1. 44 years from the victory of the Iranian Revolution that overthrew the tyranny of the Shah Reza Pahlavi, giving a historic blow to imperialism that has transformed the geopolitical map of the Middle East, the Islamic Republic of Iran finds itself between the threatening imperialist hammer and the anvil of an internal popular upheaval following the murder of the 22 years old Kurdish woman, Jina Mahsa Amini, by the Ershad(‘Morality’) Police of the theocratic regime.
The international working class and all liberation and emancipatory movements should defend the people of Iran against imperialism and stand in solidarity to its heroic struggle against oppression, corruption and inequality, for bread and freedom.
2. Nobody should underestimate the dangers from imperialist interference, intervention and war aggression in Iran in crisis. The recent bombing by US-Israeli drones of a military industrial complex in Isfahan, on January 28, 2023 is far from an insignificant incident. Nobody, also can be blind to the fact that in Tel Aviv there is now the most far right, fascistic coalition government under Netanyahu that combines racist colonialist hatred against the Palestinian people threatened with a new Nakba, a new brutal expulsion from its own lands, with a hysterical warmongering primarily against Iran.
On the eve of the bombing in Isfahan, on January 26, in his visit to the headquarters of NATO in Brussels and in his discussions with NATO’s secretary Jens Stoltenberg, the Israeli President Herzog, insisted that “The crisis has gone beyond the frontiers of Ukraine and the Iranian menace actually has reached the doors of Europe”(Euronews). On this “rationale”, Herzog has asked NATO and its countries-members to impose “economic, juridical, and political sanctions” as well as “measures of military dissuasion against the Iranian regime”.
US imperialism did not hidden that it seeks regime change in Iran. The US State Department voice Foreign Affairs in May/June 2020, in an article by Eric Edelman, former US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy during 2005-2009, and Ray Takey a “scholar\”of the Persian diaspora, insisted that in Iran “remains a revolutionary movement that will never accommodate the United States. |That is why regime change is not a radical or reckless idea but the most pragmatic and effective goal for US policy toward Iran”. Intervention, manipulation of opposition, and promotion of the Pahlavi dynasty in exile are publicly advocated.
The initial attempt by the Biden Administration to re-start US-Iran negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program canceled by Trump has failed. The explosion, in 2022, of the NATO proxy war in Ukraine exacerbated the tensions with Iran considered as an ally of Russia, providing drones to the Russian Army and political support to Moscow. In the new US Security Strategy document in October 2022, together with Russia and China as “systemic challengers” to be defeated, Iran is targeted too.
3. Imperialism tries to exploit for its own strategic interests the crisis and mass discontent in Iran. But that does not mean at all that people’s grievances against the regime and its revolt for women rights, bread, jobs and freedom against theocratic oppression and corruption of the privileged ruling elites in contrast with growing popular misery, are not legitimate.
In difference with the ‘Green movement” of 2009 led by bourgeois forces, this time, it is the poorest and most oppressed sections of Iranian society at the forefront of the struggle.
The current people’s rebellion is now moving on to five months. For five months, despite the ferocious repression, the struggle has not lost its elan. The death toll is said to near 600, around 70 of them children. The number arrested is reported to near 20 thousand, of which close to five thousand have been identified. Torture is reported to be rampant. Close to ten fighters have already been executed, many of them in Baluchistan, and many others are in death row, in Tehran or elsewhere.
Despite all this brutality, the struggle is alive and kicking. Women are in the forefront and have already won de facto the right to disregard the forced hijab rule in many neighborhoods in metropolitan cities. But it would be totally misplaced to regard the current rebellion as a women’s movement alone. Youth, both university and secondary education-level students and the youth of poor neighborhoods, are extremely active in more than 160 settlements, small and large.
The working class is an integral part of the struggle as well, although it is difficult to organize strikes and factory/workplace occupations under conditions of harsh repression and ruthless layoff policies. At the last week of January 2023, thousands of oil workers staged successful mobilizations in almost all refineries, petrochemical plants and offices associated with the national oil company. Undoubtedly the fact that the permanent workers of the oil company managed to coordinate a nationwide strike at at a time when the regime is arresting labor activists and limiting access to the internet proves that the oil workers strike was a great achievement, It revived historical memories of the strike action of the previous generation of oil workers in Arab Khuzestan in the southwest of Iran that helped to bring down the Shah regime in the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
The unresolved problems of the Iranian Revolution, under constant imperialist pressure and within the straitjacket of a theocratic oppressive rule that exterminated the Left (which, previously, was tail ending Imam Khomeini and the mullahs), were exacerbated. Under the impact of the intensifying world capitalist crisis on the increasingly privatized economy of the Islamic Republic, and the deterioration living conditions of the impoverished masses by the US and EU imposed sanctions, there is an escalation of social unrest and conflict particularly the last years.
Relentless waves of rebellion of the Iranian masses unfolded, starting from the end of 2017. On 28th December of that year, the masses walked out in protest against the high cost of living, corruption and other economic problems. February 2018 saw the revolt of Iranian women in Tehran and other cities against forced hijab. November 2018 saw the workers of the sugar factory Haft-Tappeh struggle against the conditions they had been working under for a time, most importantly the arrears on wage payments. Thus, all throughout the period from late 2017-early 2018, Iranian society remained in ebullition.
November 2019 saw the most widespread so far of all the previous rebellions, when the masses took to the streets burning of banks. It was the exact opposite of the “Green Revolution” of 2009. The regime responded all the more viciously for this reason. Hundreds of people were murdered in an uprising that lasted but for five or six days.
Hence, the present popular rebellion, already almost a five-month long social movement, is not a bolt from the blue.
4. There are, of course, serious dangers regarding the outcome of the rebellion. There is a wing of its bourgeoisie that refused to live under the Islamic Republic, many of whom have chosen to live abroad, in particular in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany. Apart from a left-wing minority that had to leave the country in the 1980s under threat of extinction, this diaspora is a milieu whose interests greatly coincide with the imperialists’ dream of reconquering Iran and making it a pillar of imperialist rule over the Middle East as under Reza Shah in the three decades after the CIA-engineered coup against Mossadegh in the early 1950s. This diaspora has the money, the organizational structures, the intellectual capacity, and the exploitative drive to reach for power in case the Islamic Republic collapses under the overpowering strength of popular rage.
The popular movement has, for the moment, deep distrust of a solution favored by imperialism. Many actions and popular slogans shows deep rooted hatred of the Shah and his son, a caricature pretending to be his “heir”. The Tehran University students have organized recently a special action to commemorate the youth hanged by the Shah following the 1953 CIA coup. Even more important is the Statement issued by the oil workers in strike in January 2023, where among other very important programmatic points, they reject explicitly, with proletarian contempt, the outrageous proposal” by Reza Pahlavi to be recognized as “the advocate of the Iranian people representing it in discussions with international powers”!!
In this important Statement of the oil workers the main demands of the rebellion are unequivocally formulated in the most clear class terms;
“What do we Iran; s oil workers, say?
We, the oil workers, have spoken about the current serious situation in our statement of January 21. In that statement, we emphasized our demands fro freedom of protest, assembly, strike, demonstration and the freedom to organize political parties.
We demanded an end to oppression, humiliation and discrimination against women.
We emphasized the necessity of equal rights for all citizens of the country, regardless of belief, religion, ethnicity, gender, and the elimination of any discrimination and inequality in society.
W said that there should be an end to attacks by the security forces, that no one should be in prison because of their opinions.
We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those arrested and the abolition of the death sentence. We believe execution is state murder”
It follows the above mentioned rejection of the outrageous claim of the ex-Shah’s son to be recognized as... the “political advocate of all Iranians”.Then, the Statement concludes with a great inspiring call for a struggle for workers power and social emancipation:
“We do not accept any power over our heads, either in work or in life. Our desire is to set up workers’ councils and collective management of society. Declaring these minimal demands is the first step to exercise the collective will of our people to unite and shape our destiny and future.
Workers! The situation is serious. Unity, unity!
Our emphasis is still on nationwide strikes”
Not only the oil workers of Iran but all class conscious workers and fighters for freedom, socialism and the communist future of humanity, subscribe to this perspective and program. It is the only way to unite, organize nationally and internationally, and fight to defeat imperialism, bourgeois reaction and theocratic bigotry, to fulfill the uncompleted tasks of the 1979 Iranian Revolution and see rising anew the Dawn of universal human emancipation, world Socialism!