Nedayeh Mardom - Issue #3
This is the third issue of the Afghan Iranian Youth Network. Enjoy and email us firstname.lastname@example.org for criticisms and comments.
WWW.AIYN.CA THE AFGHAN-IRANIAN YOUTH PRESS FEBRUARY 2010, ISSUE #3 NEDAYEH MARDOM Surging into DiSaSter: obama'S DoomeD troop Surge U.S. President Barak Obama promised the world change and hope; however as with most of his promises, he has disappointed a world that was hopeful for an American president not hell-bent on imperialist expansion. This especially applies to his policy decisions on Afghanistan. Obama approved a surge of 30,000 troops, totaling the U.S. military presence there to 100,000 and the total coalition military presence (including Canada's) to 140,000. Although the troop surge is already in motion due to widespread bipartisan support among both Democrats and Republicans, there are more and more voices coming out in opposition. Not only is the troop surge poised to fail militarily, the political strategy is also equally flawed. After having been engaged in Afghanistan for almost a decade, the imperialist powers must surely be aware that the foreign occupation of their country will never be welcomed or accepted by Afghans. This war of conquest is justified through the demonization of a people, who are described as a people that can't help themselves. Because of this, the Afghan people will have to endure increasing imperialist presence, along with increasing civilian causalities that are ignored by a corrupt Afghan government that is under direct American influence. With a U.S. led troop surge, civilian casualties will no doubt further increase (they've doubled the past year) and in by Navid Lal response this will give an excuse for Islamic Terrorists to recruit and increase their ranks. In reality, the occupation by their erstwhile masters is the best gift to Taliban and co. With such a disastrous and predictable outcome, what is then the purpose of this troop surge? To answer this question, one has to look at what an imperialist would have their eyes on these days: oil rich Iran. Once this troop surge ...continued on pg 3 by Farshad Azadian the movement in iran : reform or revolution? What many perceived as short-term turmoil in Iran is still moving forward; the people have now united as a force against the Islamic regime, rather than a force against the disputed election results cheering for Mousavi. The Iranian people have continued their demonstrations eight months after the first spark, but the demands of the masses who are truly risking their lives are being disregarded by political figures and by a lot of the Iranian diaspora. The political portfolio of Mousavi, the person whose name has been recognized as the future of the Green Movement, is not a very promising one. The gross exaggeration by some leading political analysts calling the contrast between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad like "day and night" is deluding. Mousavi was one of the pioneers of the Islamic regime and just like Ahmadinejad, he has dedicated himself to "Islam, the revolution and Imam Khameini's line". The current series of incarcerations and killings happening during Ahmadinejad's presidency are a d�j� vu of the occurrences which happened while Mousavi was prime minister. Although he is speaking against certain government actions and calling for the release of political prisoners, freedom of press and WorkerS, get organizeD! by Rashin Alizadeh permission for peaceful protests, he is not fully dismissing the system. In contrast, the people's outspoken resent against the regime is quite clear. Iranians are now demanding a secular government and the establishment of a true democracy. Reform, as the people have realized, is not the solution. Mousavi's presidency would not change the undemocratic position of the Supreme Leader or the discriminatory laws which are based on a single religion. Many people's solution to the current problems is support for foreign diplomatic interventions in Iran. This naive request is an open invitation for intervention, ignoring the fact that the international community, including the United Nations, are the sum of states that look to secure their own political and capital interests. The occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq are clear examples of the aims of the western capitalists. The United States' intervention in the Middle East gave them access for the building of the TransAfghanistan pipeline, carrying natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, into Pakistan and India. The Iraqi and Afghani people are being cheated out of their natural resources, and interference in Iran would have The Afghan-Iranian Youth Network Will Help Workers Organize Unions The Afghan-Iranian Youth Network believes that one of the central means of improving the conditions of working people, whether they be Afghan, Iranian or any other nationality, is through building of labour unions in our workplaces. Having a union is a first step to providing a means for workers to fight, as a collective, against their employers. It is self-evident to workers in all sectors of Canadian society that they are powerless in relation to their employers, that is, the terms of their employment are dictated by the bosses. The result is that workers are paid pennies in relation to the huge profits their employers take home. Harassment, underpayment, favoritism, workplace unsafety and intimidation are often the result of such a worker-owner relationship � as many of our readers can personally attest to. Building a union, that is, an organization of workers for the purpose of fighting for the interest of workers is the central means through which you can improve your living standards. Unions allow workers to bargain with their employers as a collective and to engage in forms of labour action, such as strikes, to force their employers to offer better terms of employment. It is a known fact that unionized workers are paid significantly higher than their non-unionized counterparts. On top of that, unionized workers often enjoy benefits, more secure working hours as well as a means to fight workplace abuses by managers and the bosses. In today's economy crisis, it is even more important for us workers to fight for better living standards. The upper class (or capitalists) have been making billions of dollars over the past decades while tossing us working people crumbs from the table. As the world economy collapses, at the fault of bankers and big business, workers are being expected to ...continued on pg 2 Unionized $17.31 89% 83% 77% Non-Unionized Average Part-Time Wages Women's Wages as Compared to Mens Pension Plans Dental Coverage $10.60 71% 33% 45% ...continued on pg 3 Source: Statistics Canada againSt a tiDe of oppreSSion, iranian Women StanD up! treatment of women. So in the eyes of the government, the Persian female rapper "Gogha" (translated into "uproar"), is committing a serious crime by speaking against the regime's oppressive treatment of women. For instance, in her song `A wind-up doll' she speaks as "the voice for thousands of suppressed women" who want both social and legal equality. Iran's statutes reflect Sharia law which promotes inequality between men and women. The government undermines a woman's independence when it prohibits her from engaging in certain professions by: Rashin Alizadeh After the alleged June 12th election rigging in Iran that brought Ahmadinejad back to power, the world witnessed an uprising of the Iranian people against the oppressive regime. The series of demonstrations in major cities, soon turned into mass protests against the government's oppressive policies and corruption. The people showed their objection to the regime's undemocratic institutions and actions, especially in regard to women and minorities. For example, In Iran it is illegal for a woman to sing solo. Her crime is all the more serious if she is expressing opposition to the regime's and legally binds a woman to require a man's approval for many of her decisions. Women are inferior to men under Iranian law, however this does not stop them from putting their lives in danger to struggle for change. In an oppressive system such as this one, Iranian working class women are especially vulnerable. They suffer the double exploitation of being workers and women. They hold jobs with little security and are victims of discrimination in the workforce because many employers are unwilling to abide by laws created to appease the country. Not only have eradication efforts been a complete failure here, but the cultivation of opium has more than tripled in recent years. It seems that the British are not only complacent, but somewhat, or perhaps even wholly involved in the export and trade of opium in the region. With strict border control in Iran, and a heavy military presence in the province itself, how else could so many smugglers be successful in their illicit business? It is very hard for any logical person to believe that the opium is smuggled out of the country without the help of military and government officials. The UN issued a report in 2009 detailing the worldwide effects of opium exported from Afghanistan. The report found that Afghan opium caters to fifteen million drug addicts worldwide, leading to the death of 100,000 people every year. These shocking statistics clearly exhibit the extent of the Afghan drug trade as virtually the sole source of the world's opium supply. The simple steps that could be taken by the ISAF forces to stem the growth and distribution of this drug would have far-reaching positive effects against drug abuse throughout the world. Unfortunately, the international coalition has exhibited no genuine interest in decreasing the supply of opium. The narcotics industry in Afghanistan is not only allowed to exist, but is actively supported by the military and government forces of the ISAF and the Afghan government. demands of women. So the female employees have a choice between no income, or giving up their rights. Therefore, the group with the strongest motivation to rebel, due to their lack of material interests within the current system, has to struggle to speak up. The oppressive institutions compel women to be obedient to those above them "before and under the law" according to the rule of (Islamic) law. We cannot change the past, but we have the ability to change the future. Ghogha and other women and men like her have the potential to change this oppressive system which thrives on suppressing society's most vulnerable--most of whom are women. part one of a SerieS: opium in afghaniStan Opium Production & International Trade by: Shafiqullah Aziz Continued from pg 1... WORKER'S ORGANIZE give up their hard-won wages, working hours or to even accepts layoffs. At the same time, the probusiness politicians of the Liberal and Conservative party have taken over 100 billion dollars of our tax money, out of our pockets, to bail out these fat cats. What is clear is that unless we begin to organize ourselves, and begin to fight for our interests, we are going to see our living standards as a whole greatly reduced. Building a union, here in Ontario, is quite straightforward but not necessarily easy. A union vote occurs once 40% of workers in a given workplace have signed union cards. This union vote, if a majority of workers vote in favor of a union, results in union certification. The Afghan-Iranian Youth Network is committed to helping workers unionize their workplaces, but the effort to win a union and to make it effective lies with workers themselves. If you are interested in setting up a union, begin talking to trusted workmates and get in touch with us at email@example.com or, by phone, at 647-204-5312. We will assist workers, of any nationality, by helping get union cards signed and by bringing our experiences from other union drives to the table. After eight years of occupation in Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has not been able to meet any of the mandates they had set out to accomplish in late 2001. These goals included the permanent defeat and dismantling of the Taliban, eradication of opium production, and establishing a democratic national government. Critically examining all of these aspects of the development of Afghanistan, it is easy to see that the ISAF, namely the US, UK and Canada, have not even begun to accomplish any of these goals. In fact, in many ways, NATO forces have often been the cause of the problems that Afghan people face every day. The growth and production of opium in the country has dramatically increased during the years after invasion. The international trade of the drug now yields a four billion dollar a year business, accounting for half of the country's GDP. Eradication efforts by the foreign occupiers have been largely unsuccessful. The US has admitted that their policies against opium production have failed because eradication efforts have only cut production by 3% and national opium production has increased by forty times its previous amount during Taliban rule. Helmand province, which is currently under occupation by the British military, has by far the highest production rate of opium in the ShorteneD & reprinteD The Afghan-Iranian Youth Network has come together around the following basic points, uniting our work as we move forward: � We are united in our opposition to the Islamic dictatorship ruling over Iran. Furthermore, we are firmly opposed to any type of foreign imperialism in Iran, particularly in the form of military aggression and economic destabilization. � We also express a fierce opposition to the imperialist occupation of Afghanistan by UN-mandated NATO forces, and as an organization based in Canada, we hope to play a particular role in exposing and challenging Canadian imperialism. While we support the resistance of Afghans, we make our opposition to the reactionary forces of political Islam clear. � We refuse to decide between foreign imperialism and reactionary Islamic forces back home, rather, we actively support the progressive movements in our countries. � We are determined to take up the issues that affect our Diasporic communities, as well as those of the broader working class people of Canada. We call on all youth to get active and organized within the network, and to become active in their communities, workplaces and schools. The Afghan-Iranian Youth Network and our publication, "Nedayeh Mardom", are grassroots initiatives. We need your involvement to continue to grow and to build a movement that can fight for a better society. Afghan-Iranian Youth Network layout editor editorial committee founDing Statement of the afghan-iranian Youth netWork PEDRAM MOSSALLANEJAD SHAFIQULLAH AZIZ FARSHAD AZADIAN REZA ESHTERAKI BAHAR JAVID writers RASHIN ALIZADEH NAVID LAL NILA ZAMENI ARMAN NOORY The Afghan-Iranian Youth Network is a grassroots youth initiative. The only way we can continue to grow is with your involvement. The paper is completely funded by members and supporters. To get involved with the paper, or to become a donor, please contact us by email at AfghanIranianYouth@Gmail.com PG. 2 ISSUE #3 FEBRUARY 2010 Continued from pg 1... OBAMA'S SURGE in Afghanistan is complete and if in the meantime the status quo is maintained in Iraq, then Iran would be flanked by almost 300,000 foreign soldiers. Clearly, the purpose of the war in Afghanistan and this troop surge is an expansion of the imperialist conquest of the greater Middle East. That is in fact what 133 of Canada's soldiers have died for, along with thousands of innocent Afghan civilians whose deaths are rarely reported in major Western media. We should demand a quick withdrawal of all Canadian and other forces, be they combat battalions or "peace guards". That will be the first step for progressive forces inside Afghanistan to be able to win the political battles and untie people against the internal reaction for a better Afghanistan in future. Continued from pg 1... REFORM/REVOLUTION the same outcome. Iran, with its rich resources and oil is a trophy prize; its geographical location, in between occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, makes it even more priceless. It is time that we realize that only the masses can bring about positive change because other states will only intervene when there are profits to be gained or interests to be preserved. Those who are aware of the need for revolutionizing the current government are jeopardizing their lives to advocate change in the country. As the movement's main driving force, students are protesting both on the streets as well as through boycotts of lectures and exams. The people now take every opportunity, including the commemoration of the death of political figures such as Montazeri and the Student Movement Day, to protest. The people no longer want a regime that suppresses democratic rights, that uses armoured vehicles purchased from China to shoot liquids at demonstrators to scatter protests, while their police forces protect pro-regime, government orchestrated demonstrations. Many Iranians are beginning to dismiss Mousavi because he is not the solution, but rather, a part of the problem. Furthermore, there have been workers' strikes, reports of police refusing to shoot at demonstrators, police stations being taken over by the people, as well as reports of plots for the takeover of the government-controlled media. This is the beginning of the end for the Islamic regime. It is time that the Iranian diaspora realizes, like the Iranian citizens have, that the power is in the hands of the people and not those of an international body or reformists such as Mousavi. The real agents of change are the masses in the country. their monstrous state machine aren't just going to back off and hand us the power themselves. We, the people of Iran, have to stand up and bring them down by force. This is fundamental point in understanding why revolution is necessary, and how non-violence actually perpetuates a system of organized violence. We must then understand revolution to be the most anti-violent form of struggle because it represents the will of the majority for the purpose of ending the violent rule of a minority. The revolution will march forward, will defend itself, will arm itself and will put an end to the violent rule of Islamic Republic. The Iranian masses and toilers will then have a chance to go toward a free and equal society when violence is no longer needed to uphold an unjust status quo and the rule of a minority. I hope that we can all understand the reasoning of our brave brothers and sisters who fight in the streets of Iran, and provide them with the genuine support they need. "non-violence" or the perpetuation of organizeD violence? Revolution is the most anti-violent form of struggle by: Reza Eshteraki Violence is one of the most ugly features of the world we live in. It exists in different forms but the most vicious and wicked part of it is engaged in by governments and states of the world who use their police, army and "legal system" to uphold the status quo. We have seen time and time again that whenever workers and people move to change the society, they are met with the harshest violence from their governments. This is by no means restricted to dictatorial and openly tyrannical governments, but also from a lot of "democratic" states too. Few weeks ago we saw that in Denmark, in what is supposed to be a "peaceful" democratic country, an intense crackdown by the police forces of the Danish government onto thousands of demonstrators who were asking the world leaders in Copenhagen to take measures towards ending the destruction of the planet. Historically in Canada policing bodies like the RCMP and the army have been used, among other things, to suppress workers who attempted to organize themselves through unions as to fight for decent living conditions. As this article goes to print, the "democratic" government of Stephen Harper is accused of torturing Afghan prisoners and is killing our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan every day. In Iran, violence has been part of a harsh reality for millions of Iranians in much of their contemporary history, under the monarchic and then Islamic government. Killing, torture, rape, and execution have been the weapons that this regime has used to uphold its illegitimate reign. How can one end this violence? How can we put an end to the use of force for the suppression and harming of human beings? To answer this question, we must first realize that if the state machine is being used to initiate violence, and that it is being perfected in this task every day, the only way to end it is to take this state away, by force, from those who intend to use it for violence. This is the only way to build a society in which violence is no longer needed to uphold the privileges of a few over the deprivation of millions. This is the essence of every revolution and it is exactly what can be witnessed in Iran right now. The Iranian revolution has targeted the most heinous source of violence, Khameini and his regime of Islamic tyranny. People are shouting "Death to Dictator" and "Death to the principle of Supreme Leadership" because they understand the source of the violence that has been inflicted upon them during the last three decades. What is particularly surprising, however, is that the people who say that they oppose violence, are the same people demanding that the Iranian people refrain from fighting the regime. When the movement initially began, some of these people used all their power to ask that the protest movement remain "contained" and ask people not to be "radicalized". When the people started shouting "Death to the Dictator", these "non-violence" advocates asked them not repeat it, and when in December 26th and 27th the heroic people started fighting back the regime thugs and goons, and occupying the sources of state violence (police and Basij stations, etc.), these same people trembled and criticized the movement for "going too far". If we want to put an end to a most violent regime like the Islamic Republic, we are compelled to bring it down with force. It is quite simple. Mullahs and regime officials with Iranian protesters attack police station in Tehran in June 2009 FEBUARY 2010 ISSUE #3 PG. 3 StuDentS anD Social change by: Nila Zameni Students have always been on the forefront of social change. Schools and post-secondary institutions are places that have traditionally fostered social and academic exchange and dialogue. The late sixties and seventies were important years for the student movement globally. All across the United States, students were protesting the Vietnam War and other U.S. policies such as on women's rights and civil rights. In France, the student riots provoked what could be known as the largest worker's general strike in the world, that pushed France to the brink of revolution and had a profound effect on the country's current social structures. The fall of South-African Apartheid was also aided through the involvement of students who pressured their own universities and governments to divest. Today, the political terrain has changed, yet the voices at the forefront of various important progressive struggles are often largely students. In the last decade we have seen neo-Liberal policies catch up with schools in Europe, igniting a worldwide campaign against tuition fees. Similar to the international solidarity movement against apartheid South Africa, students today are connected to a similar movement providing solidarity with the Palestinian people's struggle against occupation. In Iran, it has been students who have been the loudest and most critical voice against the Islamic Regime, and sadly, often the martyrs of the current uprising. Here in Toronto, student activity has been alive and growing in the face of mounting societal inequalities. The Canadian Federation of Students, the largest Canadian student advocacy group in Canada representing over half a million students, has worked primarily on issues of access to education, but has not hesitated to advocate campaigns on women's rights, First Nations rights, homophobia, ableism, racism, and connecting these issues to access to education. They have been successful in winning a national student grants program, securing discounted transit fares in the GTA, and negotiating off campus work permits for international students. Across Canadian universities there is another organizational model that has also played a significant role in the student movement. Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) are student directed, levy funded organizations that appear on campuses across Canada. The activities of PIRGS include research and action taken on a diversity of issues including antiwar work, the environment, anti-racist activism and many other progressive issues taken on by students themselves. Grassroots initiatives have also been growing in the GTA to cater to the needs of marginalized communities, such as No One Is Illegal, which fights for people without status in Canada, The Toronto Women's Bookstore, a not-for-profit bookstore which hosts various community events and activities, and the Remix Project which offers youth interested in urban arts an opportunity to learn multimedia skills and build a portfolio. The Afghan Iranian Youth Network is just another example of an initiative taken on by student activists across the GTA to produce a news publication and raise political awareness on both local and global issues related to Iran, Afghanistan, and Canada. the miStake of hugo chavez anD variouS leftiStS Following the much controversial Iranian summer elections, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez was among the first in the international community to publically express support in what he viewed as the legitimate victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Chavez owes his democratically elected victories in Venezuela as a champion of progressive and pro-working class legislation and on the promise of extending those gains in a country where more than 80% live under the poverty line. On the other hand, the Islamic Republic is a theocratic state where electoral candidates must pass the judgment of unelected mullahs and where anti-worker legislation is fierce. In this resource wealthy country, 90% live in poverty � a huge regression from the Iranian people's aims during the 1979 revolution. The overthrow of the Shah in Iran saw a huge by: Arman Noory rise of labour involvement in the political process of the nation. The oil workers general strike brought the needed potential which weakened the dictatorship and readied the country for revolution to free itself from the yoke of American imperialism. Before the Islamic Republic consolidated power, millions of workers had joined established councils (shoras) to occupy factories and rid them of capitalist administration, and the mass peasantry had occupied land to farm and live off of. The Iranian revolution was betrayed when these gains were reversed by the further repressive Islamic Republic. The aims of Chavez' Bolivarian revolution and the actions of the Islamic Republic stand on two ideological opposites. Where Chavez has encouraged workers of his nation to occupy factories and establish councils, the Islamic Republic has replaced all worker councils with Islamic councils banning worker strikes and organisation. Where Chavez has encouraged the peasantry to take the land, the Islamic Republic has taken land won by the peasantry in the revolution and has given it back to the landowner. With so much ideological contradiction, the unity of these two nation states must be observed in how they both interact and react knowing full well their position in the global economy. As both are top oil-producers, and as both have had foreign overthrow of their respective democratically-elected governments (1953 Iran and 2002 Venezuela), there exists a legitimate resounding anti-American imperialist sentiment. With the two nations' prominent positions in OPEC (Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries) and their outspoken anti-American imperialism, the pair's dependence on one another has only come naturally. With the outcasting of the two in the international capitalist community, Chavez and Ahmadinejad's alliance has been tied on dependence of industry among themselves as a means to strengthen one another as well PG. 4 ISSUE #3 as the necessity of policy to undercut American imperialism. In the last year alone, Iran has started two cement factories in Bolivia, is producing 16,000 cars for Venezuelan roads and the two countries have started a joint bank of $200 million (USD) starting capital. As of 2006, the Iran-Venezuela trade volume hit $11 billion (USD) The alliance of Venezuela and the Islamic Republic therefore are not rooted on ideological grounds but rather one of a very unfortunate necessity for Venezuela. The words of Hugo Chavez in his unconditional support of Ahmadinejad will likely go down in history as a move that betrayed not only the Iranian working class but also the aims of Chavez' own much supported Bolivarian Revolution. The legislation of Chavez in Venezuela is something that the Iranian people could benefit greatly off of. From his redistribution of oil wealth from the greedy claws of a wealthy minority to the needy hands of the impoverished majority, the occupation of factories by workers into cooperatives, and the return of land to the peasantry, he has proven to be an honest friend and ally of the working and the poor. Those in his country who support Chavez come from the same walks of life as those who have taken to Iranian streets to overthrow Ahmadinejad and the Islamic Republic. In judging the character of his mistake, we should not put Chavez in the same light that we would reserve for those which have directly interfered in Iranian politics such as the imperialists of America. Chavez has proven to be a friend of the working class and friends can make mistakes. American imperialism, on the other hand, has proven to still be the greatest enemy to the international working class and must be attacked for every mistake it makes. Had it not been for American intervention and imperialism, the Iranian people would not have had to meddle in decades of coups, dictatorships, revolution(s), theocracies and revolution(s) betrayed. FEBRUARY 2010 . . . . . . . " " ( ) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " " . . " . . " . . . " " . . " " " " . . "" . "" " " " " )... ( ." " . . " " . "" . " " . ) ( . "" . . ... , . . . . ) PIRG( . . " " )Remix Project( . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . � . . . . . . . . . ) ( . . ... ... ! . . : . . . . . firstname.lastname@example.org . )647(-204-5312 . . . . . . ) ( . . . : . . . " ." . . . . . . . . . . . . ( . ) . . . . . . . . . " " " " . . . ... . . : . . . . . . � � � � . . . " " . . . : AfghanIranianYouth@Gmail.com WWW.AIYN.CA . . . ... . . . . . . . : . . . . " " . . " " . . . . ) ( . ! . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . ) ( . ... $. $. :