Reflections on “the intellectual Left”

Almost every disaporic Iranian women I know who is left-leaning and feminist knows the problematics of our positionality within leftist and feminist narratives in the global north.

As Iranian women, we are well aware of western interests in our part of the world, and the role it’s played in preventing democracy in our country. What we also know first hand is the brutal realities of an authoritarian government that has waged a war on us (and the entire nation) for over four decades.

You would think that all leftist and feminist movements would support a revolution being led by women, girls and youth fighting for freedom.

So why the silence?

It seems that leftist activists, cultural relativists, postmodernist intellectuals and the likes in the global north have woven themselves into restrictive discourses of resistance/liberation. So much that there is no room for a nuanced analysis, no room for contradictions and complexities, and ironically, no room for a clear understanding of what oppression entails. Imagine that.

Imagine having to remind people that it’s possible to be both against Islamophobia and against state-imposed religious patriarchy. That it’s possible to support the liberation of Iranian women without denying their agency in their own liberation. That it’s possible to speak against the Islamic Republic while criticizing U.S. imperialism. And so on. You get the point. Though I can’t believe it needs to be said.

Solidarity with the liberation movement of Iranian women and Iran should not be negotiable. Check the facts. Revise your ideologies and discourses. And show up. There’s a lot at stake. And it impacts us all.

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