Iranian women revolted in mid-September against 43 years of gender, economic and religious suppression. Prompted by the police murder of Kurdish Mahsa Amini for wearing an “improper” headscarf, young women are leading a nationwide upsurge.
From the beginning of the Islamic theocracy in 1979, women were among the first to pour into the streets against Iran’s dictatorship, economic deprivation and official misogyny — in 2002, 2009, 2012, 2018–2020. Women and men of all ages today chant “Women! Life! Freedom!” and “Neither monarchy nor clergy,” making it clear what they want, and don’t want.
Oppressed, long-abused nationalities have quickly united with the protesters, and are being brutally targeted by the regime. In solidarity, other demonstrators flooded the streets chanting “Long live the Kurds, the Arabs, the Baluchis!” Students at universities, high schools, and even primary schools are being arrested, beaten, and killed.
Outraged workers have gone on strike, from teachers to truck drivers. Said a sugarcane union leader, “To have bread and freedom, let us not abandon the women of the revolution.” Iranian exiles organized huge demonstrations in Germany, Great Britain, France, and the U.S., which builds vital international attention and support.
This remarkably bonded rebellion demands a new government, freedom for political prisoners, wage increases, and gender equality.
Anti-capitalist politics and profound solidarity among the exploited are key to revolution, and women are central. Likewise, patriarchy cannot be defeated without routing class discrimination. Combatting the profit-driven system cannot succeed without defeating male supremacy. Iran’s upsurge is a beacon to all activists.