Iranian Bus Workers Join the Resistance
By Al Giordano
The Autobus Workers Union of Iran (Sendikaye Sherkat Vahed, in Farsi) has just made the following declaration (translated for The Field by Iraj Omidvar):
In recent days we have witnessed the passionate presence of millions of women and men, the old and the young, and ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, people who want their government to recognize their most basic right, the right to freely, independently, and transparently elect, a right that in most societies around the world is not only recognized officially but for whose protection no effort is neglected.
In the current situation, we witness threats, arrests, killings, and naked persecution, which threaten to grow in dimension and lead to the shedding of innocent people's blood thus bringing a rise in popular protests and not in their decline.;
Iranian society is facing a deep political and economic crisis. Million-strong protests, which have manifested themselves with a silence that is replete with meaning, have become a pattern that is growing in area and dimension, a growth that demands a response from any responsible person and organization.
The Autobus Workers Union in an announcement issued before the elections declared, "in the absence of the freedom for political parties, our organization is naturally deprived of a social institution that can protect it."
"Workers of the Autobus Workers Union consider their social involvement and political activity to be the certain right of each member of society and furthermore believe that workers across Iran as long as they submit the platforms of presidential candidates and a practical guarantee about campaign slogans can choose to participate or not participate in elections."
The fact that the demands of the vast majority of Iranian society go far beyond those of unions is obvious to all, and in the previous years we have emphasized that until the principle of the freedom to organize and to elect is not materialized, any talk of social freedom and labor union rights will be a farce.
Given these facts, the Autobus Workers Union places itself alongside all those who are offering themselves in the struggle to build a free and independent civic society. The union condemns any kind of suppression and threats.
To recognize labor-union and social rights in Iran, the international labor organizations have declared the Fifth of Tir (June 26) the international day of support for imprisoned Iranian workers as well as for the institution of unions in Iran. We want that this day be viewed as more than a day for the demands of labor unions to make it a day for human rights in Iran and to ask all our fellow workers to struggle for the trampled rights of the majority of the people of Iran.
With hope for the spread of justice and freedom,
Autobus Workers Union
Add the bus workers to the auto workers and the industrial union sector that creates the means of transportation has emerged as the vanguard in what - thus speaks The Field - will soon become a coalition of industrial workers with the power to spark a general strike in Iran.
And there is not a regime on earth that can survive a general strike aimed at its heart.
It's significant that the bus workers set a date, a week from now, for its International Day of Support for Imprisoned Iranian Workers. The call carries with it a prima facie acknowledgement that no matter what happens in the streets on Saturday, the party is just getting started.
The regime can take out Mousavi. It can take out every operative in his orbit. But it cannot force an educated and organized workforce - with long memories of 56 years of struggle against Western and Eastern regimes alike - to show up on the job.
As I like to say: Watch, listen... and learn.
Saturday 7:35 a.m. ET Update: State run television has been broadcasting that today's demonstration has been "called off." Mousavi's Facebook page recently updated to say it's still on. Meanwhile, according to CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Iran's Guardian Council say sit will "randomly recount" ten percent of the ballots.
Some common Twitter messages at this hour:
WE'LL SEE WHO THE REAL NEWS REPORTERS ARE TODAY
JON LEYNE,BBC,TEHRAN,1000 GMT: Mr Mousavi will turn up, as will defeated candidate Mehdi Karroubi and former President Khatami
Iranian Army protect your brothers and sisters from godless basijis and sepaah. They're fighting for your freedom too
Brothers & Sisters Go On the streets NOW. Do not fear Death. Fear only oppression for nother 30 years.
People going to Enghelab in larg numbers and growing rapidly. police there but not doing anything STAY STRONG
Main Rally NOT CANCELED -STATE TV lies. BIG CROWDS ON STREET. POLICE PRESENT BUT NOT ATTACKING...
Don't forget: foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on their ability to report, film or take pics in Iran
"Today is maybe the most important day in iran's history, will we see Tiananmen Sq? It seems ppl still will go"
the cell phones in Enghelab district are disconnected
IRANIAN SOLDIERS YOU CAN'T BEAT US, SO JOIN US!!! http://bit.ly/SRmAR , Pass it on
Anti-Riot Police Forces are between Enqelab and Azadi Sqs.
Mousavi's facebook updated 15 min ago, asking people to show up in Enghlab sq. many people are already there
The editor-in-chief of Etemad Melli, a reformist newspaper owned by Karroubi, is arrested,
China proibe noticias de protestos no Irao http://bit.ly/qnVQ9 (Translated from Portuguese: China prohibits new of protests in Iran.)
Stay in a crowd, stay in body groups, and keep an eye on each other! May Ahura Mazda look over you all!
The hour of Destiny is upon us. Peace be unto each and every brave marcher in Iran.
Posts today from the (considered very reliable) Twitter feed of OxfordGirl:
They are trying to keep you home by stories of beatings. Do not listen to new tweeters saying go home they are gov thugs.
Rafsanjani or his family members will attend rally today.
Basij will wait at parked cars and attack once ppl get back in to go home, they will follow ppl home. Walk in lgr groups.
Khameni must realise that if he starts killing people the rallies will get bigger and more violent.
Remember this is a non violent movement, everyone keep calm and don't be provoked. They will want to show rally as violent
Update 9:31 a.m. ET: State-run media is reporting that a bomb blast has hit the mausoleum of the late Ayatollah Kholmeini in South Tehran, and that there are two dead. This shrine is heavily guarded 24 hours a day. It would be very difficult for anyone to set off an explosion there without it being an inside job. Think: If true, which side does it benefit? The state is trying to portray the resistance as violent and rioters and anti-Islam. The opposition is trying to portray itself as peaceful and Islamic. There would be no benefit to the opposition to plant bombs in such a sacred shrine. Sounds more like the Reichstag Fire to me; a pretext for more repression, and an attempt to frighten the population against the protests.
Update 9:37 a.m. ET: The New York Times fudges it:
TEHRAN — One day after Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned of bloodshed if street protests continued over the nation’s disputed elections, witnesses, quoted by news services, said that thousands of demonstrators had attempted to gather for a scheduled opposition protest on Saturday, but that riot police, using tear gas and water cannons, had dispersed them.
Witnesses reported that the black-clad security forces lined the streets of two squares in central Tehran as the city braced itself for a violent crackdown.
The Field translates: "We Timesmen have no direct information ourselves. We're holed up in a five star hotel, ordering room service. We got these reports off Twitter like everybody else, but we don't want to admit it, so we type 'quoted by news services' without disclosing the source. Yes, we suck that badly."
Gawd, are there still readers so gullible as to fall for that?
Also: Christiane Amanpour on CNN: "We have only seen pictures of riot police standing around. We have not seen any images of clashes between protesters and police."
Update 9:51 a.m. ET: BBC Persian has the first images of state violence on video, filmed from a rooftop, probably by citizen journalists. The Field can confirm that it was posted today and that it takes place in Tehran. Heavy gunfire can be heard and protesters seeking refuge behind walls can be seen. Fires - perhaps automobiles set ablaze - can be seen from where the shots are apparently coming from.