Petition: Where Is Iranian Socialist-Humanist Intellectual, Yashar Darolshafa?

Darolshafa is a unique type of humanist intellectual activist who has broken with the dogmatism, nationalism and sexism of many members of  previous generations of Iranian socialists.  His  contribution to emancipatory thought and struggle at this critical moment in Iran’s history is urgently needed.   We urge socialists around the world to publicize the case of this brave intellectual activist,  demand to know where he is being held, hold the Iranian government accountable for his safety, and call for his immediate release.

Update on January 1, 2020: 

Yashar has been temporarily released from Tehran’s Evin prison on heavy bail.  He will have to appear in court where he will face charges.

Yashar’s brother,  Kaveh Darolshafa,  who was arrested a few days after him is still in solitary confinement at Tehran’s Evin prison.   Kaveh is a labor activist and music teacher.  After participating in student protests at Tehran University in 1999,  he was expelled from the university.   He was imprisoned for several months in 2009 during  the Green Movement.    He was also imprisoned again in 2015 because he joined a protest gathering of  families of political prisoners in front of the office of the judiciary.

Friends of Yashar think that the petition below, signed by over 150 activists and academics, played an important role in compelling  the authorities  to agree to his temporary release on bail.  What is done now to continue to defend Yashar when he appears in court and to defend his brother, Kaveh,  can also make a difference.

December 17, 2019

On Thursday November 21,  five days after the outbreak of a popular uprising against the Islamic Republic of Iran,  Yashar Darolshafa was violently arrested  by government authorities at a friend’s home and  taken away.   Since then, family and friends have not heard from him.   Subsequent efforts by family members inquiring about his status,  have not led to any results.

Darolshafa is a  33 year old PhD candidate in the School of Health and Social Welfare at Tehran University,  a journalist and an activist with deep interest in student, labor, women’s and oppressed minority struggles and rights.  He  represents the combination of brilliance, erudition  and compassion.

He has paid a heavy price for his critical thinking and commitment to human emancipation.    His efforts in producing a youth journal,  Sarpich  (Insubordinate) with a special 2009 issue critically evaluating the 1979 Revolution,   landed him in prison for the first time.  Later he was sentenced to five years in prison for his participation in the 2009 Green Movement.

While in prison (2012-2016), Darolshafa continued his research with an extensive critique of the Iranian Shi’a reformist thinker, Ali Shariati.  He also closely followed the Syrian uprising against the brutal Assad regime and the Kurdish struggle for self-determination  in Rojava,  northern Syria.

After  he was released on parole in late 2016,   despite extreme pain from beatings in prison,  he was drafted into compulsory military service.  He then returned to his graduate studies  in sociology, health and social welfare.

He responded to the December 2017-January 2018 popular uprising in Iran by writing a series of articles on the history of Iranian labor struggles  from the early 1900s to today.  He also wrote about and strongly supported women’s rights activists  known as  the Girls of Revolution Avenue who took off their scarves in public to oppose the compulsory hijab.

Most recently Darolshafa was writing an essay,  comparing and contrasting Ali Shari’ati and Frantz Fanon with the aim of reclaiming Fanon’s critique of Third World nationalist intellectuals.

Darolshafa is a unique type of humanist intellectual activist who has broken with the dogmatism, nationalism and sexism of many members of  previous generations of Iranian socialists.  His  contribution to emancipatory thought and struggle at this critical moment in Iran’s history is urgently needed.

We urge socialists around the world to publicize the case of this brave intellectual activist,  demand to know where he is being held, hold the Iranian government accountable for his safety, and call for his immediate release.

He needs and deserves our support!

Initial Signatories:

Abbas, Sara, Ph.D. Candidate, Freie Universität Berlin

Abernethy, Richard, member of Unite the Union (UK) and International Marxist-Humanist Organisation

Afary,  Janet, Professor of Religious Studies, Director, Iranian Studies Initiative,  University of California, Santa Barbara,  U.S.A.

Afary, Mona,  Psychologist, USA

Afary, Frieda, Producer of Iranian Progressives in Translation and member of Alliance of Middle Eastern and North African Socialists,  U.S.A.

Afshar, Said, Iranian journalist, Sweden

Ajlyakin, Sara, Syrian Activist

Alcázar , Josep Lluis del Alcázar, public education trade union delegate and activist in Lucha Internacionalista, Spain

Alliance of Middle Eastern and North African Socialists

Amirani, Mohammad, Civil engineer, Denmark

Anastassiadis, Tassos , sociologist and journalist, Greece

Anderson, Dave, member of Boulder County chapter of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Boulder, Colorado USA

Anderson, Kevin B., University of California and International Marxist-Humanist Organization

Araujo , Joao Batista Araujo “Baba”, municipal council member of Rio de Janeiro, CST-PSOL, Brazil

Arassi, Mojdeh, Ex-political prisoner and editorial member of the “In Defence of Marxism”, Germany

Arshadi , Shahrzad, Multidisciplinary Artist,  Canada

Ashrafi, Parvin,  Iranian Socialist Feminist, Canada

Assiter, Alison, Professor of Philosophy, UWE, Bristol and Feminist Dissent.

Atán, Elena Cal,  Galicia, Spain

Ayoub, Joey, Lebanese writer and researcher, Lebanon/Switzerland/UK

Azad, Hassan, Iranian socialist writer and activist, Germany

Azimi, Maryam

Azizi, Arash, Arash, PhD candidate, New York University, USA

Bamschad, Arjand, Iranian political activist and journalist, Europe

Berger, Elizabeth, MD, New York City, USA

Bittu K. R., Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti; Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression

Bodas, José, General Secretary of the United Federation of Oil Workers of Venezuela (Futpv), Venezuela

Bogue, Richard  PhDAcademy on Communication in Healthcare, Chair, Research Committee, Austin, TX, USA

Bohmer,  Peter , faculty in Economics, The Evergreen State College, Economics for Everyone, Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, USA

Bordbar, Behdad, Socialist activist and journalist

Brennan, Debbie,  Radical Women National Organizer, Australia

Cahill, Dan, editor, Class War magazine

Calis, Irene,  American University, Washington DC, USA

Carty, Marian, President Goldsmiths UCU, Lecturer in Education, Department of Educational Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

CSP-Conlutas, Labor Federation, Brazil

Clark, Christopher, member of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 12, USA

Cox, Ronald, Professor of Politics and International Relations, USA

Crabapple. Molly,  Artist and author, USA

Daher, Joseph,  Swiss Syrian academic and activist, author  of Syria after the Uprisings  and Hezbollah: The Political Economy of the Party of God,  member of Alliance of Middle Eastern and North African Socialists

Dehkordi, Sara, political activist, Europe

Desai, Miraj,   USA

Dessaux, Nicolas , archeologist and marxist writer, France

Dinarvand, Ahmad, Leftist activist, Germany

Dinarvand, Houshang, Leftist activist, Germany

Durel, Sedat , General Secretary of the Union of Revolutionary Workers in Telecommunication and Call Centers, Turkey

Durham, Stephen, International Secretary, Freedom Socialist Party-USA

Ergasheva, Zaynab, organizer, USAorganizer, USA

Esmaili, Manuel, Iranian labor union activist, Europe

Faustino, Deivison Mendes,  Professor of Sociology, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil

Felekis, Giannis, editor of “4” magazine, Greece

Fernandez, Xili, political scientist, Venezuela

Foran, John,  Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara

Foster, Elea, socialist activist and copy editor,  Greece

Friedland, Roger,  Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies,  University of California, Santa Barbara,  USA

Gallagher, Nancy, Professor Emerita,  University of California, Santa Barbara,  USA

Ganji, Iman, Researcher and Translator, Europe

Ghazzawi, Razan,  Syrian Palestinian scholar and activist, Europe

Ghosh, Saswati, Academic and rights’ activist, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Gibson, Nigel,  Professor,  Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,  Emerson College,  Boston, USA

Gilbert, Helen,  National Radical Women Organizer, U.S.A.

Golchini, Asad, Worker, communist

Giordano, Juan Carlos, national parliament member from the Left and Workers’ Front (FIT) in the province of Buenos Aires, national leader of Socialist Left (IS),  Argentina

Grenier, Jean-Noël, Professeur, Département des relations industrielles, Université Laval, Québec, Québec, Canada

Gundes,  Kaan , Philosophy student, Galatasaray University and member of Worker’s Democracy Party,  Turkey.

Hamid beygi , Saieed, Leftist activist, Germany

Hanover Center for Iranian Democrats and Socialists, Germany

Harrison, Tom, New Politics magazine, USA

Hassan, Budour, Writer, Palestine

Heimbach, Wayne, Socialist activist, Service Employees International Union, retired, Chicago, USA

Hensman, Rohini,  writer, researcher and activist, India

Hiebert, Ken, Palestine solidarity activist, Vancouver Island, Canada

Hosouri , Amin, Leftist activist, Germany

Hudis, Peter,  International Marxist-Humanist Organization

Israfilli, Arshia,  USA

Iwani , Homayon, Ex-political prisoner and editorial member of the “In Defence of Marxism”, Germany

Jasky, Reza, Sweden

Johnson, Daniel, Turkey

Kamangar, Arash, Iranian socialist journalist, Canada

Khalili, Mahmoud, Ex-political prisoner and editorial member of the “Prison’s Dialogue”, Germany

Khameneh, Mehrdad, director, Iran

Khiabani, Gholam,  Author of Iranian Media:  The Paradox of Modernity,  UK

Khosravi, Kamal, Iranian writer

Kiani, Ali, Marxist Humanist activist

Kurgan, Sarp ,  PhD candidate in Global Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Lam Chi Leung, socialist activist and writer. Hong Kong

Lin, Kevin, Chinese labor activist and researcher, USA

Lindhorst,  Soheila, Leftist Militant, Germany

Long, Wahbie, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Louédec, Christian, retired teacher, militant unionist, France

Lowy, Michael,  directeur de recherche émérite au CNRS, France

Markarian, Ruben,  Iranian political activist, Europe

Matin, Kamran, Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex, UK

Moghissi,  Haideh, York University, Canada

Montag, Warren, Occidental College,  USA

Morman, Ed, Baltimore, MD, USA

Mortazavi, Hassan, Translator, Iran

Masjedi, Fatemeh,  Iranian academic activist, member of Alliance of Middle Eastern and North African Socialists,  Germany

Moradian, Siranush, Iranian political activist, Europe

Nasr, Mina, Sociailsts Activist, Canada

Nielsen, Peter Saxtrup, Socialist activist, Denmark

Patel, Pragna, director of Southall Black Sisters,  UK

Pavón-Cuéllar. David,  Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico

Pelaschi, Hazhir, political activist, Europe

Pishro, Naser, Iranian socialist activist, Germany

Platero, Jose Maria Saravi, Argentina

Pröbsting, Michael , Writer and Editor of (RCIT), Europe

Quirico, Monica, Socialist Feminist researcher, Turin, Italy

Rafiee, Saira, Iranian graduate student in Sociology,  USA

Rahmaninejad, Nasser, Iranian actor and director, USA

Rahnema, Saeed, York University, Canada

Rajabi, Afra, Socialist feminist writer, student, and member of Radical Women, Seattle, USA

Raji, Farzaneh, Translator, Iran

Räthzel, Nora,  Professor of Sociology,  Spain

Reimann, John,  former recording secretary, Carpenters Union Local 713, editor,,  USA

Rimmer, Dr. Annette,   University of Manchester, UK

Rios, Ranier, Socialist Workers’ Movement (MST) leader, Chile

Rodriguez, Simon,  leader of Partido Socialismo y Libertad
(Socialism and Liberty Party, PSL) of Venezuela and an internationalist
militant.  Co- author of Why Did Chavismo Fail?  A Balance Sheet from the Left Opposition

Roshan, Roja

Rostampour, Somayeh, independant feminist researcher, Europe

Roueiha, Fouad, Syrian Italian journalist, Europe

Sabra, Adam, Professor of History and Islamic Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara,  USA

Saffari,  Siavash, Assistant Professor of West Asian studies, Seoul National University, South Korea

Sahand, Zhaleh , Political activist and former political prisoner.

Samanpour, Morteza,  indépendant researcher, Europe

Saenz, Charlotte, Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Mexico

Sani, Ladan, Human Rights advocate, U.S.A.

Sethness, Javier, Family Nurse Practitioner, USA

Schulman,  Jason, co-editor, New Politics magazine, USA

Slakov, Jan, Teacher,  Canada

Sobrero, Rubén “Pollo” , General Secretary of the Western Section Railway Union, Argentina

Sohrabian, Frida, Iranian political activist, Europe

Sozmen, Mesadet, PhD Student, University of California, Santa Barbara,  USA

Tevgera Jinên Azad (TJA) – Komisyona Diplomasiyê,

Free Women’s Movement – Diplomacy Commission, Rojava

Thorne, Alison,  Melbourne Branch Organiser, Freedom Socialist Party – Australia.

Tohidi, Nayereh, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Gender & Women’s Studies, Director, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, California State University, Northridge,  USA

Trimarchi, Mercedes,  leader of the Isadora women’s group, and legislator of the Socialist Left in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Turner, Lou, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Urban & Regional Planning, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA

Vancil, Joel, Freedom Socialist Party, Seattle, USA

Van der Zee, Renate, Journalist, Netherland

Varikas, Eleni, Professeur émérite à l’Universite de Paris 8, France

Waardenburg, JST,  scholar, Comitato Permanente RS (Italy)

Weiner, Lois, Editorial board of New Politics Magazine, USA

Wilde Botta, Emma,  socialist activist and writer, California, USA

Zandi, Behrang, USA

Zeis, Theodoris,  lawyer, Greece

Zekavat, Sina,  Anti-war activist and member of the Alliance of Middle Eastern and North African Socialists

Zikas, Municipal councilor of  Papagos- Holargos, Greece

For an updated list of the signatories go to the website of the Alliance of MENA Socialists

If you wish to add your name to the list of signatories,  please write to [email protected]

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