Contradictions of Iran Solidarity Demonstration in Los Angeles

Kevork Sassouni

Summary: In the wake of the recent uprising, Iranian leftists demonstrate against regime repression, but do so separately from a larger conservative gathering — Editors

On Sunday, November 24, large crowds gathered at the federal building in Westwood, Los Angeles in solidarity with revolts taking place in Iran. Around 500 people were present. Most were anti-Khamenei, but pro-Reza Pahlavi, the son of the last shah. They were chanting “Death to the Islamic Republic,” while upholding pictures of the shah and his son and chanting in support of the royal family.

Members of a group of mainly Iranian leftists, joined by some from IMHO, intentionally kept their distance from the monarchists. About 25 strong, they stood on the side of the road where all passer-by cars could see them. There was an IMHO literature table with Persian and English books and fliers were being passed out by members and friends of the IMHO. The leftist contingent held posters and banners that were clearly against the Islamist regime but also against the shah. Some of the slogans were “free all political prisoners,” “no to the execution of Iranian protesters,” “no Mullah, no Shah, yes for council democracy,” “freedom and justice for women of Iran.” Other slogans expressed solidarity with revolts and movements across the world, including Lebanon, Iraq, Chile, Hong Kong, citing the fight against neo-liberalism as the uniting agent.

There were many nods in agreement, honks and salutes by onlookers in cars, but some clearly disapproved of the leftists who were present. Monarchists walked over and harassed anti-shah protesters, claiming that they are provocateurs who are undermining the struggle. The leftist protesters clarified their position and stood strong with increasingly louder chants. Some other protesters joined them and expressed their solidarity, decrying the absurdity of the monarchists. Iranian leftists, including IMHO members, made it very clear that they are a distinct contingency that is anti-Islamic Republic, anti-shah and pro-direct or what is also known as council democracy.

The presence of the intersectional left was conspicuous and undeniable, but it could have been larger and one could also have hoped for more of the non-Iranian left of LA to have made an appearance.

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