Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jackson Hgts. Queen, April 9th: Report from the “Great March Against Anti-Women Legislation in Iran” in Europe

Starting March 4 in Frankfurt, Germany, women and men marched through four cities in Germany and rallied at Hague on International Women’s Day on March 8. The call from the organizers, the Campaign for Abolition of All Anti-Women Legislation and Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran (http://www.karzar-zanan.com/) begins:

“If you are against death by stoning!“If you are against forced veiling!“If you are against the prosecution and imprisonment of women!“If you are against lashing a woman’s body!“If you are against any form of patriarchy!“If you are against the medieval laws of Iran’s Islamic Republic of Iran imposing inequality on women!“Join the great walk against anti-women laws in Iran’s Islamic Republic on March 8 2006!”

People everywhere should support the Resistance of Iranian Women:
“We do not accept these alternatives – the brutality and horrors of either Western-style democracy OR the Islamic state.
“We will NOT compromise or remain silent at these atrocities wherever they occur. Women from many countries, here today on this powerful march, are declaring that we support the resistance of Iranian women and women everywhere to gender- and religion-based legislation and suffocating restrictions, that we stand firmly against U.S. imperialist moves to attack Iran, and that we are determined to fight for our liberation and the liberation of our sisters in every country around the globe...
“In today’s world, where the alternatives are posed as either imperialist so-called liberation or suffocating feudal tradition, our choice must be – NEITHER. Neither reactionary alternative has anything in common with the emancipation of women—or anything in common with the interests of the great majority of people of the world, men as well as women.”
– From a statement by Mary Lou Greenberg, who represented the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA at the march

Mary Lou Greenberg marched with Iranian and Afghani women in this march against Anti-Women Laws in Iran. Hear her report and discuss this event so important to people around the world.
6:00PM, Sunday, April 9th
Humanist Center of Cultures
At their new location: 76-11 37th Avenue Jackson Heights, Queens
Near intersection of 74th Avenue and Broadway Subway: 74th – Roosevelt Ave. Stop 7, E, F, R


Ad Hoc IWD Solidarity 2006 Committee
Website: http://IWDsolidarity2006nyc.blogspot.com Email: iwdsolidarity2006nyc@yahoo.com or call 646-853-6512

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Report Back from Mary Lou Greenberg: Just Returned from the “Great March Against Anti-Women Legislation in Iran” in Europe



Just Returned from the “Great March Against Anti-Women Legislation in Iran” in Europe


Mary Lou Greenberg
Mary Lou Greenberg, who represented the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA during the March 4-8 demonstration, will discuss her experience marching in four different cities in Germany and the Hague, the Netherlands. She marched with Iranian and Afghani women in the action organized by the Campaign for Abolition of All Misogynistic Gender Based Legislation and Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran (http://www.karzar-zanan.com/)


Saturday, March 25 7 p.m.
Revolution Books
9 West 19th Street, New York
212-691-3345
For PDF of flyer, go to: revbooksnyc@revolutionbooksnyc.org

The Declaration issued by the Campaign for Abolition of All Misogynistic Gender Based Legislation and Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran on the first day of the Great March detailed the “unjust laws and Islamic sentences” suffered by women, and stated that: “Such oppressive regulations have been condoned by imperialist forces and their allies in the local occupation governments of Afghanistan and Iraq...George Bush and his administration want to bring about the kind of misery they have imposed on the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq to Iran...We are supposed to choose between the dungeons of the Islamic Republic or U.S.-style Abu Ghraib prisons. We Iranian women defy such choices, our fight has nothing to do with Bush and other Western attackers or their current or previous lackeys in the Middle East.... We have gathered here to demonstrate this fact.”

From Mary Lou Greenberg, speaking at the march in Europe against anti-women repression in Iran:
“We do not accept these alternatives – the brutality and horrors of either Western-style democracy OR the Islamic state. “We will NOT compromise or remain silent at these atrocities wherever they occur. Women from many countries, here today on this powerful march, are declaring that we support the resistance of Iranian women and women everywhere to gender- and religion-based legislation and suffocating restrictions, that we stand firmly against U.S. imperialist moves to attack Iran, and that we are determined to fight for our liberation and the liberation of our sisters in every country around the globe... “In today’s world, where the alternatives are posed as either imperialist so-called liberation or suffocating feudal tradition, our choice must be – NEITHER. Neither reactionary alternative has anything in common with the emancipation of women—or anything in common with the interests of the great majority of people of the world, men as well as women.”

Additional report back events planned in Jackson Heights, Queens and elsewhere
Contact:
Ad Hoc IWD Solidarity 2006 Committee
Website: http://IWDsolidarity2006nyc.blogspot.com Email: iwdsolidarity2006nyc@yahoo.com or call 646-853-6512

Monday, March 13, 2006

Report from European March Against Anti-Women Legislation in Iran by Mary Lou Greenberg

Report from European March Against Anti-Women Legislation in Iran
by Mary Lou Greenberg

Revolution #039, March 19, 2006, posted at revcom.us

I’d seen the skit performed in four German cities as part of the Great March Against Anti-Women Legislation in Iran:

Women in black chadors kneel, watching a "mullah" lead a chained, burka-clad woman to be stoned. But as the "stones" hit her, the kneeling women rise with angry and determined cries, throw off their veils, rescue the woman and surround and chain the mullah.

This was March 8, 2006 in The Hague, Netherlands--and not just any place in The Hague. After an hour’s march through the city and into the suburbs, we were at the gates of the embassy of The Islamic Republic of Iran. As women and men pressed up against the police barricades, the street theatre took on new power. Burkas and chadors flew into the air with extra determination and intensity. The song in Farsi that accompanied the skit boomed out over the loudspeakers, with dozens of women joining in on the chorus:

Enough Waiting!
No! Now is the time to do battle!

From the sound truck, Azar Derakhshan, spokesperson of March 8 Women’s Organization (Iranian-Afghanistani) and one of the march organizers, served notice on the regime:
"For 27 years we have been talking about the criminal things you’ve done. Today, we have news for you. A united and organized force is being born. When you took power, you celebrated by attacking these people. But these newly birthed forces will put the nails in the coffin of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

********

I travelled to Germany to join the march when it started in Frankfurt on March 4. Over the next four days we marched in Frankfurt, Mainz, Cologne, and Dusseldorf, Germany, concluding in The Hague on March 8. Approximately 50 women and 20 men were the core of the march, traveling between cities in a bus and several mini-vans. Most were Iranians living in exile in many European countries with several from England, Canada, and the U.S., along with several Afghani and a number of Kurdish women in exile. Radha D’Souza, a democratic rights activist from India, also participated, and I represented the RCP, USA.

We joined local activists in each city for rallies, marches, and indoor evening programs with delicious food, inspiring music and poetry, and joyous dancing. Organizers estimated that the crowds ranged in size from about 100 in Cologne and Dusseldorf to close to 1,000 in The Hague.
The March was organized by the Campaign for Abolition of All Misogynic Gender Based Legislation and Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran (website: www.karzar-zanan.com) and united a number of different organizations and parties to stand against repression of women in the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as imperialist aggression.

The Declaration issued by the Campaign on the first day of the Great March detailed the "unjust laws and Islamic sentences" suffered by women, and stated that "such oppressive regulations have been condoned by imperialist forces and their allies in the local occupation governments of Afghanistan and Iraq…George Bush and his administration want to bring about the kind of misery they have imposed on the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq to Iran…We are supposed to choose between the dungeons of the Islamic Republic or U.S.-style Abu-Ghraib prisons.
"We Iranian women defy such choices, our fight has nothing to do with Bush and other Western attackers or their current or previous lackeys in the Middle East…

"We have gathered here to demonstrate this fact. In this gathering we express our demands. Our choices are based on ideals of a different world, outside the scope of the current order. We shall bring about such a new world along with all oppressed and freedom-seeking peoples of our planet."

This stand was controversial among some Iranian and European forces. Zaman Masudi, one of the march organizers who works with the LINKS Partie in Germany, told me that several had said that it was wrong to criticize the Islamic Republic at this time when the U.S. is making moves on Iran. "I told them, look, we suffered once when we forgot about women; when the Shah was overthrown we supported Khomeini and forgot about the nature of the Islamic Republic. Now that we are struggling against the Islamic Republic we are not saying ‘yes’ to imperialism. We are saying ‘no’ to both."

********

Many women on the march spent years in the Islamic Republic’s dungeons for political activity. Husbands and other family members were executed, and they themselves were tortured. The march in a certain sense reflected the story of the ascendancy of the Islamic Republic and its murderous assault on revolutionary forces and progressive people who opposed it. Yet it was not a march about suffering and the horrors of the past. It was about the strength, passion, and determination of women to struggle for emancipation and liberation, knowing in a deeply personal way the costs of that struggle.

On March 6, we rallied in a central part of Cologne, and two women met for the first time. One, in her twenties, had been a child of six when her mother, a fighter against the regime, was executed in one of Khomeini’s prisons. The other, a woman in her late forties, was one of the last to see the young woman’s mother alive. The mother, due to be executed, had been released by mistake into the general prison population. She told her comrades there that the Islamic Republic had offered her a deal, that if she would renounce her beliefs they would let her live. But she told them, "there is a valley of blood between me and you, and it is too deep to cross." And she was executed shortly thereafter.

I reached out and put my hand on the young woman’s shoulder, and she said to me, "don’t be sad, Mary, I had the best mother in the world!"

********

While most of those travelling from city to city were in their late forties and fifties, there were a few younger women. One of these was 20-year-old Bayan, who led chants and agitated with great vigor over the sound system in both German and Kurdish. She is a Kurd from Iran who has lived in Germany for 15 years. She cannot go back because of the political activity of her parents.

"It is important that Kurdish women be here and say what they want," she told me, recalling that her aunt barely escaped death by stoning because she had been accused of causing the death of her ill husband.

About the support of Iraqi Kurds for the U.S. invasion and occupation there, Bayan said, "most of the Kurds in Iraq say that it is good if we have a little part of Kurdistan for ourselves. But I say no, we have a puppet regime. We had a bad regime in Iraq [with Saddam Hussein], but it would be better if Iraqi and Kurdish people go into the street and make a revolution than have the U.S. go in."

********

Well-known and beloved Iranian artists in exile were on the march the entire time and contributed tremendously to the sense of mission and joy that permeated it. Singer Gissoo Shakeri and poet Mina Assadi, both of whose works are banned in the Islamic Republic, have worked together for many years and created many of the songs of the march, including the one sung during the street theatre skit.

Filmmaker Jamileh Nedai is making a 60-minute documentary of the march. When she was 17 years old under the Shah’s regime, Jamileh acted in a musical called "City of Stories," a satirical look at social issues that became very popular--and is still popular today through underground tapes. As we were leaving the rally in The Hague, some of the Iranian youth now living in Holland began singing one of the songs from that musical--and were imspired to learn that Jamilah was part of the march.

********

I was asked to speak at each rally, as was Radha, the activist from India. Our comments were translated into Farsi and also into German while we were in Germany. Radha gave compelling exposure of the effects of imperialist globalization on the Third World and denounced the current visit by George W. Bush to India, where he made a deal to help India develop its nuclear capabilities while at the same time threatening Iran for its attempts to develop its own nuclear technology. When I spoke, I denounced the Bush regime and its crimes, including war moves on Iran, and said that the imperialists have no right telling anyone what they can and cannot do.

********

We learned that BBC and other media reported on the Frankfurt march and rally. In response, an Iranian TV news broadcast said a march opposing the Islamic Republic had been held by "counter-revolutionaries and prostitutes." News was also broadly spread through photos and daily reports on the March 8 organization website (8mars.com) that were picked up by various Iranian email lists and other websites.

The news that progressive and revolutionary forces, especially women, are fighting for a world outside the reactionary, life-destroying alternatives of U.S. imperialism, on the one hand, and Islamic fundamentalist theocracy, on the other, will surely be greeted by progressive people around the world and have a powerful impact.

Future issues of Revolution will include more stories and interviews with women on the European March Against Anti-Women Legislation in Iran

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This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolution Onlinehttp://revcom.usWrite: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654-0486Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497

Declaration of the Great march, 4th – 8th March 2006

Declaration of the Great march, 4th – 8th March 2006
from www.8mars.com

We have gathered here today, to protest against 27 years of systematic oppression of Iranian women by a regime whose existence is based upon unequal legislation/ We are here to protest against reactionary rulers who have punished Iranian women with medieval sentences . For the last 27 years Iranian women have resisted and fought against these unjust laws and Islamic sentences, they have constantly refused to abide by these laws. We are here today to voice the resistance and struggles of Iranian women.

We have gathered here to remind everyone that such oppressive regulations have been condoned by Imperialist forces and their allies in the indigenous occupation governments of Afghanistan and Iraq. The post Taliban regime admits that two women have been stoned to death in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban and we are convinced that many more have faced such punishment .

We have collated information, regarding conditions of poverty, misery, addiction and prostitution at a time when the Islamic Republic regime has dragged Iranian society to the lowest levels of deprivation and demise. Iran has become a large prison for women while other sections of the society are also victims of this system . Women’s oppression , intolerance towards women’s most basic rights, imposition of every form of slavery on women has caused desperation, suicide and self mutilation amongst many young women. Iran’s rulers have sunk society to the lowest levels of cultural, political-economic and social demise . At a time when the Iranian regime was facing bankruptcy and loss of any political legitimacy, especially following its support for the occupation government in Iraq, the whole debacle about nuclear proliferation are means to negotiate with the US administration. With such political gesturing, the regime in Iran, intends not only to lengthen its reactionary rule and survive the current crisis , but also to use the threat of foreign invasion to suppress the people’s anger and discontent even further.

We have gathered here today at time when warmongers and aggressive rulers of the world are still beating up the drums for war. George Bush and his administration want to bring about the kind of misery they have imposed on the on the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq to Iran. Millions of people have lost their lives through US/UK military attacks, numerous cities have been ruined, and thousands have become homeless to such an extent that Iraq is now facing devastation. Yet the American war machine supported by its western allies’ is still not satisfied, aiming for more killing and more blood.


We have gathered here at a time when the reactionary rulers of the world and fundamentalist Middle Eastern regimes such as Iran’s Islamic Republic have left the peoples of the region between a rock and a hard place. We are supposed to choose between the dungeons of the Islamic Republic or US style Abu-Gharib prisons.

We, Iranian women defy such choices, our fight has nothing to do with Bush, and other western attackers or their current or previous lackeys in the Middle East.
So we say;
NO TO BUSH AND HIS PROGRAM.
NO TO WESTERN INVASION- OCUUPATION FORCES.
NO TO IMPERIALIST LACKEYS IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

We have gathered here to demonstrate this fact.
In this gathering we express our demands and our choices are based on ideals of a different world, outside the scope of the current order. We shall bring about such a new world along with all oppressed and freedom seeking peoples of our planet.

We demand:

- Separation of Religion and State . An end to religious interference in every aspect of social , political, economic and civil life.
- Abolition of all unequal anti-women legislation.
- Abolition of all Islamic sentences imposed on women.
- Freedom for all faith and political prisoners in Iran.
- Unconditional release of all the workers who have been arrested during recent strikes
- An end to deportation of women seeking political asylum to countries where they will face persecution simply because of their gender.

We demand:
- An Immediate end to all executions and death by stoning of women
currently in prison in Iran’s Islamic Republic’s , many of whom are in prison for resisting domestic violence
- Trial and sentencing of all agents who planned or were involved in the execution of large numbers of political prisoners and serial political murders.
- Trial and punishment of anyone involved in the rape and murder of Ziba Kazemi, Atefe Rajabi and other women prisoners.

The Women of The Campaign for Abolition of all Misogynists, gender- based Legislation & Islamic Punitive laws

March, 04- 2006

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Some important articles to read-- the International Women's Day Issue of Revolution newspaper

WWW.REVCOM.US
March 8, 2006, International Women's Day: BREAK THE CHAINS, UNLEASH THE FURY OF WOMEN AS A MIGHTY FORCE FOR REVOLUTION!

THE NEED FOR COMMUNISTS TO BE...COMMUNISTS
by Bob Avakian

The Experience of Socialism in the Soviet Union and China, Women's Liberation on the Cutting Edge

The Morality of the Right to Abortion...And the Immorality of Those Who Oppose It

Women's Voices from the Book Dispatches from the People's War in Nepal, by Li Onesto

March in Europe Demands Abolition of Anti-Women Laws in Iran

Call to Join the Great Walk Against Anti-Women Punitive Laws in Iran's Islamic Republic on March 8th 2006!

Statement of the Campaign for Abolition of all Misogynic Gender Based Legislation & Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran

European March for Women’s Liberation in Iran (From a World to Win News Service)

What the U.S. Occupation Has Meant for Iraqi Women (From a World to Win News Service)

The Bible Taken Literally – for Women – Is a Horror

Final Week of Revolution Sustainer Drive, You Rely on Us... We Rely on YOU!

Tomorrow, International Women's Day

International Women's Day Solidarity March and Rally with the Great Walk Against Anti Women Laws in Iran's Islamic Republic in Europe on 2006. -- [see below for some photos from the first day in the European March and a message from Mary Lou Greenberg]

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006, QUEENS, NEW YORK
International Women’s Day
March: 5:00 PM
Starts at 83rd and Roosevelt Ave. (7 train to 82st St.)
Rally: 6:30 PM
73th Street and Broadway (7, E, F, R, G trains to 74th St/ Roosevelt)


Confirmed speakers include:
Sunsara Taylor- writer for Revolution newspaper
Shehensha B - A Bengali community activist, who fiercely opposes US intervention anywhere in the world. She became an activist struggling to bring to justice the Islamic fundamentalist forces responsible for the murder of two of her brothers (both prominent intellectuals very active in the liberation of Bangladesh) as well as many other intellectuals purged right after liberation was won there.
more to be announced later...

Volunteers and donations needed immediately!!!
- Please contribute and raise funds where ever you can for this
- We need help with security, legal oberserving, phone calls, media, etc. Please get in touch with us asap to volunteer for lot sof different things.
Tel: (917) 553-4704 Email: iwdsolidarity2006nyc@yahoo.com or getoutrevolutionnyc@yahoo.com






Message from Mary Lou Greenberg:

7 March, Dusseldorf

Friends -
I have only a few minutes before we leave for the rally and march here in Dusseldorf. I will not repeat what was in my first email - and apologize to those who didn't receive it - except to say again that it is thrilling to be part of this. I am so inspired by the women here - their stories of the horrors they have experienced at the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the stories of the women (and men) who were executed, are beyond words but this march
is not about suffering. It is about the strength and courage of revolutionary and progressive women whose refusal to submit to Islamic fundamentalist repression as well as to US imperialist domination is an example for everyone who wants a better world.

One short story. Yesterday as the snow fell in Cologne and we marched and rallied in the center of the city, two women met. One, in her 20s, was a girl of 6 when her mother, a fighter against the regime, was executed in prison. The other, a woman in her late 40s, also at that time a prisoner who was one of the last to see the young woman's mother alive. The older woman told the daughter that her mother's last words were about her refusal to accept the offer by her captors, that if she would renounce her beliefs she would be spared execution. Instead, her mother told the guards, there is a valley of blood between me and you and it is too deep to cross!

I put my arm on the young woman's shoulder and she said to me, don't be sad, Mary, I had the best mother in the world!

We heard yesterday that news of the march got out on BBC and in response to that, a TV broadcast in Iran announced that a march was held in Frankfurt 4 March by "counter-revolutionaries and prostitutes"!

Everyone is thrilled to know about the solidarity events in US on March 8. Please email more information and I will share it with all.

Best to everyone!
Mary Lou Greenberg

Saturday, March 04, 2006

NYC Event info and Latest Statement from Europe

Here is the information for the International Women's Day March and Rally in Solidarity with Great Walk Against Anti Women Laws in Iran's Islamic Republic.

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006, QUEENS, NEW YORK
International Women’s Day
March: 5:00 PM
Starts at 83rd and Roosevelt Ave. (7 train to 82st St.)
Rally: 6:30 PM
73th Street and Broadway (7, E, F, R, G trains to 74th St/ Roosevelt)

We are writing to invite you and your organization to stand in unity and solidarity with the Great Walk Against Anti Women Laws in Iran's Islamic Republic in Europe on International Women's Day 2006. Here in New York City we will be rallying and marching in Jackson Heights, Queens on Wednesday, March 8, in support of the Great Walk in Europe.

We invite you to show your solidarity with this event by endorsing, helping to organize for the march and rally, writing a statement of solidarity, donate and fundraise, inviting others to participate, etc. If you are holding another event for International Women's Day please read the statement there and distribute copies of it at your event.

Please get in touch with us as soon as possible at (917) 553-4704 or via email at iwdsolidarity2006nyc@yahoo.com. Also please visit the websites on the events in Europe at www.8mars.com and www.karzar-zanan.com, and the NYC event website at www.iwdsolidarity2006nyc.blogspot.com . We will list endorsers on this website.

Below is a statement from 8 March Women’s Organization (Iranian – Afghanistani), an oirganizer of the March in Europe

On the occasion of 8th March 2006

This year we are celebrating international women’s day with a difference. We are coming together from many countries all over the world and travelling from Germany to The Netherlands. We have fought against anti-women Islamic Republic laws for more than a quarter of a century. Now, we, the Iranian women, are ready to take on the struggle for the liberation of the Iranian people. And we call on you to join us in this.

For over 27 years, the regime has turned life in Iran into hell-on-earth for women. Daily, thousands of women have been publicly lashed, for the crime of “inadequate veil”. Hundreds of women have been stoned to death for adultery. Any talk of women’s right to divorce weakens Sharia (Islamic Law). But women have always been resisting these laws and have now become a serious force of opposition.

Today with Bush and Co. beating louder than ever on the drums of war with Iran, and with the Iranian government hiding behind anti-American slogans, raising our independent voice of struggle is ever more important. The US and its European allies try to use Iran’s terrorist and nuclear threat as a pretext to turn Iran into another Iraq. But we have not forgotten that the terrorists ruling Iran were imposed on us by those very terrorist-breeders. We have not forgotten the consenting silence of the Western governments and their oh-so-democratic media, when Khomeini was executing the voices of revolution and freedom. We remember too, that when Iranian women were facing insult, blade, acid and lash to assert our right to chose what to wear, the western statesmen and media prevented our cries from reaching the world. They excused themselves by condoning it as part of lranian culture. Meanwhile, economic and military contracts were being signed behind closed doors.

Today the Bush regime and their European allies, on the one hand, and the Islamic Republic, on the other, try to convince everyone that we have to choose between neo-liberal slavery and Islamic fundamentalism. But we know that these two are not mutually exclusive and we have seen them cohabit. We boldly declare that we do not need “saviours” like the invaders of Afghanistan and Iraq. We know that another world is possible and that we cannot get there with the help of the oppressors.

The women of Iran are standing up and challenging one of the most oppressive and anti-women regimes of our times.

Join us, stand with us, so that the world can see that we are not alone in our struggle against the anti-women laws of a medieval regime.

Join us, because our victory for equality is a step forward in the women of the world’s struggle against oppression and for equality.

Join us, because only together can we walk towards a world without oppression or exploitation.

8 March Women’s Organization (Iranian – Afghanistani)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Another excerpt from The New Situation & the Great Challenges

http://rwor.org/a/036/avakian-new-situation-great-challenges.htm


THE FUNDAMENTAL ANSWER TO RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM

The same basic limitations can be seen in the book The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong, which I understand is now a big seller in the U.S. ever since September 11. This is another person who, from a quasi-materialist and quasi-religious standpoint, is trying to analyze some of these same contradictions. In particular the book is about religious fundamentalism within the three main monotheistic religions in the world: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. So it's very relevant and important in terms of the present situation. It does have a lot of insightful analysis of what gives rise to these fundamentalist movements, in particular the ways in which certain dislocations in the situation of masses of people in various countries and regions—and ways in which they feel their traditional way of life and values are acutely threatened and undermined—give rise to this impulse toward fundamentalism and enable the organized fundamental forces to have much more of a hearing and to mobilize much more of a base. There is a lot to be learned from her analysis.

She does recognize and emphasize—and analyze to some depth—the point that modernity came through a very wrenching process in "the West." It was not a smooth, easy transition. It was wrenching, involving war and revolution and repeated upheavals: this is the process that has led to the kind of modern secular society that—at least at this point—characterizes the U.S. and other "advanced capitalist" countries. And, at least as importantly, Armstrong analyzes much of the way that modernity (or modernization) has presented itself to most of the Third World—as something imposed by, first of all, colonialism and imperialism and, linked with that, corrupt and repressive ruling cliques within these countries themselves (basically comprador forces dependent on and serving imperialism). As Armstrong presents it, these regimes (and the colonial-imperialist powers behind them) do not have, and have not created, an internal basis in these countries for modernization.

But the point she doesn't really, or fully, recognize is that the reason they don't have—and cannot create—a material basis for this is because of the system and class interests that they represent. In contrast, if you look at the history of the Chinese revolution, for example, both politically and ideologically as well as in their material economic and social conditions, masses of people were sprung free to a very large degree from tradition and tradition's chains by a bottom-up revolutionary process, guided by a communist vanguard and communist ideology. This is what is represented by MLM and the forces of proletarian revolution and the international communist movement—which can transform things in a profound way, in a radically different way than the bourgeoisie and the imperialists can impose change from the top down (even in the limited and distorted way that they seek to make social change within these countries).

The achievement of a secular society can be much more thoroughly and fully achieved by the proletarian revolution coming from the bottom up than it ever can be—or even is sought to be—by the bourgeoisie and the imperialists. And the things that drive these dislocated and uprooted masses (and also many among the more traditionally exploited and oppressed peasants and other basic masses) toward the fundamentalists—the underlying material transformations and accompanying social upheavals—can also be much more strategically and powerfully the basis for the proletariat to mobilize the masses in a revolution guided by communist ideology and leading to socialism and ultimately communism worldwide (even if, in the Third World generally, this proceeds first through a stage of new-democratic revolution against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism linked to imperialism). But, again, to bring this about there is a great deal of work to do, including in the realm of theory and, more specifically, analysis (and synthesis) of these profound material transformations and social upheavals in much of the Third World and their political and strategic implications for the revolutionary process. In this there is much that can and should be learned from some of these analyses that are made from a bourgeois (or bourgeois-democratic) standpoint, but they need to be recast and re-synthesized.

With regard to both some things to learn from, but also criticisms that must be made of, the analysis in Armstrong's book The Battle For God (and, in some different aspects, Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" article in Foreign Affairs) one way we can encapsulate an essential point is this: Only a society that has completely uprooted and abolished exploitation and oppression can be a completely secular society. And achieving our ultimate objective of bringing into being a society, and a world, in which all exploitation and oppression has in fact been fully and finally uprooted has to include not just economic, social, and political transformation but also a revolution in the ideological sphere, where the masses are won to and actively take up not only secularism in some general (or partial) sense but a thoroughgoingly scientific and revolutionary, critical and creative outlook, namely MLM and its continuing development.

Some excerpts from The New Situation and the Great Challenges by Bob Avakian

Following are just a few excerpts from a major work by Bob Avakian entitled: New Situation and the Great Challenges by Bob Avakian.

We recommend you read the whole piece at http://rwor.org/a/036/avakian-new-situation-great-challenges.htm.

"THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS"

One of the things that has been talked about by various intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals (and even "leftists" or pseudo-leftists) in the imperialist camp is this whole "clash of civilizations" point. Back in 1993, Samuel Huntington wrote an article in Foreign Affairs magazine with that title, "The Clash of Civilizations." While Huntington's article is written from the point of view of justifying and furthering U.S. imperial domination, there are some things in this article that are somewhat prescient, far seeing, in terms of predicting ways in which world contradictions would get expressed which are actually being borne out in certain aspects now—including the conflict between what he described as Central Asia and the arc that includes the countries where Islam is the dominant religion, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the West as represented particularly by the U.S.

At one point in this article, Huntington makes the statement that a Western (bourgeois) intellectual and a Soviet Marxist could have a debate, they could find common ground for debate, whereas it is very hard for either of them to do that with an Islamic fundamentalist. Despite the fact that Christian fundamentalists in the U.S. could find a lot in common with the Islamic fundamentalists on many ideological questions, there may actually be an aspect of truth to Huntington's point. But Huntington's approach here also reveals some of the essential flaws in his overall methodology. Among other things, it reflects the error of detaching ideological questions from underlying material factors.

Within all the countries and all these regions of the world, there are different class forces, with different and conflicting class interests—there is not one large, amorphous bunch of people who, while they may be divided into classes, have this overriding commonality with people of the same Islamic or Hindu or Christian civilization, etc. There are very acute class contradictions within all these countries and regions (and "civilizations"); and, as I've pointed to in my writings, even before September 11, some of the ways in which these underlying material and social factors are finding expression right now are not actually in line with the real objective class and social interests of the people involved.

Masses of people, particularly those who have been uprooted from the peasant countryside and thrown into the urban shantytowns, for example, have sought out many different solutions—some of which do, but some of which do not, correspond to their real interests. In some cases, they've sought out, or been attracted to, MLM. But in other situations, especially where the MLM forces have been weak and other forces such as religious fundamentalists have been stronger, masses of people have, in the short term, gravitated toward religious fundamentalist movements in various places. In Iran, even in Turkey (which is regarded as and has a certain history as one of the more secular of the "Islamic countries") and certainly in countries like Egypt and other places, there has been this phenomenon of masses being drawn to Islamic fundamentalism. But, in the more profound and ultimate sense, this doesn't override, nor certainly eliminate, the actual material situation and actual objective interests of these masses.
Obviously, the challenge for the MLM vanguards in these areas, and throughout the world, is to transform this situation—which means we do need to dig into it more fully. We need to do more than just go back to the basics of MLM, or even just to go back to the basics and then try to creatively apply them in all these different places. While we must remain firm in certain bedrock principles of MLM—and apply them creatively, not dogmatically—at the same time we actually need to do some work theoretically and in terms of analysis (and synthesis) to more deeply grasp what's going on with this whole massive "demographic upheaval" in these countries, with the uprooting of masses of the peasantry, with the transformation of much of the peasantry into a sort of shantytown semi-proletariat. There is a lot of work to be done. This challenge is being taken up by the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), including our Party, and other communist forces, but there is much more that needs to be done. While maintaining our fundamental orientation with regard to the different revolutionary roads in the two different types of countries (imperialist countries and the oppressed countries of the Third World), and while continuing to recognize the fundamental importance of the road of protracted people's war to surround the cities from the countryside in the Third World generally (as discussed in our Party's Draft Programme), we need to understand the tactical and even in certain aspects the strategic implications of these major transformations going on in many countries, particularly countries of the Third World.

We need to confront and "engage" reality. What is driving masses of people in many countries into the arms of these religious fundamentalists? What are the underlying material as well as the political and ideological factors? What failures or shortcomings of secular forces, including Marxist forces, have contributed to this in what ways, and how do we learn to overcome this? How do we address the material but also the political and ideological concerns of the people? What are the factors that are favorable and must be built on in dealing with this? These are tremendous challenges confronting our movement internationally to which we all, including our Party, have to contribute as much as we possibly can and in the various ways that we can. But things are not as Samuel Huntington presents them. There are some things to learn from his analysis, certain ways in which it's insightful and prescient, but there are also definite limitations, class blinders and biases that are incorporated in it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Latest Flyer for the March Against Anti-Women Legislation in Iran!

This is the latest flyer from March Against Anti-Women Legislation in Iran

http://www.karzar-zanan.com/english5.html


Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are gathered here to voice the protest of millions of Iranian women against the reactionary government of Iran’s Islamic regime.

We are here to voice our objections to the medieval laws which are dominating the life of women in Iran and the vast majority of women in Middle Eastern and Asian countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

We have no presence in the Western mass Media; the only images you see from Iran are images of reactionary Islamists making bombs, images of people presumed to be either terrorists or members of Hezbollah.

We are here to inform you that these are false images of people from our country.

Women, in a country named Iran, are being suppressed and terrorized on a daily basis by Islamist rulers.

Women in our part of the world, along with the majority of the population despise these reactionary Islamist rulers.

We want to inform you that western governments deliberately hide our true images from you, because they are trying to convey the idea that we need an Imperialist invasion to "liberate" us!

In order to justify their military threats and possible invasions in countries like Iran they even claim they want to free women in those countries.

We are here to inform you that we are fighting Islamist reactionary forces ourselves and we do not need the "guardianship" of reactionary Imperialists; we do not need intervention of anti women governments like the United States and its European allies in our struggle.

We want you, the freedom loving women and men of the world to support our just struggle and join us in this protest.

We condemn the US military invasion of Iraq; we oppose military invasion and occupation under any pretext and excuse.

Organizing Meeting tonight Wednesday 3/1/06

PLEASE FORWARD ASAP

There is an organizing meeting tonight for the March and Rally in Solidairty with solidarity with the "Great Walk Against Anti Women Laws in Iran's Islamic Republic" in Europe! PLease attend and let people know about it.

Space Untitled
Greene Street between Houston and Grand
7pm
Contact: Tel: (917) 553-4704
Email: iwdsolidarity2006nyc@yahoo.com

IWD Event NYC- Solidarity with the Great Walk Against Anti Women Laws in Iran's Islamic Republic"

Break the Chains!
Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!


Here in NYC, on March 8th, 2006, International Women's Day:

Stand in unity and solidarity with the "Great Walk Against Anti Women Laws in Iran's Islamic Republic" in Europe!

This week, starting March 4 in Frankfurt, Germany, women and men are marching through city centres and will rally at the Hague on March 8th. The call from the organizers of the European Great Walk (Campaign for the Abolition of All Misogynist, Gender-Based Legislation & Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran) starts with:

"If you are against death by stoning!
If you are against forced veiling!
If you are against the prosecution and imprisonment of women!
If you are against lashing a woman's body!
If you are against any form of patriarchy!
If you are against the medieval laws of Iran's Islamic Republic of Iran imposing inequality on women!-
Join the [European] great walk against anti-women laws in Iran's Islamic Republic on 8 March 2006!"


(European Great Walk: www.karzar-zanan.com, www.8mars.com)

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In New York on International Women's Day, March 8, we will bring together a multinational gathering of women, men and young people in solidarity with the Great Walk in Europe.

A future of Islamic Fundamentalism vs. the Bush regime's "McCrusades" is a brutal disaster for the world's women and people, and we cannot and will not accept it. Support those risking their lives to oppose barbaric Islamic fundamentalist laws and practices against women -- be part of bringing forward movements of women and people the world over to reject both deadly and crushing ruling orders, instead fighting for relations of equality between women and men, and against domination and plunder of the world's nations and countries by a handful of imperialist powers.

To those who still wonder whether George Bush and his regime can deliver some kind of liberation to the women and people of the Middle East or any corner of the globe -- as one of the Great Walk statements says: "The American government has declared that it seeks to liberate the women of the Middle East from the yoke of Islamic fundamentalism. This is a ridiculous claim that makes a mockery of real liberation and is an insult to the women of the Middle East. The march of events in Afghanistan and Iraq should have helped those who were taken in by these self-styled liberators of Middle Eastern women to realize how badly they were fooled. If anyone still believes that George Bush and his ilk are liberators of women, please talk to American women fighting to prevent him from taking away their right to abortion as well as against the efforts of the Christian fascists to dominate every aspect of the lives of women in the U.S. What George Bush is taking away from the women in the USA he will not deliver to women in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan or any other country."

Join with us in supporting the Great Walk in Europe. As their material states: "In this rally there is a place for all freedom-loving women and men, all political and progressive and revolutionary forces, who want equality between men and women in every aspect of life, a place for all those who oppose gender discrimination in any form." And: "Celebrate 8 March 2006 with us and help us to build the independent ranks of women against U.S. imperialism as well as the reactionary states governing these countries."

Wed, March 8th, 2006
March: 5:00 PM Starts at 83rd and Roosevelt Ave.
(7 train to 82st St.)
Rally: 6:30 PM 73th Street and Broadway
(7, E, F, R, G trains to 74th St/ Roosevelt)


Join up with us immediately!
Tel: (917) 553-4704

Email: iwdsolidarity2006nyc@yahoo.com
Website: http://iwdsolidarity2006nyc.blogspot.com

Break the Chains!
Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!