February 2012, Week 4


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Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>
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Wed, 22 Feb 2012 22:53:02 -0500
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Iranian feminists on "Solidarity and Its Discontents"

Dear Friend,
Raha Iranian Feminist Collective has written an
extraordinary article "Solidarity and Its Discontents,"
that should be read by every peace activist and anti-war
group in this country. We are pleased to reprint the
article below, which concludes with these words:

	"There is no contradiction between opposing every
	instance of US meddling in Iran--and every other
	country--and supporting the popular, democratic
	struggles of ordinary Iranians against dictatorship.
	Effective international solidarity requires that the
	two go hand in hand, for example, by linking the
	struggles of political prisoners in Iran and with
	those of political prisoners in the US, not by
	counterposing them. Iranian dissidents, like
	dissidents in the US, see their own government as
	their main enemy. The fact that Iranian activists
	also have to deal with sanctions and threats of
	military action from the US only makes their work
	and their lives more difficult. The US and Iranian
	governments are, of course, not equal in their
	global reach, but both stand in the way of popular
	democracy and human liberation. US-based activists
	must not undermine the brave and endangered work of
	Iranian opposition groups by supporting the regime
	that is ruthlessly trying to crush them.
	We are calling for a rethinking of what
	internationalism and international solidarity means
	from the vantage point of activists working in the
	US. Internationalism has to start from below, from
	the differently articulated aspirations of mass
	movements against state militarism, dictatorship,
	economic crisis, gender, sexual, religious, class
	and ethnic oppression, in Iran, in the US and all
	over the world. For activists in the US, this means
	being against sanctions on Iran, whether they are in
	the name of human rights or the nuclear issue. It
	means refusing to cast the US as the land of
	progress and freedom while Iran is demonized as
	backward and oppressive. Solidarity is not charity
	or pity; it flows from an understanding of
	mutual--though far from identical--struggle. It
	means consistent opposition to human rights
	violations in the US, to the rampant sexism and
	homophobia that lead to violence and destroy people
	s lives right here. But we don t have to hide
	another state s brutality behind our complaints
	about conditions in America. We have to be just as
	clear in condemning state crimes against activists,
	journalists and others in Iran, just as critical of
	the Iranian versions of neo-liberalism and
	oligarchy, of attacks on trade unions, women and
	students, as we are of the US versions."
In these times of heightened tensions and war threats
against Iran, we think you will find this Raha
article especially relevant and helpful. Please let
us know what you think of the piece, and share it
widely with others.
In peace and solidarity,
Joanne Landy and Thomas Harrison
Co-Directors, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
New York, NY, USA
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Solidarity and Its Discontents
by Raha Iranian Feminist Collective


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