English bulletin December 1, 2022

THE PEACE MOVEMENT: ALIVE AND WELL

As the war in Ukraine threatens to unleash a new world war, the peace movement is rising to the occasion to provide an alternative.

In this month’s CPNN, we carry articles from the peace movements in the United States, Italy, France, England and Germany, as well as information about the remnants of peace movements in Ukraine and Russia.

In the United States and Canada antiwar actions were held in more than 70 areas at the end of October.  The actions took place in answer to a call from the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), and were joined by a coalition of antiwar groups from Canada and also by some European countries. The actions filled a void during the pre-election campaigns in the United States because the Ukraine War was not debated by the candidates of either political party. The UNAC demands are “Stop Washington’s war moves toward Russia and China; Stop endless wars: Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, everywhere.”

In Rome, Italy, 30,000 people took part in a demonstration demanding negotiations for peace in the Ukraine. It was organized by the trade unions CGIL, CISL and UIL, ARCI, ACLI, ANP, together with the community of Sant’Egidio, the association Libera, Emergency, Sbilanciamoci and the Aoi. Reduce military spending in favor of investments for poverty, ecological transition and decent work, guarantee shared security, which “does not come from weapons that only cause suffering to the populations”: these were some of the demands raised by the stage.

150 activists from 62 of the 101 departments in France were delegates to the congress of Mouvement de la Paix that met in November in the City Hall of Tours. The Congress was also attended by activists from 14 other countries and representatives of national organizations such as Arac, CGT, Free Thought, ACCA, Teachers for Peace, Pugwash, Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament (IDN), Afcdrp, International Feminist Initiative, Europ Ecology The Greens (EELV), Pcf, Pax Christi, Ccfd, Solidarity peoples, Acat, France Kurdistan, Christian migrants, peace educators, international handicap, family planning. An appeal from the Congress calls for national days of action on December 13-14, for a Christmas ceasefire in the Ukraine, and for a world mobilization against all wars on 24 February 2023.

In Germany, after a two-year break, the nationwide Peace Council 2022 will take place as a face-to-face event on December 10th and 11th. This meeting comes at a time when: the Ukraine war is escalating into an open proxy war between NATO and Russia; humanity is threatened by nuclear self-destruction; the EU economic war is leading to massive social protests; open debate is restricted on these topics; and there is a great need for discussion within the peace movement.

In England, the first ever trade union conference of the Stop the War movement will take place on 21 January. The call says “It’s vital that we connect the struggles of the anti-war and labour movements and make the call to ‘cut warfare not welfare’ at this crucial time. We stand alongside our teachers, nurses, firefighters, lecturers and all those who refuse to see their living standards eroded to pay for the misery of war.”

In the Ukraine, the small, but persistent, peace movement, from which we published an anti-war manifesto earlier this year, continues to send its message of peace to Western activists, including an eloquent letter that was read to the meeting of Mouvement de la Paix mentioned above.

As for a peace movement in Russia, the thousands, even millions, of voices that we published earlier this year in CPNN, have mostly been silenced by Russian authorities. However, some Russian anti-war activists have fled to other countries and continue to publish. A good example is Meduza which recently published an article describing the reactions of Russian mothers against the war in Ukraine. They were excluded from the meeting that Putin held with mothers of Russian soldiers.

Looking into the future, let’s support the call of Mouvement de la Paix for a Christmas ceasefire and world mobilization on February 2023. In the Ukraine, all sides of the war are suffering and need a ceasefire. And in the rest of the world where over 100 armed conflicts are continuing, the people long for peace.

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY

Correze

France: Echoes of the national congress
of Mouvement de la Paix

TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY

AbuDhabi

Abu Dhabi opens the ninth edition
of the Peace Forum

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Lula

In COP27 Speech, Lula Vows to Make Amazon
Destruction ‘A Thing of the Past’

DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

Hiroshima

Mayors for Peace: The Hiroshima Appeal

  

WOMEN’S EQUALITY

Iran

How the Islamic Revolution Gave Rise
to a Massive Women’s Movement in Iran

EDUCATION FOR PEACE

Peace-Pals

Peace Pals International Art Exhibition
and Awards

HUMAN RIGHTS

syria

The Western Sanctions That Are ‘Choking’
Syria May Be Crimes Against Humanity

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

Assange

Because ‘Publishing Is Not a Crime,’
Major Newspapers Push US to Drop Assange Charges

USA: Statement from Faith Organizations and Leaders  Calling for a Christmas Truce in Ukraine

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

A petition from Code Pink

SIGN ON STATEMENT:

As people of faith and conscience, believing in the sanctity of all life on this planet, we call for a Christmas Truce in Ukraine. In the spirit of the truce that occurred in 1914 during the First World War, we urge our government to take a leadership role in bringing the war in Ukraine to an end through supporting calls for a ceasefire and negotiated settlement, before the conflict results in a nuclear war that could devastate the world’s ecosystems and annihilate all of God’s creation.  

Initiated by Fellowship of Reconciliation-USA, CODEPINK, and the National Council of Elders

Background and Context:

As the war in Ukraine rages on, the toll of death and destruction continues to mount and the potential for escalation and the use of nuclear weapons grows. The direct catastrophic impact the war has already had on the people of Ukraine is still unknown but countless thousands of civilians have already died and 14 million have been displaced. The war’s impact is multiplied outside of Ukraine’s borders as rising prices for wheat, fertilizer and fuel are creating growing crises in global hunger and poverty. 

Whether it’s Christians around the world preparing for Christmas or Jews awaiting the Festival of Lights holiday of Hanukkah all of the Abrahamic faiths embrace the prophetic voice of Isaiah who exhorted us to transform swords into plowshares. In this winter holiday season of peace, we ask our government’s leaders to recall another murderous conflict between nations that took place on the European continent over a century ago. In 1914, roughly 100,000 German and British soldiers along the Western Front in World War I declared an unofficial Christmas Truce and ceased hostilities for a short period. 

It was a moment so shocking to our usual expectations that it continues to reverberate in our collective imaginations over 100 years later. Another Christmas Truce could save lives and pave the way for critical peace talks. 

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

The way out of the war in Ukraine will not be a military solution. The path toward peace in Ukraine requires powers of a different sort: negotiation and imagination.

As leaders of a diverse group of faith communities, we sign onto the petition below and pray that our leaders have the courage and conscience to use those powers instead.

Initial signers include:

Bishop William J. Barber, President Repairers of the Breach
Dr. Cornel West, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair at Union Theological Seminary
Reverend Jesse Jackson, Rainbow PUSH Coalition
Liz Theoharis, Poor People’s Campaign co-chair
Reverend Graylan Scott Hagler, FOR-USA Advisor, Racial and economic justice advocate
Dr. Zoharah Simmons, civil rights movement veteran, National Council of Elders
Reverend Dorsey, Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, National Council of Elders
Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America
Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, President, Sojourners
Rev. Janet Wolf,  National Council of Elders
Jim Wallis, Georgetown University
Bridget Moix, General Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation
Rev. William Lamar, IV, Metropolitan AME Church, Washington, DC
Rev. Freeman Palmer, Conference Minister, Central Atlantic Conference of the UCC
Rev. Dr. Dorsey Blake, Presiding Minister, The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, National Council of Elders
Imam Abu Nahidian, Manassas Mosque
Sư Cô Thích Nữ Chân Không, Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism
Thầy Thích Chân Pháp Ấn, Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism
Pastor Bob Roberts, Church in Keller, Texas
Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, Executive Minister & President, United Church of Christ
Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, President, Unitarian Universalist Association
Nicholas Sooy, director of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship
Imam Mujahid Abdul Malik, President, Sound Vision Foundation
Rabbi Phyllis Berman, ALEPH Ordination Program’s Hashpa’ah Program
Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia, Executive Director, Religions for Peace USA
Ariel Gold, Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation USA
Rev. Michael McBride, Pastor, The Way Christian Center; Director of Urban Strategies, Faith in Action
Dr. Daisy Khan, Executive Director & Founder, Women’s Islamic Initiative for Spirituality & Equality
Rev. Terrence Moran, Director of Peace, Justice, & Ecological Integrity Office, Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth
Dr. James Zogby, President Arab American Institute, Professor, Author
Bishop Malkhaz Songulashvili, Metropolitan Bishop, Peace Cathedral

If you are not a lay or ordained faith leader, please take this to your faith community/congregation and ask them to sign on.

Because ‘Publishing Is Not a Crime,’ Major Newspapers Push US to Drop Assange Charges

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article by Jake Johnson from Common Dreams

The five major media outlets that collaborated with WikiLeaks in 2010 to publish explosive stories  based on confidential diplomatic cables from the U.S. State Department sent a letter Monday calling on the Biden administration to drop all charges against Julian Assange, who has been languishing in a high-security London prison for more than three years in connection with his publication of classified documents.


Demonstration October in Berlin. Photo by Keystone

“Twelve years after the publication of ‘Cablegate,’ it is time for the U.S. government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets,” reads the letter   signed by the editors and publishers of The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El País. “Publishing is not a crime.”

The letter comes as Assange, the founder and publisher of WikiLeaks, is fighting  the U.S. government’s attempt to extradite him to face charges of violating the draconian Espionage Act of 1917. If found guilty on all counts, Assange would face a prison sentence of up to 175 years for publishing classified information—a common journalistic practice.

Press freedom organizations have vocally warned   that Assange’s prosecution would pose a threat to journalists the world over, a message that the five newspapers echoed in their letter Monday.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

Question related to this article:
 
Julian Assange, Is he a hero for the culture of peace?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

“This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press,” the letter reads. “Obtaining and disclosing sensitive information when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists. If that work is criminalized, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker.”

The “Cablegate” leak consisted of more than 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables that offered what the Times characterized as “an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world.”

Among other revelations , the documents confirmed   that the U.S. carried out a 2009 airstrike in Yemen that killed dozens of civilians. Cables released by WikiLeaks showed that then-Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh assured U.S. Central Command Gen. David Petraeus that the Yemeni government would “continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours.”

The media outlets’ letter notes that “the Obama-Biden administration, in office during the WikiLeaks publication in 2010, refrained from indicting Assange, explaining that they would have had to indict journalists from major news outlets too.”

“Their position placed a premium on press freedom, despite its uncomfortable consequences,” the letter continues. “Under Donald Trump, however, the position changed. The [Department of Justice] relied on an old law, the Espionage Act of 1917 (designed to prosecute potential spies during World War One), which has never been used to prosecute a publisher or broadcaster.”

Despite dire warnings from rights groups, the Biden administration has decided to continue   pursuing Assange’s extradition and prosecution.

In June, the United Kingdom formally approved   the U.S. extradition request even after a judge warned   extradition would threaten Assange’s life.

Assange’s legal team filed an appeal  in August, alleging that the WikiLeaks founder is “being prosecuted and punished for his political opinions.”

Ukraine: Message from Yurii Sheliazhenko to Mouvement de la Paix November 19

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

Message published by Mouvement de la Paix (translation by CPNN)

Dear friends! I am delighted to bring greetings from Kyiv, from the Ukrainian Peace Movement, to the Congress of the French Peace Movement. I wish you success in your initiatives to actively defend peace in Ukraine, to promote diplomacy and to make the structural changes necessary to institutionalize and strengthen the culture of peace, to help different people to live together on a common planet as a great family and to manage conflict non-violently.


Winners of this year’s MacBride Peace Prize. Yurii Sheliazhenko is third from the left.

The Ukrainian Peace Movement has adopted a strategic statement entitled “Peace Agenda for Ukraine and the World“, which says that we consider as the goals of our peace movement and all peace movements in the world to uphold the right of conscientious objection to military service, to end the war in Ukraine and all wars in the world by peaceful means, and to secure lasting peace and development for all peoples of the planet. To achieve these goals, we must speak the truth about the evil and deception of war, learn and teach practical knowledge about peaceful living without violence or with its minimization, and we will help the needy, especially those affected by wars and unjust coercion to support the military or participate in war. This is our vision for the long-term strategy of the peace movement, and I hope this vision will be useful to you.

Peace movements need a long-term strategy because warmongers have long-term strategies. Military production complexes generate insane profits, and their media successfully turn militant populists into glorious heroes blaming all problems on the foreign enemy. Ruling elites are content with war being mass murder organized by governments that have failed to resolve their differences peacefully.

Too rarely do we hear responsible voices calling for a diplomatic solution, and I’m glad to see President Macron among those voices, but many who speak for peace are still bound by an old misconception that diplomacy is no substitute but completes the war machine. And this old misconception disempowers civil society by allowing militarists to hijack the political agenda, while evading democratic accountability. The military-industrial complex devours in obscurity the lion’s share of public finances, now intentionally inflated to feed beasts of war. If they position themselves as defenders of the people, can they defend us from poverty, food and energy shortages? Will they defend us from climate change with a nuclear winter and kill all life on the planet? For these defenders, the first enemy is a peaceful citizen who does not believe that war is a meaning of life and that the army must always be in command; they fight for power and defend those in power, not civilians abused by war. All war is a gross violation of human rights, and it starts by turning civilians into soldiers against their will.

Make no mistake: war profiteers and opportunistic warmongers don’t care about people’s suffering, they only care about their gains which increase as the conflict goes on, so they will perpetuate war for as long as possible. Their excuses are endless and miserable: the sanctity of the land which is supposed to cost human sacrifice; deep wrongs meant to make war right; etc But no war ever was, is, or will be inevitable, necessary, just, or beneficial, and if you think a war was or is an exception to that rule, you simply haven’t studied your war critically enough. Any war is beneficial for some and disastrous for many. War profiteers in Eastern and Western capitals have invested too much in the war, they intend to get the maximum in return without hesitation, ignoring the blood and tears of the civilian populations.

Ukraine, like France and all of Europe, is facing a harsh winter. My electricity is out almost all day, every day. Almost half of the energy infrastructure in Ukraine is in ruins, we have lost a large part of the GDP and the economy continues to shrink, tens of thousands of people are killed, some sources say that about a hundred thousands, millions have left the country. Russia continues its conquest of the Donbass, mercilessly bombarding the rest of Ukraine with hundreds of rockets, and the Ukrainian army takes a counter-offensive position in the south after the recapture of Kherson.

(Continued in right column)

(Click here for the French original of this article.)

Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

To stop the war, we need a ceasefire and peace talks without preconditions. But President Putin refuses to negotiate peace without Ukraine recognizing Russian control over Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhya and Kherson regions while President Zelensky refuses to negotiate peace unless Russia withdraws its troops from Ukraine, agree to pay reparations for Ukrainian losses and try Putin for a crime of aggression. When Zelensky rushed to accuse Russia of attacking Poland with a missile after a tragic accident with a Ukrainian anti-missile, he tried to engage NATO on the battlefield on the Ukrainian side, as he had already done in calling for the enforcement of a no-fly zone. It’s not just his own radicalism, it’s the policy of his administration’s hawkish American advisers who dream of replacing the United Nations with the NATO at the Cost of a Third World War. His speech at the G20 summit, where he insisted that Russia must be punished, not negotiated with, was ridiculously turned into good peace formula. If you have any doubts about whether this is a call for peace or not, just look at the Kyiv Security Pact announced in Zelensky’s speech, written by officials in his office making teams with the same warmongering American advisers: this document indicates that Ukraine will need military assistance from the EU and NATO which must fight Russia for several decades, and all adult Ukrainian civilians must be transformed into soldiers. Imagine war in Europe in the next ten, twenty, thirty years and more hysterical calls for the production of guns instead of butter. It’s a very serious and sinister plan, and it’s already in the works. Ukrainian youth are forbidden to cross the border, even to study in European universities, and the courts impose prison sentences on conscientious objectors to military service, trampling on the fundamental value of human rights while Zelensky hypocritically makes himself the heroic defender of Western values, turning Eastern Europe into the Middle East.

I know that the French peace movement discusses ways to stop the war. The world peace conference is a good idea, and the United Nations should play a role. But diplomats are used to being messengers of war, to change you have to change the system. The more peace institutions the better; it might be useful to create a ministry of peace. But nothing can replace the leading role of civil society and citizen diplomacy. Only the voices of the people, streets full of anti-war slogans could make it clear that humanity will not tolerate militarized economy, politics and culture. We must demand deep reforms towards non-violent governance here and now. Calls for scrapping guns, disbanding armies and turning military bases into homeless hostels and art galleries should be heard everywhere, on either side of the front line, so that no sane person can accuse peace-loving people of “treason”.

The solidarity of the peace movement in all corners of the planet is crucial, and we, the Ukrainian peace movement, are proud to have friends in the Russian and Belarusian peace movements, calling for peace together in different international forums. It is a time for solidarity between people who speak peace in different languages, who pray or think about peace with different beliefs and worldviews, who seek, teach and experience peace in different academic disciplines, who work for peace in multiple professions, — but not professional killers, let’s be clear, — all the billions of members of the human family suffering from endless wars must contribute to the cause of peace, and the sooner their conscience will be awake, the better. One day, eight billion people will cry “peace” so loudly that the war profiteers will have to walk away, and the time will come to admit and right wrongs, find reconciliation, and enjoy lasting peace on Earth. In conclusion, I reiterate a century-old truth: war is a crime against humanity, therefore, we must be determined not to support any kind of war and to fight for the elimination of all causes of war. .

The war system exists by popular consent. How long could armies continue to shed blood without popular support, in the face of fiscal resistance, strikes and streets full of anti-war demonstrations? If everyone refuses to kill, no war will be possible. We can and must eliminate the causes of war, which are not demonic enemies but ignorance and overinvestment in stupid militarism. No war could last forever. In November 1918, the first world war ended, and it was too long and devastating because of the stubborn pursuit of victories, but people had hope for the end of the war, and the hope came true , then wars were prohibited by international law. It’s time to make the law work. Let’s hope and act non-violently to end the war in Ukraine! Because, as the Ukrainian poet Ivan Franko wrote during the First World War: ,The pure sky is proudly azure, when the bloodshed of inhuman war has ceased, And the peace endures.

Yurii Sheliazhenko, Ph.D. (Law)
+380973179326
Executive Secretary, Ukrainian Pacifist Movement
Board member, European Bureau for Conscious Objection (Brussels, Belgium)
Member of the Board of Directors, World BEYOND War (Charlottesville, VA, United States)
Member of the Council, International Peace Bureau (Berlin, Germany) LL.M., B.Math, Master of Mediation and Conflict Management

Russian mothers oppose the war

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from Meduza

The Council of Wives and Mothers is a grassroots organization uniting women whose family members serve in the Russian military. Its leaders were understandably surprised when they heard about the President Putin’s planned meeting with several military mothers; not a single member of their group was invited.


photo of meeting from BBC

Council organizer Olga Tsukanova responded with video where she insists that the president should meet with “real mothers,” as opposed to the “tame” women Kremlin bureaucrats “hand-picked” for the occasion:

Vladimir Vladimirovich, are you a man or what? Do you have enough courage to look into our eyes — openly, in a meeting with women who weren’t hand-picked for you. Women who aren’t in your pocket, but real mothers who have traveled here from different cities at their own expense to meet with you? We are here, in Moscow, and we are ready to meet with you. We expect an answer from you! Are you going to keep hiding from us? We have men in the Defense Ministry, in the Military Prosecutor’s Office, in the Presidential Administration — it’s all men, including the president. And mothers are on the other side of the divide. Well, are you all going to come out for some dialogue — or will you just stay in hiding?

(Article continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Article continued from left column)

On November 22, citing Kremlin sources, the Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported that Putin will meet with a group of military mothers on November 27, when Russia celebrates Mother’s Day. One of the sources said that Putin plans to discuss combat operations. When asked to confirm this information, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov confirmed the report.

Valentina Melnikova, the secretary of the Union of Mothers’ Councils, told the Russian publication Verstka that no one at her advocacy organization has been invited to the meeting with the president. “If they invite us, we’ll think about it. What are we to talk about with Putin? We’re a peacemaking organization,” she said.

An unnamed Kremlin source told Verstka that the authorities are now considering the possible creation of an alternative, state-sponsored “patriotic” military mothers’ movement. This information is still unverified, however.

Since late October, soldiers’ family members in 15 regions across Russia have staged protests demanding the return of their loved ones from Ukraine and humane treatment for the soldiers while they’re in the army.

(Editor’s note: Meduza was one of the independent media in Russia that published accounts of opposition to the war in Ukraine when it was started. As a result they were shut down in Russia and have had to reopen abroad, as shown by their internet domain of “Indian ocean.” Among other articles recently in Meduza are More than 90,000 Russian troops lost in war and Russians are tired of the war.)

Germany: Nationwide Peace Council to take place December 10-11

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Frankfurter Info (translation by CPNN)

After a two-year break, the nationwide Peace Council 2022 will take place again as a face-to-face event on December 10th and 11th, 2022 in the Philipp-Scheidemann-Haus in Kassel. Under the heading “On the way to a new world order – world war or socio-ecological turn to peace” we want to assess the political situation and discuss conclusions for our further work in the peace movement.

This peace meeting comes at a time

• when the Ukraine war escalates into an open proxy war between NATO and Russia, while at the same time diplomatic negotiation channels and peace plans are blocked;

• when a developing new world order goes hand in hand with a parallel threat to humanity through nuclear self-destruction and the prevention of the necessary socio-ecological turn to peace;

• when the consequences of the EU economic war in Germany leads to massive social protests;

• when an open debate on the topics mentioned is greatly restricted and there is also a great need for discussion within the peace movement.

The program for this year’s Peace Council in the Philipp-Scheidemann-Haus in Kassel is now available online on the homepage at https://friedensratschlag.de

CPNN translation of programme

Germany-wide peace council in Kassel on December 10th and 11th, 2022

On the way to a new world order – World War or socio-ecological turn to peace

Block I a: Sat. 12:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (plenum)

Panel: Global upheaval and new world order with Jörg Kronauer, Christin Bernhold, Peter Wahl, Karin Kulow

Lecture: German great power ambitions in the context of new NATO strategy and EU militarization by Juergen Wagner

Lecture: Dark Eagle – a déjà vu with Pershing 2 by Joachim Wernicke

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
 
How can the peace movement become stronger and more effective?

(Continued from left column)

Block I b: Sat. 2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (workshops)

Discussion on the global upheaval with speakers from Podium Block Ia

The Rise of China and India – Opportunities, Risks and German Ambitions with Uwe Behrens

Current developments in the Near and Middle East with Karin Leukefeld

Geopolitical Dynamics in Africa with Frauke Banse

Anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism in art with Werner Ruf, N.N. Ruangrupa collective (documenta)

Block II a Sat. 16:30 p.m. – 18:00 p.m. (parallel Panel and workshops)

Panel: Ukraine war controversies with Hermann Kopp, Helmut Lohrer, Wiltrud Rösch-Metzler, Franziska Hildebrandt, Ulrich Schneider

Panel: Environmental issues in the peace movement with Jacqueline Andres, Angelika Claussen, Karl-Heinz Peil

Peace Prospects for Afghanistan with Heela Najibullah

Block II b: Sat. 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (workshops)

Discussion on the Ukraine war with speakers from Podium Block Iia

EU interests – US “vassals” or “cronies”? with Frank Deppe

Domestic political developments in Russia and Ukraine with Ulrich Heyden (via video) and Susann Witt-Stahl

Formation of public opinion and cultivation of the enemy with Ekkehard Sieker

Economic blockades: “civilian alternative” to war? with Joachim Guilliard

Block III a: Sun. 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (plenum)

Lecture: “Liberate the UN, prevent abuse of international organizations” by Hans Christoph von Sponeck

Panel: Negotiated solutions for Ukraine and a new global peace order with Michael von der Schulenburg, Michael Müller, Daniela Dahn Norman Paech

Block III b: Sun. 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m Discussions at standing tables

Block IV: Sun. 12:00 – 14:00 (plenum)

Lecture: Social protests and peace movement by Sevim Dagdelen (Member of the Bundestag Die Linke)

Panel: Challenges for the peace movement through wars and armament with Angelika Claussen (IPPNW), Christoph von Lieven (Greenpeace), Reiner Braun, Robert Weißenbrunner (IG Metall)

Organizational Notes
More information online at https://friedensratschlag.de

France: Echoes of the national congress of Mouvement de la Paix

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Mouvement de la Paix Corrèze (translation by CPNN)

From Friday November 18 to Sunday November 20, 2022, as part of the national congress of the Mouvement de la Paix, more than 400 people participated or attended one of the initiatives organized in the City Hall of Tours by the Mouvement de la Paix (Art and Peace exhibition, international forum, national congress of the Peace Movement, cultural and musical evenings).

The 18th International Forum brought together around 280 people including 27 delegates from 14 different countries (Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Belgium, Germany, USA, Russia, Ukraine, Croatia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Japan, Iraq, Iran, Palestine).

150 activists from 62 departments were delegates to the congress.

At the opening of the exhibition proposed by the Gallery ‘Art and Peace’ we were more than 300 people, many local personalities, representatives of associations and friends of the Peace Movement, trade unions, a good diversity. .. A magnificent exhibition, a forum with a full room, extraordinary cultural evenings, a lively congress

The Mayor of Tours Emmanuel Denis speaking on behalf of the city which made the premises of the City Hall of Tours available for 3 days to the Congress of the Peace Movement, made a beautiful speech rooted in the history of Tours. Among those present at the opening were Deputy Charles Fournier, Vice President of the Center Val-de-Loire Region Jean Patrick Gille, Regional Councilor Isabelle Texeira, Departmental Councilor Mrs Ursula Vogt and many councillors, Deputy Mayor of Tours and the municipalities of the department as well as associations, unions, personalities from the world of culture.

The President of the Centre-pays de Loire Region, François Bonneau, sent a message to the delegates insisting on the importance of peace, the complementary role of communities and citizens in the defense and construction of peace.

In addition, there were representatives of national organizations such as Arac, CGT, Free Thought, ACCA, Teachers for Peace, Pugwash, Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament (IDN), Afcdrp, International Feminist Initiative, Europ Ecology The Greens (EELV), Pcf, Pax Christi, Ccfd, Solidarity peoples, Acat, France Kurdistan, Christian migrants, peace educators, international handicap, family planning…

(Editor’s note: Click here for the Peace Appeal issued by the Congress.)

(Continued in right column)

(Click here for the French original of this article.)

Questions related to this article:
 
How can the peace movement become stronger and more effective?

(Continued from left column)

In this period, when we see a certain decline in citizen commitments, in a serious and worrying international situation, everyone can only rejoice in this citizen mobilization for peace, which attests to the representativeness of Mouvement de la Paix. and the reality of citizen engagement and gathering around this movement. The Movement is recognized as one of the structuring elements of resistance to war, to all wars and a citizen force, capable of bringing together including through his role as one of the leaders of the national collective of marches for peace made up of 210 organizations in France.

We are pleased to send you below a first report produced by Ms. Manon Salé, journalist at CitéRadio Tours.

We had planned a press meeting on Friday evening around certain foreign participants. At the end of this press briefing, Manon Salé made a very interesting montage which gives a good overview of the work of the international forum and the general atmosphere of these 3 exceptional days..

This report contains interviews with the following people.

Ludo De Brabander, Pacifist activist from Belgium, returned to the issues of common security in Europe and in the world.

Shura Dumanic, one of the coordinators of the feminist peace movements in the former Yugoslavia, shared with us her experience of peace and war in Croatia.

Jim Anderson, animator of Peace Action, one of the largest pacifist networks in the USA, insisted on the importance of getting involved by carrying out concrete actions for peace.

Cherifa Kheddar, president of an association for the defense of victims of Islamist terrorism in Algeria (Djazairouna), emphasized the human dimension of conflicts and peace, which according to her passes through women.

Roland Nivet, national spokesperson for the Mouvement de la Paix, also spoke. In particular, he explained the importance of establishing an “economy of peace”, as opposed to the “economy of war”.

David Adams, former Director of the Culture of Peace at Unesco and animator of the Culture of Peace News Network, spoke about the place of the United States in international geopolitics and the European opportunities to set up a new order turned towards peace.

Finally, Michel Thouzeau, national secretary of the Mouvement de la Paix, offered different solutions to prepare for peace and returned to the word “utopian”, which is often applied to peace activists.

Once the conference was over, we went to the opening of the Art for Peace exhibition in the city hall for the speech of the Mayor of Tours Emmanuel Denis. He recalled the importance of art and the commitment of the city of Tours for peace.

See 867 US Military Bases on New Online Tool

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from Transcend Media Service

World BEYOND War has launched a new online tool at worldbeyondwar.org/no-bases  that allows the user to view a globe pock-marked with 867 U.S. military bases in (76) countries other than the United States, and to zoom in for a satellite view of and detailed information on each base. The tool also allows filtering the map or list of bases by country, government type, opening date, number of personnel, or acres of land occupied.

video about the new bases tool.

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Question related to this article:

Does military spending lead to economic decline and collapse?

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This visual database was researched and developed by World BEYOND War to help journalists, activists, researchers, and individual readers understand the immense problem of excessive preparation for war, which inevitably leads to international bullying, meddling, threats, escalation, and mass atrocity. By illustrating the extent of the U.S. empire of military outposts, World BEYOND War hopes to call attention to the wider problem of war preparations. Thanks to davidvine.net for a variety of information included in this tool.

The United States of America, unlike any other nation, maintains this massive network of foreign military installations around the world. How was this created and how is it continued? Some of these physical installations are on land occupied as spoils of war. Most are maintained through collaborations with governments, many of them brutal and oppressive governments benefiting from the bases’ presence. In many cases, human beings were displaced to make room for these military installations, often depriving people of farmland, adding huge amounts of pollution to local water systems and the air, and existing as an unwelcome presence.

U.S. bases in foreign lands often raise geopolitical tensions, support undemocratic regimes, and serve as a recruiting tool for militant groups opposed to the U.S. presence and the governments its presence bolsters. In other cases, foreign bases have made it easier for the United States to launch and execute disastrous wars, including those in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. Across the political spectrum and even within the U.S. military there is growing recognition that many overseas bases should have been closed decades ago, but bureaucratic inertia and misguided political interests have kept them open. Estimates of the yearly cost to the U.S. of its foreign military bases range from $100 – 250 billion.

‘Historic Win’: UN Members to Start Talks on ‘Inclusive and Effective’ Global Tax Standards

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article by Jessica Corbett from Common Dreams

Tax justice advocates around the world on Wednesday celebrated the unanimous adoption of a resolution to “begin intergovernmental discussions in New York at United Nations Headquarters on ways to strengthen the inclusiveness and effectiveness of international tax cooperation.”


The U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on the “promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations” was spearheaded by the African Group —which is composed of the continent’s 54 member states—and comes after about a decade of delays on the topic at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

“We note that the OECD has played a role in these areas,” a representative of the Nigerian delegation to the U.N. reportedly said Wednesday. “It is clear after 10 years of attempting to reform international tax rules that there is no substitute for the global, inclusive, transparent forum provided by the United Nations.”

“The African Group urges countries to remain committed to the development of inclusive tax instruments at the United Nations and encourage the OECD to play a supporting role in this regard,” the Nigerian representative continued.

After the resolution was adopted, Global Alliance for Tax Justice executive coordinator Dereje Alemayehu declared that “this is a historic win for the tax justice and the broader economic justice movement and a big step forward to combat illicit financial flows and tax abuse.”

“African countries stood together and made historic strides, breaking through the long-standing blockade by the OECD countries,” Alemayehu added. “Shifting power from the OECD is paramount to end the exploitation and plunder of developing countries.”

Tax Justice Network chief executive Alex Cobham similarly commended member nations “on their bold action today to move rule-making on global tax into the daylight of democracy at the U.N.,” highlighting that “the adopted resolution will now open the way for intergovernmental discussions on the negotiation of a U.N. tax convention and a global tax body.”

A proposed amendment to the resolution from the United States that would have cut the mention of “the possibility of developing an international tax cooperation framework or instrument that is developed and agreed upon through a United Nations intergovernmental process” was defeated.

Cobham emphasized that the resolution moved forward despite the fact that “the OECD has been unprecedentedly aggressive in its lobbying.”

“Some OECD countries spoke in favor of the organization’s role after the resolution’s adoption, but… the OECD’s two-pillar tax proposal is on life support, with even the organization’s own members… struggling to defend its work,” he said. “Work which has failed to deliver after nearly a decade of promises and work which has left countries losing $483 billion in tax to tax havens a year; and work which has been widely identified as exclusionary by countries outside the core membership of rich countries. Ultimately, this only confirms the importance of moving tax rule-making to a globally inclusive and transparent forum at the United Nations.”

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Question for this article:

Opposing tax havens and corruption: part of the culture of peace?

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Though it was backed by more than 100 countries and jurisdictions last year, the OECD’s international tax reform framework has been called “skewed-to-the-rich and completely unfair,” with critics warning that its 15% global minimum tax for multinational corporations is “way too low.”

“Fears that the OECD process had stalled grew over the summer after the nation of Hungary blocked a 15% minimum corporate tax from being adopted in the European Union,” The Hill reported Wednesday. Experts said the timing of the UNGA resolution was tied to “the delay on the OECD provision that stipulates where a corporation can be taxed for the use of its products as well as frustration from lower-income countries about the amount of that tax.”

According to news outlet:

“There’s a document that’s supposed to be coming out in December outlining which unilateral measures will need to be abandoned, including digital services taxes,” Daniel Bunn, president of the Tax Foundation, a Washington think tank, said in an interview. “The goal is to have a multilateral treaty ready for signature middle of next year.”

On the amount that corporations can be taxed—which is known as Pillar Two within the agreement—E.U. finance ministers are set to meet again in December.

“The language of their announcement is that they’re going to be ‘aiming for agreement’ on Pillar Two, but it’s not clear that that’s certain. Hungary has been holding things up,” Bunn added.

Other analysts in Washington say that the interests of developing countries are not given proper consideration in the OECD’s framework, an oversight that could further delay a final deal.

Tove Maria Ryding, tax coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), said Wednesday that “some rich countries are still holding on to the archaic idea that they can keep global rule-making on tax under the control of the OECD—also known as the rich countries’ club.”

“But today’s vote shows that at the end of the day, they know they cannot stop the development towards inclusive, transparent, and U.N.-led tax governance, which is already highly overdue,” Ryding argued. “The OECD-led governance is coming to an end—both because it was deeply unjust and biased in favor of a few rich countries. But also because the OECD has so blatantly failed to stop international tax abuse.”

While welcoming the success of the resolution on Wednesday, Pooja Rangaprasad at the Society for International Development warned that “the post-adoption statements by some developed countries have made it clear that the road ahead will be challenging.”

“However, it is in the interest of all countries to fix an outdated international tax system that is bleeding hundreds of billions of dollars in much-needed resources and public revenue,” Rangaprasad said. “The fight continues in holding all our governments accountable to agree to an effective U.N. tax convention that will ensure wealthy corporations and elites pay their fair share in taxes.”

Cobham of Tax Justice Network stressed that “the intergovernmental discussions next year will be crucial in setting the path for this new era of international tax. It is vital that countries in each region of the world follow the African leadership that underpinned this success, and engage together to generate common positions on an ambitious agenda.”

How the Islamic Revolution Gave Rise to a Massive Women’s Movement in Iran

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article by Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi in Counterpunch

Let me start with a straightforward proposition that is everywhere on social and mass media these days: The Islamic Republic’s patriarchal repression of women reached a tipping point after the murder in custody of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini by the Guidance Patrol on September 16, 2022. A revolt, led by young women, engulfed the entire country under the banner of women, life, freedom. At the root of this movement is the anti-women core of the Islamic regime and the struggle of Iranian women against it since its very beginning in 1979.

The whole nation — inside and outside the country, the global community, the progressive Left as well as the hawkish Right, stand in solidarity with this movement. The protests that began against the compulsory hijab and the demand for abolishment of the Guidance Patrol, has now become a full-fledged intersectional revolt for regime change in Iran, led by women.


This indeed is true that the Islamic Republic instituted draconian patriarchal policies after the revolution on 1979 that stripped the very basic formal rights that women had been granted under the ancien régime. These measures formally reduced women to second-class citizens in matters of marriage, custody, inheritance, crime and judiciary, dress code, segregation, and many other spheres of social life.  Yet, despite all this, women’s social mobility and presence in public sphere grew exponentially in the past four decades.  Ironically, this is in part an effect of the unintended consequences of these policies. Women learned very quickly how to navigate the new terrain, push the boundaries of the new institutions, and in practice gain access to rights and privileges from which the Islamic Republic deprived them. The recent revolt could not materialize without the remarkable agentive presence and mobility of women who carved out a space for ceaseless social and political engagement during the past four decades. Women are revolting because they refuse to continue the struggle in a field the boundaries of which are drawn in the dilapidated spirits of patriarchy.  Their gains have reached a hard as well as a glass ceiling that needs to be overcome.

The Iranian revolution succeeded in ending the monarchy on February 11, 1979. On February 26, only two weeks after the victory of the revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini annulled the Family Protection Law of 1967 and its 1975 amended version, which had given women more rights in divorce and matters of custody under the Shah. Since its inception, the clergy by and large had opposed the law’s basic premises, which they believed violated the Islamic views on women’s role in family.  Khomeini knew that the unity and uniformity that his leadership afforded the revolutionary movement would not remain uncontested for long after the triumph of the revolution. He knew that the spirit of Islam and the symbolic revolutionary language with which it inspired millions of Iranians of many creeds and classes needed to be translated into a body of institutional projects of postrevolutionary state-building.  So, he seized the opportunity to put women under the control of their menfolk.

Despite such overt assaults on women’s rights, most political parties continue to address women’s issues in the frame of revolutionary politics, nationalism, class struggle, and anti-imperialism.  For the first few months after the revolution, except for the National Front, the oldest liberal organization in Iran, and small Trotskyist group, Left and liberal parties remained ambivalent about women’s issues. They failed to recognize the remarkable contribution of women to the revolutionary struggle and the need to check the assault on their rights.  At the time, most of the women’s organization operated as an appendix to different political parties to further the anti-imperialist struggle and tied women’s issues to greater demands for social justice.

The establishment of the Islamic Republic proved inconsistent with fundamental women’s formal and legal rights.  Despite earlier assurances, on the eve of March 8, 1979, less than a month after the triumph of the revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini called upon the Provisional Government to uphold Islamic dress codes in its offices.  His pronouncement scandalized many who played a significant role in the revolutionary movement, including several members of his own Revolutionary Council.  This was the second time, after the abrogation of the Family Protection Law, in three weeks that issues of women’s right had become a point of contention in the postrevolutionary power struggle. That was why the festive preparations for the first postrevolutionary International Women’s Day turned into a rally with specific women’s rights demands such as the recognition of women judges and, most importantly, a call against compulsory hejāb.  Thousands of women gathered in Tehran University and the next day in front of and inside the hallways of the Ministry of Justice chanting: In the Spring of freedom, absent is the rights of women.

Instituting compulsory hejāb even in the tightly controlled parliament and implementing it throughout the country was not an easy proposition. It took another four years for the mandate to become an enforceable law. Different factions inside the government as well as influential clerics in seminaries raised questions about the wisdom of such a law, its religious justification, as well as its feasibility. Nevertheless, the new law went into effect on August 9, 1983.

The institution of compulsory hejāb and other patriarchal measures in cases of travel, marriage, custody, inheritance, criminal laws, etc. all of which formally reduced women to second-class citizens, gave yet more credibility to feminist concerns that the Islamic republic would entirely force women out of the public sphere. Comparisons were made with Reza Shah.  Some argued that whereas he liberated Muslim women by the “unveiling law” that banned the hejāb in public spaces in 1936, the Islamic Republic was now forcing women back into the private sphere where they would be subjected to the repressive domestic patriarchy.  Yet curiously – these contrasting policies produced paradoxical results on the ground. Reza Shah’s “unveiling” did not liberate women, and the Islamic Republic’s repressive measures did not imprison women at home. Ironically, it was under Reza Shah’s “unveiling law” that a great majority of women in urban areas were forced to stay at home, either because they chose not to appear in public without a veil or were not allowed to leave their homes by their fathers or husbands. Under the Islamic Republic, despite the institution of repressive anti-women laws, rather than being imprisoned in their homes, women gained unprecedented mobility in the country and year after year increased their presence in the public sphere.

These were unintended consequences, but they were quite substantial. As a consequence of the restrictions imposed on women in public places, a new system emerged of what I call patriarchy by proxy. The new laws created the possibility for a great majority of socially conservative Iranian families who were previously reluctant to see women’s participation in social affairs, to trust the new “Islamized” public sphere as an extended domain of patriarchal/religious order. The state became the ultimate guardian of patriarchy and by becoming so, paradoxically, sanctioned an unprecedented mobility among rural and urban women. Despite barring women from entering key political and judicial positions of decision-making, women entered and shaped the conditions of those spheres in significant numbers.

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Question related to this article:
 
Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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In practice, gender politics and policy under the Islamic Republic have been far from the mere enactment of literal readings of the Qur’anic verses or a replication of women’s repression in Saudi Arabia. There is no doubt that the postrevolutionary regime instituted formal and legal apparatuses in order to constitute a homo Islamicus. But in its realpolitik, the Islamic Republic negated the anxieties that it would implement a literal reading of the Qur’an and expunge women from the pubic and restrict their lives to the domestic sphere. A quick look at the human development indexes in relation to women’s status in education, health, sports, artistic and cultural production, and civic engagement shows that the women in Iran have the most visible presence in public sphere in its history.  These changes were not the result of top-down state policies, but rather the consequence of a contentious engagement between different factions within the polity, women’s community and civic institutions, and political parties and activists.

From the time of revolution in 1979 to the latest reports in 2019, women’s literacy rate rose from 36% to 97.93%; share of women students in higher education rose from 15% to 60%; women’s life expectancy rose from 55 to 77; infant mortality decreased from 90 per 1000 to 10 per 1000. None of these could have been possible without a remarkable presence of women in public space and their involvement in policy planning and implementation.

The significant presence of women in the public arena created unanticipated shifts in gender relations in the country, conditions that forced even the most patriarchal factions in power to advocate unlikely propositions regarding women’s role in society. In 2006-2007 school year, women comprised 60% of incoming class of university students, and that trend continues. The conservatives of the 8th Parliament introduced legislation for affirmative action for men to catch up with women in higher education. The conservative parliamentarians, who otherwise insist that the place of women is at home to raise a virtuous family, argued that women who use resources of free public universities had to commit to a 10-year employment (public or private) after graduation. The paradox there is self-evident.

Another measure that contributed to the remarkable shift in family structure and gendered relations in public and private spheres was an aggressive family planning and population control program that was instituted in 1989. Although the Islamic Republic repealed the family planning and protection laws of the old regime soon after assuming power, in a significant shift, in 1988, the government introduced and carried out one of the most efficient family planning programs in the economically developing world.   Dictated by the perceived necessity of containing an unchecked rise in population, the program successfully reduced the population growth rate from the high of 3.4% in 1986 to 0.7% in 2007. During the same period, the number of children per family dropped from 6.5 to less than 2. Before his death in 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini endorsed the new program thus affording religious legitimacy to this ideological reversal.  As the Candadian-Iranian anthropologists Homa Hoodfar has shown, without national consensus-building, a massive mobilization of women, both by government agencies as well as non-governmental agents, promoted with effective religious justification, and offered through an efficient delivery service in birth control and contraceptives (such as distribution of free condoms), and premarital sex-education programs, this ambitious family planning project could not have been realized. Called by many “The Iranian Miracle,” the program was so successful that, fearing the emergence of an aging population, the authorities are now trying to encourage families to have more children.

The purpose of this brisk history is not to draw a sanguine picture of women’s conditions in contemporary Iran. The complexities of how government and non-governmental actors interact on these issues, how the expansion and containment of state power shape the social realities of women of different classes and ethnicities, or how religious doctrines and convictions hinder or facilitate women’s mobility cannot be fully detailed here.  Rather, I want to show that the Islamic Republic instituted policies and imposed patriarchal laws that produced unintended consequences in gender relations and women’s mobility. For an uprising to materialize, there needs to be a socially mobile, politically conscious, and subjectively free population. Iranian women have long been the fierce political actors we see on the street, not the oppressed, shadowy, veiled subjects that are the meat and potatoes of foreign misperception and paternalism. Yes, a mighty patriarchy shaped social order in Iran, like many other places in the world, but women were never its hapless captives. That image, the helpless veiled women, while effective in gathering support in global liberal feminist circles who believe that Muslim women need to be saved, does not correspond to the practice of those women’s everyday lives and fails to credit two generations of Iranian women for their political creativity.

At its core, Women-Life-Freedom is a movement for dignity and sovereignty of the subject.  It is a movement that has changed the political culture of defiance and expressions of dissent. Its radical creativity— posters, songs, graffiti, and imaginative forms of collective action, has opened in practice the possibility of thinking of politics anew. The transformative acts of insubordinate bodies and liberated souls has made party platforms and unruffled sermons ineffective and obsolete.

While Iranian women and their male allies fight against the state’s brutal crackdown, their aspiring revolt, with its novel singularities, faces instrumentalization by regional and global actors, facilitated through a misreading of Iranian women’s history of deliberate and agentive action. While the global reach of this movement through the media operates as an instrument of its effective dissemination, paradoxically, it also subjects it to a discursive violence.

We should not misread the core principles of Women, Life, Freedom as being a simple “desire for the west” by a population who are simply fed up.  Under such a misreading, a whole host of unsavory interests, from neocolonial expansionists to ethno-nationalist separatists, from delusional monarchists to all those who still lament being on the losing side of the 1979 revolution, try their best to claim ownership of this movement.  Yet Iranian women on the ground have been the very actors who historically have created the conditions of possibility for their protest.  They have opened space for themselves and their daughters in the face of a state desire for repressive patriarchy. Over decades they have succeeded to take advantage of the unintended consequences of state policies; they are not merely reacting—they are instead determined.

Today’s massive women’s movement in Iran represents one of the great achievements of the 1979 revolution—a revolution that generated hope-bearing, conscious subjects who have perpetuated themselves for more than four decades – despite and in the face of all manner of repression. The paradoxical effects of the Islamic Republic policies brought women to the centerstage of social transformation in Iran. Now that transformation has reached a point of frontal war with the state. Iranian women today hold key positions in journalism, artistic and cultural production, civic engagement, political organizing, higher education, scientific communities, local political offices, etc. Daughters of those women, irrevocably demand an extension and expansion of their mothers’ positions without any patriarchal restrictions, either by the state or inside their homes.

Those demands will only be realized through the transformation of the state, or by rethinking the meaning of the state. How this transformation will unfold and with what means is yet not known, but its inevitability is evident. How fortunate we are that these generations of women taking the lead.

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Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi is an Iranian-born American historian, sociologist, and professor.