Conference speech – Communist Workers of Iran

Before I start with the subject at hand, I would like to quote a few lines from our Proposed Charter for the formation of the Party of the working class:
In its preface we say:
“Capitalist domination over human society as well as the globalization of capital and the concentration and control of the means of production by imperialist groups, precipitates human society towards class based polarization. On the one hand, the competition between rival groups in world capitalism means that the wealth produced by the working class, as well as other layers and classes that generate wealth, are concentrated in the hands of the few, on the other hand capital’s need for increased accumulation and domination of human society (a prerequisite for its continued existence) compels it to push billions towards poverty, hunger and annihilation. Inevitably such conditions compel larger sections of the working class to resist and fight this order, and in order to keep control and maintain its domination, international capitalism (imperialism) has no alternative, but to rely openly on regional capitalist states and their organs of repression. World capitalism (imperialism) attempts to do this at a time when the international working class is facing dispersion and lacks consciousness as a consequence of the defeats of treacherous organizations and parties in the last century (the twentieth century) following the victories of the latter part of the 19th century and the victory of the Russian Revolution in October 1917.”
The situation before us is of the same nature. The crisis of world capitalism has begun an overall attack on the working class, and the falling rate of profit has renewed a period of destruction of the means of production, pushing more & more of the working class into unemployment and striping from it benefits that were gained through struggles of the past. The direct results of these actions are yet another round of polarization of society, and record impoverishment of the working masses throughout the world, so it is only natural for the working masses to fight back. What we are seeing today, throughout the world, from Tunisia to Wisconsin, From Cairo to Madrid and Paris, From Tehran to Changchun, is the reaction of the workers to the intolerable conditions that have been forced upon them violently by world capitalism, marking a new upheaval of the proletarian mass struggle.
The uniformity seen in these struggles is yet another proof of the above mentioned cause and effect relationship between the world capitalist crises and the upheaval of the struggles of the working masses. These struggles are almost, always fueled and ignited by the unemployed youth, and later, grow to a massive participation of the working masses of all ages and strata. Their initial independence from all type of bourgeois lines and organizations is manifested by its populist forms. No classical parties or trade unions can claim leadership of these struggles. However, due to the absence of a true proletarian line, its organizations and parties, they fall in to anarchy in nature. Which, in return, due to their inabilities to form the structures necessary to gain specific results and protect its achievements, it opens the door to liberal reformists to fill this vacuum.
Two clear examples of this common trend are the Iranian upheaval of 2009, and the recent protests of the “Spanish Indignities”. In Iran, the break from parlimentarism came the day after the 10th presidential elections. I will quote from a letter I wrote to an American comrade at the time, which goes in to details of the development of this phenomenon:
“But, the truth is that the street protest started as a result of the direct action of some unemployed youth, and the university students, regardless of the Reformist call for “calm”. The night that Mousavi stated that Ahmadinezhad has won through Vote Fixing, he stressed that no supporter of his should take to the streets, “because the other side wants this unprepared and foolish action as an excuse to suppress the opposition”. We were in direct contact with the students in two of the Tehran’s universities, getting reports of minute by minute progress of the demonstrations. During the first hours up to the first Demonstration of the Millions of people after 3 days, the reformists called on people to go off the streets in to mosques and the students back to their campuses. Every late afternoon, Mousavi & Karoobi’s supporters would tell the demonstrators that they are trying to obtain permits for the demonstration of the day after. But, each morning the government media would report that no permits were issued for the demonstrations, warning the people not to take to the streets. Then, the cadres of these two losing candidates would go to the universities begging the students to stay in the campus. But, The Revolutionary Students would answer them with chants of “Death to the Compromisers”! Of course we had no effect or a very little effect in one or two campuses. The main revolutionary line & chants came directly from the students themselves. Every day around 9 to 10 am, unemployed youth would start from the main squares toward the Vali Asr Square in the center of Tehran, as the meeting point. And the students would start from their campuses to the same square. When they were faced with state forces, they would change direction & the meeting place, organizing & harmonizing their actions by Mobile phones & SMS.
It was only on Monday the 15th of June, which an estimated 2-3 million people gathered at a central square. As usual the Reformist leadership announced that they were trying to obtain permits for the gathering. It was known to everyone that it is going to be a great crowed. Khameneyi, apparently after getting the forecast repots of the gathering, accepted to meet with Mousavi, the night before. In this meeting he promised Mousavi that he will make the Guardian Council to listen to their grievances. Early morning, Mousavi went on the Radio, saying that he was unable to obtain the permit; therefore, the gathering will not take place. He said nothing about the compromised reached with the other side. Again his cadres went to the universities to ask the students to stay in the campus. But, this time, his wife, an educator of the Tehran University was sent to talk to the students in that influential campus. Her plead was again answered with chants of “death to the compromisers”. Apparently, her report & the forecasts of the gathering of the enormous crowed made Mousavi & Karoobi announce that they will join the demonstrations to calm the crowed & stop it from turning in to a mob.
The presence of millions of people surpassed any expectations. Even the student organizers were surprised. This gathering marked a turning point in the struggle, only three days after it began. This was the first time since 1979 that such crowed came out to protest in opposition of the State. It showed that the struggle has support of the all the layers of the society & it will not run out of steam, any time soon. A great weight was pulled off the youth & students shoulder on to the publics’. However, came with it, the cautious spirit necessary for the Reformist leaders to gain control. They had to take one step towards the revolution to be able to influence it. From that day, the reformists leaders have never tried to talk against a gathering, even though they did not call for one either. By doing so, they were able to ask the people to use the tactic of “silence”. People accepted it. For three day’s millions of people marched the streets in silence, up to the point of government forces attacks. As soon as the Suppressive forces would show their faces the crowed would break in to the chants of “Death to the Dictator”! This situation turned the compromise of two wings of the ruling circles in to null.
After an effective compromised went in to feather by the peoples action, Khameneyi took the tribune of the Friday’s Prayer in June the 19th, giving orders to shoot directly in to the crowd, hoping this will frighten the people in to submission. However, the opposite happened. On Saturday, June 20th, people gathered in millions. The Suppressive forces did not hesitate to carry out their leader’s orders. The people, also, did not hesitate to call for the “Death to Dictator”, clearly meaning the leader, and “Down with Islamic Republic”, pushing the situation in to a classical definition of a “Revolutionary Period”: When, the state cannot govern without the naked violence, and people cannot tolerate the state any longer. For weeks the Reformists were passive, not knowing what to do. It was the neighborhood cells that took the leadership of the masses, turning the closest square to a battleground. Foreign press tried very much to put the numbers in “Thousands”, and still presenting the main issue of the protesters as being an “election fraud issue” and the “presidency of Mousavi”. While, all of the neighborhoods in the city of 20 million was on fire at nights, and hundreds of thousand came to central squares in the day time. Even in Tohid Neighborhood, on the anniversary of the 18th of Tir (July 7th), all the streets were barricaded and all of the people, young and old, participated in chanting against khameneyi and the Islamic Republic, battling against the armed forces of the government, and in more than one occasion, leaving the barricades to attack the running forces with stones & clubs.
From that point on, the relations between the mass movement & the Reformist leadership became a complex one. Three forces are present, influencing the events; the forces of Despotism, Reformists, and the Revolutionary instincts of the masses. Note that I did not say the Revolutionary Forces, because we are very small groups to be able to influence the masses. Our influence goes as far as a small group of activists within the masses. When a revolutionary position is taken in contraire of the Reformists’ policies, is not due to our influence, but the instincts of the masses themselves. The interaction of these forces must be studied very carefully for anyone trying to give a closer to the true analysis. It is very difficult for an inaccurate lazy mind of metaphysicist to be able to grasp the relative truths.
Revolutionary thought is growing gradually in the minds of the people through their direct experiences in the streets. When the reformists moved to create a new Party (Green Path of Hope) with a lot of advertisement in order to direct the movement toward the reconciliatory position of “Constitution of the Islamic Republic” as the goal, a spontaneous slogan of “Iranian Republic” was chanted by some people. And, it became the dominant chant of last demonstration of September 18th (Ghods Day- “Jerusalem Day” , Last Friday of the month of Ramadan), rejecting the Islamic Republic as a whole. Also, in the same demonstration, people, unlike the demonstrations in the past that they would not attack the government forces, began to initiate attacks on their tools of suppression, setting the motor cycles & the Police Vans for carrying the arrested, ablaze. Also, committed counter attacks to stop the arrested being taken away by the security forces & the Police. This is completely against the reformists’ interpretation of the policy of “non-violence”. However, they still insist on using the color “Green” as the symbol of the movement, which was the symbol of Mousavi’s campaign for presidency. They do not take open opposition to the reformist leaders, thinking that it would strengthen the Intellegent-Pasdaran circle.”
This trend continued up to the last week of January 2010. The mass movement of hundreds of thousands strong with no unified leadership, finally, broke the armed forces of Islamic Republic in a violent demonstration in Tehran, which became known as “The Red Ashura”, but, the same day marked the ebb and finally the full stop of the movement. After the” Red Ashura” the liberal bourgeoisie, frightened of the masses, ran to the forces of despotism, and, later, filled the vacuum left by anarchy, meaning the lack of revolutionary structures, and brought the movement to a standstill by the spring of 2010, the Iranian Nourooz holidays.
This is what happens when the movement is not able to form permanent democratic structures, such as “Assemblies of the armed working class” and the leadership of the “Councils” to safeguard the achievements of the movement.
Now, let us take a look at the second example. To see how this common trend is taking place in Spain, we refer to an article recently published in the ICC English site, namely, “‘Real Democracy Now!’ A dictatorship against the mass assemblies”. It writes:
“Two days after the brutal repression of the demonstrations of 15th May (the movement of the “indignant” which in Spain is known at the “15-M movement”) the setting up of a camp in the Puerta del Sol served as example for other cities. Ever-increasing numbers of people took part in a completely spontaneous movement of assemblies and discussions. There is a cynical lie being put about that the ¡Democracia Real Ya! Movement began this movement. These same “exemplary citizens” were very concerned to make it clear at that point that the movement to set up camps was nothing to do with them. Or as is said in a text by some anarchists from Madrid: “they distanced themselves in the most disgusting way possible from the events that happened after the demonstration and fingered those who were involved in them”.
On the one hand: the worsening of the attacks on our living conditions, unemployment, evictions, cuts in social spending. On the other hand, the example of Tahrir Square and North Africa, the pensions struggle in France, the students in Great Britain, Greece, the discussions in the workplaces or among revolutionary minorities, the comments on Facebook or Twitter, and of course all the expressions of being fed up with corruption and parliamentary antics… All this and more, has brought about the explosion of discontent and indignation, the unleashing of a torrent of vitality and struggle, ripping open the passivity and the voting of democratic normality.
Thousands and at times tens of thousands of people have come together in the central squares of the most important cities in Spain, turning them into real “agoras”. They have come after work, camped, with their families, searching… and they have talked and talked. Speech has been “freed” [2] in the assemblies. Even the most anti-state have recognized that this movement is not within the channels of the democratic state, as the above anarchist text says: “It is as if, suddenly, passivity and everyman for himself has broken down around the Puerto Del Sol… In the first days there were small groups talking about things, people gathered around to listen, to say something. It was normal to see people arguing in small groups. The work groups and general assemblies were massive events bringing together 500, 600 and 2000 people (sitting, standing, coming together to listen to something) etc. And apart from this, this permanent sense of a good atmosphere, of ‘this is something special’. All this reached its peak on the Friday/Saturday night when a day of reflection began. 20,000 were heard shouting ‘We are illegal’ like children enjoying breaking the law, this was invigorating and impressive”.
So far, we see that the people, spontaneously gathered, with no structure, called these gatherings “Assemblies” and sat around and talked about their problems and discussed the state’s inability to resolve their issues. Even, in Barcelona, they took this talk, as far as spreading the “good word” of creating assemblies in the neighborhoods and work places. For an anarchist, who believes that the struggle in itself is a victory, and through this struggle, the ideology of the proletariat forms itself in the mind of workers, this would be “invigorating and impressive”, but to the people and the working class, the movement in itself, is no victory. The history of the class struggle has shown, time and time over that when a struggle or a movement fails to create results, eventually, the masses will lose interest, and become passive as we saw in the first example, in Iran. The movement’s inability to show real victories, then, opens the door for the reformists’ methods to find an audience and look “practical”, and that is exactly what is happening in Spain. In the continuation of this report we read:
“When the movement began to weaken, a week after the municipal elections, the state unleashed a strategy of media recuperation in Madrid and Barcelona.
In Madrid the complaints of small businessmen and shopkeepers around the Puerta Del Sol were given free reign in order to make the campers feel guilty for the crisis. Support was given for a strategy of dismantling the massive camp and just leaving an “information point”.
In Barcelona, the calculated intervention by Catalan police [5], while initially leading to an increase in the numbers taking part in the gatherings [6], eventually led to the complete derailing of the discussions toward the democratic demand for the resignation of the Catalan interior minister, Felip Puig, joining in with the opposition against the new government of the right and the nationalists.
None of this would have had the same impact if it had not been for the work from the inside by Real Democracy Now!

In the first few days, faced with the avalanche of assemblies, ¡Democracia Real Ya! (DRY) had no option but to keep a low profile, but this did not mean that it did not try to gain positions in the key commissions of the camps and to spread its positions about citizens reforming the system, such as its famous “Ten Commandments” and similar things; of course, without openly showing its face and defending apoliticism in order to prevent those with other political opinions spreading their ideas, while DRY were left free to spread theirs (unsigned).
The anarchists in Madrid already detected this ambiance at the beginning of the movement: “In many commissions and groups we are seeing everything from the accidental loss of minutes, personal ambitions, people who cling to being spokesmen like glue, delegates who remain quiet at general assemblies, commissions that ignore agreements, small groups who want to maintain the refreshment stand etc. For sure many of these are the result of inexperience and inflated egos; others however appear to be directly taken from the old manuals on how to manipulate assemblies”.
We had to wait until the first symptoms of the reflux of the movement before seeing the real offensive of the “citizens’ movement” against the assemblies.”
The point is that after the “reflux of the movement” the “offensive of the “citizens’ movement” against the assemblies, is realized. What our reporting comrade and the anarchists fail to explain, is, what caused this “reflux”? In Barcelona, didn’t the workers of some industries participate in the assemblies? Weren’t there talks of spreading the assemblies to workplaces and neighborhoods? Then why does a movement that plans for long term actions begin to experience a “reflux” after only a few days? We believe the main reason for this “Reflux” is the lack of results from an un-structured movement where its decisions of assemblies, remain in the form of “talks”, and fails to establish any real advancement towards its goals.
We, however, will not wait for the “first symptoms of the reflux of the movement” to foresee the offensive of the World Capitalism, if the current situation of the class struggle does not change to the class interest and benefit of the proletariat
Here, some may point out the divergence of each movement from the other, and based on those, try to deny the uniformity of the character and the short-comings. We do not deny such divergence. For instance, in Egypt, the threat of working class’ massive participation in the movement against the dictatorship of Mubarak, in forms of mass strikes, tore open the guise of bourgeoisie’s dictatorship, and the military took over state affairs. In Iran, however, the military’s coup remains in power, due to the lack of independent working class participation. In Tunisia, the working class immediately showed its independent participation, and even though they were successful in forcing Ben-Ali’s departure, the ruling clique and the ruling party remains intact. In Spain the movement begins with the negation of “bourgeois democracy” by the people, and forms the “assemblies”. In Iran, however, this negation is enacted by the military, and although the movement’s goal became the “over throw of the Islamic State”, it failed to form the alternative “assemblies”. We can show many more divergences between each movement and another, but, the fact remains that these struggles have their roots in a common condition of the world capitalist system, and their non-uniform manifestation, organization, goals and slogans, are due to the variations of each society’s conditions of class struggle, history and culture.
This non-uniformity also shows the lack of class consciousness and dispersion of the working class as an international class, in war with another international class that is very much conscience of its interests and well organized to achieve it. Therefore, it is obvious that the main short-coming of the world proletariat, is the necessary class consciousness, unified identity and autonomous organizations, and contrary to the anarchists’ beliefs, this consciousness, identity and autonomy, does not come natural to the class through its spontaneous struggles. It is, in fact, a science, namely “Marxism” that must be taught to it by its most conscious elements, united in an International Party with strong and disciplined local organizations.
The working class does not need the support of communists in their spontaneous movements, but needs their participation to direct these struggles towards the unified identity and organizational autonomy. It needs them to clarify the historical role and the future of the working class and the whole society when the capitalist class becomes powerless and their system of state is annulled. This need can only be satisfied by a united communist international organization, united in analysis, strategy, tactics, propaganda and agitation and organizational practice. This of course, in turn, needs strong, conscious and disciplined regional and local organizations to supply the necessary information and analysis of concrete situations and be able to carry out the work necessary for this task.
To end, I shall quote the communist workers of Iran’s charter again:
“Now that the struggle against capitalism has reached a new stage, the necessity for the formation of working class parties based on Marxist concepts of class struggle, in order to lead the revolutionary movement, is felt more than ever before. Throughout the world, revolutionary communists have a duty to form vanguard parties in the areas they live, to achieve the class independence of the working class in line with revolutionary goals both in tactics and in strategy. This would be a prerequisite necessary for the creation of a united international body capable of overthrowing the global capitalist order (imperialism).”
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