The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Long Live the Struggle for Women’s Freedom!

Sep 26, 2022

This article is translated from the September 23 issue #2825 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group of that name active in France.

On September 19, demonstrations broke out anew in Iran protesting against the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini. The morality police had arrested her six days earlier for “wearing inappropriate clothes.” She died in the hospital on September 16.

Amini, 22, was admitted to the hospital in a coma the day after her arrest. Many Iranians have little doubt that police beatings killed her. Amini’s death triggered a real wave of anger against the regime and its auxiliary forces. Starting that Saturday, demonstrations attracted women and men by the thousands in many cities, including the capital Tehran. They denounced the authorities and even shouted, "Death to the Islamic Republic!" With their cellphones recording, women took off their headscarves—some burned them—and cut their hair short.

Police intervened by arresting several demonstrators and dispersing the crowds with clubs and tear gas. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, police fired live ammunition in some towns, which killed at least six people. But the wave of anger was such that Iran’s president had to promise an investigation. Iranian legislators saw the way the wind was blowing and made sure to denounce the morality police in the press—rather unusual for them!

The morality police are responsible for imposing heavy pressure on women—enforcing compulsory wearing of headscarves in public, and also prohibiting the wearing of coats above the knee, tight pants, jeans with holes in them, and brightly colored outfits. An Iranian woman posted a video in which she explains that from the age of 7, "If we don’t cover our hair, we won’t be able to go to school or find a job. We are fed up with this gender apartheid regime."

This religious pressure exerted against women is one of the tools which allow the Iranian regime to maintain its dictatorship—by mobilizing its troops and spreading fear throughout society.

This pressure hits all poor people and all workers. Support the demonstrating fighters who rely only on themselves and revolt courageously for their freedom and their dignity!