20 independent trade union and social organizations, representing workers, teachers, women, students and pensioners have issued a Joint Charter of Basic Demands. Taking the strength and resilience of the “woman, life, freedom” popular rebellion, which has been continuing unabated for over five months, as their point of departure, they put forward demands in many areas of social, economic, and political life. The totality of these demands indicates the will-power to dismantle the Islamic Republic and march towards a refoundation of Iranian society and state on new bases.
The DIP (Revolutionary Workers Party) supports the initiative to establish a united front of the forces of the revolutionary rebellion that has gripped Iran in order to move forward towards a new Iran. However, as an internationalist working-class party from neighbouring Turkey, a party that has supported the rebellion of the Iranian masses since the very beginning in mid-September, we wish to warn our Iranian sisters and brothers on a critical aspect of their platform, that of relations with the international system and, in particular, the imperialist countries (demand No. 12 below). We find their approach on this question extremely problematic and self-defeating. We explain this in an Open Letter accompanying this Joint Charter of Demands.
The text we are publishing here is based directly on the English translation published by ZamanehMedia, an Iranian outlet (https://en.radiozamaneh.com/33695/). The picture above is also taken from the same media. The placard reads: “Neither monarch nor supreme leader”, raised during a demonstration in Zabedan in February 2023, a slogan of utmost importance for the future of the movement.
Free and honorable people of Iran!
On the forty-fourth anniversary of the 1979 revolution, the country’s economic, political, and social structures are sucked into a whirlpool of desultory and crisis. Bringing an end to this whirlpool in favor of a bright future is unimaginable in the framework of the current political superstructure. Against the background of this understanding and aiming for a brighter future, the oppressed people, the equality and freedom-seeking women and youth of Iran have risked their lives in order to transform streets all over the country into the centers that mark a historical moment determining the ending of the current anti-human circumstance, that dominate the country’s reality. Over the course of the last five months, despite the regime’s bloody oppression, these people have not stood still for one moment.
Today, the flag of protest against structural injustice is carried by women, students of universities, primary schools, high schools, teachers, workers, justice-seekers, artists, queer individuals, writers, and the broader community of oppressed peoples in Iran. This flag is being raised from various corners of the country, from Kurdistan to Sistan and Baluchestan, and has obtained unprecedented international support. It is a protest against misogyny and gender-based discrimination, economic instability, the modern enslavement of the workforce, poverty, distress, class violence, and nationalist, centralist, and religious oppression. It is a revolution against any form of tyranny, whether it be under the pretext of religion or not; any form of tyranny that has been inflicted upon us, the majority of the people of Iran.
These transformative protests emerged from the fabric of widespread and progressive social movements, and the uprising of an undefeatable generation that is determined to bring an end to a history of hundred years of backwardness. A generation that is determined to end the marginalization of ideologies that foreground the creation of a progressive, prosperous, and free society in Iran.
After the two revolutions that have shaped contemporary Iran, now, progressive widespread movements such as the workers’ movement, the teachers’ movement, the old age pensioners’ movement, the movement of equality-seeking women, students, and youths, and the anti-execution movement, etc, are in a historically significant position to determine the formation of new political, economic and social structures from below and in massive dimensions.
In this respect, this movement aims to bring an end to the formation of any kind of power from above and to start a social, progressive, and human revolution for the liberation of peoples from any form of tyranny, discrimination, colonization, oppression, and dictatorship.
We, independent trade unions and civil organizations, have signed this manifesto foregrounding unity and solidarity among different social movements, and have formulated our basic demands. We focus on the struggle that aims to bring an end to the anti-human and disruptive circumstances that currently dominate the daily realities of people in Iran. We perceive the reaching of these basic demands formulated below as a first step, and as the result of the people’s protests. We perceive the realization of these demands as the only way to construct the foundations of a new progressive, and human society in our country and urge all honorable people, who desire freedom, equality, and liberation to raise this manifesto from the peak of the mountain of freedom-seeking, from the factory to the university, to the school, in local neighborhoods Iran as well as in places all over the globe.
Our demands are
1. The freedom of all political prisoners, without any exceptions or compromises. An end to the criminalization of political activism, unionization, and social activism in the form of creating social organizations and unions. All those who either directly or indirectly took part in the oppression of the people’s protests must be put on trial immediately.
2. Unconditional freedom of belief, expression, and thought. Freedom of media, unions, and people’s independent local and national organizations. Organizations’ and individuals’ freedom to gather, protest, strike, march, and express themselves on social media and in any other form of media, whether it be sonic or visual.
3. The prohibition to issue or execute any kind of death verdict; punishment by death, execution, Qisas, and all kinds of emotional and physical torture must be prohibited.
4. The immediate announcement of complete equal rights between men and women in all political, economic, social, cultural, and familial fields. All forms of discrimination and discriminatory laws against any gender, sexuality, or sexual orientation must be abolished. We demand the official recognition of the LGBTQIA+ community and the decriminalization of any gender or sexual orientation. The unconditional commitment to grant women total rights over their bodies and choices, and the prohibition of the enforcement of patriarchal control.
5. Religion is a personal matter that must not have any impact on the political rights of individuals and must not play any role in determining the country’s political, economic, social, and cultural laws.
6. Workers’ safety, job security, the immediate increase of monthly wages for workers, teachers, government employees, and all working people as well as old age pensioners, with the presence, participation, and agreement of representatives chosen by these community’s independent and national organizations, and unions.
7. The demolishment of any law, and structure, that is contingent upon discrimination, national centralist, and religious violence. And create suitable supporting infrastructure to equally and justly distribute governmental resources and facilities for the growth of culture and art in all parts of the country and to create the needed and equally accessible facilities for the learning and teaching of all the languages spoken in Iran.
8. The demolishment of all oppressing bodies and organs. Restriction of the power of the central government and the direct facilitation and continuous participation of people in governing the country, through local and national councils. Impeaching and removing governmental or non-governmental representatives at any time is the basic right of the voting parties.
9. The confiscation of all funds of natural and juridical persons and governmental as well as semi-governmental and private entities who have robbed the social capital of the people of Iran through the direct relocation of funds, or through the appropriation of governmental rent. The capital obtained through confiscation must be invested in the immediate modernization and recreation of the educational systems and to provide funds for pensioners as well as to maintain the environment, and sustain the needs of the classes and the communities of the people who have been pushed in poverty and been deprived of facilities and infrastructure not only by the current Islamic Republic regime but also the monarchist regime that preceded it.
10. An end to environmental crimes and the implementation of structural policies that allow for the recovery of the environment that has been destroyed throughout the past 100 years. The making public and communal of those parts of nature (such as the fields, beaches, forests, and mountain bases) that have been privatized and to which the people’s right has been denied.
11. The banning of child labor and providing a liveable life for all children, facilitating their education, despite their family’s economic and social class. Creating welfare for everyone through unemployment insurance, a strong social security organization for everyone who is of legal age and ready to work, or does not have the possibility to work. Education and health care must be free for all people.
12. Normalising foreign relations on the highest levels, with all states of the globe on the bases of equal relations and mutual respect. Prohibition of nuclear weapons and aiming for world peace.
In our opinion, the variety of rich resources in Iran, the existence of conscious, capable people, and the uprising of a generation of young people and teenagers with strong desires to obtain joyful, free, and prosperous lives, make the immediate implementation and realization of the basic demands listed above possible.
The demands listed in this manifesto, are the general axis around which the demands of all signing unions and organizations revolve. In the future, whilst remaining in solidarity with each other, we will approach each of these demands in greater detail as part of our continued shared struggle.
Co-Ordination Council for Teachers’ Organisation in Iran
Free Workers’ Union of Iran
United Students’ League for Student Organisations
Centre for Human Rights
Haft Tapeh Sugar Factory Workers’ Union
The Council for Organising Contact Oil Workers’ Strikes
Iran’s Teachers’ House (Khafa)
Iranian Women’s Voice
Independent Workers’ Voice of Ahwaz National Steel Factory
Centre for Workers’ Rights
Organisational Council of Kermanshah Electricity and Metal Industry
Co-Ordination Council to Support the Creation of Workers’ Unions
Old Age Pensioners’ Union
Old Age Pensioners’ Council
Progressive Students’ Union
Free-Thinking Student’s Council of Iran
Alborz Province Painters’ Union
Comity for Creating Workers’ Organisations in Iran
Social Security Old Age Pensioners’ Council (Basta)