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Woman, Life, Freedom Charter of the Fundamental Demands of Iran’s Independent Trade Unions and Civic

Updated: Feb 25, 2023


A translation of this charter from a collective of Iranian trade unions, student organizations, and civil society groups inside the country with their radically progressive demands for #IranRevolution.

Woman, Life, Freedom Charter of the Fundamental Demands of Iran’s Independent Trade Unions and Civic

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 realizable prospect of resolution within the framework of our current political structures.

On this basis, oppressed Iranians - 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 (and despite bloody state repression), they have not stopped for an instant.

The banner of revolutionary protest 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 Baluchistan, attracting unprecedented international support, is a protest against misogyny and gender discrimination, interminable economic instability, the bondage of the labor force, poverty and misery and class-based oppression, and persecution along national and religious lines.

It is a revolution against all the forms of religious and secular dictatorship foisted upon us, the collective people of Iran, for over a century.

These protests and this upheaval are the product of great and modern social movements and the uprising of a generation which refuses to accept defeat and is determined to bring an end to a century-long history of backwardness and the marginalization 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 labor movement, the teacher's 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 organizations and institutions who have signed this charter, with a focus on the unity and solidarity of social and labor movements as well as on the fight to end these inhumane, destructive conditions, consider the realization of these demands to constitute the foremost directives and outcomes of the people’s revolutionary protests, as well as the sole way to establish a new, modern, humane society in our country.

We ask all the noble people whose hearts are committed to freedom, equality, and liberation to carry the banner of these fundamental demands to the summits of the fight for freedom, from the factory and university to the schools and neighborhoods and on the global stage.

1. The immediate and unconditional freedom of all political prisoners, the decriminalization of political, labor, and civic activism, and transparent prosecutions of those who ordered and 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 labor and grassroots groups, freedom to organize, strike, and demonstrate, and freedom of social networks as well as audiovisual networks.

3. An immediate end to the handing down and carrying out of legal 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, decriminalization of all sexual orientations and identities, and unconditional adherence to women’s rights to make decisions for 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 legislation or outcomes.

6. Ensuring safe working conditions, stable employment, and immediate wage increases for workers, teachers, employees, and all active and retired laborers with the presence, involvement, and agreement of representatives chosen by their independent nationwide organizations.

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 the cultural and artistic growth of 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 institutions 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 modernization and reconstruction of the educational system, pension systems, the environment, and those areas and segments of the Iranian public marginalized under the Islamic Republic and the 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 privatization deprived the public of their rights to them.

11. The banning of child labor and guarantees for the livelihoods and education of children regardless of their family’s economic and social status. The creation of collective 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 normalization 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 fundamental 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 signatory organizations who put their names to this document include the:

- Coordination Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations - Independent Iranian Workers’ Union (IIWU) (@AzadEttehad) - Union of University Organizations of United Students - Defenders of Human Rights Center - Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Mill Labor Syndicate - Organizing Council for Contract Oil Workers’ Protests - House of Teachers of Iran (KHAFA) - Bidarzani - Voice of Iranian Women - Independent Voice of the Ahvaz Steel National Group - Defenders of Workers’ Rights Center (@kanoonmodafean) - Trade Association of Kermanshah Iron and Electrical Workers - Coordinating Committee for Assistance in Creating Workers’ Organizations - Union of Retirees - Iran Retirees’ Council - Organization of Progressive University Students - Council of Free-Thinking Students of Iran - Alborz Province Painters’ Syndicate - Committee for the Pursuit of Creating Workers’ Organizations of Iran - Council of Retirees of the Social Security Administration (BASTA)

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