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While vastly different from The New School in both history and programs, Mondragon University is a co-operatively run school of more than 5, students established in in the Basque region of Spain. Relying on an internal accounts-based ownership model, the University has several notable features:. While no one at Mondragon University is lavishly enriched by their work, employees do own and control the University. They appropriate the surplus they produce and determine democratically how to use it. The cooperative university is not just an interesting thought-experiment; it is a tangible alternative.

Co-operatizing The New School could have broad effects. First, employees and students could apply their organizing and activism skills to the wider world. Student-workers also stand to gain substantially. For example, if students-workers meet the criteria to become employee-owners by, say, accumulating 1, hours of labor then in the same way that staff or faculty can become owners, students too can own, vote, and participate in the governance of the university.

A cooperative university could also count research work completed by students as labor, thus creating another avenue through which students can be incorporated as employee-owners. The curriculum also stands to gain from co-operatization. New School founder John Dewey emphasized learning-by-doing.

Operating a cooperative university would allow students and faculty to engage with issues of resources and governance through collective action. Shared ownership might transform the sometimes fraught power relationships between staff, faculty and students, as all stakeholders would have the same democratic means to influence and shape the university.

Co-operatization might also open new avenues of engagement for alumni and supporters. Non-revenue-generating shares could be sold directly to supporters who want to endorse a cooperative university as a meaningful social experiment. The professional football team is owned by , of its fans, who have purchased more than 5,, non-revenue-generating shares to support the team.

A small number of Board seats could even be reserved for such alumni and supporters, allowing them to directly elect representatives. There are many ways this work of co-operatization could begin. Tapping our own in-house expertise through faculty like Richard Wolff and Trebor Scholz is one way, as is forming a task-force of students, faculty, and staff charged with investigating the idea further. A partnership with Mondragon University may help, as would launching an experimental in-house cooperative division.

The recent student demands to co-operatize cafeteria workers have been a critical intervention, as well as an awakening to the cooperative idea. A broader campaign to co-operatize the University must be led by a similarly passionate and committed group of students, faculty, and staff.


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Co-operatization reaches its full potential when workers recognize that a new structure is not an end in itself, but rather a means to create a new, broad-based culture of ownership and democracy. And herein lie the many challenges. Employees must be willing to reinterpret their relationship to work fundamentally, possibly disrupting the compromises and arrangements they have created to keep their work-life feasible. The question of unionized versus non-unionized employees must also be sorted, as must the issue of tenure.

Could only some owners be granted tenure but not others? Employees will also need to curb their expectations for what a local transformation can accomplish, no matter how radical. Rent, real estate, and healthcare costs continue to soar. While a cooperative model can deliberate solutions democratically and inclusively, the University will still need to pay its bills. And, of course, a co-operatized New School would still exist inside a capitalist global political economy. In March UK based medical charity Freedom from Torture published a report providing detailed evidence of torture being practiced in Iran.

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The report found that torture was used by state officials as a method of repression, in order to obtain information and that a variety of torture methods were used in a highly systematic way. In one case a woman was raped twice during interrogations and some reported being forced to sign 'confessions' of their involvement in anti-regime activities. Chronicle of Higher Education International, reports that the widespread practice of raping women imprisoned for engaging in political protest has been effective in keeping female college students "less outspoken and less likely to take part" in political demonstrations.

The journal quotes an Iranian college student as saying, "most of the girls arrested are raped in jail. Families can't cope with that. On 28 November guards in khoy women prison, north west of Iran attacked inmate Zeynab Jalalian and confiscated all her belongings. She was arrested in February On 20 December Human rights Watch urged the regime in Iran to investigate and find an explanation for the death of Vahid Sayadi Nasiri who had been jailed for insulting the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

According to his family Nasiri had been on hunger strike but he was denied medical attention before he died. Mass executions and killing of opponents took place during the early years of the Islamic Republic. Between January and the overthrow of President Abolhassan Banisadr in June , at least government opponents were executed. In the s there were a number of unsolved murders and disappearances of intellectuals and political activists who had been critical of the Islamic Republic system in some way.

In these complaints came to a head with the killing of three dissident writers Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh , Mohammad Mokhtari , Majid Sharif , a political leader Dariush Forouhar and his wife in the span of two months, in what became known as the Chain murders or Serial Murders of Iran. According to Iranterror. The attempted murder and serious crippling of Saeed Hajjarian , a Ministry of Intelligence operative-turned-journalist and reformer, is believed to be in retaliation for his help in uncovering the chain murders of Iran and his help to the Iranian reform movement in general.

Hajjarian was shot in the head by Saeed Asgar , a member of the Basij in March At the international level, a German court ordered the arrest of a standing minister of the Islamic Republic — Minister of Intelligence Ali Fallahian — in for directing the murder of three Iranian-Kurdish dissidents and their translator at a Berlin restaurant, [] [] known as the Mykonos restaurant assassinations. On 16 January , Rev. Mehdi, a convert to Christianity was released from prison after more than ten years of confinement, "apparently as a result of the international pressure.

Six months earlier the man responsible for leading a campaign to free him, Bishop Haik Hovsepian Mehr , had met a similar end, disappearing on 19 January His body was found in the street in Shahr-e Rey, a Tehran suburb. Iranian human rights activist Farshid Hakki went missing on 17 October on Saturday night in Tehran. According to the Le Monde diplomatique , "Farshid Hakki was reportedly stabbed to death near his house in Tehran and his body then burned.

Not unlike its Saudi rival, the Islamic Republic has a long history of trying to cover up state-sanctioned attempts to physically eliminate its critics, too. The environmental activists were arrested by the intelligence agents on 11 March On 11 April famous actor DiCaprio sounded the alarm for the fate of Iranian ecologists currently imprisoned by the Iranian government, some may face execution. Since DiCaprio published his petition some In what has been called "an act of violence unprecedented in Iranian history" [] the Iranian government summarily, extrajudicially, and secretly executed thousands of political prisoners held in Iranian jails in the summer of According to Human Rights Watch the majority of prisoners had had unfair trials by the revolutionary courts, and in any case had not been sentenced to death.

The "deliberate and systematic manner in which these extrajudicial executions took place constitutes a crime against humanity. According to reports of prisoners who escaped execution, the prisoners were all given a quick legal proceeding — however brief and unfair — with Mojahideen found guilty condemned as moharebs those who war against God and leftists as mortads apostates from Islam. The killings resembled the 'disappearances' of prisoners in 20th-century Latin America. UN judge and leading human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson has urged the UN Security Council to set up a special court, along the lines of the International Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, to try the men involved "for one of the worst single human rights atrocities since the Second World War.

In her report, Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir stated that "families of the victims have the right to a remedy, which includes the right to an effective investigation of the facts and public disclosure of the truth; and the right to reparation. The Special Rapporteur therefore calls on the Government to ensure that a thorough and independent investigation into these events is carried out.

Iran retains the death penalty for a large number of offenses, among them cursing the Prophet, certain drug offenses, murder, and certain had crimes, including adultery, incest, rape, fornication, drinking alcohol, " sodomy ", same-sex sexual conduct between men without penetration, lesbianism, "being at enmity with God" mohareb , and "corruption on earth" Mofsed-e-filarz. Despite being a signatory to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights ICCPR and the Convention on the Rights of the Child CRC , which states that "[the] sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age," [] Iran continues to execute minors for various offenses: At least four individuals were executed in Iran in for offenses committed before the age of eighteen.

Judicial executions in Iran are more common than in any other Middle Eastern state, surpassing Iran's nearest rival— Saudi Arabia —by nearly an order of magnitude according to Michael Rubin in , although Iran's population is over twice as large as Saudi Arabia's. The Islamic government has not hesitated to crush peaceful political demonstrations. The Iran student riots, July were sparked by an attack by an estimated paramilitary [] Hezbollah vigilantes on a student dormitory in retaliation for a small, peaceful student demonstration against the closure of the reformist newspaper, Salam earlier that day.

On 8 March , the "parallel institution" of the Basij issued a violent crackdown on the activists celebrating International Women's Day in Tehran. Political freedom has waxed and waned. Under the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad , beginning in , Iran's human rights record "deteriorated markedly" according to Human Rights Watch.

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Months-long arbitrary detentions of "peaceful activists, journalists, students, and human rights defenders" and often charged with "acting against national security," intensified. According to a report by the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic appeared to be increasing, and hundreds of prisoners were secretly executed. Iran's deputy ambassador to the United Nations condemned the report.

Dozens were reportedly killed and thousands arrested following the June elections. Special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran and four others experts concern about Farhad Meysami's situation who has been on hunger strike since August. He is in jail for opposing compulsory hijab. Homosexual acts and adultery are criminal and punishable by life imprisonment or death after multiple offenses, and the same sentences apply to convictions for treason and apostasy. Those accused by the state of homosexual acts are routinely flogged and threatened with execution.

The Judiciary does not recognize the concept of sexual orientation , and thus from a legal standpoint there are no homosexuals or bisexuals, only heterosexuals committing homosexual acts. For some years after the Iranian Revolution , transgender people were classified by the Judiciary as being homosexual and were thus subject to the same laws.

However, in the mids the Judiciary began changing this policy and classifying transgender individuals as a distinct group, separate from homosexuals, granting them legal rights. Gender dysphoria is officially recognized in Iran today, and the Judiciary permits sexual reassignment surgery for those who can afford it. Iran carries out more gender change operations than any country in the world besides Thailand. Sex changes have been legal since the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, spiritual leader of the Islamic revolution, passed a fatwa authorising them nearly 25 years ago.

Whereas homosexuality is considered a sin, transsexuality is categorised as an illness subject to cure. While the government seeks to keep its approval quiet, state support has increased since Ahmadinejad took office in Unequal value for women's testimony compared to that of a man, [] and traditional attitudes towards women's behavior and clothing as a way of explaining rape [] have made conviction for rape of women difficult if not impossible in Iran.

One widely criticized case was that of Atefah Sahaaleh , who was executed by the state for 'inappropriate sexual relations', despite evidence she was most probably a rape victim. Differences in blood money for men and women include victims and offenders. In , the parents of Leila Fathi , an year-old village girl from Sarghez who was raped and murdered, were asked to come up with the equivalent of thousands of US dollars to pay the blood money diyya for the execution of their daughter's killers because a woman's life is worth half that of a man's life. The Islamic Republic has often stated that arrested Baha'is are being detained for "security issues" and are members of "an organized establishment linked to foreigners, the Zionists in particular.

Jews have lived in Iran for nearly 3, years and Iran is host to the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside of Israel. They have freedom to follow their religion, but are not granted the freedom to proselytize. Despite their small numbers, Jews are allotted one representative in parliament. Iran's official government-controlled media published the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in and Jewish children still attend Jewish schools where Hebrew and religious studies are taught, but Jewish principals have been replaced by Muslim ones, the curricula are government-supervised, and the Jewish Sabbath is no longer recognized.

Perhaps I have a bias toward facts over words, but I say the reality of Iranian civility toward Jews tells us more about Iran — its sophistication and culture — than all the inflammatory rhetoric. That may be because I'm a Jew and have seldom been treated with such consistent warmth as in Iran. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. In his Jerusalem Post op-ed , Medoff criticized Cohen for being "misled by the existence of synagogues" and further argued that Iranian Jews "are captives of the regime, and whatever they say is carefully calibrated not to get themselves into trouble.

Nor is it a totalitarian state. Muslim clerical opponents of the Islamic Republic's political system have not been spared imprisonment. According to an analyst quoted by Iran Press Service , "hundreds of clerics have been arrested, some defrocked, other left the ranks of the religion on their own, but most of them, including some popular political or intellectual figures such as Hojjatoleslam Abdollah Noori , a former Interior Minister or Hojjatoleslam Yousefi Eshkevari , an intellectual, or Hojjatoleslam Mohsen Kadivar ", are "middle rank clerics. Iran's Darvish [] are a persecuted minority.

As late as the early s, wandering darvish were a common sight in Iran. According to the official Iranian census from there has been , unreligious or irreligious people in Iran, including atheists , agnostics, sceptics. Iran is a signatory to the convention to the elimination of racism. UNHCR found several positive aspects in the conduct of the Islamic republic with regards to ethnic minorities, positively citing its agreement to absorb Afghan refugees and participation from mixed ethnicities.

However, the committee while acknowledging that teaching of minority languages and literature in schools is permitted, requested that Iran include more information in its next periodic report concerning the measures it has adopted to enable persons belonging to minorities to have adequate opportunities to learn their mother tongue and to have it used as a medium of instruction. In May six young people in Tehran were arrested for making and posting a video in which they danced and lip-synched to the song, " Happy.

Authorities forced the young people to repent on state TV, [] but later released them, possibly because of public opposition to the arrests. According to Amnesty International report, after May widespread demonstrations related to Iran newspaper cockroach cartoon controversy in Iranian Azerbaijan hundreds were arrested and some "reportedly killed by the security forces, although official sources downplayed the scale of arrests and killings.

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Further arrests occurred, many around events and dates significant to the Azerbaijani community such as the Babek Castle gathering in Kalayber in June, and a boycott of the start of the new academic year over linguistic rights for the Azerbaijani community. As of [update] , the Iranian government has been attempting to depoliticize Iran's student body or make it supportive of the government by stopping students that hold contrary political views from attending higher education, despite the acceptance of those students by their universities.

According to Human Rights Watch , this practice has been coupled with academic suspensions, arrests, and jail terms. During Iran's presidential and local elections, dozens of opposition party members were serving prison sentences and prevented from participating. Opposition figures Mir Hossein Mousavi , Zahra Rahnavard , and Mehdi Karroubi remained under house arrest or detention as of late Prior to the election, the unelected Guardian Council , disqualified all but eight of the more than registered presidential candidates using vague criteria that enabled authorities to make sweeping and arbitrary exclusions.

Nonetheless, turnout was high and voters overwhelmingly elected moderate Hassan Rouhani. While authorities released at least a dozen rights activists and political opposition figures following the president's inauguration, scores of others jailed for their affiliation with banned opposition parties, labor unions, and student groups remain in prison.

The judiciary continued to target independent and unregistered trade unions. Red lines have also drawn against writing that "insults Islam", is sexually explicit, "politically subversive," or is allegedly "confusing public opinion. Journalists are frequently warned or summoned if they are perceived as critical of the government, and topics such as U. In February the journalist Yaghoob Mirnehad was sentenced to death on charges of "membership in the terrorist Jundallah group as well as crimes against national security. In November freelance journalist Adnan Hassanpour received a death sentence for "undermining national security," "spying," "separatist propaganda" and being a mohareb fighter against God.

In June the Iranian Ministry of Labor stated that the 4, member journalists' union, founded in , was "fit for dissolution. He is currently in detention, and his whereabouts are unknown. In the journalist Marzieh Rasouli , who writes about culture and the arts for several of Iran's reformist and independent publications including Etemaad , Roozega, and Shargh , where she edited the music pages, was arrested and accused of collaborating with the BBC.

In she was convicted of "spreading propaganda" and "disturbing the public order". She was sentenced to two years in prison and 50 lashes , and reported to Evin prison on 8 July Political satirist Kiumars Marzban was sentenced to 23 years in prison for "cooperating with an enemy state" and insulting Iranian authorities in Marzban is part of an intensified state crackdown in Iran that has resulted in harsh prison sentences for journalists, human rights lawyers, women protesting the compulsory hijab rule, labor rights activists, and others.

In , Iranian ex-patriate director Babak Payami 's film Silence Between Two Thoughts [] was seized by Iranian authorities, and Payami smuggled a digital copy out of Iran which was subsequently screened in several film festivals. On 28 February , Amnesty International called on the Iranian government "to stop persecuting people" involved in the " One Million Signatures " campaign or "Campaign for Equality" — an attempt to collect one million signatures "for a petition to push for an end to discrimination against women.

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One campaigner, Delaram Ali , 23, "was sentenced to nearly three years in prison and 10 lashes for participation in an illegal gathering". Her punishment has been suspended while her case is re-examined. Blogger and political activist Samiye Tohidlou was sentenced to 50 lashes for her activities during protests at the presidential campaign. An unnamed Iranian journalist based in Tehran commented: "Lashing Aref for insulting Ahmadinejad is shocking and unprecedented.

On 8 May Haleh Esfandiari an Iranian American scholar in Iran visiting her year-old mother, was detained in Evin Prison and kept in solitary confinement for more than days. She was one of several visiting Iranian Americans prohibited from leaving Iran in The Internet has grown faster in Iran than any other Middle Eastern country aside from Israel [] since but the government has censored dozens of websites it considers "non-Islamic" and harassed and imprisoned online journalists.

In the past few years several people have died in custody in the Islamic Republic, raising fears that "prisoners in the country are being denied medical treatment, possibly as an extra punishment. One opponent of theocracy, Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi and many of his followers were arrested in Tehran on 8 October As of Boroujerdi is in the ninth year of an year prison sentence and despite "multiple health complications, including heart and respiratory problems and kidney stone complications and vision loss from cataracts", is being denied medical care.

Converts to Christ and their supporters have faced the death penalty for apostasy , been tortured or been murdered in suspicious circumstances. Mehdi Dibaj and Haik Hovsepian Mehr are notable examples. There are also increasingly strong prohibitions on evangelising Moslems. Threats, arrests, prison and torture are common not only for Christians, but for opponents of the regime.

According to Amnesty International's report, "Ethnic and religious minorities" in the Islamic Republic "remained subject to discriminatory laws and practices which continued to be a source of social and political unrest". In Spring , Iranian police launched a crackdown against women accused of not covering up enough, arresting hundreds of women, some for wearing too tight an overcoat or letting too much hair showing from their headscarves. The campaign in the streets of major cities is the toughest such crackdown since the Islamic revolution.

In August , following years in which Iranian women students have outperformed Iranian male students, 36 universities announced that 77 BA and BSc courses would be "single gender" and not co-ed. There is no written law that restricts women's presence in stadiums, yet a handful of Ayatollahs impose Taliban style restrictions on basic women's rights such as attending football stadiums. Iran "leads the world in executing juvenile offenders — persons under 18 at the time of the crime" according to Human Rights Watch.

Article 6. In January , the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors states' compliance with the CRC, urged Iran to immediately stay all executions of child offenders and to abolish the use of the death penalty in such cases. In the summer of , the Iranian Parliament reportedly passed a bill establishing special courts for children and adolescents. However, it has not yet been approved by the Council of Guardians, which supervises Iran's legislation to ensure conformity with Islamic principles.

During the past four years, the Iranian authorities have reportedly been considering legislation to ban the death penalty for child offenders. Recent comments by a judiciary spokesperson indicates that the proposed law would only prohibit the death penalty for certain crimes, and not all crimes committed by children. In spite of these efforts, the number of child offenders executed in Iran has risen during the past two years. In late , Iranian authorities hanged Makwan Mouludzadeh in Kermanshah prison for crimes he is alleged to have committed when he was 13 years of age.

According to Human Rights Watch, this was despite the fact that his accusers had recanted their statements and Mouladzadeh had repudiated his confession as being coerced by the police, and despite the fact that the head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Shahrudi, had ordered a unit of the Judiciary to investigate the case and refer it back to the Penal Court of Kermanshah, before any final decision on an execution. They treated the urban poor and the elderly as clients; revived social democracy as the administrator of the client state; and told the traditional manual working class of the small-towns to adapt or die.

Once austerity replaced fiscal expansion, the assumptions and alliances that held New Labour together fell apart. In Britain, the problem was compounded by the unresolved national question. The tribal alliance needed to put Labour in power was never just about class.


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  • For a majority Labour government you needed the working class of the north of England, Wales and Scotland; the city-dwelling workforce of all big cities; plus some swing voters from the salariat of small towns in Southern England. Meanwhile, the 4. Its half a million members are overwhelmingly drawn from the urban salariat, with more than , in London alone.

    It has lost maybe a fifth of its voters — typically white, unskilled manual workers in small towns — to right wing nationalism. And it has lost vast numbers of elderly people. But in turn, vast numbers of educated, young, networked people have mobilised themselves to vote Labour. We can only move forward if we can answer the deeper question: who wants to change the world, and who has the agency to do it? Networked technology, combined with high levels of education and personal freedom have created a new historical subject across most countries and cultures which will supplant the industrial working class in the progressive project, just as they replaced the cottage weavers and artisans of the 18th century.

    Orthodox Marxists are appalled by this proposal, and for good reason. If the classic proletariat, owning no substantial property and destined to spontaneously solidaristic ways of life, is not in fact destined to overthrow class society, then a key tenet of Marxism is disproved. The working class always wanted to go beyond the piecemeal reforms offered by parliamentary socialists like Beatrice Webb, but never — outside extreme circumstances — wanted to impose the proletarian dictatorship proposed by Marx.

    The actual year record of the proletariat is heroic: it wanted control and cultural space within capitalism and would fight to the death for this, even against parties claiming to be communist. However, all this is only a tragedy if you have never read the early Marx.

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    In the so-called Paris Manuscripts of , Marx argues that the ultimate goal is not communism; that humanity needs to overcome scarcity and to reconnect with its fundamentally social nature. Communism, says Marx, is only the initial form society will take once you abolish private property, but this itself is not the goal.

    Individual human freedom is the goal. But since the individual human being created by midth century capitalism cannot achieve it, there needs to be a collective subject to make it happen. The Marx of designated the working class the agent of human liberation because of the altruism, self-organisation and education he observed among the left wing workers of Paris.

    If you see the networked individual of the early 21st century not as a degenerate offshoot from the proletariat but as an improvement on it, then it is possible to accept that Marx was wrong about the industrial working class while maintaining the belief human history has both an outcome self-emancipation via the abolition of private property and the achievement of individual freedom and a collective subject with the interest in achieving it. Work, the working class, its culture and trade unions are not abolished, but the place of each one of these things in the progressive project has to be rethought.

    This too is the change that has to happen with the networked individuals. Today capitalism exploits us at not just at work, but through financial transactions and via consumption. In addition, huge new corporations have adopted business models based on harvesting the positive network effects of our online behaviour. In addition to that, as with all previous generations, capital exploits us by invading and commoditizing our ordinary human behaviour. In its current form — overshadowed by a global debt mountain four times the size of annual GDP — this mixture of broken financial capitalism and unregulated info-capitalism relies heavily on coercion: we are coerced off disability benefits, coerced into competitive behaviour patterns, coerced away from cash as a store of value.

    In addition, as long as people stick by the rules of market behaviour they are allowed to form all kinds of destructive power hierarchies — from organized crime to the culture of workplace harassment that triggered the MeToo movement. Harvey Weinstein. Almost everything the networked generation has done can be interpreted within the framework of resistance and adaptation to these new forms in which capital exploits us.

    The MeToo movement is just the latest example. Consumer boycott movements against cheap labour in garment factories; the widespread sit-ins in banks and pharmacies in launched by UK Uncut; the Occupy movement and its political aftermath — which was the occupation of the Labour party by tens of thousands of active, educated, young networked people — can all be seen through this lens. In the USA, Black Lives Matter was a product of the independent means of communication, access to the legal system and, above all, the emergence of a networked and educated generation who had actually studied at school and college the movements they would now emulate.

    When they first emerged among the tech workforces of the s studied by Richard Sennett, the behaviour patterns of networked individuals seemed negative from the point of view of social justice movements.