Alasbarricadas interview with the Anarchist Union of Afghanistan and Iran

Q1. Where do you live? Are all of you living abroad or do some of you live in Afghanistan and Iran

A. Our members are about two-thirds in Iran and Afghanistan and one-third outside of them. More than half of the total membership is in Iran. Our membership abroad are mainly residents in Europe, Canada and the United States, and some of these members are born or raised in these countries. In the case of recruiting new members, it should be noted that the vast majority of them are from inside Afghanistan and Iran, and the recruitment process is accelerating rapidly

Q2. What are the worst aspects of the political situation in your countries

A. The worst political problem in Afghanistan is that the government is an instrument for world powers. Our struggle is not only with the Afghan government and criticism of their approach, and a fundamental problem is the great powers like the United States. Because the Afghan government is actually a tool of the United States. International institutions here have administrative departments whose function is to deal with colonial matters. The consequences of such activities is nothing except even more radical abuses of Afghanistan. For example, human rights commissions do not do anything other than make statistics from violent acts and never demand changes to state affairs regarding the human rights conditions of women and children

In Iran, the worst aspect of the political situation is created by the violent repression of any opposition, even civil, economic, or trade-union styled protests etc. to the extent that any path to reform is blocked. The regime does not accept that it is wrong, even in the environment, where the administration has caused drought and the death of vast swathes of Iran’s wildlife. The response to the the smallest protest on the street is injury, execution or long-term imprisonment, so much so that Iran is ranked first in the world for the number of political prisoners, and the repression of journalists, artists, scientists, students, teachers, academics, women & children’s rights activists, workers, environmentalists, human rights activists, religious and ethnic minorities, atheists, and LGBTQ+ people others in Iran is awfully high and rising. The brutal behaviour of the regime has made revolution inevitable

Q3. In Europe we have an idea of life in your countries through the new and in the best case through movies or comics like Persepolis. What misconceptions do Westerners have about life and politics in your countries

A. A preconception that exists in West about our lives in Afghanistan is the colonial gaze. For example, they see us in the Third World and imagine that we are only deserving of sympathy. This impression has made possible to clear their guilty consciences with financial support that they give, and not think about it anymore. In fact, these acts are a masturbatory way that they raise their own self-esteem

For Iran, I think the biggest problem we have with Western activists is their fanaticism in defending Islam (the Islamophobic thesis that the Islamic Republic has made and paid for itself). Because in my country Islamic fascism, like Nazi fascism in Germany, shadowed everything and caused racial, ethnic gender, and academic discrimination, and the response to any protest or disagreement is that people’s lives should be taken because of their opposition to Islam. In reality, the defense of Islam by Western activists is not based on the recognition of Islam, but is based on freedom of expression. At present, Islam in modern time in our country is precisely like Christianity in the Middle Ages, and there is a pressing need to shift Islam from the centre of power until a radically-humane and secular-political system can be established

Q4. How did you become anarchists? What access is there to anarchist ideas

A. In Iran, the traditional left communists and socialists has been active and well-known for many years, and yet on one hand theocrats are in power and well-known, and on the other hand, before the Islamic Revolution, nationalists and monarchists were in power. Consequently, in practice, we became familiar with the methods and behaviours of these politics, and we easily realized that all of them strive for power and are against the people. By studying Western history and philosophy, we became familiar with anarchism, and concluded that in Iran an anarchist society is the and humane alternative. Because there is no concentration of power, the possibility of corrupting and opposing the people is eliminated. And of course, because of our hope for the future of humanity

Q5. How do you communicate and do you work with other groups in your countries

A. We cannot talk about communication with our militants inside Iran for security reasons, but I can say that our members, both men and women, are in almost every part of Iran and these militants are active in all popular struggles against the Islamic regime. In the meantime, I can only mention Soheil Arabi, anarchist prisoner, who is already well-known

Q6. How do you analyze the events of the Arab spring

A. The Arab Spring, in my opinion, was a popular revolution against Islamic regimes that were unable of meeting the people’s needs. And these revolutions would have sparked the entire region if not for the interventions of Western and regional imperialist countries. The revolution in Syria became a war where Islamic fascists like the Islamic Republic, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, as well as imperialists such as the United States and Russia, made such hell in this country that the people in the rest of the region would be satisfied with puppet and authoritarian states. The only country where the popular revolution was achieved with almost any direct foreign intervention was Tunisia, in the other countries it was foreign intervention that caused the revolutions to dissolve and another puppet state would take the previous one’s place, or at worst would become a terrible civil war like Syria’s case

Q7. What do you think of the democratic con federalism of the Kurds

A. In our view, the system that was in place on the first day is a practice way to reach an anarchist society. Whether or not it ultimately reaches the destination or not depends on a variety of things, such as neighbouring fascist and Islamic regimes, but as a transition to an anarchist society, it is a pragmatic and acceptable system to us

Q8. You call to overthrow the Iranian regime. Are you not afraid that destabilizing the area will be an excuse to US to operate their military there like in Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria

A. American involvement in other countries does not have to be explained, and this imperialist state has been intervening with force in other countries for many years. In the case of fear, I have to say that the people who are captive in the hell of the Islamic Republic, the hell of poverty, prostitution, belligerence, destruction of the environment, have nothing to lose, and the fear of America does not mean much

Q9. What can we do from the West to support the people of your countries

A. We need you Western activists to support real militants, and tell people in your countries not to constantly defend Islam. Because we now have to fight on two fronts: on the one hand, we fight the Islamic Republic, and on the other hand, with the perception in the West that Islam is good and defending Islamic fighters. Unfortunately even people like Noam Chomsky, for the reason that Iran is not America’s proxy, defend policies of the Islamic Republic, in fact the interpretation of this behaviour is that these Western activists are willing to ignore and sacrifice actual militants in Iran for the price of opposing American imperialist policies

Q10. Is there anything else you’d like to add

A. Finally, it should be added that anarchism inside Iran has a large population and is considered a strong, young and powerful force. Right now, the living conditions of the people are very difficult in Iran and strong support from anarchists of other countries for the struggles of the people and anarchists of Iran will naturally be very good encouragement and morale for the militants against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The feeling that we are not alone in Iran and our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world support us will be part of our morale and will have a positive impact on the quality of our struggles. International anarchism, as it has influenced Rojava, could do the same in Iran. Anarchists do not recognize borders and wherever there is oppression they will fight it. As a small part of the anarchist community in Iran, we invite our sisters and brothers to fight in a trench and shower for freedom and liberation against one of the most corrupt and bloodthirsty states in existence

Long live the union, long live freedom, long live anarchy

Anarchist Union of Afghanistan and Iran, June 1 2018

 

Find the interview’s website at http://alasbarricadas.org

This is an invitation to coordinate and cooperate towards revolution and the overthrow of the Islamic Republic

Anarchists in Iran can also use the experience of anarchist struggle with authoritarian socialists and Republicans in the Spanish civil war as a campaign plan, while keeping in mind the specific circumstances of Iran and its active political forces, to coordinate the struggle

Another example that can be looked to is the popular democratic community of Rojava, which has been able to fight various political trends from all over the world to defend itself

It is possible to create a network of struggles consisting of LGBTQ+, feminists, students, Republicans, socialists, women, farmers, and workers as well as other radical and progressive movements that are pragmatic and struggling in the political sphere of Iran with the aim of overthrowing the Islamic Republic—or at least coordinate the struggle of anarchists and other militants to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran to make the struggles of all militants more effective

Coordinating, in certain circumstances, with other political tendencies is not contradictory with anarchist principles or thought and does not mean becoming members of any government or party. Of course this suggestion does not mean that anarchists set aside their principles or ideals, censor themselves, or accept some of these tendencies that are historically and intellectually against anarchism

From the anarchist point of view, the foundations of this alliance are based on the simple principle that all anarchist goals and ideals will not be achieved simultaneously in one stage. As a result, a desirable anarchist society needs to go a long way, and it is necessary educate more and more people about anarchist unions and networks and bring them in

Therefore, initial steps have been taken to create an alliance between anarchists and announce the formation of the Anarchist Union of Afghanistan and Iran, which currently is consists of five groups of anarchists in Afghanistan and Iran, Europe, and other countries, and hopes to grow into a larger union of anarchists

 

Anarchist Union of Afghanistan and Iran

 

Anarchist Era Collective

The Anarchist Group “Ayleh”

Radical Revolutionary Anarchist Front

P.S. Needless to say, we are not referring to these as political tendencies in any way

Announcing the formation of the Anarchist Union of Afghanistan & Iran

This union is a free and voluntary agreement, and each individual or group will continue to operate independently in addition to being in the union

In the union, all anarchist tendencies, except for religious, pacifist and so called capitalist anarchists, have the potential to participate

All persons and groups are required to sign any callout or announcement with the name of the union. If no collective agreement is reached, each individual or group can independently publish announcements themselves

 

At the beginning of the formation of the union, the highest level of cooperation will be in the joint signing of the Union of Anarchists. Over time, with more familiarity between individuals and groups, there will be the possibility to expand the level of cooperation

 

The Anarchist Union of Afghanistan and Iran includes the following anarchist groups

 

The Anarchist Era Collective (a community of anarchists from Iran and Afghanistan operating both inside and outside their countries)

 

The Anarchist group “Aleyh” (based in Afghanistan)

 

The Revolutionary Radical Anarchist Front (based in Iran)

 

P.S: The possibility of new anarchists and anarchist groups joining in the future will be open