“Stand By the Oppressed & Say “No” to the Oppressors”; An Open Letter to Professor David Harvey

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Dear professor Harvey,

We are a number of socialist political and social activists, writing to share with you our concerns regarding your scheduled speech in Iran and urge you to cancel it.

You have been invited to give a talk at the "Women & Urban Life Conference" from December 11th through December 12th in one of the most neoliberalized cities of the world, namely Tehran, in which public spaces are highly controlled by the state and widely privatized over the recent decade. The conference is organized not by a university or an academic association, or even a non-governmental or people-based organization, but rather by the Tehran Municipality and will be held at the International Center for Conferences in the Tehran Milad Tower, which is one of the most expensive places to which the absolute majority of the Tehran’s citizens have no access. Moreover, the conference entrance fee for the conference is more than a quarter of the monthly minimum wage in Iran, hence it should be clear what kind of audience you are likely to have.

You have been invited by one of the most menacing arms of the oppression of vulnerable urban groups in the heart of the capital city that rendered the overspreading of child labor, homelessness, ghettos, vendors, and the like, and have also deprived from basic services a wide range of elderly, people with health issues, the handicapped, the disabled, or those with special needs. All of these social groups experience the most atrocious forms of structural suppression in public spaces.

You will be hosted by a governmental organization which implements various fearsome scenarios in favor of neoliberal urbanization: confiscating the vendors' commodities on the streets, attacking, arresting and even killing them with brass knuckles by their black-colored shirts; vendor-cleansing the streets by brutal force and "picking up" the drug addicts by transferring them to government-run rehabilitation camps which are nothing short of torture camps; setting fire to the immigrants' sheds who live in deprived areas on the outskirts of the towns; as well as prosecuting journalists who expose its corruption and so forth.

We would like to use this opportunity to point out that as a radical academic figure and an brilliant intellectual source of inspiration for countless socialist activists around the world and a major producer of critical interpretation of the ideas of "Social Justice and the City" and your own formulation of the “right to the city” your attendance in this conference will contradict the the basic political principles to which you have thus far steadfastly adhered.

Indubitably, your attendance at a seminar in Iran would be an excellent opportunity and a favorable occasion for all scholars, students, political and social activists who make efforts towards the right to the city in Iran. Nevertheless, we believe that your invitation is part of recent attempts by the Iranian government to co-opt and misuse critical research and activism for its own purposes and legitimation of its governance institutions and practices, led by different organs of the state, all in order to blunt the trenchancy of critical approaches concerning the status-quo power relations.

We, as socialist political and social activists, and as those who have followed your ideas in and outside of Iran, appeal to you not to take part in this seminar funded by the Tehran Municipality which is a major oppressor of the Tehran’s subalterns and a systematic violator of their most elementary rights, and to not grant your seal of approval to the agents of ongoing neo-liberalization policies in Iran.

We sincerely hope you respond to our comradely appeal and stand by the oppressed and suburbanized people of Tehran and say "no" to the oppressors by refusing to attend this conference.


Date: 02 / 12 / 2016


Signatures:

  1. Abbas Shahrabi

  2. Abdee Kalantari

  3. Adel Irankhah

  4. Aida Eyvazzadeh

  5. Ako Pakzad

  6. Alborz Zahedi

  7. Ali Akbar Masoumbaigi

  8. Ali Fathi

  9. Ali Rasoli

  10. Ali Saleki

  11. Ali Soltani

  12. Alireza Abbasi

  13. Alireza Adinh

  14. Alireza Moinian

  15. Amer Goli

  16. Ammar Goli

  17. Amin Hosouri

  18. Amin Zargarnejad

  19. Amir Chamani

  20. Amir Hooshang Eftekhari Rad

  21. Amir Javaheri Langroudi

  22. Amir Kianpour

  23. Amir Memarian

  24. Amir Mesbahi

  25. Amir Shojaei

  26. Amirkhosro Nazeri

  27. Anita Kamali

  28. Arash Doosthossein

  29. Arash Kia

  30. Ardavan Tarakame

  31. Arman Esmaili

  32. Ardalan Bastani

  33. Asal Akhavan

  34. Ashkan Khorasani

  35. Azam Safaei

  36. Azadeh Saberi

  37. Aydin Gholamzadeh

  38. Aydin Halalzadeh

  39. Babak Pashajavid

  40. Babak Farahani

  41. Bahar Naji

  42. Baktash Abtin

  43. Behnam Amini

  44. Behnam Daraeizadeh

  45. Behnood Momeni

  46. Behrang Mohammadi

  47. Behrang Zandi

  48. Behrouz Joshani

  49. Behrouz Khabaz

  50. Bijan Kiarasi

  51. Bijan Sabbagh

  52. Chnoor Maki

  53. Cyrus Bina

  54. Darioush Mohammadi Majd

  55. Deiako Haghgo

  56. Ebrahim Aalipour

  57. Ehsan Rostami

  58. Ensieh Salmani

  59. Elnaz Ansari

  60. Elnaz Babaii

  61. Faezeh Karimpour

  62. Farhad Gooran

  63. Farshin Kazeminia

  64. Fereidoon Teimoori

  65. Firoozeh Mohajer

  66. Foad Shakeri

  67. Forough Asadpour

  68. Forough Saminia

  69. Ghazal Khoshabadi

  70. Golnaz Khajehgiri

  71. Golrokh Jahangiri

  72. Hadi Kherdamandpour

  73. Hamed Kiaii

  74. Hamid Ghamgosar

  75. Hamid Mafi

  76. Hamid Nowzari

  77. Hassan Mortazavi

  78. Hasan Razghandi

  79. Hatef Soltani

  80. Hazhir Pelaschi

  81. Hesam Amiri

  82. Hesam Salamat

  83. Hooman Kazemian

  84. Homayon Iwani

  85. Hossein Yousefi

  86. Iman Vaghefi

  87. Iran Mansouri

  88. Jamileh Nedai

  89. Javad Abbasi

  90. Javad Jafari

  91. Javid Sobhani

  92. Kamal Khosravi

  93. Kamran Matin

  94. Katayoun Keshavarzi

  95. Kaveh Banaei

  96. Kaveh Darolshafa

  97. Khashayar Niroomand

  98. Khosro Sadeghi Broujeni

  99. Kianoosh Boostani

  100. Laleh Pasha

  101. Laleh Derakhti

  102. Leila Akhavan

  103. Mahboub Tisheh

  104. Mahdis Mohammadi

  105. Mahsa Asadollahnejad

  106. Mahsa Sabbaghi

  107. Mansur Tayfuri

  108. Maria Abbasian

  109. Maryam Ashrafi

  110. Maryam Hanifi

  111. Maryam Zandi

  112. Masoud Hoseini

  113. Masoud Ghods

  114. Maysam Gandomabadi

  115. Mazdak Tousinejhad

  116. Mehdi Toopchi

  117. Mehdi Saberi

  118. Mehdi Salimi

  119. Mehran Jangali Moghadam

  120. Mehrdad Emami

  121. Mehri Abbassi

  122. Mehrnoosh Ashtarani

  123. Mehrnoush Mirsaeidi

  124. Mehrzad Dashtbani

  125. Mila Mossafer

  126. Milad Jannat

  127. Milad Shahraki

  128. Mina Ghorbani

  129. Mina Khani

  130. Mitra Yousefi

  131. Mohammad Amin

  132. Mohammad Ghaznavian

  133. Mohammad Javaheri

  134. Mohammad Kalali

  135. Mohammad Karim Asayesh

  136. Mohammad Nouri

  137. Mohammad Pourabdollah

  138. Mohammad Shayan Nikbeen

  139. Mohsen Emadi

  140. Mohsen Fouladi

  141. Mojdeh Arasi

  142. Nahid Mirhaj

  143. Nader Fatourehchi

  144. Naser Pishro

  145. Nasrin Fayeghi Fard

  146. Nazli Mortezaii

  147. Nima Barazandeh

  148. Nima Saberi

  149. Omid Montazeri

  150. Pardis Rahmanfard

  151. Parisa Amiri Eliasi

  152. Parisa Nasrabadi

  153. Pasha Shaker

  154. Payam Shaker

  155. Peyman Fazeli

  156. Peyman Piran

  157. Pezhman Rahimi

  158. Piran Azad

  159. Pooya Nodehi

  160. Raha Asadzadeh

  161. Reza Asadabadi

  162. Reza Asadollahi

  163. Reza Dehghan

  164. Reza Eskandari

  165. Rezgar Mahmoudi

  166. Roozbeh Dorneshan

  167. Saba Hajjafar

  168. Sadegh Heydari Fard

  169. Saeed Arami

  170. Saeed Habibi

  171. Saeed Kalaanaki

  172. Saeed Naderi

  173. Saeed Nadimi

  174. Saiedeh Asadipour

  175. Sam Salour

  176. Saman Aram

  177. Samaneh Zakeri

  178. Samira Eliasi

  179. Samira Khoshbakht

  180. Sara Dehkordi

  181. Sara Delshad

  182. Sasan Amjadi

  183. Sediq Esmaili

  184. Sepehr Ebrahimi

  185. Seyyed Hassan Sajjadi

  186. Shabgir Hassani

  187. Shadab Alibolandi

  188. Shadyar Omrani

  189. Shahin Navai

  190. Shariar Galavani

  191. Sharareh Shahed

  192. Shahab Borhan

  193. Shakiba Asgarpour

  194. Shervin Taheri

  195. Siavash Amjadi

  196. Siavash Sarkhosh

  197. Sina Habibi

  198. Soroush Dashtestani

  199. Sourena Amidi

  200. Syrous Kafaei

  201. Taha Zeinali

  202. Tika Kalaki

  203. Yasamin Mahboobi

  204. Yaser Goli

  205. Zahra Pourazizi

  206. Zohreh Asadpour

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