(The following document, which has recently been circulated in Iran, was sent to the editors by an Iranian writer with a request that it be published.)
Brave People of Iran!
Two years have passed since the courageous revolution of February 1979. Having suffered years of anguish and torture in the hands of a government established and supported by American imperialism, the oppressed masses of our country rose up and, turning the streets of our cities into trenches, fought valiantly against the despot. The song of freedom and independence was sung by the bleeding throats of our people.
People whose identity and existence had been trampled over by despotism and its institutions of coercion—the SAVAK, the police, and the parasitic army—people who lived under the most dismal conditions of oppression everywhere, from the factory and farm to government ministries, universities, and schools, demonstrated both their consciousness and ability in the struggle against despotism and for independence and freedom. Workers, peasants, civil servants, tradesmen, priests, university professors, school teachers, and students joined together in order to create a new society. The heroic strike of the oil workers squeezed the throats of multinational monopolies. The prisons were destroyed and the political prisoners joined the rising tide of the Iranian masses. The monarchy was shaken to its very foundations. Joining men, our women destroyed the institutions of tyranny and endeavored to find their rightful place in the building of a free, independent, and democratic Iran.
The oppressed nationalities of our country who had been deprived of their basic human rights during the Shah’s reign rose up with their demands for autonomy, beginning a political process aimed at promoting our country to higher levels of cultural consciousness. Our press became a mirror, reflecting the needs of our people. Worker councils in the factories lit the torch of liberation from the bondage of managers. The seeds of a new culture, splendidly dynamic and revolutionary, were planted in our schools by both the teachers and students. Our universities became the strongholds of our people’s unity and their political and social consciousness. It was predicted that very soon the obstacles separating the university from the society would be eliminated and our higher education would aim at solidifying the achievements of the revolution.
The fierce, upsurging wave that had picked out as its arch-enemy world imperialism led by the United States translated itself into an eloquent slogan, reverberating throughout the country and demanding that all reactionary and counterrevolutionary institutions be overthrown. The slogan said: “After the Shah, it’s America’s turn.”
Iran’s deprived masses knew that imperialism meant the sum of all the despotic, reactionary, and exploitationist policies that by their very nature ran contrary to the sovereignty of people. For them, imperialism meant the absence of workers’ and peasants’ councils; it meant the exploitation of workers and the consistent patterns of reproduction of relations of plunder and of alienation; it meant policies of repression at the universities; it meant the nonexistence of a progressive press; it meant the…
This is exclusive content for subscribers only.
Get unlimited access to The New York Review for just $1 an issue!
Continue reading this article, and thousands more from our archive, for the low introductory rate of just $1 an issue. Choose a Print, Digital, or All Access subscription.