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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National Union of School Students membership card for 1978


Not entirely sure how long the NUSS lasted for. Think I’m right in saying it was a Socialist Workers Party inspired organisation but I might be wrong. Amusing to see the reference to caning and school uniforms. It didn’t have a great deal of traction at my school. Interestingly, in 1985 there was a major school students walk out in Liverpool with a rally addressed by Terry Fields MP at the pier head.

 

My student union election poster from 1982 – Liverpool Guild of Undergraduates


Tony McMahonIn my first year at university, I ran for the welfare officer position in the student union at Liverpool Uni.

The Labour Club was heavily influenced by the Marxist policies of the Militant Tendency and so the programme I ran on included calls to nationalise the top 200 monopolies, a £90 minimum wage and a 35 hour week. I think the latter demand probably terrified some of the arts students!

Note the heavy fringe of the time. Think my hair would have been dyed jet black – think Phil Oakey of the Human League.

The poster was drawn with a felt-tip pen. Seems so weirdly amateur now but we had no digital magic back in those far off days.