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!
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
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 PhD, Academy 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 www.thecommunists.net (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, oaklandsocialist.com, 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
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 www.allianceofmesocialists.org