AntiNote: The following is a speech delivered two months ago in the European Parliament by Haj-Ahmadi Rahman (PJAK) at the First International Conference on the Crisis in the Middle East, Iran and the Kurds.
We consider this speech of interest because of the evidence it provides of political cross-pollination across contexts among various branches of the not at all homogeneous Kurdish movement. We have published other material describing and comparing approaches to democratic self-administration and democratic confederalism in predominantly Kurdish areas of Syria and Turkey, but this is the first we heard of the phenomenon in Iran, where conflict and government repression in Kurdish-majority regions has also been escalating of late.
As with any of the testimony we present at Antidote, this speech should be understood as just that, testimony, and not as our endorsement of any particular party or perspective. That said, we do not distance ourselves from Haj-Ahmadi Rahman’s political proposals or their liberatory, collaborative spirit but rather declare our solidarity with Iranian Kurds and all people struggling under and against domination and deprivation.
4 June 2015
First of all, on behalf of the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), hello and warm regards to all conference participants. We hope that this conference will be used as a point of departure for dedicated activity.
As we hold this conference, a new political process is being developed in the Middle East, against the backdrop of what might be called the third world war. But against that backdrop, both crises and potential escape routes are becoming visible. As a consequence of conflicts among widely varying socio-political forces, a new Middle East is taking shape, for better or worse.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is quietly becoming a focal point in these red-hot transformations, as its own striving for regional dominance confronts and comingles with the interventionist policies of capitalist world powers as well as the broad spectrum of democratic movements in Iran itself.
I am waiting in the Zurich main station; my train is coming in ten minutes. Now a familiar sight: two police officers are walking directly towards me. After checking my ID, they start with the standard questions: “What are you doing in Switzerland? What do you want here? Why don’t you go back home?”
I answer that I have a permit, and a lawyer.
“Immanuel Wallerstein resonates in Iran because he not only combines all the great intellectual traditions of European and American social science, but he uses them to challenge the status quo.”
Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Listen to the full interview here.
AntiNote: On 1 February 2014, This is Hell! host Chuck Mertz talked with sociologist and writer Kevan Harris on a wide range of topics which have one essential thing in common: nobody else seems to be talking much about them.
“There’s not a nuclear weapons program. But that doesn’t stop anybody from using dog-whistle polemic.”
AntiNote: In keeping with our goal of amplifying the voices of those struggling against political repression and social domination, we have reprinted below an English translation of the manifesto issued today by 18 hungerstriking Iranian asylum-seekers in Bern, reacting in part to Switzerland’s easing of sanctions against the country they fled.
Their focus, understandably, is on human rights violations in Iran. We wish to call attention, however, to the refugees’ plight here in Switzerland, which they humbly relegate to point 2 of their demands.