Another Brick in the Wall

Protesting Education in Iran

by Zep Kalb | published November 2, 2017

At ten o’clock in the morning, Thursday October 5, 2017, about 500 teachers gathered in front of the Budget and Planning Office in Tehran. They were joined by thousands of colleagues protesting in front of education offices in a reported 21 cities across the country. Turning Global Teachers’ Day into a nationwide occasion to express their discontent, Iran’s teachers demanded higher wages and more government investment in education.

Labor and Class in Iran

An Interview with Mohammad Maljoo

by Paola Rivetti | published May 26, 2017

Mohammad Maljoo is a Tehran-based economist researching labor issues and the transformation of capital-labor relations in post-revolutionary Iran. Widely published in several languages, Maljoo is also the Persian translator of numerous books on political economy by thinkers such as Karl Polanyi, E. P. Thompson and Albert Hirschman. The bulk of this interview took place in Tehran in August 2016; it was completed by e-mail in May 2017.

BDS in a Time of Precarity

Graduate Students, Untenured Faculty and Solidarity with Palestine

by Omar Sirri
published in MER281

The University of Toronto is not known as a particularly progressive institution. Like many universities, it has adopted neoliberal thinking and practice, becoming part of Academia, Inc. But two seemingly unrelated events during the 2014-2015 academic year showcased the increasing political activity of the school’s graduate student body.

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Palestinian Workers Campaign for Social Justice

by N. Alva
published in MER281

On the hot afternoon of April 19, 2016, thousands of workers and unemployed took to the streets of the West Bank city of Ramallah in protest the labor policies of the Palestinian Authority (PA). As the sun beat down on their shoulders, the marchers remained defiant, shouting “Haramiyya! (Thieves!),” as they reached the rally point in front of the Council of Ministers and Ministry of Interior buildings. Organizers from independent workers’ movements, left political parties and women’s committees took turns addressing the crowd from a makeshift platform on the back of a truck. PA police and security forces were deployed, some in riot gear and armored vehicles, but they did not visibly interfere.

A Lonely Songkran in the Arabah

by Matan Kaminer
published in MER279

There was something awe-inspiring about the dark red rainclouds that covered the sky of the Arabah on April 13. Precipitation is rare in this section of the Great Rift Valley, which lies below sea level and hundreds of miles from the Mediterranean. When it does come, the rain rushes down the wadis of the Israeli Negev and from the high mountains of Jordan opposite, flooding the dry bed of the Wadi ‘Araba, prying loose the landmines buried decades ago when the two states were in a state of war. Rarer still is rain in April, the month in which fresh days and cold nights begin to give way to the stifling 24-hour heat of summer, and the month in which the bell peppers that have brought prosperity to the Israeli side of the Arabah begin to wilt and rot.

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Whither Iranian Petrochemical Labor?

by Mohammad Maljoo
published in MER277

On November 4, 2012, there were two snapshots of a deeply unequal struggle between labor and capital in Iran—a struggle that had begun two years earlier with a strike of temporary workers at the Mahshahr Petrochemical Complex. In Mahshahr, at the head of the Persian Gulf, Faraveresh, one of the five public-sector companies at the Complex, reached an agreement with the strikers, committing to remove the private middleman who had hired the workers and to sign direct contracts with them as soon as possible.

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Workers' Control After the Revolution

by Asef Bayat
published in MER113

In the months preceeding the February armed insurrection which led to the downfall of the Pahlavi regime, the term shura (council) appeared frequently in the speeches and literature of various political tendencies ranging from the Islamic right to the leftist organizations. The most ardent advocates of the shuras were the left organizations, including the Mojahedin, with an emphasis on workers’ shuras. Now, four years into the Islamic Republic, it is clear that repression was not the only cause of failure of these shuras. The question is to what extent the workers could manage to exert control within an overall framework of social relations.

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Migrant Workers and the US Military in the Middle East

by Darryl Li
published in MER275

Over the past 15 years, the United States has waged two major land wars in the greater Middle East with hundreds of thousands of ground troops. Shadowing these armies and rivaling them in size has been a labor force of private contractors. The security company once called Blackwater has played an outsize role in the wide-ranging debate about the privatization of war and attendant concerns of corruption, waste and human rights abuses. But this debate has also largely overlooked a crucial fact: While Blackwater was founded and largely staffed by retired US military personnel, the vast majority of the overseas contractor work force is not American.

"Please Don't Use My Name"

by
published in MER121

This interview was conducted by Karen Pfeifer in Ankara during November 1983.

How would you like to be identified?

I have been in prison five times since the 1980 coup, so please don’t use my name. I was an activist in the construction workers’ union, a shop steward in one of the most progressive unions in the Türk-Iş federation. I started as an unskilled worker, making pavement. I worked for two years in a private company, then for 25 years in the state highway department.

What was your work day like?

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"The Traditional Middle in Turkish Politics Disintegrated"

by
published in MER121

Ahmet (a pseudonym) was a founder of the Turkish People’s Liberation Front Party in 1971. He was imprisoned from 1972 to 1974, and released during the general amnesty. He worked with Türk-Iş (the state-endorsed trade union confederation) in the 1970s and helped publish the political journal Birikim. In 1979, he was invited by Abdullah Baştürk to transfer to work with DISK, the progressive confederation of trade unions. Ahmet resigned from DISK in April 1980.

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