Middle East

We are delighted to announce the publication of important articles from marxist.com into the Kurdish language, thanks to the enthusiastic work of dedicated Kurdish-speaking comrades. We are proud to be able to make these translations, which have been published on the Kurdish section of the Arabic language website of the International Marxist Tendency marxy.com, available on the Kurdish language section of marxist.com. We are certain that they will play a valuable role in theoretically equipping a new generation of class fighters in the Kurdish-speaking world.

The war in Ukraine, rising oil prices and spiralling global inflation have fuelled food scarcity and surges in the price of basic goods in Egypt. Most worrying among the goods affected is bread, which makes up almost 40 percent of the average Egyptian’s diet. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has suggested that poor people survive by eating leaves. The absurd and callous response of the ruling class to the food crisis reflects the dead-end of the capitalist system, and places class struggle firmly on the order of the day.

We are delighted to be able to announce that the Iranian Exit Theatre Group based in Tehran has translated the article “Shostakovich, the musical conscience of the Russian Revolution” by Alan Woods into Farsi. This is an important and welcome development, which will make the really revolutionary content of Shostakovitch’s life and work known to a broader audience.

Protests have been increasing in Iran’s Khuzestan province, a week after the 10 and 11-storey Metropol Towers in the city of Abadan collapsed, killing and wounding up to 100 people. After much hesitation, the Iranian regime called for a national day of mourning on Sunday, but the ceremony in Abadan, led by the local Friday Prayer Imam, was also disrupted by angry protesters.

Crowds of people have been gathering in the streets of Abadan, Iran, chanting slogans against local officials and the owner of a building that collapsed on Monday, leaving at least 10 people dead and 40 injured. The Metropol twin tower complex consisted of two, 10-storey buildings, one of which had been finalised and one that was still under construction. After the latter collapsed on Tuesday, its twin tower also collapsed on Wednesday, while rescue operations were still underway.

As the Lebanese elections draw to a close, it is clear that a major shift is taking place in the balance of power. The March 8 Alliance, a coalition of Hezbollah, Haraket Amal, and the Christian Free Patriotic Movement, has lost the majority they have held since 2018. They were reduced from 71 seats, which gave them a majority, to 58 seats, whilst the opposition Christian Lebanese Forces (LF) surged forward. Alongside the two traditional sectarian opposition parties, a new wave of independent candidates has also broken through. Thirteen independent candidates won seats under a broad banner called ‘Change’.

Since last week, spontaneous protests have been breaking out in Iran following cuts to subsidies on basic foodstuffs, combined with spiralling inflation. Prices for staples like cooking oil, chicken, milk and eggs have abruptly raised by as much as 300 percent. In past weeks, the price of a kilogram of flour has increased by 500 percent. Subsidy cuts have also caused a 169 percent surge in the price of pasta. This is creating a desperate situation for the masses, provoking a backlash that is combining with workers’ struggles, resulting in an explosive mix.

After assassinating popular Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh last week, the Israeli state would not even allow her body to reach its final resting place in peace. In a shocking act of sadism, Israeli police attacked Abu Akleh’s funeral procession on Friday, using batons and stun grenades against mourners escorting her coffin from a hospital in East Jerusalem to a cemetery in the nearby Old City.

Palestinian Al Jazeerareporter Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, was shot dead by the Israeli military early this morning, while covering a raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. This cold-blooded murder of a journalist – a war crime under the Geneva Convention – further exposes the brutality of the Israeli state, and lays bare the repulsive hypocrisy of its imperialist allies.

The economic crisis gripping Turkey has pushed the Turkish ruling class into a political crisis. Splits and divisions are opening up in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its electoral partner, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). These events are a harbinger of revolution.

We are proud to announce the publication of the ninth issue of the Arabic magazine of the International Marxist Tendency: Freedom and Communism. We publish here an overview of its contents, and an English translation of the editorial statement. You can read the whole issue in Arabic online here

What is being called “Egypt’s #MeToo movement” has made headlines around the world since 2020, with high-profile sexual predators being called out online. Meanwhile, the country’s regime has been pushed onto the back foot on the question of sexual violence and women’s oppression during recent years. This question is bound up with the fate of the Egyptian Revolution. Those who want to rid Egypt of violence against women must turn towards the working class and raise the call: time’s up for Sisi!

The workers of Turkey are beginning to make the ruling class tremble. A strike wave is rapidly spreading across the country. Beginning among some of the most precariously employed workers, it has spread from factory to factory. From 6 January to 14 February, there have been 65 strikes across Turkey, with new strikes erupting every day. As the strike wave has progressed, it has threatened to draw in the heavy battalions of the working class, and has already brought in workers from Erdoğan’s own heartland.

On 30 to 31 January, tens of thousands of teachers went on strike across Iran in over 300 cities, led by the Teachers’ Coordinating Committee. Slogans at the rallies included: “The teacher would rather die than accept [this] humiliation”, “If there was justice, the teachers would not be here”, and: “We do not have cannons and guns but we have the support of the people”. The strike was met with the arrest of dozens of trade unionists. But this has not discouraged the teachers, who have planned weekly strikes this month and threatened an indefinite strike if their demands are not met.

In the past month, there have been over 230 strikes and protests across Iran. Since their national three-day strike from 10–13 December, teachers’ protests, led by a Teachers’ Coordinating Council, have continued across Iran. Sporadic strikes continue among oil workers in Khuzestan, and on a nearly daily basis, there are reports of workers at major factories spontaneously launching indefinite strike action.