The Execution Republic:
You Are the Ones Who Are the Thugs!
Stop the Execution of the People!

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From Atash/Fire #151, Journal of the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist

June 10, 2024

Misogynist Republic: We Will Bury the [Mandatory] Islamic Hijab Along with You!

Hail to the “Tuesday Hunger Strikes” by Political Prisoners

One execution every five hours! How can such a government be tolerated? Stop the regime’s cowardly attacks on the most impoverished people in society—executing their young people or locking them away in death camps. Stop the regime’s vicious attacks on courageous women who refuse to be slave 


Woman without headscarf in Iran defying security forces, October 11, 2022.    Credit: twitter

The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) is so debased that, when members of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) get killed in Syria [by U.S./Israel missile strikes], or when its executioner president was killed [in a helicopter crash], it takes revenge against the people.۱ This regime is so vile that it looks at Israel’s genocide in Gaza as an opportunity that offers greater freedom for them to intensify repression against women and to multiply the executions of political and non-political prisoners. These criminals foolishly think that now, with the world’s spotlights zoomed-in on Israel’s crimes in Gaza, they can easily take more lives of the most impoverished of our people. They see this as an opportunity to recoup some of the legitimacy lost during the Jina uprising,۲ when the hideous face and monstrous nature of this regime was nakedly on display—not only in the streets [of Iran], but on the global stage as well.

Every five hours the Islamic Republic of Execution kills one person. This is three times the number of young people of color killed by police on the streets of the United States, adjusted for the relative size of Iran’s population. Two hundred eleven people were executed between March 21 and May 15, 2024, according to the Iranian Human Rights Organization, who project that once all the facts become known, dozens more executions may cause this total to rise. Of the 211 people, more than 80 of them were executed between April 20 and May 7, when executions resumed after the Nowruz [Persian New Year] and Ramadan holiday hiatus. In a two-week period, April 20 to May 4, the Islamic Republic (IRI) executed one person every five hours.۳

This regime is faced with serious dilemmas and necessities, on many levels: it is being kicked around like a soccer ball by the imperialist powers competing to dominate the Middle East; it is faced with tens of millions of people [in Iran] who are angry about 45 years of brutal domination by organized religious ignorance, torture and execution; about misogyny, extreme and unprecedented poverty and unemployment; and about people sent to the gallows for exercising freedom of thought and expression. The regime has no other means to preserve its rule except imprisonment, hanging, and forcing artists and intellectuals opposed to the regime to flee the country (the most recent of these being [Mohammad] Rasoulof, the movie director).

The struggle to free the political prisoners is closely linked to the struggle against the execution of the impoverished youths of this society. Significantly, the Tuesday Hunger Strike campaign highlights this relationship. The campaign began on a January 29, 2024—a Tuesday—with a strike by ten prisoners in the Ghezel-Hesar prison in the city of Karaj to protest the executions. On Tuesday, May 21, the hunger strike entered its 17th week. [The hunger strike entered its 19th week on Tuesday, June 4.]

A large number of prisoners from different prisons in Iran have joined this strike campaign. Prisoners in Evin, Khorramabad, Central Karaj, Khoy, Naghadeh, Mashhad and in Saqqez prisons go on hunger strike each Tuesday to protest the death sentences given their fellow prisoners. They have issued many statements demanding a halt to the widespread execution of prisoners—who are put in  dark solitary confinement cells to await the IRI’s executioners’ noose, cut off from all contact or means of speaking out—and have demanded that all death sentences be revoked. One statement said, in part, “Our goal with the Black Tuesdays Campaign of weekly hunger strikes, was to publicly call attention to the significance of these executions, that they are state murder—a punishment that cannot be undone—and an instrument of repression and intimidation by the authoritarian minority that rules this country.”

This regime is holding a sharp knife to the throats of people from the most destitute sections of society. And, it tries to silence anyone who, like [rapper] Toomaj Salehi, gives voice to the exploited and oppressed in society. The political prisoners became political prisoners because they refuse to tolerate such a regime. This hunger strike sends a message to all of society that there are issues, beyond someone’s “own rights,” that must be fought for, because they represent [the interests] of all oppressed people. In addition, [this campaign] can make clear that, due to the socio-economic and political-ideological makeup of this system, the regime is inherently anti-people and all of its crimes—the accumulation of wealth by a handful of parasites while the majority of people are driven into poverty and despair, the suppression of women’s rights, the repression against freedom of speech among students and intellectuals, the destruction of the environment, seizing control over the lands and the lives of the peoples of Syria and Iraq—flow from the nature of this system.

Non-political prisoners are potentially part of the backbone forces for revolution, and many of them can become communist revolutionary fighters. The history of revolutionary struggle in Iran is full of such examples. In the course of the revolutionary struggle against the Shah’s regime, many young people who had been imprisoned for non-political crimes, or who had been addicts, were influenced by political prisoners, learned communist theory from them, and themselves became revolutionary intellectuals. That is, they not only learned these ideas, but they also took them to the basic masses and became hardcore for revolution. Fighting against repression by the forces of the IRI is not possible without fighting against the execution of these young people. Countering the repression of the masses is part of building a movement for revolution.

We need to grasp that repression is not a temporary condition. We are facing a thoroughly illegitimate regime which is forced to use repression [to stay in power]. It must keep tens of thousands of people in prison and execute them, in order to terrorize the whole of society. This viciousness can and must be stopped by rising up for the release of the political prisoners. Not only is this a necessity, there are important openings that make it possible to stop the repressive machinery of the IRI. The bloody suppression of [protests] in December 2017, the massacre [of protesters] in November 2019, and the six-month street battle by the people from September 2022 onwards [the Woman, Life, Freedom or Jina uprising] stripped this regime and its pathetic leader of all remaining “legitimacy,” and turned combating repression and fighting to free the political prisoners into a very important front in the people’s struggle against this regime.

Some key points about this struggle that should be highlighted:

One: In the struggle to free the political prisoners and against the execution of young people, we must proceed on the basis of self-reliance—relying on ourselves and on internationalist support by the people of the world. “Self-reliance” is a fundamental aspect of a political line that seeks to advance any struggle, and no such struggle can be carried out within the political framework set by the imperialists. The imperialists, themselves, have horrifying prisons. They train and equip brutal regimes, which are an inseparable part of the functioning of the global capitalist system. At best, the policy of looking to Saudi Arabia, Israel and other reactionary states in hopes that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is a bitter delusion. In reality, it spawns rabid paramilitary forces which, should they come to power, will take charge of the Islamic Republic’s repression, torture and prison system and its administrators and enforcers. This is what the IRI did when, in addition to taking over the Shah’s prisons and methods of torture and repression, they integrated into its regime the many experts in repression who had been trained in the prison and torture institutions of South Africa and Israel.

During the Jina uprising, right-wing opposition forces tried to bring the people’s struggle to overthrow the IRI into the West’s imperialist framework, and fueled widespread illusions among the people about this [strategy]. We must expose this putrid, reactionary ideological campaign to align with these powers—who are war criminals themselves that have torture sites in every corner of the globe. It must be challenged promptly, even if that makes the atmosphere heated and emotional, and be called out as what it is: the same reactionary path that has been taken by others before them! The decisive factor for victory in the struggle to free the political prisoners and to stop executions, is the quality of how that struggle gets waged.

Two: In this struggle, we must rely on the support of the people of the world and not on any of the various governments. In order to rely on the support of the people of the world, they must be drawn into the campaign to free the political prisoners and against the executions in Iran on the basis of its internationalist [principles and actions]. Because the imperialist capitalist system has woven together all the people of the world, internationalism has a very powerful material basis. What is happening in Iran, in the form of a rebellion against the IRI, is actually the cry of humanity. The sufferings experienced by the 80 million people of Iran held captive by the IRI flow from the workings of the world capitalist system that has produced countless varieties of similar suffering [worldwide].

Three: The regime carries out repression unevenly, aiming to “divide and conquer.” For example, it tries to unite the ethnic Persians and residents of the capital city [Tehran], or tries to win their “neutrality,” by making crackdowns on Baluch, Arab and Kurdish people even bloodier [than those in Tehran]. Or it deals “softly” with trade union movements and the economic demands of workers, retirees and teachers, at the same time as it crushes women who resist the compulsory hijab and breaks the bones of students, etc.

A broad alliance must be formed around breaking down prison doors, freeing these heroic birds [the political prisoners] and ending both political and non-political executions—a [campaign] that will turn both the incarceration of political prisoners AND every-five-hour executions into the emblem depicting the IRI, and the unending horror it brings to 80 million people in Iran. Such a social movement cannot and must not be confined to people who are “internal” to its demands, especially under present conditions. Wallowing in the identity politics of  [today’s] social movements—worker-ism, trade union-ism, nationality-ism, or any other form of identity—will limit and ultimately block any possibility of nationwide struggle against the criminality of the IRI.

Four: The role played by intellectuals, students and universities in various political initiatives, including the struggle to free political prisoners and stop executions, is currently very weak. Students should not be afraid to actually stand with the people and make their slogan, “We Stand Till the End,” a reality. Specifically, the struggle to free political prisoners and stop executions should become a major goal and campaign at universities and among students.

We must all recognize that uprisings subside, and it is when they ebb that the ruling reactionaries make a savage effort to drive out the new generation that has taken up the battle. In a “show of strength,” it chops up the bodies of some of the people, hoping to demoralize many others, to spread an atmosphere of capitulation, and to discourage people from continuing the fight. But we also must recognize that the regime is quite fragile, like a splintered ship—it may be ruthless but it has trouble cohering its forces. For [the future] society it is crucial that people secretly organize to carry forward resistance—the courageous resistance that, in the aftermath of the Jina uprising, has continued in various forms—and to bring forward a  truly determined and revolutionary force from within the belly of this repression.

[From revolutionary leader] Bob Avakian, on “Meeting, and Advancing in the Face of, Repression”: 

[A] final point on this question of repression: If work has been carried out correctly, not only in regard to this crucial dimension of confronting repression, and advancing through and in the face of repression, but overall in grasping and wielding the correct line, as powerfully as possible and to the maximum possible effect at every point; if, on the basis of this line, crucial breakthroughs and advances have been made in building a movement for revolution; then it is possible that a failed—or, we should say, defeated—attempt at repression of the masses and of revolutionary forces could even lead to, or could at least be a very significant factor in contributing to, a revolutionary crisis. This could happen if, in a larger sense and taking into account overall objective developments, things had reached a certain point in terms of the intensification of contradictions, while at the same time work had been carried out on the right basis, including on this front of combatting repression and learning to advance through and in the face of such repression. In any event, carrying forward all-around revolutionary work—and, as a crucial part of this, combatting and learning to advance through and in the face of heightening repression—will contribute to the eventual development of a revolutionary situation, and to the ability of the vanguard, and the masses rallying in growing numbers to its banner, to be in the best possible position to seize on such a situation and go all-out to win in those circumstances. And, on the other hand, without meeting this challenge, there will be no prospect and no chance of making revolution, even if the objective conditions became favorable for that. That’s just how crucial and how basic the terms and the stakes are.”
(Bob Avakian, Birds Cannot Give Birth to Crocodiles, But Humanity Can Soar Beyond the Horizon) [emphasis added by Atash/Fire journal]



۱. Ebrahim Raisi, who became president of Iran in 2022, died in a helicopter crash on May 19, 2024. [back]

۲.  The “Jina Uprising” was sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, known by her Kurdish name Jina, in the custody of Iran’s morality police, enforcing the compulsory hijab law, on September 16, 2022. Also called the Woman, Life, Freedom uprising, it was the most powerful uprising yet against the theocratic regime and the Dark Ages misogyny it enforces, lasting about five months until it was viciously suppressed.  [back]

۳. [back]