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Charter of the Minimum Demands of Iran’s Independent Trade Unions and Civic Organizations (English)

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

Woman, Life, Freedom Charter of the Minimum Demands of Iran’s Independent Trade Unions and Civic Organizations Free and noble people of Iran! On this 44th anniversary of the 1979 revolution, our economic, political and social bonds as a country have fallen into such depth 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 – women and young people who demand freedom and equality – have, at extraordinary risk to themselves, transformed streets across the country into the scene of a historic, pivotal battle to end the prevailing inhumane circumstances. For the past five months, despite bloody state repression, they have not stopped for an instant. The banner of the revolutionary protests today raised by women, university students, high school students, teachers, workers, justice seekers, artists, queer people, writers and all oppressed Iranians across the country, from Kurdistan to Sistan and Baluchestan, attracting unprecedented international support, is a protest against misogyny and gender 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 and non-religious dictatorship foisted upon us, the collective people of Iran, for over a century. These transformative protests are the product of great and modern social movements and the uprising of a generation which refuse to accept defeat and are determined to bring an end to a century-long history of backwardness and the marginalisation of the dream of a modern, free and prosperous Iranian society. After the two great revolutions in modern Iranian history, it is now the major progressive social movements – the labour movement, the teachers’ and retiree movements, the movement for equality led by women, students and young people, the movement to abolish the death penalty, and others – which are now positioned to act along popular and grassroots lines and play a historic and deciding role in shaping the political, economic and social institutions of the nation. As such, this movement intends to forever end the imposition of power from above and touch off a societal, modern and humane revolution to free the people from all forms of oppression, discrimination, exploitation and dictatorship. We the trade and civic organisations and institutions who have signed this charter, with a focus on the unity and solidarity of social and labour movements, as well as on the fight to end the existing inhumane, destructive conditions, 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 the noble people whose hearts are committed to freedom, equality and liberation, to carry the banner of these minimum demands to the summits of the fight for freedom, from the factory and university to the schools and neighbourhoods and on the global stage. 1. The immediate and unconditional freedom of all political prisoners, the decriminalisation of political, labour and civic activism, and public prosecution of those who ordered and those who carried out the repression of grassroots protests. 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 end to the handing down and carrying out of sentences of death, execution and 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 respects; 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 prevention of acts of patriarchal control. 5. Religion is a private matter for individuals and must not play a role in the country’s political, economic, social and cultural destinies and laws. 6. Ensuring safe working conditions, secure employment 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 treatment based on discrimination and oppression along national and religious lines, and the creation of 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 organs of repression, 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 dismiss holders of all governmental and non-governmental offices at any time must be a basic right of electors. 9. Confiscation of the assets of the natural and legal persons and state, parastatal and private institutions which have pillaged the shared assets and wealth of the people of Iran either directly or through state rentierism. The proceeds of these confiscations must immediately go towards the modernisation and

reconstruction of the educational system, pension funds, the environment and those areas and segments of the Iranian public deprived and marginalised under the Islamic Republic and the regime of monarchy. 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) whose privatisation 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. Banning the acquisition of nuclear weapons and striving for global peace. In our view, these minimum demands can be immediately achieved with Iran’s current and potential underground resources, its conscious, capable people, and a generation of youth and teenagers highly motivated 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) Original translation by Paymon Azmoudeh (@paymonaz). Edits and changes in this text by Bahram Soroush (@bsoroush). February 15, 2023

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