Khomeini once said – in preparation for the total and final eradication of what was left of the labour movement that put an end to Pahlavi’s dictatorship, and the social and economical demands prior to the dominance of the Islamic counter revolution – “Economy is for donkeys.” And ever since that time, Iranian workers in every protest action against the Islamic government’s economical policies have replied to that garbage by saying: “These donkeys cannot handle the economy!”
Last week a man took his own life in Sanandaj.
The news was very short: An office employee committed suicide after being laid off: “Babak Mohammadi, a young married man with children had recently lost his job (Payam, a political news site, 22 Oct 2012) committed suicide.”
Of course, Babak was not the first nor will he unfortunately be the last to commit suicide out of desperation and personal economic and consequently social stalemate. Babak’s situation, his desperation, represents that of a nation. What is happening to our people in Iran is no less than genocide.
Thousands of workers lose their jobs in Iran every day. Millions of Iranian industrial and workshop workers have not been paid for five, six months – or even longer. Minimum wages for the lucky ones, who get their pay check in time, are usually under the official poverty line. The rate of absolute poverty, according to official statistics, has reached 35 percent of the population. There are 3,000,000 children working in the streets. Young women and men are being rejected and returned from the “kidney markets” due to abundance of “donors,” and the fact that “kidney prices are falling!” Prostitution, drugs and petty crimes are now eating away at the moral values of the entire society. This unbearable situation is going to get even worse if, as we all know, the working class of Iran does not enter the field in its full capacity and force to literally defend its existence.
The deep seated economic crisis of almost 34 years of Islamic looting and plundering of Iran’s human and material riches has now reached its peak. The Islamic regime is now collapsing altogether under the crushing weight of its own helplessly corrupted body and incompetence, as well as the crippling pressure of the inhuman and criminal economic sanctions that are predominantly spreading calamity, misery, hunger and death across the Iranian street, while the West seems to be resolute in continuing the pressure by suffocating and starving the population in order to finally, after 34 years of cat-and-mouse games, tame the Islamic regime once and for all and add this unruly part of the global order of governance to its stable.
Today, while the Islamic regime still, in its utmost savagery, harasses the labour activists, economically punishes them, detains and arrests the leaders and sentences them to long prison terms, it can no longer pretend that “the situation is calm and under control.” The regime’s problem is not only the economy, and of course it usually never is. The political central core of the regime – which only 3 years ago in an “inside the family” row with the regime reformists, and in fear of a revolution – had forced its ranks into a unity of polarized politics, has now become ever more fragmented and atomized. While the regime is now more than ever reminiscent of rival gangs of street thugs rather than a governance, any government, it has sunk to such degree of disintegration that the supreme leader’s “favourite” president has to visit his media consultant not in presidential palace but in Evin Prison, and even that is being denied (isn’t that an irony?).
Although Babak Mohammadi’s suicide, despite the present economic and social catastrophe, is an act of a desperate individual driven by an inhumane, violent and humiliating socio-economic regime and its culture, the background of Babak’s action is a manifestation of the Iranian working class catastrophic status quo. Today the entire Iranian working class has been forced out into a war with a life-or-death nature. This is an all-out war; and between the still-frequent news of harassments and arrests of labour activists and jail sentences on most ridiculous charges, and continuous punishment of working class leaders and their families on one hand, and mass lay-offs in all sections of production and services, sending thousands more workers and their families to poverty and starvation on daily basis, we now increasingly hear news of strikes, protest gatherings, sit-ins, and now and then, triumphant confrontations between workers and the employers or their government.
Iranian workers’ major demand today is merely and literally bread, and as long as the children of the entire class of workers of Iran go to bed hungry, the capital owners and their Islamic regime can not avoid a class war. This war today coalesces with isolated but numerous campaigns of protesting workers. The Islamic regime has never had the capacity and power to stand against an all-out confrontation with the working class become desperate.
Nevertheless, at this stage in our struggle, our victories although enormously encouraging are all but comparatively rare, defused and sporadic. Our many protest actions lack clear political objectives. If today, our strikes, protests, sit-ins and demonstrations are abundant, so are the lay-offs and “legal” (according to anti-labourer Islamic Labor Law) and illegal sabotages and obstructions and regression of our successes. Our actions are isolated from each other, and can not be otherwise as long as we have not remedied our lack of organization, unity and leadership. These victories have not been achieved easily yet are at the moment easily reversible. Many of the recent victories, like those of the petrochemical workers against the contractors, or Saaveh Profile’s, are already reversed or at least vulnerably open to sabotage by the regimes or the private employers.
Today, on the occasion of demanding immediate freedom of our detained and jailed sisters and brothers, children and leaders of the working class, with aching hearts we read dear Babak’s name out loud, while our thoughts go to his family and loved ones. We declare once again that the Iranian proletariat cannot afford to lose the ongoing war. We can win this and put an end to the barbaric reign of Islam and capitalism in Iran. Organisation and unity are what we need and we literally have nothing to lose.
Down with the Islamic Rule of Capital.
Long Live Socialism.
Towards the Iranian Proletariat’s United Front.