Saturday, September 26, 2009

Khiaban No. 48: The University

Translation of the lead article in issue #48 of Khiaban newspaper, about the first day of the month of Mehr, traditionally the time for schools to reopen. (You can see pdf uploads of Khiaban newspaper in Farsi here.)

The Iranian universities have historically been the sight of the fiercest battles between the successive dictatorships (of the last one hundred years) and the people represented by the students. This is exactly why the regime, throughout its life, has actively tried to pacify the campuses. To no avail! The next historical stage of the Iranian student movement will be a significant one.

The University: Green Politics and Deep Politics?
By Amir K.
Khiaban #48 / Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The university has never been a warm and comfy house of learning. At least not in Iran. Here, it has been a long alleyway shaped by various struggles and fights paving its path; a compact arena of struggle between despotism and freedom, between dictatorship and self-management/autonomy, between the science of oppression and control on the one hand, and the science of liberation on the other; the main artery of the contemporary political history of Iran.

The Islamic Republic was strengthened by its conquest of the universities. I do not mean merely the shutting down of the universities in 1980 and the violent elimination of the vanguards of the student movement in Iran, which in itself was a seminal arena, and the courageous resistance of students -- who fought back when confronted with Khomeini's religious fascism and lost their lives, and did not silently surrender to the cultural counter-revolution of the Islamic Republic -- will shine in the history of the [Iranian] university. But also, declaring Tehran University to be the location of the Tehran's Friday prayers clearly highlighted the relationship between the university and the current regime. The spatial conquest of the university perhaps was primary to the conquest of the social discourse and the military-political coup of 1981 and the [total] closing of the social public space. [The process of] Islamizing of the university was an important part of putting shackles on the society by the new power bloc, which had just begun battering the body of the revolution.

The rapid consolidation of the ruling regime within the life of Tehran University was the response given by Khomeini and his murdering cohorts to freedom, diversity and the collective splendor that the 1978 revolution had spread across the green grass of Tehran University. Taking the Friday prayers into the university apace was done to guarantee the [continued] control of the university space by reactionary religious forces. [...] The goal of the Shiite clerics was to impose their own system of thought on the modern structures of the university. The weekly presence of numerous believers in Islam in a space which is [supposed to be] the main vessel of critical thinking, and the weekly sermons of the religious functionaries of the regime for the purpose of disseminating their thoughts and ideas, instead of disseminating concepts and ideas by academic and progressive forces, was a giant step by the regime in burying the revolution.

Now and once again, the university has been turned into the heart of the society. People who, on September 18, raised the slogan, "When the university opens,
Iran will see Armageddon!" (Daaneshgaah ke baaz besheh, Iran qhiyaamat misheh!), understand well the importance of fighting in the universities. The university is that nerve center that, with its [youthful] enthusiasm and idealism, can blunt and nullify those mercantilist type of calculations of a dictatorship-ridden society. It is also a nerve center that can prevent deviation and cooptation of the people's movement, and be the center for providing consciousness and alertness as well as defense of the interests of those whose voices have been expropriated, who have no spokespeople, and the oppressed. The dictatorship too, with its trembling, shows us the importance of this fight. The organized assault against the student activists, the absolute militarization of the university, widespread expulsions and the habitual Islamizing of the university are the regime's strategies for defeating the people in the university trenches.

The battle in the university is one of appropriating that space as one's own. By determining the subjects, by [implementing particular policies for] student admissions, by enforcement of [gender] apartheid, appointment of instructors from their own ranks, dragging their own ceremonies into the university space, expulsions, and imposition of dispersion and spreading of waves of reaction, the regime tries to achieve its goals. But, the students too, just like the ordinary people at the beginning of their new revolution, have realized that in order to defeat the enemy they must capture the university spaces. They do not fear, for they are all together. They have the power to cut off the hands of the rulers from their educational and living spaces.

The university, up to now, has been a collection of classes, spaces, doors and gates, corridors and books as well as cold and regime-afflicted discussions that the students merely passed through; a collection brimming with student populations, who are nonetheless captives of the rulers. A victory for the movement, however, means taking back this space from the regime. Victory does not mean huge gatherings in defense of this or that political leader, a gathering, at the end of which everybody goes back to their previous situations and only some photos of flags and placards will remain of it in some media. Overcoming dictatorship means the creation of free and social spaces. Without such creations, and without taking back the university from the dictatorship, only an illusion of victory will remain in place.

Green politics or deep politics?
The higher education institutions in Iran bring together within them millions of students and tens of thousands of educators. If we add to that number the staff and workers employed in these institutions, it can be observed that compared to this large population, even thousands of thugs, Basiji's and killers of the regime are insignificant. The Islamic Republic can maintain its occupation of the university only on the condition of the indifference of a majority; just as it had an absolute occupation established on the streets only until the collective street movement of the people. Today, however, nobody in the university is indifferent. And this is exactly our point of departure:

Green politics, in recent days has been focused on showcasing general dissatisfaction regarding the coup. This policy tries to challenge the legitimacy of the current government and to legitimize its own political alternative. Visualization of its sign as the color green, slogan writing its swift tactics, and organizing green sit-ins and gatherings are the ultimate tactics in its arsenal. This form of politics is still confused because the reformist leaders are as of yet incapable of formulating their larger goals and strategies. In this type of politics, the students keep doing busywork while they wait for further commands from the leadership headquarters.

In deep politics, however, the main strategy is to take the university back from the ruling regime and to re-appropriate it. Women students who, in their dormitories and university surroundings, are subjected to discrimination, ridicule or repression, can challenge the baseless power of the religious interference and university administration with their collective organization; students can themselves determine the criteria regulating what to wear, how to behave, how to interact, etc. Their collective solidarity is their real power for taking back those spaces that in principle belong to them. In defending their right to engage in student-related and political activities, a majority of students organize themselves and break the blade of fear and oppression. They will voice their opinion about what to read and resist the imposition by the clergy of reactionary subjects on the university. They take control of their dormitory spaces into their own hands and defend their living environment against the fascists. They organize free seminars, extra-curricular classes, study groups, they organize their own gatherings and [political] actions and determine their contents and defend them. With such a strategy, with every step taken backward by the dictatorship, a free and democratic space is created which in turn prevents the return of the dictators. The commitment or the treachery of political leaders will become clear with their commitment to, or treachery against, these collective efforts of the students.

Such an effort will provide the foundation for a nationwide federation or organization of the country's students. An organization that is open to all, and different groups are active within it while maintaining their positions, as factions, an organization that includes all students, and for this very reason will turn into the organized power of the students in the fight to push back dictatorship and to achieve freedom.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ahmadinejad gets a New York welcome

From homylafayette Iran News.

Ahmadinejad gets a New York welcome - Part 2
Thursday, 24 September 2009

The evening did not end well for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

As he prepared to host a dinner at the InterContinental Barclay Hotel Wednesday night, hundreds of protesters outside chanted slogans against him and the few guests who had not declined his invitation. Two New York venues - the Helmsley Hotel and Gotham House -- had already canceled banquets that the Islamic Republic's president had announced weeks ago. As the revelers arrived under a barrage of insults and boos, some covered their faces while others turned around and left. Ahmadinejad and the rest of his jet-lagged delegation would have to sleep in the same hotel later.
I want to ask him why they held my father for 90 days.
- Turaj Zaim, 33, San Francisco hip-hop artist. Zaim's father, Kourosh Zaim, was arrested a week after the June 12 election, apparenty for having given an interview to Canadian radio.
The demonstrators across from the InterContinental Braclay cried out, 'Come out, murderer!' But as a group of dinner-goers, including a cleric, came out from behind a police van and marched purposefully to the hotel's entrance, the shouts rose in intensity and turned into a continuous hoot:

Other slogans of the evening included 'Ashghal biya biroun!' (Come out, you piece of garbage!), referring to President Ahmadinejad, and 'Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein', referring to his rival in the disputed presidential election [...]

Read the complete post here ...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Iranian People's Uprising Continues

The post-election uprising of the Iranian people continues. On Quds (Jerusalem) Day 2009 (Friday, September 18), the anti-dictatorial movement of the people in Iran took to the streets, once again proving that it will not be cowed by brute force.

The coup regime of Khamenei-Ahmadinejad has showed its true face to the world, displayed its absolutist will to power, its unqualified contempt for any popular demands for the most basic of human rights, forget social justice, and showed us all its utter lack of scruples regarding the limits to which it would go in order to instill fear and obedience in the hearts of the people it wishes to rule over.

They sent their plainclothes paid goons to knife people demonstrating peacefully for their quashed rights; they arrested people by the thousands; disappeared people by the hundreds; tortured people without mercy, subjected them to repeated rounds of indiscriminate beatings with truncheons, chains and brass knuckles, fists and kicks to the head, to the limbs, in the process killing tens of detainees by inflicting head injuries, which were then shamelessly reported officially as 'deaths caused by meningitis'; they raped women and young boys in order to 'set them right', innovating in the techniques of correctional torture, supposedly adding a positive dimension to it, and in one case burning the body of the raped girl, who had died of internal bleeding, in order to cover up their crime, leaving the body in the outskirts of Tehran; they arrested journalists, bloggers, teachers, doctors, office workers, home makers, lawyers, high school and university students; they have announced plans to 'purge' the humanities of their 'corrupting' aspects, and we can assume that they will more systematically infuse random harassment, inquisition, detention, torture and possible rape (or the threat of it) into the life of the university campuses, in order to keep the assumed impurities out of the university subjects, which shall be Islamized and purified by force of arms, by paid thugs, those true enemies of things scientific, artistic and decent; they even outlawed the right to mourn the death of a loved one, taking away the right to bury one's own blood and bones killed by men calling themselves pious, taking away the people's right to even hold a private wake in their homes.

In short, they announced in the purest form possible that they have declared an open-ended war against the great majority of the society, and that in this war they will not spare any of the most sadistic and barbaric means available to man.

And the people, having no choice, have joined the fight. Their presence on the streets of Tehran, Tabriz, Shirza, Isfahan, Rasht, Sanandaj and many other cities on Quds Day 2009, a day the regime of thieves uses in a most sinister fashion to pose as a defender of Palestinian people, on this day when public rallies and protests are allowed, the Iranian people came out onto the streets reclaiming the true solidarity that exists between the people of Iran and the Palestinian people.

In Tehran, the people's slogans reflected a redefinition of the Quds day, a re-appropriation of the day by the people, declaring loud and clear that the Iranian people's oppressors have a lot in common with the oppressors of the Palestinian people:
• "Ey daad az in jenaayat: Ghazeh biyaa hemaayat!" (Woe be upon this crime: Gaza come to our support!);
• "Ahmadi-ye terrorist; farqhe to baa Sharon chist?" (You terrorist Ahmadi[nejad]; what's your difference with Sharon?);
• "Iran shodeh Felesteen; mardom cheraa neshasteen?" (Iran's become Palestine; why are people sitting around?);
• "Na Ghazeh, na Lobnaan; jaanam fadaaye Iran!" (Neither Lebanon nor Gaza; I'll give my life for Iran!).
The people are also showing political astuteness in their slogans in other arenas. It has now become customary to hear, "Death to Russia!" and "Death to China!" People correctly see for what it is the too-chummy-for-comfort type of relationship that Russia and China have established with this regime of death, torture and rape, and at every opportunity they yell their disgust out loud at the regime's goons and their leaders.

[The people know well how for their wretched support the Russians have been awarded total rights to plunder as they will the Iranian bit of the Caspian sea, its resources and habitats, and for the Iranian people this harkens back to the Treaty of Turkmenchay, one of the more shameful concessions given by the Iranian state to a foreign power; back in 1828, the Turkmenchay concessions were also made to the Russians.]

How long and how many times can a people stand by as they are insulted and kicked in the head while their corrupt, despotic leaders, for successive state setups, give away the public goods to this or that foreign power?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Iran: Quds Day 2009 Protests

Iranian people took to the streets on Quds Day 2009 (Friday, September 18), to remind the coup regime that people's protests are not over. Below is a scene of confrontation between the people and the security forces in Tehran.

Lots of more videos at

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Khiaban No. 44: Reformist Offices Closed

Translation of the lead article from Khiaban #44. (You can see pdf uploads of Khiaban newspaper in Farsi here.)
The article, among other insights, shows the deep contradiction in the Iranian regime's rhetoric; namely, the rhetoric regarding the existence of 'legal means' to pursue any problems existing in the country, including the total lack of ANY rights by any citizens!! More importantly, the article points to the inability of the reformist path in bringing about the real changes that are desperately needed by a great majority of Iranians. 
The coup regime is now busy closing down the offices of the legal opposition. And when this coup regime, as would befit its nature, closes off all the legal means for addressing social problems, what choice is left to the people? 
Long live the revolution! 

Reformist Offices Closed
Khiaban # 44 / Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The officials of Tehran's prosecutor's office have sealed Mehdi Karroubi's office as well as the office of the National Trust party and have arrested the editor of the party's website. Likewise, Morteza Alviri, an aide to Mehdi Karroubi and his representative in the committee looking into the cases of those violently attacked in the recent events, was arrested at his home.

Other reports indicate that the offices of the Association for the Defense of Prisoners were also sealed at the order of Tehran's new prosecutor.

Hours after that, news came of the arrest of Ali-Reza Beheshti, an aide to Moussavi and his representative on the committee investigating detainee abuses. The day before, the offices of the committee looking into detainee abuses had also been sealed, and all documents and available evidence in the office confiscated and taken by the security forces. This recent wave of arrests comes a short time after Moussavi's latest statement regarding the need for the continuation of the activities by reformists in the mould of an organization called the Green Path of Hope. It is possible that in the coming days Karroubi and Moussavi too will be arrested.

Along these lines, we hear murmurs of transferring the leadership of the reformist tendencies to their activists residing outside Iran.

It seems that the country's political scene is experiencing a new development. In the days after the electoral fraud, a temporary situation was created in which, in order to lower the cost of the political struggle, the people needed the reformists and the reformists, in order to prevent their own complete elimination at the hands of the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad gang, needed the people.

The reformists' fear of street politics, their inclination toward keeping the existing political structures, their invested hopes in haggling up above, and the lack of strategy and appropriate organization in order to confront fascism have all caused the reformists to abandon the people on the streets, and to engage in media-based projects. With the violent crackdown on ordinary people in the streets, and in the absence of the reformist leaders among the people's street protests, the streets fell under the military occupation of fascism.

With the consolidation of the military regime, the turn has come now for the complete elimination of the reformists. Fascism is a murderous machine, whose internal dynamism tends toward eradication. After eradicating the dissident youth in the streets, it eradicates journalists and weblog writers. Then, the legal political forces. It will then go after the university students and professors. Then, they will go after the lawyers and the intellectuals. Then, there will be the mass killing of workers and women. And the order for butchering the sciences has already been issued by Khamenei. University campuses will soon be handed over to the paid goons of the regime. In Ms. Dast-jerdi's [health ministry] bureaucracy, doctors will soon be punished for treating naa-mahram [a person of opposite sex not related to the doctor by blood or marriage; in orthodox Islam, people of opposite sex not related to each other shall not see each other's body _ trans. note]. This is the killing machine of the Islamic Republic. Here, there cannot exist any spontaneous transition toward freedom.

People's power -- a solidarity crystallized in the slogan, "Do not fear, do not fear; we are all together here!" -- is the sole and only force capable of putting an end to the Islamic Republic and its machinery of death. But, organizing and activating this power needs a new strategy.

The coup regime thinks that by eliminating the reformists, people's resistance against the regime will end too. But, people have learned that in order to achieve freedom and collective social wellbeing, they need each other. A confederation of people's resistance committees and organizations fighting for the liberation of the society, and whose connections to each other is formed and strengthened in the course of their struggle, will be a massive people's front confronting the religious dictatorship.

Now that the reformists are no longer left alone in the margins of safety, people's relationship with the reformists will resemble their relationship with any other trend or party. Political programs/platforms and practical strategies for action will become the determining factors. Reformism has shown its impracticality. Newer offices will be have to be opened.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ahmadinejad Election Debate

Animation by Hamid Gholamipour. Enjoy! 

A Place Called Evin


A Place Called Evin
By Fariba Amini / 04-Sep-2009

This report is dedicated to the brave men and women of Iran who have sacrificed with their blood and their courage to uphold freedom for their homeland and continue to do so….To Neda and Sohrab who only wanted to see their votes counted and whose voice was silenced forever …

Evin, which derives its name from a village in the northern Alborz Mountains of Tehran, was built in 1971 during the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. Previously, it had been the home of Seyyed Zia’eddin Tabatabee, a pro-British politician who was a PM under Ahmad Shah, the last Qajar Shah. After his death, the ownership of his property was transferred over to SAVAK and was then converted into what is today known as Evin Prison. It is a large compound of a few acres and has a wall built all around it. If you go to northern Tehran from the center of the city there is a good chance you will pass by Evin Prison. There are always guards outside, and families waiting to see their loved ones.

Evin is known as a prison for political prisoners especially its 209 ward is notorious for that reason. But it is also a prison for many regular offenders and common criminals. In many instances, political prisoners are kept in the same block as others. The prison originally housed 320 inmates and there were 20 solitary cells and close to 300 communal cells. By 1977, it had more than 100 solitary cells especially designed for more famous political prisoners. At that time, there were close to 1500 prisoners in Evin.

During the Shah, Evin was a detention center for many revolutionary groups such as the Mojahedin, Fedyayeen, and Peykar, whether Marxist or Islamic alike. Members and sympathizers of Iran’s pro-Soviet communist party (the Tudeh) were also incarcerated there. Many prominent clerics such as Grand Ayatollah Montazeri and Ayatollah Taleghani were also imprisoned in Evin before 1979. Hashemi Rafsanjani was a detainee there at one time. Ali Khamenei, the “supreme leader”, was another captive who spent time in Evin. Even Assadollah Lajervadi, who later became the warden of Evin, (given the title of the butcher of Evin) had spent some time there prior to 1979 for allegedly trying to bomb the El-Al office in Tehran.

The most famous/tragic incident before the 1979 revolution occurred on the hills of Evin on April 19, 1975 when Bijan Jazani and his group (8 people) were taken and shot to death from the back. It was alleged that they were trying to escape.

Read the complete, and very informative, historical review here ...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chavez walks on Iranian People's Blood

An awkward moment in an awkward dance: "Who's leading, me or you?"
From SB News.

Objection note to Venezuela president Hugo Chavez: Hands off Iran

Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, [visited] Iran today, Saturday September 5, 2009. Chavez is walking on [the Iranian] people's blood in order to legitimize the globally acknowledged Hitler-like dictatorship of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Regardless of the excuses, this is an intentional attempt by the head of a foreign government, the first since the 'election' farce, to legitimize IRI. Chavez is intervening against the people's struggle in their demand for political isolation of the Islamic Republic of Iran on their path to overthrow the IRI.

Please ... Call in or Fax your strongest word of objection to Venezuela's embassy in Tehran [...].

Embassy of Venezuela in Tehran, Iran:
FAX: +98-21-2202 0584
+98-21-2205 1955
+98-21-8871 5185
+98-21-8871 2840

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Khiaban No. 40: For Organizing

Translation of an article by Milad S., a regular contributor to the Khiaban newspaper. Thanks to the sender! 
(You can see pdf uploads of Khiaban newspaper

For Organizing
By Milad S.
Khiaban #40 / Monday, August 24, 2009

1. In the current struggle, the main force is the people. 'The people' means the laboring forces, the industrial workers, teachers and students, employees of the health and services sectors and the office workers, university students, the unemployed and the poor. Different segments of the population have joined the street protests to different degrees; ranging from general mobilization in some parts to hesitance and waiting in other parts.

The foundational principle is that the laboring forces, in widely varied working situations and at times without cultural or organizational continuity in a country consisting of different peoples, do not need centralized guidelines; rather, they need a multiplicity of guidelines, kinds and fields of activities. Therefore, based on the heterogeneous conditions of the existence for laboring forces, the first principle of organizing is the definiteness of place.

This principle has two components. Undoubtedly, organizing industrial workers and organizing low-ranking office workers/staff or teachers are subjected to different circumstances, their demands too vary, and likewise the situation in a small town in Kurdistan is not the same as those in the country's capital. In the course of the collective overall organization of these demands, this heterogeneity of places rediscover each other through all-encompassing demands and move in the same direction. The decisive factor here is that this co-direction of the movement which based on its logic is a passing phenomenon, does not eliminate the place-specific multiplicity of demands.

The second component of the principle is the logic of belonging. If we expend effort for the betterment of life in a specific neighborhood, the Shiite and the Baha'i, the Jewish and the Muslim, women and men, they all belong to this neighborhood. If we are attempting to organize a strike in a factory, the Afghan workers, the Baluchi and Khuzestani workers too work in that factory, in that location. This belonging to this very place must be obtained as a right in its real effectiveness.

2. The second point is about the difference between organizations of intellectuals or supporters of the communist ideal and the people's organizations. At this historical moment and due to the existence of new communications capabilities, forming of a network comprising numerous small groups of communists, and creation of a minimum of coordination based on collective understanding and agreement is possible and more adaptable for social action. A weakness of this type of work is the time it takes to reach collective agreements; obviously a centralized leadership can reach decisions more quickly. In my view, however, this weakness can be compensated for with the improvement of the means of communication, especially with the help of the infrastructure available outside the country. On the other hand, the very process of reaching collective decisions and agreements is part of the very definition, and distinguishing feature, of the communists' work. In this very process, we can correct the tone and content of our ideas. In other words, the central committee is this very pluralistic network, the communist ideal is the work of independent organizing of the people, and the polit-bureau too is the collective decisions.

However, these communist groups are not the same as the people's independent organizations. The goal of the organization of labor force is putting forward people's demands and creating conditions for intervention in the process of production of social wealth. Groups of communist activists either bring forth the idea of forming these organizations, or in their actions they attempt to belong to such organizations or to their leadership. To imagine that the mere formation of a communist group, reading some books and engaging in theoretical discussions is the same as communist activity is completely mistaken. The end result of the communists' work should be the organization of the people. Any theory, any level of competence in discussing the details of the French or the October Revolution, or any sociological theory can help our work and help solidify our knowledge of organizing, but these cannot replace the people's organizations. An association of communists is only a part of the people's organizations. If this principle is not forgotten, the group itself can find ways of avoiding cliquishness and ossification of their internal relations. In some experiences, for example, in order to reduce the danger of becoming a closed circle, simple formal mechanisms have been used, such as limiting the number of members to an odd number, e.g. three, five or seven to a group. The oddness of number disturbs an internal relations based on pair relations and symbiosis to a certain extent. Another experience is that when unanimity of ideas is impossible while the conditions are pressing, based on a lottery, one person is chosen as the leader for a short period of time, such as several weeks. This person's role is to cast the decisive vote when a group cannot reach consensus. This role is completely based on drawing lots, and not on any individual characteristics of the person. Specific actions: writing and distribution of night-fliers; or creating a preliminary cell in order to form a workers' organization in a factory, or in order to create a support fund for teachers' or university students' organizations, in order to create a secret or publicly announced local free health clinic or a free school; or any other project that is needed and doable, is an effort directed toward presence in a people's organization in their places of work or living.

3. Organizing of people is not a means or a tool; organizing the people around time- and place-specific demands is the realization of the communist movement. In today's Iran, this very principle is in fact the only way out of the endemic crisis that has engulfed all the social spheres. To escape this historical crisis, no device or technique deployed by the state will solve the problems. The people's organized presence, without any ideological affixes or titles, is not only the dam blocking the way of the capitalist state apparatuses' aggression against the people's livelihood and integrity, but today even their body. These organizations of the labor force, and the possibility of their spread to the poor, is the way out of the crisis for the entirety of the society.

To clarify the principle of the independent organization of people, a line must be drawn against a phenomenon that has become prevalent in the last two decades. NGOs, or Non-Governmental Organizations, are deeply ideological structures. The boundaries of NGO activities are defined by the space separating the state power from the particular interests of different socio-cultural groups in society. This space, the civil society, has been defined in contrast to the private space based on private property, and in contrast to the state as the public discourse. This definition and this position, is historically specific to bourgeois societies. It is now decades since, in advanced capitalist societies, capital itself has obliterated the boundaries between the private space and the public domain.

Today, capital is extremely social and no bourgeois is anywhere in sight; today, the suburb itself is a factory for producing surplus value. Capital has left no room for civil society, and there are no neutral or separating spaces in their bourgeois sense. Besides, capital's progress has never shied from aggression against the private space or the public/social resources. Contrary to what the orthodox would say, cultural products and creations, including cultural identities too, are not super-structural things. I don't understand the meaning of 'super-structure' exactly. The dominant culture, the media and visual representations today are part of the cycle of production and accumulation of profit in a modern society; sexuality, historical traditions and even childhood are commoditized and are spheres of investment. Today, the defense of civility does not occur in the suspended space between the state and capital. Exactly for this reason, a true liberal, not these pretences of being liberal in academic environs, but freedom-seekers and those truly against totalitarianism, had better join the communists.

The people's independent organizations are separate from state power, and this independence is gained by them based on their connections to the labor force, to the production process and the places of living. This means that these organizations, in any place where possible, will turn to self-management. To put it more theoretically, the operational space for these organizations is not the 'public space', but a space based on the definition of a common cause while forming these organizations. That which distinguishes the work of communist groups from that of the NGOs is firstly the control that the people assume over their organizations, and secondly going beyond the civil society as an artificial space under the control of capital. Let it be said too that, in my view, in today's Iran the space of social negotiation between particular interests and the state will either rapidly be transformed and move beyond the limits of particular interests, or become an appendage of the state, a charitable activity. As a result, under conditions whereby the existing choices for a communist group is either passivity or engaging in cliquish discussions, being active in such organizations while being aware of their ideological limitations, can help gain an initial experience of social work.

4. Along the same lines, we must pay attention to a misunderstanding. To be a Muslim, either in good faith or just in pretences, doesn't have a jot to do with “Islamic”, as in an adjective for [a particular kind of] social interventionism. Being a Muslim is an individual concern, and we can probably find as many kinds of personal Islamic beliefs as there are Muslims in Iran. One Muslim can be working alongside communists in a popular organization and still remain a very pious human, while another can be a torturer in the basement rooms in the Evin prison. And both could pray five times a day. These beliefs are not the determining criteria for social behavior. The adjective 'Islamic', however, is a completely different creature.

The problem of the Islamists in Iran, both those ruling and those currently condemned, during these past decades is the conflation of the adjective 'Islamic' and being a Muslim. This is an ideological and totalitarian manipulation of some people's Muslim-ness. And all this, based on fiqh [religious jurisprudence], meaning the same legal rulings of the 16th century, which was left behind almost one hundred years ago. A Sixteenth century jurist does what we see they try to do now. He cuts off people's hands in Sattar Khan highway (a highway in Tehran, named after one of the leaders of the Constitutional revolution, 1906, which had abolished religious interference in jurisprudence). So, as you see, for the Islamists, "Islamic democracy" means the Islamist people, whose similarities with being a Muslim occur only in name, and in truth cannot be anything but this state's functionaries, choose the best fitted among themselves, but claim this selection should be valid for all Iranian people. Such an imaginary plan is fundamentally incapable of understanding a thing called 'society'. Let alone democracy.

5. In order to spread a single word among the people, it takes efforts proving that one can be trusted. Those who want to shortcut history, make announcements in the name of the people, and proceed forward by manufacturing public opinion -- they consider people dupes and want them to remain thus. Without having any roots in people's organizations, and without a people who have gained social consciousness in the process of fighting for their rights, calling on the people to engage in massive projects, no matter how radical they may seem, at least for the communists is meaningless.