how to survive a strike

Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi has called for a general strike in Iran for Tuesday June 23rd. Hopefully future general strikes will be called with lengths greater than one day in order to destabilize the government. Problems with a longer strike quickly arise where they not only hurt the government but the people themselves. History has provided examples of such situation where workers are able to take control of vital services for the people. The Seattle General Strike of 1919 is a great example of this, lasting a week where workers established distribution systems for food and drinks, trash was still taken out, the sick were cared for, and veterans formed a militia to maintain order (even though crime dramatically dropped during the strike.

A cooperative body made up of rank and file workers from all the striking locals was formed during the strike, called the General Strike Committee. It acted as a "virtual counter-government for the city" (Brecher), somewhat akin to the Paris Commune in 1871. The workers in the committee organized to provide essential services for the people of Seattle during the work stoppage. For instance, garbage that would create a health hazard was collected, and firemen remained on duty. Exemptions to the stoppage of labor had to be passed by the Strike Committee. In general, work was not halted if doing so would endanger lives.

The people of Iran could use this historical example to use the strike to their advantage yet still keep the city going for them. This will also teach them that government bureaucracy isn't required to run a city and that workers can take control into their own hands.

Posters on Twitter also suggested that people pull their money out of banks, stop paying bills, and doing other things to stop the flow of money to the government.

updates from iran and article roundup

Today I've posted a handful of Twitter posts, a roundup of various articles about the situation, and a detailed update of the past few days from another source.

The doctor who helped Neda is also a friend of Paulo Coelho http://is.gd/19kHd #iranelection

Unconfirmed: Rafsanjani has votes to remove Khamenei, needs secure support of army. Regime may attack Qom. #iranelection #iranelections RT

Support frm army and Islam Guards and Mullahs for Mousavi growing NWest Iran regions and Khorasan #iranelection #neda #iranelections #gr88

Qom poised to support the ppl and condemn Khameni. Mullahs r joining protest. #iranelection #neda

Clashes today confirmed in Jaam Jam and Mellat Park - militia used tear gas - shooting heard - #Iranelection

clashes in 7 Tir Sq and Valli Asr Ave - street fires & tear gas - shooting heard - many militia #Iranelection

Democrats are urging Obama to stay out of the Iran crisis while Republicans are criticizing him for being too "timid and passive." Senator Dianne Feinstein said the reason to not get involved is due to lack on intelligence, which should be cause of concern. First, this is most likely false and second, it's easy for them to say that they do have enough intelligence if they decide to get involved. It's an easy argument to dispute. Democrat Bob Casey stated Congress should give Obama the power to impose sanctions on Iran if necessary. So as you can see, even though Democrats are being non-interventionist now, they are clearly laying the path to change their minds if they want.

Iran turmoil likely to benefit Israel. My roommate, Mollie, brought this up the other day, although in a slightly different context. Any long lasting instability in Iran will give Israel much more influence in the region. Hamas and Hizbullah will greatly be weakened and Israel may take advantage of the situation in Palestine and maybe other parts of the Middle East.

Dave Zirin comparing the Iran protests to the soccer riots Ahmadinejad called them. Mentions the role of women, minorities, and the working class to the protests.

An article by Pepe Escobar discusses the power struggle going on in Iran and how it is based on a movement by the people.

Iranian crisis widens fissure among clerics from The Seattle Times.

More details from the past two days from Tatsuma
21st of June.

Two major events happened today:

- Grand Ayatollah Montazeri went directly against Ayatollah Khamenei's wishes and declared a 3-day mourning period in Iran, while Khamenei had ordered mosques to avoid making ceremonies in the memory of the fallen victims of governmental violence.

- The Guardian Council admitted that in 50 cities, there were in fact more vote recorded than there are registered voters and said they were looking into the situation. Seeing as the GC is under direct control of Khamenei, this is very likely an attempt at damage control from people who have yet to grasp how deep the schism in Iran is. This could be an attempt to ultimately blame Ahmadinejad for the irregularities and throw him under the bus in order to save their skin, which would be a sign they don't fully realize yet what is happening.

- Aside from that, as expected there were clashes all over Iran, but subsided since the 20th. The Iranian Government went on the offensive, kicking out a BBC correspondent and attacking Western countries for what they see as meddling in Iranian internal affairs. Tomorrow Mousavi has called for a general strike all over Iran. It seems that business activity that the already paralyzed country will be stopped completely.

From the 19th to the 20th of June. post-Khamenei speech.

If anyone doubted this is a Revolution and that this was bigger than the election, there is no such doubt anymore. While Khameini directly called for them to stop, the population took the street more numerous than ever. This is direct defiance to the Supreme Leader. Here are the major events that happened between the end of Khamenei's speech and midnight on Saturday.

- Before the protest even began, heavily armed men were waiting for the dissidents, planning to prevent them from reaching the rally point. It didn't take long for the peaceful protests to turn into full-fledged riots. Security forces had also closed off the Tehran university to prevent students from leaving to protest or entering to take shelter. Basij, some security forces and what is suspected to be members of the Revolutionary Guard assaulted the protesters. The protesters fought back while chanting "Death to Khamenei" and "Down with Khamenei". The security forces used water cannons and tear gas to try and disperse the protesters. While the tear gas was partly successful, the water cannons were mostly useless, as they were quickly over ran by the protesters.

- A lot of eyewitnesses report that the Basij now fighting appear to be barely older than teenagers, most of them between 16 and 20, taking a real pleasure in the violence. Others report that up to hundreds of both security forces and Basij were injured in the last series of clashes. The Basij forces are using pvc tubes filled with concretes, bats, even knives and are assaulting people everywhere, down to metro stations.

- A bomb exploded at the Khomeini Shrine, killing one and injuring at least two. Most believe that the government is in fact behind it. Khamenei was a major figure of the previous Revolution, and they used a similar tactics then, destroying buildings and blaming it on the Shah in order to turn the population against him. The State television is of course blaming Mousavi for it and calling for a harsher treatment of the protesters. This is also very convenient for the Regime, has Mousavi said he would take refuge there if he feared for his safety, but now all access is blocked.

- In return, the harsher the treatment of protesters by the security forces, the harsher the rhetoric and reaction of the protesters. They are calling for the death of the regime, the death of Khamenei, the death of their oppressors and that they will avenge them. Once the gun shots started, the protesters went wild, beating down security forces and basij forces they caught to a pulp, while the Basij and security forces are showing absolutely no restraint, even less than they previously had.

- There are many reports that the security forces and Basij still ever present in hospitals and clinics. Basij are kidnapping some of those injured, while the security forces is identifying those participating in the protest. In order to arrest protesters, security forces raided the Khomeini Hospital in order to arrest injured protesters. There are rumours that Basij forces have hijacked ambulances and use them as a trap to brutally assault already injured protesters seeking help, or shoot at them. Iranian journalists, Reformist intellectuals and feminists are still being arrested and rounded up to prevent from reporting the news or reaching out.

- As the protests grew, extreme measures started to used by those trying to repress the Iranians asking for freedom. Gun shots were first fired in the air, but it did not take long for them to be fired at the protesters. A liquid was dropped from helicopters, creating severe skin burns on protesters. We are unsure what the liquid was. They are also openly opening fire on the crowds, 40 to 60 people at least were killed in a single day, and scores more injured according to protesters. There are also reports that Revolutionary Guard Helicopters dropped firearms crates to 500 Basij fighters, as they are more willing than government forces to use them on civilians.

- The protesters are fighting back, taking over anti-riot trucks and burning them, attacking Basij bases and burning another one to the ground. There are report that a security forces truck was actually blown up by the protesters. In many instances, government forces have been force to fled under the constant assault of the people. Another report mentioned a security forces post was burning as well.

- The Iran Fatemiyeh Hospital in Tehran has confirmed at least 40 dead as well as 200 injured. Other sources report that hundreds of security forces and hundreds of basij fighters were injured as well.

- At night the protesters joined each others on the roofs in Tehran, shouting "Allah-u Ackbar", "Margh Bar Khamenei" and chanting "I will welcome death, I will welcome death, but no subjugation, but no subjugation". None of the rhetoric is addressed to Ahmadinejad anymore, all of it is directed to Khamenei and the regime. Many of the popular chants throughout the day were "I will kill those who killed my brother/sister", "Death to the Government", "Death to Khamenei" and "Seyed Ali Pinoshe, Iran won't be Chile".

- China has been censoring all news coming from Iran. Obama's restraint has been useless, as the Iranian government has shown a video of him with a false translation where Obama declared his support for the protesters, and that they should keep on protesting.

- Mousavi gave a speech and declared that if he is arrested, then the whole nation should strike. He also told the people that he is ready for martyrdom.

- There are unconfirmed reports that the Army is now refusing to follow orders and will not attack the protesters. The newest strategy from the government seems to be arming the Basij, dressing them in riot gear, team them up with IRG soldiers, and try to prevent massive rallies and keep them localized instead, as they are easier to stop spreading.

san francisco candlelight vigil

Pictures from the candlelight vigil in San Francisco on Sunday, June 21st.