Middle East

Letter from Radical Women and Reply from Codepink

Last December, we published an open letter to Codepink about their planned “peace caravan” to Iran. Without giving the slightest support to US capitalism’s threats and attacks against Iran, we criticized this trip which we believe will be used by the reactionary Iranian regime to legitimize their regime. That letter can be found here.

Since that time, we have received this letter from Radical Women:

Radical Women – U.S.
Jan 8, 2019,  6:13 PM
Re: Concerns about Peace Brigade to Iran
Dear sisters of Code Pink,
We are writing on behalf of Radical Women, a socialist feminist organization with a long history of feminist and antiwar organizing and international solidarity activism.
Our members and friends are very concerned about the political orientation of your impending “Peace Brigade to Iran.” While we understand the limitations imposed on what you can say publicly in order to gain entry to a repressive theocracy, it is startling that your outreach for the tour does not make any reference to problems with how the regime is treating women, workers, and ethnic minorities. We believe that a women’s anti-war organization such as Code Pink should not provide a feminist cover for a country with a notorious record of oppression of women, ethnic minorities, leftists, and workers. It is disturbing to see that even your website’s post-tour report of your 2008 triphttps://www.codepink.org/a_week_in_iran_rae_s_diary is breathtakingly uncritical of the regime’s blatant misogyny.
Like you, Radical Women opposes U.S. sanctions on Iran and the terrible impact they have on the lives of the people. But we also believe feminists and human rights activists must be critical of Iran’s attempts to crush the new wave of women calling for increased freedom and its incarceration of labor activists, dissidents and civil rights lawyers.
Achieving peace is more than the absence of armed warfare between countries. It must also include human liberation, political freedom, and workers’ rights.
In solidarity,
Afra Rajabi
Helen Gilbert
Codepink has replied:

medea benjamin
Jan 8, 2019, 9:25 PM
Dear Afra and Helen,
Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your concerns. Our trip has been postponed, as we have not received our visas and we don’t know if we ever will—probably because of our criticisms. I wonder if you have had a chance, or if you are interested, in seeing the book I wrote on Iran? I can send you a pdf if you want. You might also want to see the archive of the Iran summit we did in December. I think both will give you a sense of our analysis re Iran, much more than a few paragraphs about a trip or someone’s diary from 2008.
Right now, I am REALLY concerned about the stepped up efforts of the Trump administration to attack Iran. We are seeing that with Pompeo’s trip to the region now (and Boltons). We are putting our energy into opposing a new war and hope you are as well.
Best regards,

Categories: Middle East, women

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