Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Countdown to the teachers strike!

According to reports from teachers in various towns and cities in Iran most teachers are solidly behind the broad-based strike on 21-23 February. The lack of access to the press and the media in general for publicising the strike has meant that news about the country-wide strike has been passed on using SMS, email, personal weblogs and telephone conversations.
In Ardabil, in Azerbaijan province, the teachers of two secondary schools and a high school have used SMS texts to get messages to their friends and colleagues about their readiness for the strike.
In Tabriz, also in Azerbaijan province, the students of a secondary school have been asking their teachers about the strike during lessons: “What is the reason behind the broad-based strike?” This has had such a big impact among the students and the teachers that the authorities have given the principal an official warning.
In other Tabriz secondary schools there are serious discussions among the teachers and this has been reflected among the students. The teachers’ solidarity in their struggle against neglect by the authorities and for better pay and conditions that are justly theirs is obvious to nearly everyone.
There are, however, simple-minded and ‘kind-hearted’ people, whose intervention has been limited to questions like “If you don’t teach then you are being cruel to the students” or that “What have all your protests, strikes and gatherings achieved?”
What these ‘kind-hearted’ people forget is the fact that Iran’s teachers have been demanding justice for over 85 years! On 24 December 1921 the teachers of Tehran went on strike to demand six months’ unpaid wages and union recognition for government employees. Not much seems to have changed since the time of the tyrannical Reza Khan. Yet no matter what kind of regime persecutes workers, and defends the bosses, workers’ unshakeable unity always makes them win strikes and struggles. Eighty-six years ago the teachers’ unity played a role in forcing the government to resign after three weeks!
Let us hope that this time the teachers have an even bigger victory!
Support the Iranian teachers’ strike!
Long live international solidarity!

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