Solidarity with the “Women, Life, Freedom” uprising in Iran: stop the crackdown – Statement

We note with grave concern that over 350 people (50 of whom are under 18) have been killed since September 16th in the Iranian state’s brutal crackdown on protests which erupted after the so-called “morality police” murdered a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Jina Amini, while in custody.

School and university students have been at the forefront of these protests with schoolgirls courageously leading protests defying sexist laws which deny them choice over what they can wear, despite beatings, mass arrests and killings. University campuses have been attacked and occupied by the regime’s security forces.

There have been strikes by oil and gas workers in solidarity with the uprising. This follows a rise in workers’ protests and strikes in response to declining living standards for ordinary people.

Iranian women have played a leading role in rejecting state interference in their social and private lives. The slogan of the uprising ‘’Women, Life, Freedom” is a popular demand for a better life for all, free from inequality, poverty and political/cultural repression.

Neoliberal reforms, systemic corruption, privatisation, precarious jobs and unemployment, combined with comprehensive and crippling economic sanctions imposed by Western governments have worsened conditions for ordinary Iranians by fuelling inflation, unemployment and shortages of medicine.

We stand in solidarity with the “Women, life, freedom” uprising in Iran and condemn the repressive actions of the Iranian regime. We also stand in solidarity with workers in Iran exercising their right to strike and organise without interference by the state, whether over political or social demands. We call on students and trade unionists around the world to do the same. We demand the immediate release of arrested protesters and trade unionists as well as other political prisoners in Iran.

We affirm our solidarity with refugees fleeing the Iranian regime’s crackdown, including Iranians outside Iran who have joined protests and who may not be able to return home.

We reject Islamophobia and oppose attempts to stoke up racism by claiming the Iranian regime’s repression is somehow representative of all Iranians.

The British government must ensure that Iranian refugees and immigrants are able to find safety here. We call on the University of Cambridge to offer practical support to current, and prospective Iranian students and staff who may be targeted by the Iranian regime for supporting the protests. This support includes, but is not limited to: waiving tuition fees, deadline extensions (including for those affected by internet blockages and disruption within Iran), counselling services support.

We call for international solidarity and reject calls for intervention by Western governments in Iran – we support the Iranian people’s right to decide for themselves how their society should be run. We note, however, that the widely used chant “Down with the dictator, whether the Supreme Leader or the Shah”, shows that many of those protesting are opposed to all forms of authoritarian rule.

We encourage our members to get involved with grassroots initiatives by academics and students in support of the movement for “Women, Life, Freedom” such as this one:

We will work with other unions and the SU to organise teach-in sessions to learn more about the revolutionary movement and uprising in Iran, and discuss how we can build trade union and student solidarity with those risking so much for freedom.

Cambridge UCU