Collective 98 borrows its name from “Aban” 98, the bloody uprisings of the downtrodden that traversed the whole country in November 2019 (1398 in the Iranian calendar). It is indicative of our commitment to the emancipatory causes of those who rose up from the infernal depths of Iranian society, constituting a ‘watershed’ in the history of people’s struggles against the Islamic Republic of Iran. It also expresses our solidarity with the people who understood well that their future depends upon putting an end to a system that reproduces itself through exploitation, mass poverty, and the ever increasing commodification of the very basic means of life. The pillars that hold this system afloat are built by the denial of basic political and civil rights, the execution and imprisonment of the dissidents, systematic subjugation of women, ‘centralist-unitary state’ based on Fars-Shi’ite chauvinism, racism and immigrant bashing (especially against Afghan immigrants), destruction of the environment, and of course political-economic-military interventions in the region.
Collective 98 believes that all forms of domination are inter-connected and thus none of the struggles – against ethnic, gender, sexual, religious, class and other forms of oppression – takes precedent over the other. We attribute as much importance to the struggles of women aganst patriarchy as we do with respect to students’ and workers’. Collective 98 attempts to play its own part in voicing the struggles of all the oppressed, ranging from teachers to precarious workers, from the unemployed and the retired to the Kolbars and beyond.
Collective 98 seeks to develop a mutual relation between theory and practice, attempting to be neither an ‘action-orientated’ organization nor a group study. We pursue our objectives through online platforms and forums, through mobilizing and participating in demonstrations, and organizing meetings for critical interactions of ideas. Critique and organizing, thought and action, require above all the ‘general intellect’, mutual collaboration and inter-generational ‘exchanges’. With this in mind, and to avoid sectarianism, Collective 98 will attempt to build solidarities and maintain relations with all leftist, progressive and independent groups and militants both inside and outside the country (in particular those from the Middle East). Such solidarities are all the more necessary considering the sharpening of geopolitical conflicts as well as opportunism of reactionary forces. Whereas the latter, along with the support of global powers, dream about turning the wheels of history back, Collective 98 aspires to take part in mapping a way forward by learning from the achievements and failures of the past.