The Feminist Resurrection and the Beginning of the End for the Regime
On September 16, 2022, Guidance Patrol police in Tehran murdered a 22-year-old woman; allegedly, she was not wearing the hijab in accordance with Iranian state policy. In response, people across Iran have taken to the streets for almost two weeks, confronting police and opening up spaces of ungovernable freedom. For many in Iran, it appears that a revolutionary process is underway.
Collaborating with Collective 98, an anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian group focused on struggles in Iran, we were able to interview Iranian and Kurdish feminists about the situation. Collective 98 derives its name from “Aban” 98, the uprising that spread across Iran in November 2019—year 1398 according to the Iranian calendar. In the following text, they explore the historical significance of this wave of revolt and the forces that set it in motion.
The woman whose death sparked this movement is known most widely as Mahsa Amini, thanks to news reporting and social media hashtags. In fact, her Kurdish name is Jina; this is the name by which she is known to her family, friends, and the whole of Kurdistan in Iran. Kurdish people in Iran—being an ethnic minority—often choose a Persian “second name” to conceal their Kurdish identity. In Kurdish, Jina means life, a political concept that appears in the slogan that Kurdish women have popularized in Kurdish parts of Turkey and Rojava since 2013, and which has become the central refrain of this cycle of struggles: Jin, Jian, Azadi [“women, life, freedom”].
From the revolt in Iran to the anti-war protests in Russia, from the defense of Exarchia to the student walkouts protesting anti-trans policies in the United States, resisting patriarchy is fundamental to confronting capitalism and the state. A victory in Iran would galvanize a host of similar struggles elsewhere around the world.
To keep up with developments in Iran, we recommend SarKhatism/ and Blackfishvoice on Telegram (both in Farsi) and the websites of the Slingers Collective and the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (both in English).
Jina means life: Jina Mahsa Amini.