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(en) avtonom - "We are against all religions, including Islam": an interview with the Union of Anarchists of Iran and Afghanistan

Date Thu, 7 Mar 2019 07:03:30 +0200

We are accustomed to anarchism - a purely Western phenomenon. Unrest, riots and rebellions in the countries of the East are more associated with Islamists than with anti-authoritarian ideas. All this gives rise to a number of stereotypes about the inhabitants of the region. However, it turns out that anarchist groups even exist where American bombs fall and are executed for Facebook posts. Anarchist group "Pramen" (Belarus) interviewed the group "Union of anarchists of Iran and Afghanistan." We present it to your attention. ---- - Your group is called the Union of Anarchists of Iran and Afghanistan. What made you join forces precisely within the two countries? Geographical proximity? Lack of language barrier? Transparent borders? Common story?
"Since anarchism leads a policy against borders and states, in the case of Iran and Afghanistan it is important to remember that these are names of just two regions, and we do not justify the existence of borders and states, but on the contrary, we want our revolutionary demands to be universal and not were tied to a particular area. In general, the main reason is that comrades communicate in one language and cooperate within the two regions.

- In general, in Eastern Europe, we know little about Iran and Afghanistan. Public opinion is shaped by mainstream media. The main narrative is about Iran: nuclear program, sanctions and periodic riots. For Afghanistan: drug trafficking and war. But in reality we know very little about how workers live there. Could you tell us a little more about the socio-political realities?

- For Iran and Afghanistan, the anarchist movement is new, and is in the development stage. Over the past few years, more and more young people have come to anarchism. Also, although the feminist, anti-capitalist, labor, student movement, the movement for the rights of children and for the rights of refugees, the environmental movement, and the movement for the protection of animals have grown substantially - the anti-fascist movement remains very weak. There is no widespread anarchist movement in Afghanistan, but anarchism is growing there too. Religion and patriarchy are still a problem in Afghanistan, although the same problems exist in Iran, because the Islamic Republic considers its mission to spread oppression structures, but there is a part of society that consciously opposes it. The Islamic Republic upholds reactionary Islamic traditions, but there are people

- How did the anarchist movements emerge in Iran and Afghanistan, and what are their roots?

- The first anarchist publication in Farsi was made 42 years ago among the diaspora. In 1977, two years before the accession of the Islamic Republic to Iran, there were several anarchist publications outside Iran that were spread over several years. But since they were published only abroad, they did not exert any influence on the events in Iran. This continued until the resumption of anarchist students at the university in 2007. After 9 years, we organized outside the country in order to publish our information on blogs, on Facebook and other sources. Five years ago, three anarchist groups, one in Iran, one in Afghanistan, and Asr Anarshism (Iranian and Afghan diaspora comrades) created the Anarchist Union of Iran and Afghanistan. Soon after, anarchists from two more cities from Iran joined us,

- Please tell us about your group. We are interested in your activity, plans, organizational structure, and, of course, experience in overcoming repression.

"One of our campaigns concerns Soheil Arabi, an anarchist prisoner who was originally sentenced to death for Facebook posts. He has been in prison since 2013, and he was first sentenced to death, then to three years in 2014, after being revised for 2 years - in 2015. Soheyl should have been released a year ago, but he is still in prison and several times went on a hunger strike, which indicates severe reprisals against him. The Union of Anarchists of Iran and Afghanistan released a 5-part magazine called "The Suffering and Memory of Anarchists in Iran", which contains serious lessons from our struggle. We also have 44 pages in social networks.

Because of this, several of our fellow anarchists from the Union were imprisoned and tortured for their activism and struggle. Naturally, our activity in Iran and Afghanistan is not public, and therefore we cannot name everything that we do. But Iranian comrades are active in all the liberation movements of Iran. And just like everyone else, when they participate in demonstrations, they are persecuted, imprisoned and tortured. In most cases, the regime does not know that they are anarchists.

- What is your relationship with other political parties and organizations?

- From an anarchist point of view, political parties are illegitimate, and any hierarchical organization fighting for power is the enemy. But since the Islamic Republic holds the power in a criminal way, we have one enemy - the Islamic Republic, and, thus, we are not going against other opposition forces and parties.

- Have you ever heard about Belarus and the local political regime? What are your associations about this?

- About 1/5 Belarusians are still exposed to the Chernobyl tragedy of 1986. Belarus has an agreement with Ukraine on the exclusion zone. The strategic position of Belarus - to the north of Ukraine and to the west from Russia, can be very important. Since the declaration of independence from the USSR, Belarus has been a dictatorial regime for 25 years now. In general, due to censorship in the media information about Belarus is not enough. But analyzing the situation in Belarus, we can understand that there are many political prisoners, there are even those who were imprisoned for photographs. The Belarusian dictatorial regime is doomed to destruction, although it is supported by Russia. Solidarity with comrades fighting in Belarus!

- Your region is represented in the media as a region of incessant ethnic and religious conflicts. What is your position on Islam and Christianity? Do believers cut you off?

- The Middle East is not the only region suffering from ethnic, economic and religious problems. But the abundance of oil forces states to pedal these differences. We are against all religions, including Islam. At the moment, the most important tool for resolving these problems will be to pay attention to the self-organization of our communities, which we are doing intensively. One of the major problems for Iran and Afghanistan is the dehydration of the territories. For 40 years, the Islamic Republic has caused irreparable environmental damage to the country, and many of the lakes and rivers have dried up. Only 1.8% of Iran is in its natural form and is not experiencing an environmental crisis.

- Maybe you would like to add something?

- We would like to thank you for this interview. By the way, there is anarchist union in nine more countries, except for Afghanistan and Iran. A comrade from Morocco works with us and publishes articles in Arabic and Farsi on the Asr Anarshism website. We generally work with all languages. We hope this interview will be the beginning of our joint activity.

(The comrades did not provide a photo of the participants of their organization for security reasons).

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