A tribute to the “Woman Life Freedom” revolution on its 100th day of birth! Hamid Taqvaee
The current revolution is a human revolution. Human revolution for a human society. This is not an emotional description, out of fascination, or a kind of tribute to the loved ones we have lost in these one hundred days, but an objective and observable fact.The humanism of the current revolution, humanism in distinction from and against Islamism and nationalism, is an objective reality.
In the recent one hundred years of developments in Iran, from the Constitutional Revolution to the 1979 revolution, two social-political movements, and corresponding to them,two intellectual-value systems, were active both in the ranks of the revolution and counter-revolution: the Islamist movement-doctrine and the nationalist movement-worldview. From Ayatollah Tabataba’i and Behbahani and Sheikh Fazlullah Nouri (from the Constitutional Revolution era) to Ayatollah Kashani (from the ‘nationalization movement’), Khomeini and Khamenei, and from the “Mojahedin Organisation”, Pan-Iranists, the “National Front” and the “Freedom Movement” to today’s monarchist opposition and its reluctant Prince, belong to these two movements and intellectual-political-value systems. The current revolution, because of the objective political and socio-economic conditions that form its background, is the end point of both of these trends. A revolution that will settle historical accounts with both Islamism and nationalism.
Woman Life Freedom
“Woman Life Freedom” is the symbol and motto of this revolution. This is a slogan and a symbol that connects women’s freedom to the freedom of the whole society and to the very essence of life. Not only because women’s freedom is the standard for the freedom of any society, but also because in the political-social reality of the last forty years of Iranian society, the liberation of the whole society is tied to women’s freedom. The Islamic Republic started by suppressing women. It used the compulsory veil for women to spread the veil of suffocation over the whole of society, and along with the attack on the dignity and character of women, it took the respect, livelihood and dignity of everyone hostage. “Woman Life Freedom” obtains its necessity from the confrontation of a society with an anti-woman, anti-life, anti-freedom regime.
This revolution does not fit into the classification of revolutions and social changes in the contemporary history of Iran. It is not,unlike the Constitutional Revolution,for parliament and a national government, it is not, unlike the movement of the 1950s, for the nationalization of the oil industry or for industrialization, and it is not, unlike the revolution of 1979, for “independence from imperialism” and getting rid of the “chained dog of imperialism”, but represents the humanistic cause of all the generations who rose up and failed in these revolutions. Here, nationalists and Islamistsare no longer prominent and able to sacrifice freedom and liberation at the altar of “Alawite Islam” and “liberation theology”,or at the court of “Kaviani’s Flag” and national-patriotic honors. These self-assigned claimants have had their opportunity and failed. There was a period of the “Shadow of God”(kings) and another period of the “Ayat of God” (ayatollahs), and both of them brought about nothing but poverty, oppression and dictatorship for the people. If in the December 2017-January 2018 uprising people declared “the end of the fundamentalists and the reformers”, the current revolution declares the end not only for Islamists, but also for nationalists.
The revolution of “Woman Life Freedom” is seeking freedom, prosperity and equality, no longer through Islamism or nationalism, but directly. And this is a new revolution, the revolution of the 21st century. The revolution of the generation born in the 21st century, relying on the communication technology of the 21st century and the experience of the upheavals of the 21st century. A revolution that learns and gets inspiration not from the revolutions of the last century but from the developments of the present century: from the Occupy movement, the Arab Spring revolutions, and the uprisings of 2009, 2017 and 2019 in Iran itself.
The global character of the current revolution
The global appeal of this revolution, which has made the name of Mahsa, the motto of “Woman Life Freedom”, and the song “For” into a global icon and symbol among billions of people living on the planet, originates precisely from its humanistic nature. The Constitutional Revolution, the movement to nationalize the oil industry or the 1979 revolution could not be global because they raised and pursued their cause under the national-religious banner. The current revolution has arisen in defense of women, life and freedom, and this is a global matter.
The perception and understanding of freedom that is expressed in the song “For” is alive, tangible and specific, not connected to a certain geography, nor to a certain religion, ethnicity, culture, or historical background. From the women and masses of people under the Taliban to the “MeToo” movement in the West and from the global environmentalist movement to the LGBTQ+ movement, from the workers and employees pushed below the poverty line under the burden of economic austerity all over the world to those who rose up in the unsuccessful “Arab Spring” revolutions and the Occupy movement in the West –the ninety-nine percenters of the world–are all looking for their ideals in this revolution, and finding new hope. Women and “Generation Z” have stood up against the most reactionary system in contemporary history and lit a torch whose flames can be seen from every corner.
It is not surprising that such a revolution should take place in the Islamic Republic. Here the most inhumane, barbaric regime and the source of all the filth and criminality of the one-percent rulers of our era is in power. The pit of reaction has summoned to the field the peak of freedom A compressed spring leaps forward and carries forward the universal yearning for freedom, liberation and humanity.
A human revolution for a human society is a revolution that goes to the roots, and according to Marx, “for humans, the root is the human itself”. A revolution in an anti-civil, Islam-stricken society to reach a trans-civil society, a human society. A revolution not only against the Islamic Republic and the billionaire ayatollahs, but also against the world’s one-percenters. A revolution to transcend a world beset by regression towards a human society, from a class society to socialized humanity. A society in which the citizen is the citizen of the world, the immigrant is not a guest but the host, and where the motto “God King, Country” has been replaced by “Woman Life Freedom”.And this is not only a response to the Islamists, not just an antidote to the poison of religion in Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and the Middle East, and an answer to Islamic terrorism around the world, but, beyond that, it is also an answer to postmodernism and cultural relativism. The social response to the postmodern, reactionary view that appeased Islamists as representatives of the culture and people of Islamized societies and was the basis for the rise of Islamism in Afghanistan and Iran. The Iranian revolution of 2022 is the world’s response to the regression imposed by Neoliberals and Neocons and the unbridled free-market capitalism after the fall of the Berlin Wall. This is a revolution against religion and nationalism and for sweeping them away from political and social life not only in Iran but in the whole world.This is a revolution that reaches for the sky and has come up against all kinds of sacred and national-religious taboos, against every kind of state and authority that stands above the people. This is a revolution to restore free will to human beings – in Iran, in the Middle East and in the whole world!
The meaning of the victory of the revolution
The future that this revolution wants and can potentially create does not fit into the framework of past models. The positive face of this revolution, and the meaning and content of its victory, cannot be anything less than the direct involvement and direct role of the people in the administration of society, that is, nothing less than what the 19th century Paris Commune, the 20th century October Revolution and our century’s Occupy movement were promising. They were defeated, but their cause and ideal are alive, and today, 21st century Iran promises the realization and victory of this ideal.
All these experiences, and especially the experience of contemporary Iran, show that the current revolution will not lead to civil liberties if it does not include freedom from wage slavery; it will not lead to political and civil equality if it does not guarantee economic equality; it will not eradicate any other forms of discrimination if it does not eradicate class discrimination. Today, every democrat, every freedom advocate and every humanitarian should be a socialist. This is a consequence of our unbridled capitalism that has brought someone like Trump in America and someone like Khomeini in Iran to power.
The current revolution, like any other revolution, is a movement of protest, a critical and subversive movement against the existing government and system. But the more radical and the deeper this critique is, the freer, fairer and more equal what it builds in its place in the future will be. And the current revolution has so far shown that it is the flag bearer of the most radical criticism of the pillars of the existing order.
These facts may be considered exaggeration or statements out of excitement and fantasy, but in the first one hundred days, all these promising signs can be observed. It is enough to review the thousands of video clips that are transmitted to the world from the streets of Iran, the unity and solidarity displayed by the people of Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, Baluchistan and the four corners of Iran, under such slogans as “Yashasin[long live in Turkish] Kurdistan, Bezhi[long live in Kurdish] Azarbaijan”, the radical words of Sarina Esmailzadeh, the words of Gohar Eshqi, the murdered Sattar Beheshti’s mother, the speech of nine-year-old Kian Pirfalak’s mother at her son’s grave, Majid Reza Rahnavard’s interview before his execution, the acts of protest like throwing the turban off the clergy’s head in the streets and breaking the wall of gender apartheid in universities, the tweets mocking religion, religious taboos and Islamic sanctities, the sorrow felt for the worn-out trees, the polluted air, Afghan children and the garbage collector kids in the song “For”, the anti-religious speeches and ceremonies in funerals and in the 40-day commemorations of those killed in the protests, the dance of Generation Z youth around burning hijabs in the streets, and finally, the global wave of support and solidarity with the Iranian revolution and its icons in the four corners of the world. These are all signs and symbols of the revolution that wants to turn upside down not only the Iranian status quo but also the whole world; that wants to build a new world and a new human being!
Happy birthday to the “Woman Life Freedom” revolution on its100th day!