The manifesto of the socialist students of the Polytechnic on recent events
To the [politically] conscious students of the Polytechnic
For some time the ominous shadow of a cultural coup d’état has been bearing down on the University (1). Banning the [students’] press, arresting student activists, barring the active students [from entering the campus], banning cultural and artistic associations, and so on, all these point to a watershed in the state’s disgraceful project. With Ahmadinejad’s coming to power and the establishment of unanimity within the state, this project began with the forced retirement of dissident lecturers, limiting cultural and artistic activities, weakening the role of University’s trade councils, the passing of severe sentences by the University’s suppression committee, marking active students with ‘stars’ and preventing them from continuing their education, and creating a police siege atmosphere in the University. But it appears that all these tricks for suppressing the University have still not achieved the state’s aims.
The University has still not become Islamic. Dissident voices can still be heard at the University. The 16 Azar [7 December, Students’ Day] commemorations at universities throughout the country, and with it the humiliation of the head of the Islamic government at the Polytechnic (2), speak of the futility of the suppressive measures. Gradually the suppressors have reached the conclusion that they must treat the University in the most severe way: publishing forged journals by the intelligence agents and the basij [mobilisation force] are yet another link in the chains of suppression.
The illegal banning of journals, barring student activists [from the campus], arresting two of the students and making 25 students appear in front of the suppression committee are the results of these events. The events of the past few days have shown that the power struggle between the reformers and the dogmatists has been dragged to the University. (Refer to the positions adopted by the newspapers of the two wings, Kayhan and Etemad-e Melli, on recent events).
The Polytechnic, as an important base of the reformers, is an appropriate place for this power struggle. The reformers, who were themselves the main architects of the previous Cultural Revolution, now see the Cultural Revolution as being in contradiction with their interests. On the one hand there are the manifestos of the youth section of the Participation Front [the main reformist political organisation], the Organisation of the Mojahedin of the Revolution and the position taken by the Islamic Society of the University. On the other hand, there are the supporters of Ahmadinejad, the Kayhan newspaper and the basij. This is the line-up of the two opposing factions. In the midst of this the [politically] conscious students must, by staying away from the faction fight, look to posing their own real demands and by considering the University as part of society (and not separate from it), not limit their demands and protests to the University level. [They] should be aware of this weapon of the state [that is being used to] divert the students’ attention from the protest movements like the workers and teachers and preventing the solidarity of these movements. Remember [how] synchronised these movements were with May Day (International Labour Day) and the teachers’ strikes.
The state, by making the University’s atmosphere chaotic and benefiting from [this chaos], will be more successful in achieving the project of a cultural coup d’état and will inflame the atmosphere of other universities. Therefore by preventing the dragging of these clashes to other universities the students will continue their radical protests at the Polytechnic and unite against the cultural coup d’état.
Our initial demands are the following:
1- The release of all jailed students.
2- Disbanding the suppression committee (the University’s Discipline Council).
3- The right to set up independent students’ organisations.
4- The closure of non-student bodies established within the University.
5- Lifting of the police siege atmosphere from the University.
6- Lifting the ban on the students’ press.
7- Lifting the ban on cultural and artistic associations.
Long live freedom and equality!
Socialist students of the Polytechnic
(1) The Amir Kabir Technology University was formerly known as the Tehran Polytechnic. Many students still refer to it as the Polytechnic.
(2) Students disrupted Ahmadinejad’s speech at the Polytechnic, chanting “down with the dictator” and burning his portrait.
Posted on the Tehran Polytechnic students’ blog on 8 May 2007.
Translated by Militaant, journal of revolutionary socialist youth in Iran.