The Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency (IRMT) is the Iranian section of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT). Last year, IRMT spokespersn Maziar Razi published an open letter to the workers of Venezuela, admonishing the IMT’s Bolivarian hunk-of-the-moment President Hugo Chávez, for his support of Iranian President Ahmadinejad.
Chávez has made a mistake. With his support for Ahmadinejad he has ignored the solidarity of the workers and students of Iran with your revolution, and in a word, made it look worthless. [...] These rash and baseless remarks from your President are a great and direct insult to the millions of youth who in recent days rose up against tyranny. Some of them even lost their lives. [...] In addition, the remarks of your President are an insult to millions of workers in Iran. Workers whose leaders are today being tortured in the prisons of the Ahmadinejad government[.]
His words are in sharp contrast to the cretinous support of lumpen pseudo-radicals for the repressive bourgeois regime in Tehran and the lies and calumnies of these frauds against the Iranian revolutionary movement, slandering workers and students as ‘gilded youth’ and so on.
Maziar Razi has now published an open letter to Iranian workers exhorting them to stand firm against the onslaught of the forces of state repression.
Honourable workers of Iran
Today we have entered a new stage of mass activities against the threats and intimidation of the capitalist government. You have experienced the threats and suppression of the past three decades more than any other social layer. There is no social force in Iran today that has experienced the economic, psychological and moral attacks meted out by the despotic capitalist government as such as you have.
You have been the only social force in Iran that, despite paying a high price (like unemployment and unpaid wages, arrests, torture and the murder of your brothers and sisters), has persistently continued its struggles against the capitalist government (both during the reformist and fundamentalist periods) for three decades. Your participation in the May Day 2009 commemoration despite the suppression and repression, your strikes in various factories against the pressures of the repressive apparatus of the capitalist state like the factory security units, the Labour House, the Islamic Labour Councils and so on, have been applauded by millions of workers all over the world. Your continuing struggles have kept open the window of hope in the hearts of millions among the various oppressed layers in Iran.
You are the only social force in Iran that has undoubtedly the richest historical experience than any other social layer. Three decades ago, based on your own organisation and strength, you overthrew one of the biggest allies of US imperialism – the Shah’s regime. The strikes of workers in the big industries and factories like oil, gas, petrochemicals, steel, copper and so on, had a decisive role in overthrowing the Shah. The whole world knows full well that it was neither the mass street demonstrations, nor the poetry reciting on “poetry nights”, nor the actions of intellectuals of the political organisations, that broke the back of the Shah’s regime. It was, however, the workers’ general strike that broke it. In view of this, your international allies acknowledge that perhaps after the October revolution of 1917 in Russia, the biggest achievement of the working class on a world scale was made by you, the workers of Iran, and you have passed this on to others. Within a few weeks you organised the biggest workers’ councils and battered down the whole apparatus of the Shah’s repressive state. The capitalist government and state in Iran therefore know well that by arresting labour activists, flogging them, and intimidation and economic pressure on you, they cannot easily bring you to heel. Greetings to you!
You boycotted the presidential election 12 June 2009. For example, Bus workers before the election had this position: “Today, the workers and their families are encouraged to participate in the election. This has no meaning, because the workers have participated and experienced all elections and presidents even the reformist one (Khatami) for three decades, “(elections and labour organizations – the Union of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company).
Also, Iran Khodro (car assembly) with 30,000 workers wrote: “We the Iran Khodro workers do not participate in the coming election. We only participate in a democratic election which preserves the interest of workers. This election is not democratic!”. Your recognition of nature of election and the need to boycott the presidential election was correct. But you know well that the events after the elections took another turn. For example, Ashura demonstration last week (27 December 2009) was not called by reformist leaders, it was organised spontaneously by the youth. The youth forced the leaders to follow them into streets. You know full well that Mousavi cancelled the street rally on Monday 15 June 2009 and the youth, going against his view, came to the streets and forced him to come to the rally. These so-called leaders of the reformists are in the process of doing a deal at the top to maintain their own position. They have no intention of involving the broad masses in a real and democratic transformation. In other words, the spontaneous activities of millions of people, in spite of their conservative and colluding leaders, have begun. And these activities will not continue for a long time. In the absence of an experienced workers’ leadership, and the absence of specific slogans and proper organisation, the reformist leaders will ultimately extinguish these activities.
The workers therefore must have an active presence on the scene. You must grasp the leadership of the mass movement. The million strong masses need you. Your presence, participation and leadership can only be shown by organising widespread strikes in the factories. You are now in a position that, by co-ordinating with and in support of the recent mass movements, and by criticism of all the reformist representatives, you could resist Ahmadinejad’s government. Now is the time for you to come on the scene for achieving your own demands.
It is necessary to form clandestine strike committees for general co-ordination. By co-ordinating together these committees can organise the day and time of factory strikes, and stop work together in various parts of Iran and put forward workers’ demands. You have had very significant experiences. These experiences must be used. A few years ago there were the experiences of the Baresh factory in Esfahan and Kashmir factory, and last year the protests of the workers of the Haft Tapeh factory, Kurdistan textiles and Iran Khodro factories, and so on, all of these can be put to use.
The right to strike is your absolute right. This slogan can be put into effect until all your demands have been achieved. Trade union demands like: payment of backpay, pensions and so on. Democratic demands like: the release of all political prisoners, freedom of speech, assembly, press and the right to strike and to form independent labour organisations and so on. These demands can be combined with transitional demands like workers’ control, the sliding scale of wages in line with inflation and so on. If the government blocks these basic demands, you can occupy the factories and bring them under the control of the workers themselves and throw out the useless managers. Control over production and distribution can be implemented by the powerful hand of the workers themselves. The experience of the revolution against the royal despotism proved to the workers that within a few weeks, without any previous experience, they can form workers’ councils and bring about workers’ control. In the present crisis, when the capitalist government is split and a huge mass of people that is independent of the ruling establishment is in the streets every day, the honourable workers of Iran can quickly achieve their demands.
Your actions will show the ways and means of anti-government struggles to the youth. In the presence of a workers’ leadership, the youth will quickly break with the reformists and move towards more radical demands. Action by you, the workers, can today bring about a different future to the present movement. Your active presence in the organisation of a general strike with the aim of defending yourself and supporting the democratic rights of millions of Iranian people is the most important action that is on the Iranian workers’ agenda today.
Victory and strength to you!
1 January 2010