Hopi: support grows in Ireland

Anne McShane was encouraged by a number of recent meetings on Iran

Torab Saleth of Hands Off the People of Iran addressed a series of successful meetings in Dublin last week.

The first, held at the Teachers Club on February 6, focused on the nature of the Iranian regime and its relationship to imperialism. Comrade Saleth analysed the history of foreign interference in Iran - from British colonialism to the present-day face-off with George Bush. The current antipathy masks a much more complex situation. One in which the only side to take is that of the Iranian people.

The discussion centred on a number of issues, including the situation for national minorities - that of the Kurds, Azaris, Turkmen and others repressed by the Iranian regime. One contributor pointed to the fact that the US is supporting some of these national movements. Saleth responded that they are using such ‘support’ as a means of war, to encircle and undermine the central regime. Like the current situation in Iraq, this will result in meltdown and dislocation. Instead we should call for an end to national oppression within Iran and the unity of the working class. We should take up democratic questions, not leave it to the imperialists and arch-nationalists.

Des Derwin, vice-president of Dublin Trades Council and a supporter of Hopi, called for us to work within the union movement. We have a model resolution which is available for all active trade unionists to use in their branches. It is important that we use the opportunity now to raise the political question and build practical solidarity.

We also heard about the dynamism of the movement in Iran - where those who previously described themselves as islamic students are now self-declared Marxists and even the most moderate parts of the women’s movement are viewed as a threat by the state. Tragically the organised Iranian left is weak and divided, but there is hope that this new generation will supersede them. The meeting sent out a pledge of support to students, trade unionists, women’s rights campaigners and all in struggle in Iran.

Torab was interviewed on national radio the following morning. This sparked interest in the campaign and a rash of telephone calls to find out the details of the lunchtime meeting at University College Dublin. At this well attended and lively event, he spoke and answered questions about the student movement in Iran and the type of problems they face. There was enthusiasm for building links with universities in Tehran, similar to that initiated in Britain. We hope this will energetically be followed up.

That evening Torab took part in a special debate organised by the Philosophical Society at Trinity College before an audience of over 300. Despite the rightwing views of many of them, his arguments came across loud and clear and the case against war and intervention in Iran won out.

Overall we were very happy with the level of interest and support the campaign received. We now have invitations to speak at meetings in Dublin for International Women’s Day and a number of other events. We also have the full support of Anti-War Ireland and other campaigns. We are building branches, with the first Cork meeting taking place this week and a public event in Belfast to follow soon. Our founding conference will be held this summer.

There is tremendous potential and a great deal to do. Contact me to get involved: (+353) 862343238; anne@hopoi.info