Category Archives: Solidarity

Workers Fund Iran supporters at the Hamburg Marathon

On May 22, ten supporters of Workers Fund Iran (nine men and one woman) took part in the Hamburg Marathon to raise money for the charity, which supports workers in Iran who are suffering from financial hardship.

The race started at nine am – and while the winner only needed two hours and nine minutes, our runners were slightly slower, finishing after between five hours and five hours 20 minutes. Not a bad result at all! All ten received a medal for participating.

The runners raised the magnificent sum of 745 Euros (653 Pounds) – and there is still time to donate by using Charity Choice’s website:

https://www.charitychoice.co.uk/donation.asp?ref=154051

But it wasn’t all hard work: our comrades had a chance to do some sightseeing, shopping and dining together. On the last evening they organised an informal roundtable discussion to debate issues around the nature of the Persian empire, multi-nationalism in Iran and the right of self-determination, the origins of religion and the impact of Islam on Iranian culture. Underlying all the debates was of course the need to organise and mobilise the working class in Iran.

There are many lessons from the Hamburg marathon that we can take to our next WFI intervention at the Berlin Marathon on September 25 2011.

For more info, go to http://hopoi.org/?p=1640

 

 

Workers Fund Iran at Hamburg Marathon 2011

Supporters of Workers Fund Iran will be pounding the streets in the Hamburg marathon on May 22. They will be getting their running shoes on to raise sponsorship money for the important and unique work of this charity – can you support them?

Workers Fund Iran (WFI) was founded in December 2005 inspired by suggestions from veteran Iranian labour activist Albert Sohrabian (1927-2004). WFI aims to reduce and relieve poverty amongst Iranian workers (both employed and unemployed). This results from both the economic policies of the Iranian regime and the sanctions imposed by other countries. The charity puts at the centre of its activities the drive to rebuild international working class solidarity, directly with the workers of Iran. The charity is an independent organisation. Funds sent to Iran will be distributed amongst the most needy working class families who are facing destitution, regardless of political affiliation. We hope the funds will stop families sending their children to the streets as beggars or peddlers and selling their body parts, which is a common practice.

You can sponsor us on line using Charity Choice’s website

https://www.charitychoice.co.uk/donation.asp?ref=154051

So far runners from England, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden and USA will participate to raise funds for this cause. You can show your support by wearing Workers Fund Iran T-shirt and walking with us. If you would like to run the half marathon or the marathon with us and support our cause please send us an email workersfund@gmail.com.

طرفداران صندوق کارگری ایران در ماراتون 22 ماه می 2011خیابان های هامبورگ را به لرزه در میاورند. آنها کفش های دو به پا میکنند تا برای اهداف بزرگ این موسسۀ خیریه پول جمع آوری کنند آیا شما میتوانید از آنها حمایت کنید؟

صندوق کارگری ایران، با الهام از پیشنهادات کارگرباسابقۀ ایرانی آلبرت سهرابیان (2004-1927) بنیان گذاشته شد. صندوق کارگری ایران بر آنست که فقر را در میان کارگران ایران کاهش و نهایتا از بین ببرد ( شاغل و غیر شاغل )، فقری که نتیجۀ سیاستهای اقتصادی دولت ایران و محاصرۀ اقتصادی توسط دولتهای دیگر است. این موسسۀ خیریه، طبقۀ کارگر ایران را بمثابه مرکزفعالیت و نیروی محرکه برای بازسازی همبستگی طبقۀ کارگرجهان قرار داده است. صندوق کارگری ایران موسسه ای است مستقل. وجوه ارسالی به ایران بدون توجه به وابستگی سیاسی کارگران در میان خانوداه های کارگری که در معرض فقر قرار دارند توزیع میشود. ما امیدواریم که صندوق کارگری بتواند مانع از تکدی کودکان در خیابان ها،اعتیاد آنها به مواد مخدر و یا فروش اعضاء بدن این کودکان شود، چیزی که هم اکنون در جریان است.

شما میتوانید از طریق اینترنت و سایت زیر ما را حمایت کنید https://www.charitychoice.co.uk/donation.asp?ref=154051

تا بحال دوندگانی از انگلستان، آمریکا، فرانسه، آلمان، ایتالیا و سوئد برای جمع آوری پول آمادۀ همکاری شده اند. شما میتوانید با پوشیدن زیرپوش صندوق کارگری و راهپیمائی با ما در هامبورگ حمایت خودتان را نشان دهید. چنانچه مایلید ماراتون یا نیمه ماراتون را با ما بدوید و حمایت خود را از اهداف صندوق کارگری نشان دهید لطفا با ایمیل زیر تماس بگیرید. workersfund@gmail.com

همبسته باد اتحاد کارگران ایران

در ماراتون هامبورگ 22 ماه مه 2011 با ما باشید

صندوق کارگری ایران



Imprisoned student activist in coma

Arash Sadeghi

According to the Daneshjoo News website, since the onset of Arash Sadeghi’s hunger strike on March 15, 2010 until the present, his physical condition has severely deteriorated. The effects of torture by government agents has been so severe that the student activist fell into a coma today, forcing the Evin prison officials to transfer him to Modarres hospital.

A few days ago, due to the tortures inflicted on Arash Sadeghi in ward 209 of Evin prison, his shoulder blade and ribs were broken. The prison guards refused to send Arash Sadeghi to the prison clinic. Instead, he was transferred to solitary confinement.

According to the Arash Sadeghi Facebook page, prison officials informed the Sadeghi family that their son passed out as a result of severe weakness.

In a phone conversation with Arash Sadeghi’s family members, security officials instructed them to not visit him in the hospital since it is not permitted. Nevertheless, Arash Sadeghi’s family still intended to go.

Translation by Persian2English

John McDonnell MP: Free Jafar Panahi and all political prisoners

John McDonnell MP launched the new campaign, ‘Free Jafar Panahi and all political prisoners in Iran’, at the February 12 annual conference of Hands Off the People of Iran. This is his speech:

This campaign is at the heart of Hopi’s work for the coming year. We formed Hopi at a time when there was a real danger of imminent attack on Iran, right after the war on Iraq. While opposing any imperialist attacks, we positioned ourselves in clear, active solidarity with the people of Iran who are fighting against their theocratic regime. That also led us to clearly oppose all sanctions on the country, because in our view that is just another form of imperialism attacking the people of Iran. I think we have successfully engaged others in that discussion.

It is clear that threat of a military attack and an invasion has still not gone. For example, you will have heard Tony Blair’s speech before the Chilcot enquiry. With his last words he effectively called on the imperialist powers to invade Iran. And, of course, we have seen the recent cyber-attacks on the country. The threat continues and the imperialists will not give up.

However, at the moment there is a certain quietude. Partially this has to do with other activities in their spheres of influence that the imperialists are anxious about, for example in Afghanistan. And there is an acceptance that, as long as the Iranian regime is quiet, ‘maybe we can turn a blind eye’. And that is why we have not had any major political leader in the west take on the question of Iranian political prisoners in a serious way. We have not heard any British politician in government raise the issue of Jafar Panahi, for example.

There is a certain acquiescence that the barbarity will go on and, as long as this barbarity in Iran does not affect the rest of the Middle East or the rest of the world, it is almost acceptable – very much in line with what goes on in other barbaric countries in that region. There is a real vacuum on the question of human rights in Iran, whereby those who look can easily discover the brutality of the executions, the hangings, the tortures, the arrests, the denials of human rights. But the media and mainstream politicians are not interested.

Just as Hopi had to stand up and put forward a principled position against war and against the theocratic regime, we now have to stand up and fight for the freedom of all political prisoners. The responsibility falls on our shoulders, because nobody else is doing it.

We are focusing on Jafar Panahi, because campaigns like this need a symbolic figure – in the same way that in the anti-apartheid campaigns we focused on Nelson Mandela, but, of course, we fought for the freedom of all political prisoners. By focusing on a well-known name like Jafar Panahi, we will be able to raise the campaign to a higher level.

We all have to set time and resources aside for this campaign and approach it in a systematic manner. Just like when we launched Hopi, we again have to focus on the union and labour movement, get articles in their journals and websites, organise for resolutions and fringe meetings at union conferences, and conduct discussions with MPs and political parties.

The parliamentary wing of Hopi, which includes myself, Jeremy Corbyn and a few others, will put forward early day motions and will try to lobby other MPs, including those who are now in government. We are also trying to organise some activities in parliament – for example, show some of Panahi’s films and get along intellectuals and artists to discuss the campaign and the issues. In other words, we will also run a parliamentary campaign.

Of course, we also need to mobilise artists and film makers to act in solidarity with Panahi. In addition to that, we also want to reach wider civil society and in that respect I think last year’s film showing in the Soho Theatre was a breakthrough, which attracted a whole new audience. We should also not shy away from engaging with religious groups, for example, who are working on human rights matters.

All the way through we have to discuss with these forces on how the theocratic regime can be got rid of. Clearly, this can only be achieved through the actions of the working people of Iran themselves. The only consistent force that can bring about long-term stability in a secular society is the workers’ movement.

That is a fairly extensive range of work. But we have done it before and I think we can do it again.

The situation in Egypt provides an ideal opportunity to raise these issues. I attended a demonstration in Trafalgar Square and, although the organisers had printed their placards only 24 hours earlier, they were already out of date and still contained the call for Mubarak to go. But this shows what is possible, how quickly things change and that this can also be achieved in Iran.

Only the people of Iran can bring down this regime. Our task is to assist them as best as we can. If our campaign brings just one release for one political prisoner, if just one prisoner can get some hope from a clipping about our activities smuggled into prison, then I think our campaign is already successful.

UK Students call for solidarity against the execution of Habibollah Latifi

From National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts

We the undersigned call for the release of, and dropping of all charges against, Iranian student Habibollah Latifi. This is urgent: Latifi’s execution was scheduled for 26 December 2010; it was postponed after international protests and after 300 supporters protesting outside the prison gates, but could be rescheduled at any time.

Latifi, who was a law student at Azad University in the south western province of Ilam, in Western Iran, was arrested in October 2007 and sentenced to death in July 2008 after being convicted of moharebeh (‘enmity against God’), a vaguely defined ‘crime’ for which the penalty is death. This was in connection with alleged activities on behalf of a Kurdish liberation group (Latifi is from Iran’s oppressed Kurdish minority; according to Amnesty International, sixteen Kurdish men and two women are on death row in Iran in connection with alleged ‘separatist’ activities).

On 26 December, members of his family including his father and sister were also arrested.

We call on the Iranian authorities to drop all charges against Habibollah Latifi and release him and his family. We will continue to make solidarity with Iranian student activists, who alongside workers have been at the forefront of the struggle for human rights and democracy in Iran.

Initial signatories:
Patrick Murphy, National Union of Teachers National Executive member and Leeds NUT Secretary
Olivia Bailey, National Union of Students Women’s Officer
Barnaby Raine, School and FE Students Against the Cuts
Sean Rillo Raczka, National Union of Students National Executive Committee and Birkbeck Students’ Union Chair
Alan Bailey, NUS Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Officer (Open Place)
Vicki Baars, NUS LGBT Officer (Women’s Place)
Claire Locke, London Metropolitan University SU Communications and Campaigns Officer
Louis Hartnoll, University of the Arts London SU President
Robyn Minogue, University of the Arts SU Education Officer
Wanda Canton, Queen Mary SU Women’s Officer
Katherine McMahon, Edinburgh University anti-cuts activist
Michael Chessum, NCAFC co-founder and UCL Union Education and Campaigns Officer
Daniel Lemberger Cooper, Royal Holloway Anti-Cuts Alliance and Save our services in Surrey
Bob Sutton, Merseyside Network Against Fees and Cuts
Tali Janner-Klausner, London NCAFC activist
Rowan Rheingans, Newcastle University anti-cuts activist
Jade Baker, University of Westminster SU Vice-President Education
Chris Marks, Hull University occupier

Help us to stop the Iranian state murdering Habibollah Latifi! Please add your name by emailingagainstfeesandcuts@gmail.com
We call on NUS and other student networks like the Education Activist Network to support the campaign and promote this statement.

Batting for Iranian workers

Kelly King congratulates everyone on a friendly match that raised a thousand pounds

This year’s solidarity cricket match between Hands Off the People of Iran and the Labour Representation Committee – a fund -raiser for the Workers Fund Iran charity – contained all the excitement you might expect from an August bank holiday: a torrential shower, a gallant but unavailing run chase by the LRC, and another CPGB member joining the ‘golden duck club’. Around 50 people attended the 32-over game last Sunday in Victoria Park, east London.

All the weather reports had predicted golden sunshine, but after captain John Sidwell won the toss Hopi went out to bat first under gloomy grey skies. Their youngest player, James Carruthers, a stalwart wicketkeeper aged just 15, opened the batting in partnership with Martin Jones. The partnership was not to last: a fast ball on target bowled by Mary Partington took the first wicket for the LRC, and James was replaced by Vic Marelic, dashing out to bat so quickly that he wore a child’s helmet over his sunglasses, and completely forgot his gloves. Martin Jones retired after his cool half-century, and anyone who attended last year’s match will be relieved that Ben Lewis stayed in well past the first ball, eventually notching up 43 runs before finding himself at the wrong end of a more than controversial lbw decision from the umpire, Weekly Worker editor Peter Manson. Sidwell and newcomer Luke Mackenzie went on to bat steadily until the darkening clouds opened around 2.30, and both teams retired – or rather raced off – with the spectators trying to stay dry under two small gazebos. It was clearly time for lunch.

Players and supporters tucked into their sausages, burgers and salad as they huddled together under the crowded awnings. Drinks sales shot up as the rain poured down. Special thanks go to Milly Morris for managing to keep the barbecues alight throughout the downpour, while her daughters, Iggy and Bella, showed off their lightning-fast arithmetic behind the busy bar for most of the day.

Eventually the rain slowed to a trickle and the two captains, John Sidwell and Sean McNeill, in consultation with umpire Manson, decreed that it was safe to continue. Hopi eventually reached 175 runs, despite the best efforts of LRC bowlers Partington, Rowan Kennedy, Andrew Fisher and Jim Gleeson. The LRC then came out to bat, and with them came the sunshine. Within half an hour all evidence of the storm was erased, as the outfield started to dry up and the skies turned blue.

It is worth noting that the LRC fielded a slim-line but extremely game team: several last-minute cancellations led to a desperate shortage of batsmen, meaning that some players had to bat twice and Hopi comrade James Turley came out for the other side at number nine wearing black trousers and shoes! Such lack of respect for cricketing decorum did not go unpunished by the gods, and he was bowled by Sidwell for a golden duck.

Pressure mounted as virtuoso bowlers Sidwell and (Martin’s brother) Gareth Jones bowled a series of unplayable deliveries, but Partington and McNeill put up the best partnership of the afternoon, and McNeill also provided the quote of the day after facing lethally slow bowler Frances Grahl: “I told myself I couldn’t get out to someone wearing denim hot pants!”

At the end of an exciting day, the LRC’s brave fight brought them 94 runs, but they couldn’t catch up with Hopi. Mary Partington and Martin Jones were declared player’s player by the respective teams, and Hopi would have been presented with a shield but for someone forgetting to pick it up from the engravers.

Summing up the day, Yassamine Mather reminded everybody of the serious political work that must continue after the beer and barbecue had been cleared away. She gave more bad news from a factory threatened with closure in Iran, and smilingly added that the workers had been pleased to hear about a cricket match played in London, despite their own critical situation.

This is the message we need to take away from Sunday: while we can congratulate ourselves on a fun and friendly match which raised around a thousand pounds for Workers Fund Iran (www.workersfund.org), we cannot walk away from the pitch, unstrap our pads and forget about Iran until next August. Cricketers and spectators – find out now what more you can do for Hopi.

LRC vs HOPI Annual Solidarity Cricket Match

Dear comrades,

We are writing to ask for your support for the second annual solidarity cricket match between Hands Off the People of Iran (Hopi) and the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) on Sunday August 29 2009 at 12 noon in Victoria Park, E9. The match is to raise money for Workers’ Fund Iran – a charity that is dedicated to raising much-needed funds for the inspiring struggles of the Iranian working class. These struggles have increased enormously in the recent period and been led by numerous sections of the workforce – from car workers to bus drivers, sugar cane workers to construction workers.

Last year we raised £1,500 and we are confident that we can get close to £2,000 this time around. These funds can certainly not match the funds raised for ‘regime change from above’ by the US and its allies, but they are absolutely crucial to our brothers and sisters in Iran and of great symbolic importance: their fight is our fight.

We have stepped up the plans for this year and are looking forward to more numbers, more fun and more funds being raised. But to take these steps forward we need your help! Can you?

-Play? Both male and female welcome players welcome so get in touch!
-Get your union branch/campaign/organisation to pass the draft motion?
-Help out on the day?
-Organise a stall for your union/campaign/organisation on the day?
-Provide a donation to help cover some of the costs we will incur during the day?
-Help to publicise the event amongst friends and on the internet or send a message of support for us to put up on our blog?
Yours against imperialist war and sanctions and in solidarity with the people of Iran,

John McDonnell MP Yassamine Mather
LRC Chair HOPI Chair

info[at]l-r-c.org.uk   office[at]hopoi.info
Andrew (LRC) – 07930 529828 Ben (HOPI) – 07792 282830

Web: www.hopivslrc2010.blogspot.com

Free Behzad Bagheri, Bahman Khodadadi and all political prisoners now!

Behzad Bagheri
Free Behzad Bagheri!

As we approach the anniversary of the mass demonstrations that shook the theocratic regime last year. The repressive security apparatus has stepped up their attacks and violence on opposition activists. The regime executed 13 people in Ghezel Hesar prison at the beginning of June in a warning to opposition activists that a repeat of last years uprising will not be tolerated. Dozens more activists and protesters are awaiting execution.

Even before the mass uprisings Hands Off the People of Iran was supporting left-wing student activists who were facing repression, arrest and violence by the security forces. You can see a video of Freedom and Equality Seeking Students members speaking in October 2008 here. The left-wing of the student movement in Iran has been one of the most politically advanced and therefore suffered greatly at the hands of the state repressive forces. At the end of last month Behzad Bagheri, a student at Tehran University and member of Freedom and Equality Seeking Students was arrested. His family have not been able to learn of his condition or charges and there has been no contact between Behzad and his family. He was previously arrested in 2007 with other left wing activists in 2007 for taking part in anti-militarist and ant-regime protests.

Free Mohammad Pourabdollah!
Free Mohammad Pourabdollah!

Earlier on 8th May Bahman Khodadi, another left-wing student was arrested along with other activists in Isfahan. This add to the already huge numbers of political prisoners including such as student leader Mohammad Pourabdollah who has been in prison since February 2008 after being arrested previously in February 2007, he has been kep it solitary confinement suffering torture and constant attacks by the prison authorities. Other political prisoners include the Bus Worker’s union leader Mansoor Osanloo.

The attempt to scare off the mass movement and to undermine the ability of the opposition to organise is being driven towards mass murder and detention. Our movement must call for the unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners.

You can help by getting your union branch, your political organisation or yourself and friends to spread the news of the ongoing repression to opposition activists in Iran. You can also help put pressure on the authorities by sending messages of protest calling for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Iran:

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
16 Prince´s Gate
London SW7 1PT

info@iran-embassy.org.uk

Embassy and the Consulate switchboard: 020 7225 3000

Fax (Embassy): 020 7589 4440

Save the Life of LGBT Activist Kiana Firouz

Kiana-Firouz-Cul-de-Sac1‘Iranian lesbian activist Kiana Firouz is currently seeking asylum in the United Kingdom after a controversy over the upcoming release of Cul de Sac. The film, which stars Firouz and includes explicit lesbian sex scenes, is based heavily on Firouz’s life and struggles as a lesbian in Iran. Directors Ramin Goudarzi-Nejad and Mahshad Torkan posted the trailer on YouTube in December 2009 (below, NSFW) and since then, the Iranian government has attempted to deport Firouz back to Iran to be tried and punished for her crime of homosexuality. Firouz applied for refugee status in the UK, but was rejected.

If she is not granted asylum in the UK, she will be sent back to Iran, where the minimum punishment for homosexuality is 100 lashes. The punishment for “unrepentant” homosexuality, which Firouz’s LGBTQ activism clearly demonstrates, is public execution by hanging.

To sign a petition asking for asylum in the UK endorsed by Firouz herself, click here: http://www.petitiononline.com/kianaf/petition.html

To see the trailer for Cul de Sac, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp-i-oeFdB4

Send a letter asking for amnesty for Firouz here:
Minister of State (Borders and Immigration) –
Home Office, 2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF
Fax: +44 870 336 9034

Secretary of State for the Home Department –
Home Office, 2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF
Fax: +44 20 7035 0900

A form letter can be found here: http://madikazemi.blogspot.com/2010/04/iranian-lesbian-makes-her-appeal.html’

From: Save the Life of LGBT Activist Kiana Firouz campaign

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