating the drums for a war against Iran. The US will not hesitate to take women’s oppression in Iran as one of its excuses to invade that country, in the same way it did with the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Bush has already demanded approval of more than $75 million in his budget to be allocated to promoting “democracy in Iran”, in other words stepping up funding for the American Farsi language propaganda apparatus. On the other side, the Iranian regime, despite its desperation and attempts to exploit the national pride of the people through deceit and rally as many people as possible in order to save its own skin, has shown no sign of concessions on democratic rights and especially women’s rights. This is the nature of a reactionary regime whose interests are in sharp conflict with the liberation of women.
Nevertheless, there has been some erroneous thinking that would require the people to at least temporarily stop fighting against their oppressors and immediate exploiters in the face of the threat of a war launched by the US. Some people, Parnian says, “have made this a precondition for supporting the Campaign. This is especially strong within the left movement in the Western countries among people who are disgusted by the bullying of the oppressed countries by the US and other Western imperialists. This line has been a concrete obstacle to stronger support for the women’s struggle. But we are also facing another trend, particularly within the Iranian movement, that tends to lean towards the US against the Islamic regime.”
She emphasized the importance of the Women’s Campaign maintaining an independent line as the only way to build a stronger resistance movement and the dangers that erroneous lines pose for that movement. “Such (erroneous) views oblige the people to take sides either with the brutal Islamic rulers or deadly US military aggression. These lines do not give a chance to the people’s independent struggle, a struggle that relies on the power of the people alone. The only way to fully unleash the oppressed against reaction and imperialism, the only way that can make it possible to really stand up against US aggression, is the independent struggle of the people united against both the imperialists and the reactionary Iranian ruling power, not only in Iran but with active support from around the world, a movement that has a vision of a new world where all discrimination against women has been brought to an end and the democratic rights of the people ensured.”
Finally, in reply to a question about how much support for this year’s march the Women’s Campaign foresees winning from progressive forces, Parnian said, “The situation is more polarised this year, but the success of the Women’s Campaign last year certainly effected and influenced those forces we were in contact with. Many of the groups that supported the Women’s Campaign march last year have already given their support this year too, and messages of support are still coming in. Now we have become a recognised force that is willing to unite the women’s movement around a revolutionary slogan – No to imperialism, No to reaction, Advance towards a new world. In addition, Iran’s women have experienced another year of the regime’s oppression of women. At the moment there are many women awaiting execution, most of them very young, such as Kobra Rahmanpour and Delara Darabi, whose death sentence has generated much protest. From the other side, the huge crimes of the US invaders and their puppet regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially against women, have made many people think twice about the possibility of uniting with one kind of reaction against another. We feel that this has weakened these erroneous ideas, especially among individuals. Every day more people are coming to conclusion that an independent movement is necessary and are supporting such a movement.”
For more information: Web site – karzar-zanan.com. E mail – Karzar2005@yahoo.com