This is the text of the speech by one of the IPFG activists on the occasion of May 1st International Workers’ Day, given in the seminar which was held in London, UK on May 3, 2008. The panel discussion and forum was about the workers’ struggle and the democratic anti-imperialist struggles of the people across the world.
With warmest revolutionary greetings to all friends and comrades,
At the outset, allow me to congratulate the one hundred and twenty second anniversary of First of May, the International Workers’ Day, to every one of you and to all those who struggle to fulfill the goals and objectives of the working class and toiling masses all over the world against Imperialism and the world capitalist order. Also, let us once again, together take this opportunity to honor all those fallen communist workers and freedom fighters of the globe, who fought against capitalist order, from Iran and Turkey to Philippine and India, from Americaand Europe to Africa and Australia.
Undoubtedly, the workers of the world regardless of their color, race, religion, and nationality, in their struggle against their enemies, the capitalist plunderers, and all kinds of reactionary forces and world dominating imperialists, form the regiments of one fighting army and one world class. As a result, understanding the situation and realizing the working and living conditions and the struggling experiences of each one of these regiments would become most important for all communists to advance the struggle against capitalism.
Thus, just as we, the Iranian People’s Fadaee Guerrillas, learn from the struggles and experiences of our Turk, Filipino, and Indian comrades, and follow with outmost care and sensitivity, the ups and downs of their struggles against the common enemy, meaning imperialists and the reactionaries, we consider transferring Iran’s working class struggling experiences to working class and vanguard fighters of working class of other fronts against our common enemy, as part of our international duties.
Considering this fact, I, as an Iranian communist, would like to take advantage of this opportunity and portray the living conditions and limitations and difficulties of current struggle of Iranian working class, for you dear friends as communists and fighters of different nations of the world.
Under imperialists’ dependent bourgeoisie rule in Iran, the workers are in one of the most dreadful working and living conditions. The anti people Islamic Republic regime, as the keeper and supporter of the dependent bourgeoisie, and in the defence of the parasite bourgeoisie in Iran and the world capitalists, exercises a naked and vicious dictatorship, and has created a horrendous living conditions for toiling masses and in their foremost positions, millions of workers and their families. Under supremacy of this regime that tries to disguise the imperialists’ rule and dependent bourgeoisie order with religious and Islamic explanations, more than half of our society’s population who are mainly workers are hungry and deprived and live under “poverty line”. Sometimes, in spite of working two shifts of hard work in a day, they are not able to answer the minimum necessities of their unbearable lives. In regard to the dire economic situation of workers, for your information dear friends, it is enough for me to mention that when the announced minimum wage is about 219 Dollars per month, the minimum amount for a family of a worker at the “poverty line” is about 600 Dollars per month.
In fact, while the world capitalist order is facing another wave of ever increasing economic crisis, and when imperialists are trying to unload the weight of their deadly crisis on the back of working class and toiling masses, especially in the colonized societies, the Islamic Republic regime, as the servant of imperialist order has organized a wave of most vicious attacks and oppressions of working class and toiling masses to reduce its economic crisis, accordingly.
It is in the framework of this aggression that Islamic Republic regime has left the leech like capitalists loose in ever increasing plundering and exploitation of workers, to the point that governmental and private employers do not pay even the measly wages of hungry and needy workers for several months. According to reports by some of the Islamic Republic own media, in recent years some of workers have not been paid for up to 48 months of salary. This, in simple terms is nothing but servitude and slavery in the twenty first century. On the other hand, the leaders of Islamic Republic in the so called reformist cabinet of Khatami have passed some of the most inhuman, anti-labour laws, in the past recent years, which have put millions of workers of small factories out side of labour laws protection.
In the continuation of this government aggression, such an ideal situation has been created for the capitalists, that now more than two thirds of work force in Iran, meaning 70% are temporary contracted workers that are forced to work with mostly 89 days short term contract that has the least amount of rights for workers to challenge employers aggressions.
Also, in recent years, in accordance to imperialist government’s policies and plundering world institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, under privatization policy, a lot of factories and manufacturing outlets have been closed and a lot of workers have been laid off. For example, just in last month, in the beginning of the New Year in Iran, more than 50,000 workers have been laid off without any kind of compensation by their employers. It has gotten to the point that the abundance of a massive army of reserve labour, has given the dependent bourgeoisie and Islamic Republic regime a great manoeuvring power in more exploitations and even further oppressions of the workers.
What I explained so far is only a glimpse at Iranian workers economical situation. On the other hand, as I said before, the Iranian working class lives under the rule of one of the murderous and dependent regime which depends on oppressive forces (such as Army, PasdaranMilitias, Police and Ministry of Information,…) with naked dictatorship and brute force in all aspects of society creating a barrier in front of demonstrations and struggle of workers and toiling masses, and answers even the smallest objection voices to the awful situation with bullets, torture, imprisonment, and hanging.
Basically, studying the historical experiences of Iran shows that Imperialism in the course of its expansion has turned my country into a neo-colonialist society, which the ruling order is dependent bourgeoisie, which unlike the metropolitan societies, the superstructure is not made of so called “bourgeoisie democracy”, but it is made of a vicious and antagonistic dictatorship. Those regimes which reach to the power keeping such an economical infrastructure, with any claim and cover and any appearances are nothing but the servants of imperialist rule, which in order to protect the imperialist interests, and in order to exploit the oppressed and working class and toiling masses, and to have a better rate of return and interest, they have no other way but to impose dictatorship on all aspect of society.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a manifestation of imperialist dependent regime, which in the past 30 years, in order to protect the interests of its imperialist masters, has not stayed away from committing any crime. The Islamic Republic regime, since its very inception, in order to save its dictator regime and in order to halt the progress of revolutionary movements has tried to silence any opposition voice, and to crack down any syndicate and political gatherings of people, and with imprisonment, torture and execution of thousands of combatants and communist men and women. This regime has tried to suppress growing and advancing the struggle of working class and all the toiling masses against the existing exploitation order.
Because of the existence of this dictatorship, the workers of Iran do not possess the same rights as the workers of metropolitan countries. For example the Iranian workers are not even permitted freely to celebrate the May Day! Don’t be surprise if I tell you that just last month, in Kurdistan providence, the courts of Islamic Republic convicted 2 workers who participated in last year’s May Day March in the city of Sanandaj, and punished them with whip lashes and monetary fines. These workers had to endure lashes because they participated in May Day March!
Under this dictatorship, which does not tolerate any sort of independent organization by workers, and any effort to mobilize any type of syndicate, union, or councils, independently from government will result in prosecution, torture, and imprisonment. I am certain that you all are aware of the efforts by Tehran bus drivers to form just their own independent syndicate in the past few years. These efforts have met with attacks and the workers have been arrested and they have not been allowed to form their own syndicate freely among the workers.
Due to regimes suppressive policies, during the past few months, the bus driver workers’ struggle has led to their expulsion and imprisonment, which to this date, many of their activists are still in prison.
Under the shadow of such a black dictatorship and through this very difficult situation, we witness the scattered struggle of workers movement and lack of independent organization of workers. So, these dispersion and lack of independent mobilizations of workers is one of the sad points of class struggle in today’s Iran. In addition to that, the savage oppression of revolutionary and communist organizations has caused the working class struggle suffer from lack of a powerful leadership and a communist organization, and or communist parties and revolutionary organizations in the society that believe in Marxism-Leninism, who can rely on a revolutionary line, would help to mobilize the working class, advance the struggle, manage the short and long term goals and demands of the class, and this fact has added to the negative results of workers lack of organization.
Despite the above fact, we observe a widespread protests and demonstrations by the working class in recent years in our country. We observe that those widespread protests by the oppressed workers are not for the increasing the wages, decreasing the working hours, or improving the entire working conditions, but for asking about those measly wages which have not been paid for many months by the leach like work owners. In other words, the basic demands in the workers’ protests in recent years are just to get what apparently already has been accepted officially by the state and the capitalists, and now shamelessly refuse to fulfill.
This oppressive and unbearable politico-economic situation has forced a fierce and severe struggle upon the workers, and hence we are witnessing workers outcries from the four corners of the country, demanding to receive their unpaid wages.
From the workers’ struggle in the “Alborz Tire” factory in Tehran, to the Kerman’s “Bardesir SugarCube” factory’s workers’ struggle, and from the Booshehr’s “Marine Industrial Company” workers’ protests, to the brave strike of “Haft-Tappeh Sugar-Cane” factory’s workers, etc…in every corner of Iran, we are witnessing daily strikes and protests by workers who are demanding their several months postponed and unpaid wages. However, because of the dictatorship, these strikes and protests are happening in total dispersion. The enemy even doesn’t let the news of these struggles and protests reach other workers. Because of the lack of workers’ general organization and lack of a strong revolutionary organization supporting workers, those struggles usually stay at the local level and without any connection to other workers’ movements, and therefore are more easily defeated.
For better understanding of this reality and to familiarize you with the Iranian workers’ experiences, I will describe one of these distinguished labor movements, i.e. the “Alborz Tires” protest.
Last month, more than five thousand “Alborz Tires” workers who had not received their wages for five months, finally had enough and in order to let others hear their protest and in reaching out to others, burned used tiers and debris and blocked the road between Tehran and Islam-Shahr for a while. The day after, special government forces broke factory walls with bulldozers and attacked workers gathering inside the factory. During this attack, more than one thousand workers were arrested, thrown in buses that were brought there earlier, and sent to detention centers to be searched, interrogated, and harassed.
Therefore, to summarize the present labor movement’s situation in Iran, I have to say that: The ruling class in Iran, namely the imperialist-dependent bourgeoisie, in order to transfer the burden of economic crises on the shoulders of toiling masses, meaning by imposing more and more unemployment, higher food prices and inflation, etc…has organized a wide spread attack on masses who live under the poverty line, and on the working class as their forefront.
The Iranian regime, with violence and bare despotism, creates an atmosphere of fear and tries to choke the movement of the workers against their destitution, in its early infancy stages. The ruling class, through the use of an army of reserved labor and millions of temporary low-wage workers, has found a great maneuver power against the working class and has put them and their families in a politico/economical clamp to crush them.
These realities have imposed a defensive position on the unemployed, destitute, and hungry workers’ combat movement. Also because of these realities, the struggle of the Iranian working class, in the absence of combative formations and revolutionary organizations that can defend their immediate and future interests, is unorganized and dispersed to a degree that most of the times, the striking workers of one area are not aware of their comrades’ combat in other areas. As a result, these struggles are deprived of the possibility of unifying together and becoming stronger.
A historical and concrete conclusion of Iranian workers’ objective and materialistic working and living conditions will show all communist and revolutionary forces in Iran that the ruling dictatorship is the main obstacle to organizing the working class, and prevents them from materializing their immediate and future demands, including just wages, improved working conditions, the right of forming independent labor organizations, etc…
Therefore, as the Iranian Peoples’ Fadaee Guerillas repeatedly have emphasized, and as previous revolutionary experiences in our country have shown, all the proletariat class struggles must be channeled toward the destruction of the Islamic Republic and the abolition and destruction of its main reliance element – the suppressive machinery. Experiences has proven that without fanning the flames of the fire of a revolution that burns down the domination of Imperialism and the current capitalist state at their core and roots , there is no possibility for the freedom of the proletariat. It has been also proven through experience that is only through such a fiery revolution that working class gets a chance to organize itself more effectively and to prepare the conditions for establishing revolutionary labor organizations as the necessary tools for a successful revolution; A revolution that doesn’t triumph without its proletariat hegemony.
Thanks for listening to what I had to say. I wish you a great success in your combat against Imperialism and the reactionaries. And I hope that every one of us can advance the revolution in our countries by performing our international duties, properly.
May 3, 2008