When the Left condemned theocrat rule in Iran


IMG_6949Some people on the Left seem unhappy about condemning the infringement of women and workers’ rights in Iran today. Such unease didn’t exist back in the early 80s.

Most of the Left did not welcome the victory of theocrats in Iran. Like many people in that country’s major urban centres, they had hoped for a democracy and a secular republic.

Not only was there dismay at the rise of the “mullahs” – but also the widespread use of capital punishment. It was not only the Shah of Iran’s people being rounded up and disappeared but socialists and democracy activists.

This is a flier for a meeting from the time opposing some of the recent hangings and naming the victims. Labour party members were repelled by this barbarity and were joined by Muslim students in the UK. There were calls for “solidarity” with Iranian workers against the ayatollahs.

Maybe those who are reticent to criticise the Iranian government today should read this blog and remember what the Left used to stand for.

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Police recruitment ad from the riot torn 80s


This is from 1980 – a year before the explosive riots of 1981, though the same year as the riot in St Paul’s, Bristol. There were lots of young unemployed people to tempt with a career in either the police or the army.

But there was equally some resistance to being part of the state machine, as it was then viewed. As for black youth, they either didn’t want to join (because of the SUS laws and pressure from within the community not to ‘sell out’) or the police just didn’t take them on.

Black police officers were a very rare sight at this time – and ethnic minority representation within the Metropolitan Police was at scandalously low levels.

Probably on riot duty a year later…