For Committees of Action of the Workers and Poor! For Organized Self-Defense against the Police Repression! Down with the Capitalist-Theocratic Regime! Unite the Struggle of the Iranian Masses with the Arab Revolution!
Statement by the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 01.01.2018, www.thecommunists.net
1. The capitalist-theocratic regime of Iran faces its most serious crisis since the “Green Revolution” in 2009. In the last four days mass protests have spread throughout the country. The uprising started on 28 December in Mashhad, one of the holiest places in Shi‘ite Islam. It soon spread to Kermanshah, Shari Kurd, Tehran, Hamadan, Isfahan, Yasuj, Karaj, Jajrud, Bajnurd, Rafsanjan and other provinces. In the central city of Isfahan, protesters joined a rally held by factory workers demanding back-pay. Demonstrators burned pictures of Khomeini and Khamenei, overturned police cars and set police motorcycles ablaze. According to reports, at least two demonstrators have been killed by the regime’s repression apparatus.
2. At the beginning, the protests focused on economic demands, in particular against the high cost of living, poverty, unemployment and graft. There has also been anger at welfare cuts and fuel price increases in the latest budget announced earlier this month. All this is hardly surprising given the fact that, according to the Statistical Centre of Iran, unemployment has risen to 12.4%, leaving about 3.2 million Iranians jobless. However, the protesters added very soon political demands which are directed against all factions of the regime and its foreign policy. Such slogans raised are: “Death to Rouhani”, “Death to the dictator” (i.e. Khamenei), “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my soul is the redemption of Iran“, “Leave Syria and think about us”, “You have used religion and humiliated the people”, “The government is lying and its promises are not implemented” and “Unity Unity, No Fear, No fear of the police”.
3. It is clear that this is a spontaneous mass uprising against the reactionary Khamenei-Rouhani regime. There have been suggestions, e.g. by Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, a close ally of President Hassan Rouhani, that these protests were initiated by supporters of the conservative Khamenei faction. However, even if this would have been the case, it is obvious that the protests have taken a spontaneous mass dynamic which is not controlled by any faction of the regime or anyone else. Quite the opposite, the uprising is directed against the regime as a whole with no support for any faction of it. While it seems that some reactionary pro-monarchist forces are intervening in the protests and try to influence them, it is clear that they currently play an insignificant role. It is furthermore an important and highly progressive sign that the demonstrators protest against the regime’s arch-reactionary foreign policy. Particularly in Syria, Iran plays, together with imperialist Russia, a crucial role in supporting the counterrevolutionary efforts of the Assad regime to smash the uprising of the Syrian workers and peasants which started in March 2011.
4. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) strongly welcomes the uprising of the Iranian workers, poor and youth. We fully support their struggle against the reactionary policy of the regime both at home as well as abroad. The task of revolutionaries is to help the workers and oppressed in Iran to organize for the struggle, to give them a political perspective and to fight against any reactionary forces trying to infiltrate the protests. The RCIT considers this popular uprising as a crucial development which could quickly lead to a revolutionary situation, posing the question of power to the Iranian workers and oppressed. Furthermore it could play an important role to undermine Iran’s massive counter-revolutionary military intervention in Syria and, therefore, come to the relieve of the Syrian Revolution from the tremendous pressure it has faced recently. In general, a popular uprising in Iran, in parallel to the ongoing Syrian Revolution, the looming Third Intifada of the Palestinian people and the global movement in protest against Trump’s decision on Jerusalem’s status, and the heroic struggle of the Yemeni people against the Saudi invasion could revive the revolutionary wave in the Middle East which started in January 2011. Part of such a program is the call for lifting of all imperialist sanctions against Iran. It is the task of all socialists to work for such an internationalist perspective and to combine it with the program of permanent revolution which combines the democratic struggle with the socialist revolution.
5. Socialists in Iran must call for the formation of action committees in the workplaces, neighborhoods, schools and universities in order to organize the workers and oppressed. Such committees should organize the struggle and decide about the main demands, the forms of protests, the perspectives etc. They should also organize self-defense units in order to defend the demonstrations against the regime’s repression apparatus. Furthermore, socialists must explain that the solution is not national isolation but expanding the struggle for liberation internationally which includes support for the Syrian Revolution as well as the Palestinian struggle against the Zionist enemy. Finally, socialists should explain that the liberation struggle must be directed against all factions of the ruling class and against all imperialist powers. They should advocate, as we explained in the RCIT’s “Action Platform for Iran”, the perspective of a workers and poor peasants government based on popular councils and militias.
6. The verbal “support” of the Trump Administration for the protests in Iran is nothing but a cynical maneuver to exploit the domestic problems of a country which is in the camp of the US’s imperialist rivals Russia and China. Given the record of US imperialism of strangling Iran for decades with economic sanctions and threatening it with military attacks, it is highly unlikely that this “support” will impress anyone of the Iranian protesters. Clearly, every self-respecting Iranian will reject with deep disgust any affiliation with the Islamophobic, war-mongering dotard in the White House.
7. We can take for granted that numerous Stalinists and pseudo anti-imperialists will denounce the popular uprising in Iran as a “conspiracy of US imperialism”. Ignoring the fact that the US is not the only imperialist power in the world and that we are living in a world marked by an accelerating rivalry between several Great Powers (US, EU, Russia, China, Japan), they view any popular movement in the countries of the Russian/China camp, like Iran, automatically as a reactionary development. This demonstrates not only their complete failure of Marxist thinking, i.e. of understanding social movements by their material causes instead of adapting to foolish conspiracy theories in the tradition of the right-wing Breitbart agency of former Trump advisor Steve Bannon. Such an outrageous slander of a democratic popular uprising also proves more that these forces are “anti-imperialists” only in words but social-imperialist servants of Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi in deeds.
8. The struggle for liberation within Iran, as well as internationally, can only be won if we build a revolutionary socialist party nationally and internationally. Only such a party can give the necessary leadership for those struggles. Only such a party can transmit the socialist program to the masses. It is therefore the central task of all consistent revolutionary forces to focus on building such a party. The RCIT urges all revolutionaries in Iran to fight together for the founding of such a party.
* Support the popular uprising! For the release of all prisoners! Defend the democratic rights to assemble and demonstrate!
* For an automatic rise of wages in accordance with the rise in prices in order to combat inflation!
* For a public employment program under control of the workers!
* Down with the capitalist-theocratic regime! Against both the Khamenei as well as the Rouhani faction!
* For the formation of action committees in the workplaces, neighborhoods, schools and universities!
* For the creation of organized self-defense units!
* For a workers and poor peasants government!
* Down with the imperialist sanctions against Iran!
International Secretariat of the RCIT
For the RCIT's analysis of Iran we refer readers our programmatic document:
For the Iranian Revolution! Down with the capitalist Mullah dictatorship! Down with Imperialism! For a working class revolution in Iran! Action Platform for Iran by the RCIT, February 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/iran-platform/
Many more articles on Iran can be read on our articles on our website at: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/