Woman, Life, Freedom Charter of Minimum Demands of 20 Independent Trade Unions and Civic Organisations in Iran

Free and noble people of Iran!

On the 44th anniversary of the 1979 revolution, the country’s economic, political, and social structures have fallen into such depths of crisis and disarray that it is impossible to imagine any clear and realisable prospect of resolution within the framework of the current political superstructure.

As a result, the oppressed people of Iran, the women and young people demanding freedom and equality, have transformed streets across the country at extraordinary risk to themselves into the scene of a historic, pivotal battle to end the prevailing inhumane circumstances. Over the course of the past five months, despite bloody state repression, they have not stopped for an instant.

Today the banner of the revolutionary protests is raised by women, university students, high school students, teachers, workers, justice seekers, artists, queers, writers, and all the oppressed peoples in Iran. This banner is being raised across the country, from Kurdistan to Sistan and Baluchestan, and attracting unprecedented international support. This is a protest against misogyny and femicide, and sex-based discrimination, interminable economic insecurity, the bondage of the labour force, poverty and misery and class oppression, and persecution along national and religious lines. It is a revolution against all the forms of religious or non-religious dictatorship and despotism, inflicted upon the people of Iran.

These transformative protests emerged from widespread and progressive social movements and the uprising of an undefeatable generation determined to bring an end to a century-long history of backwardness and the marginalisation of the dream for a modern, free, and prosperous Iranian society.

After the two great revolutions in modern Iranian history, it is now the prevalent progressive social movements, such as the labour movement, the teachers’ and pensioners’ movements, the movement of equality-seeking women, students, youth, the movement to abolish the death penalty, and others, which are now in a historically significant position to shape the formation of political, economic and social institutions of the nation from the grassroots.

As such, this movement aims to bring an end to the imposition of power from above and to initiate a social, progressive and humane revolution for the liberation of the people from all forms of oppression, discrimination, exploitation, and dictatorship.

We independent trade union and civic organisations and institutions have signed this Charter, with a focus on the unity and solidarity of social and labour movements, and thus have formulated our minimum demands. We focus on the struggle that aims to end the existing inhumane and destructive conditions, which dominated the daily realities of the people of Iran. We consider the realisation of the minimum demands below to constitute the primary directives and outcomes of the people’s revolutionary protests, as well as the sole way to establish a new, modern, humane society in the country. We ask all those committed to freedom, equality and liberation to raise the banner of these minimum demands and spread it from the factory and university to schools and neighbourhoods as well as globally. Our demands are as follows:

1. The immediate and unconditional freedom of all political prisoners, the decriminalisation of political, labour and civic activism. All those who took part in the repression of people’s protests  must face immediate prosecution.

2. Unconditional freedom of belief, expression and thought, freedom of the press, political parties and local and national labour and grassroots groups, freedom to organise, strike and demonstrate, and freedom of social media, as well as audio-visual media.

3. An immediate abolition of execution, retribution, and banning all forms of psychological and physical torture.

4. The immediate declaration of full equality between women and men in all political, economic, social, cultural and family spheres; the unconditional abolition of laws and forms of discrimination based on gender and sexual orientations and identity, official recognition of the LGBTQIA+ community, decriminalisation of all sexual orientations and identities, and unconditional adherence to women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies and affairs, and the prohibition of enforcement of patriarchal control over their bodies.

5. Religion is a private matter for individuals and must not play a role in the country’s political, economic, social and cultural decisions and laws.

6. Workers’ safety, job security, and immediate wage increases for workers, teachers, employees and all active and retired workers with the presence, involvement and agreement of representatives chosen by their independent nationwide organisations.

7. The abolition of laws and all treatments based on discrimination and oppression along national and religious lines, and the creation of an appropriate infrastructure to support the just and equal distribution of state resources for cultural and artistic growth in all parts of the country, in addition to the creation of necessary and equal facilities for teaching and learning all of the languages present in Iranian society.

8. The dissolution of all repressive apparatus, limitation of the powers of government, and the continuous and direct involvement of the people in the handling of the nation’s affairs through local and national councils. The right to impeach and remove governmental and non-governmental office holders at any time must be a basic right of the electorate.

9. Confiscation of the assets of the natural and juridical persons and governmental, semi-governmental and private entities which have pillaged the shared assets and wealth of the people of Iran either directly or indirectly. The proceeds of these confiscations must immediately go towards the modernisation and reconstruction of the educational system, pension funds, the environment and for sustaining the needs of those pushed to poverty under the Islamic and the previous monarchist regimes.

10. An end to environmental degradation, the implementation of decisive policies to revive environmental assets damaged over the past century, and the restitution to the public of all natural areas (including fields, beaches, forests and foothills) of which privatisation has deprived the public of their rights to them.

11. The banning of child labour and guarantees for the livelihoods and education of children regardless of their family’s economic and social status. The creation of universal welfare through robust unemployment insurance and social security for all working adults and those unable to work. Free education and healthcare for all people.

12. The normalisation of foreign relations at the highest levels with all countries worldwide, on the basis of mutual respect and equitable relations. Prohibition of nuclear weapons and striving for global peace.

In our view, these minimum demands can be immediately achieved with Iran’s current and potential rich natural and other resources, its aware, capable people, and a generation of youth and teenagers highly determined to enjoy free, happy, and prosperous lives.

The demands set out in this charter represent the main themes of our demands, the signatories to this charter, and we will address them in more detail as we continue our struggle and solidarity.

– Coordination Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations
– The Free Union of Iranian Workers (@AzadEttehad)
– Union of University Organisations of United Students
– Defenders of Human Rights Centre
– Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Union
– Organising Council for Contract Oil Workers’ Protests
– House of Teachers of Iran (Khaafa)
– Bidarzani
– Voice of Iranian Women
– Independent Voice of the Ahvaz Steel National Group
– Defenders of Workers’ Rights Centre (@kanoonmodafean)
– Trade Association of Kermanshah Electrical and Metal Workers
– Coordinating Committee for Assistance in Creating Workers’ Organisations
– Union of Retirees
– Iran Retirees’ Council
– Organisation of Progressive University Students
– Council of Freethinking Students of Iran
– Alborz Province Painters’ Union
– Committee for the Pursuit of Creating Workers’ Organisations of Iran
– Council of Retirees of the Social Security Administration (Basta)