The Iranian Revolution

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This 1979 article by Ted Grant explains how the hated regime of the Shah was overthrown by a workers' revolution, and how, unfortunately, the revolution was hijacked by the fundamentalist mullahs.

The two parts of this article were written by Ted Grant in 1979. We are republishing them because we believe they are essential reading for any active worker or youth who wishes to understand both how the hated regime of the Shah was overthrown by a workers' revolution, and how, unfortunately, the revolution was hijacked by the fundamentalist mullahs.

 

Part One

Last week in one of the biggest demonstrations in human history over three million Iranians came on to the streets of Teheran to welcome the return of the religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini. The previous week had seen barricades and workers fighting with the army. In scenes reminiscent of the February Revolution of 1917, soldiers who were meant to be backing the old regime, winked at the crowds and called out "We are with the people."

Iran is a country in the throes of revolution. The forces which are locked in combat are on the one side those of the autocratic monarchy, supported by the capitalist and landlord classes, backed up by the military and police. Facing them is the working class and the middle class who look to the Muslim clergy, particularly the Ayatollah (Holy Man) Khomeini in exile in Paris.

The analysis which follows endeavours to show the real situation which exists in Iran and the main paths which the revolution can follow. The revolution really began a year ago with the demonstrations against the Shah and his hated secret police SAVAK.

A totalitarian system can only maintain itself by means of terror and a system of informers while the masses are inert. But once the masses move into action against the regime it is the beginning of the end. The monstrous secret police are shown to be impotent in the face of the movement of the masses.

The pressure from below produces a split at the top amongst the ruling class. Fearing that they will be overthrown they try and introduce reforms from the top in order to prevent revolution from below. Hence the death bed "repentance" of the Shah and his belated announcement of reforms, particularly the setting up of a "Parliament" which was still nevertheless subordinate to the monarchy.

However these "reforms" opened the way for the overthrow of the Shah's rule. They prepared the way for the direct intervention on the stage of history of the working class with the different layers of the middle class.

The Pahlavi monarch was forced into his inglorious flight from Iran. This took place in spite of the resistance of imperialism, particularly American imperialism. Owen and Callaghan shamefully besmirched the labour movement by coming out in support of the Shah. Their frantic attempts to prop up the tottering Iranian monarchy have failed.

Oil of course has been the key to the policies of British and American imperialism which have enormous investments in Iran. Iran is the second biggest exporter of oil in the world, only exceeded by Saudi Arabia. This oil is vital to Western capitalist states and is one of the factors deciding the policies of British and American imperialism in relation to Iran.

It is the world's fourth largest producer of oil. In 1976, Iran produced 295 million tonnes (10% of world production), the Soviet Union produced 515 million tonnes (17.6%), the USA produced over 404 million tonnes (13.8%) and Saudi Arabia produced nearly 422 million tonnes.

Transition

The Shah's rule after 1953 resulted in Iran becoming a country in transition. It has become a semi-colonial country, half-industrialised and half colonial. While remaining under the domination of American-Anglo imperialism she has attempted to strike out on an imperialist path herself. For example, in the Persian Gulf, following the retreat of British imperialism in this area of the world, Iran seized a couple of islands and attempted to play the role of policeman in the Gulf States.

The Shah maintained his regime by perfecting an instrument of terror and repression in the form of SAVAK, the Secret Police. It could best be compared to the Gestapo in its devilish tortures, assassinations, executions and in the horrors which it imposed on the Iranian people.

At the same time, in an endeavour to make Iran one of the great powers of the world, the Shah undertook the industrialisation of Iran at breakneck speed. This was especially so after 1973 when the price of oil quadrupled. This gave enormous billions to the Shah for the purposes of investment.

The Shah was attempting to play the role of absolute monarch in the old sense of the Iranian regime. At the same time he was trying to modernise the economy of the country. In order to gain a basis he introduced "land reforms". These "land reforms" enriched the nobility, the absentee landowners who dominated Iran. They received enormous riches in compensation which they could then invest in industry. The idea was to transform the nobility into a capitalist class, a ruling class on the model of the West.

The real motive behind the land reform was to push the peasants off the land to provide labour for the factories. As The Economist commented: "In place of Iran's village families he [the Shah] allowed his previous Prime Minister Mr Hovieda, to put divisive farm camps, undermining the whole spirit of land reform."

The massive industrialisation begun under the Shah completely bemused those who claim to, or aspire to, leading the Iranian workers. This is particularly true of the Communist party (called the Tudeh party). During the whole of the Shah's reign it has acted as if it was dead. It has put forward no independent policies whatsoever. This is to be explained by the foreign policy of the Russian bureaucracy. The Tudeh Party in Iran is largely a party dominated by the Russian bureaucracy.

The Russian bureaucracy wanted no conflict with American imperialism in Iran because of Iran's enormous importance as an oil producer. Long ago the bureaucracy of the Soviet Union gave up any thought of revolutionary developments which would threaten directly the vital interests of imperialism, especially of the major power of American imperialism because of the inevitable worsening of relations between Russia and America which would occur under these circumstances.

"Yellow press"

The "yellow press" in Britain was wrong to state that these events are due to the intervention and subversion of the Russian bureaucracy, of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party.

On the contrary, the Russian bureaucracy tried to prop up the Shah. They engaged in lucrative trade with the Shah, arranged for enormous quantities of natural gas to be exported from Iran to the Soviet Union and generally endeavoured to maintain friendly relations with the Shah. They looked askance at revolutionary developments in a neighbouring country, particularly one with a large working class which showed its revolutionary character during the course of these events.

The changed relationship of forces on a world scale, has resulted in immense power being accumulated by the Soviet bureaucracy, whilst American imperialism has been weakened. Although not prepared to take any action itself, the Soviet bureaucracy warned against any intervention on the part of American imperialism directly in the affairs of Iran. This, they pointed out, would provoke an immediate counter-response by the Soviet Union, who would then send troops into Iran.

This warning on the part of the Soviet bureaucracy was heeded by the diplomats of the USA. The maniacs of the Pentagon had suggested that aircraft carriers and ships carrying Marines should be sent into the Persian Gulf for the purpose of intervening against the Iranian revolution. This was negated by the State Department, who understood the repercussions this would have on a world scale in the colonial world, and of course the repercussions in Iran and on the Soviet Union.

This shows the waning power of imperialism. American imperialism did not hesitate to intervene in Vietnam, or in Lebanon, or in Dominica. Now because of domestic and international factors, the American imperialists have been impotent to intervene directly in the affairs of Iran.

In this situation the main preoccupation of the CP has been to climb behind religious reaction and the Ayatollah in demanding the setting up of some sort of "Democratic Muslim Republic".

But it is not only the Iranian Communist Party which has shown a feeble reaction in Iran during the course of recent events. The ultra-left sects have also played, as usual, a negative role. Some of them have given sympathy and support to the "revolutionary" students in Iran.

Students

But revolutionary students in Iran were not directed either towards the working class, or to formulate a programme for working class action, but on the contrary were told by the sects to turn to the impotent methods of individual terror. As always with the sects they regarded the working class as impotent, ignorant, illiterate and utterly powerless to change the relationship of forces which existed in Iran. Their conceptions were reinforced by the fact that the working class was completely unorganised before the present development of events.

The argument of the sects and those who turned towards individual terror was that the Shah was industrialising, and all the cards were therefore in his hands. The Shah had raised the standard of living of the working class. The Shah had made enormous concessions to the working class and also to the peasantry. This in its turn would lead to the stability of his regime. They declared that the Shah could maintain himself for decades as a consequence of the "White Revolution" and the development of industry. Incidentally, this idea was swallowed by the imperialists as well. For example, the CIA issued a report as late as September 1978 saying that the Shah had a stable regime and would continue to hold power for at least the next ten to fifteen years!

The real tragedy of Iran is the fact that there was no section of Marxists, either in the ranks of the working class or the students to prepare for these great events, as Lenin and the Bolsheviks had prepared in Russia.

The short-sighted sects could only see gloom and doom in the enormous development of industry. Militant on the other hand, declared that the development of industry also increased enormously the power of the working class, a power which has been demonstrated in the recent period in Britain, in Spain, in the United States, in Japan, and in West Germany.

The mast strikes are an eloquent testimony to the awakening and the power of the workers.

The indescribable tortures the lack of rights and freedom, the humiliations suffered by the masses and specifically the working class of Iran have provoked an implacable movement of the masses. On the surface, the Shah had been riding high, and this was the only thing that could be seen, unfortunately, by the radicals in Iran.

After all it is only about six to eight months ago, when the Shah was giving advice to Britain, on how to deal with strikes, and the "permanent instability" of the "democratic institutions in Britain"!

The old mole of the revolution, however, was burrowing underneath the apparent totalitarian calm which existed in Iran. The CIA and imperialism were caught napping, as were the organisations of the working class.

Nevertheless, in the last few years, there have been many symptoms of the crisis of the regime. Because of the prohibition of all organisations in opposition to the "party" of the Shah, the opposition tended to gather in the mosques. This is particularly so for the peasant, the middle class, and even for the merchant class opposition to the regime of the Shah.

Because of the failures of the Communist Party and radicals, even to attempt to organise opposition within the ranks of the working class, discontent surfaced at the mosques. Radical sermons were preached, which though cloudy and nebulous, were interpreted by the masses in their own fashion.

The Shah dispossessed the Church of its lands. This did not benefit the peasants but only the nobility. That meant that the Ayatollahs, or holy men, the chief representatives of the Muslim clergy in Iran were forced into opposition to the regime.

The masses interpreted the sermons of the mullahs as really standing for a struggle against the totalitarian and authoritarian regime of the Shah. The mullahs put forward the demand for the reintroduction of the constitution of 1906.

It must be remembered that nearly two-thirds of the population in Iran are still illiterate. This is a consequence of the inheritance from the rottenness of the old regime of the landlords and the nobility.

Demonstrations

Between October 1977 and February 1978 there were mass illegal demonstrations demanding democratic rights. Then towards the last months of 1978 there were big movements of the students, the merchants, and now also of the working class. Using the religious feast days as an excuse, demonstrations of thousands began to take place. The repression by the forces of the Shah, by the army and the police, merely incensed the population and resulted in bigger and bigger movements in Teheran, and in all the cities of Iran.

As the struggle deepened, it was the movement of the working class, as in Russia, which became the main battering ram for the awakening people. In the first Russian revolution of 1905, the revolution was begun by a demonstration led by the priest, Father Gapon, calling for concessions, and calling for the Tsar, "Little Father" to set things right. This provoked the firing by the army on the people; hundreds were killed and thousands wounded and the Russian revolution of 1905 had begun. So in the same way, we had the beginning of the revolution in Iran.

However there are important differences between Russia in 1905 and the present movement in Iran. The Iranian revolution has begun with a far higher consciousness on the part of the masses. The mass of the people did not petition "their Father" the Shah, but on the contrary demanded the end of the monarchy. Their slogans were "Down with the Shah" and "Death to the Shah".

The working class in Iran is a far bigger proportion of the population than was the Russian working class before the revolution of 1917. There are two million Iranian workers in manufacturing alone, and another three-quarters of a million in transport, and other industries. In addition to that there are wide circles close to the working class in the clerical trades, in the civil service, in catering, and in small businesses of that character.

Most of manufacturing industry in Iran is small, but nevertheless there are certain giant monopolies which dominate the scene. Some employ hundreds, thousands and even tens of thousands of workers. In Russia, the working class was only four million out of a population of 150 million. In Iran the working class is at least three to four million strong, out of a population of thirty-five million.

In other words, the relationship of forces in the working class as far as its numerical strength is concerned is even more favourable in Iran than it was in Russia in 1905 or in 1917.

Workers

But, on the other hand, in Russia there were the Bolshevik cadres and party, and a certain socialist consciousness, at least in the advanced layers of the working class.

The role of the working class in production means inevitably that it develops a collective consciousness, both in the process of work, and in the process of the struggle against their oppressors. This is the reason why it is only the working class which can change society.

Above all, the movement of the oil workers, the so-called privileged section of the working class in Iran has actually decisively undermined the regime. Over the last two months there has been intermittently a general strike in the oil fields. Despite army repression, arrests of leaders and shootings, the oil workers have stood firm and have refused to work for the purpose of producing oil for the hated regime until the Shah left. Again and again the masses, including the middle class have demonstrated.

SAVAK

The civil service and bank workers have played, as in Portugal, a key part in bringing the absolute monarchy to its knees. Their strike resulted in the finances of the country being paralysed. The strike particularly of the Central Bank in Iran was very effective. This followed the burning down of 400 banks by the enraged masses.

The bank clerks, when they went on strike, revealed that in the last three months £1,000 million has been spirited abroad by 178 members of the ruling elite, including the Shah's relations. Now, in preparation for exile after having sent his family abroad, the Shah has transferred £1,000 million to banks in America. This in addition to the £1,000 million or so which is held in banks in Bonn, Switzerland and in other parts of the world. The Iranian Treasury has been plundered by the autocracy.

The revolution has involved most sections of the nation apart from the handful of capitalists, the landlords, the supporters of the monarch and the bulk of the army officers. The merchants and the small shopkeepers have been ruined by the development of modern capitalism in Iran. This has fuelled their hatred of the absolute ruler who they see as the source of their woes. Thousands have been killed as a result of the repression of the forces of the state, the police, the SAVAK, and army. Every city in Iran has seen demonstrations, has seen these demonstrations being fired on, and has seen the attempt to organise reaction against the working class and against the people.

In many of the smaller towns, there have been fascist attacks, by the army and the police with picked thugs, like the Black Hundreds in Russia before the revolution. They have been used for the purpose of beatings and rapes, in order to terrorise the villagers and the working class in the small cities in Iran. Undoubtedly, if they could have got away with it similar methods would have been used in the big cities.

The Shah, in order to leave a kindly reputation and memory gave the miserable sum (for him) of £25 million to a foundation for charity. But of course, used to the splendours of the regime in Iran, the Shah in going into what would be tantamount to exile, did not of course want to be a pauper, he took away some small change - £1,000 million.

Millions

The tendency has been in all modern revolutions for the mass to come, in millions, onto the streets. Thus the demonstrations in Portugal of more than a million after the fall of the Caetano regime. In Iran, millions have demonstrated. According to the biased reports of the capitalist press at least one to two million have demonstrated in the streets of Teheran for the purpose of bringing down the Shah. Hundreds of thousands have demonstrated in all the cities with a measurable population in Iran. Tens of thousands in the smaller towns of Iran. This is a movement of the poor, of the dispossessed, of the exploited, involving the workers, the middle class, the white collar workers, the merchants, and even swept into the movement for their own purposes and their own ends, a section of the capitalists. They wish to climb up on the backs of the workers and the middle class.

 

Part Two

Last week saw the fall of the Bakhtiar government. In the country's two largest cities, Tehran and Isfahan, power passed on to the streets. The armed forces had to be withdrawn to barracks as they threatened to disintegrate under the impact of the revolution. The following article, written before the downfall of Bakhtiar, predicted its demise and analyses what course the developing Iranian Revolution could take.

The flight of the Shah marks the end of the first phase of the revolution. It's a reactionary dream on the part of the Shah that he can make a quick comeback despite Bakhtiar's manoeuvres.

The monarchy in Iran has been finally thrown out as a result of the excesses, the corruption, the cruelty, the torture, of the last quarter century. It will never again be rammed down the throats of the people of Iran while they possess even the minimum of rights.

The decisive feature of the Iranian revolution as in all revolutions was the role which the army has played. It is clear that the Shah has virtually abdicated power, because it would have been impossible to maintain control of the army for any further length of time. The army cracked in many parts. Here we see again the complete falsity of the position of reformism which declares that revolution is impossible under modern conditions because of the role that is played by the army.

The modern army is more susceptible to the movements on the part of the people, on the part of the working class than any army in history. It is no longer a question of the PBI, the poor bloody infantry, footsloggers, without any real training, without any real understanding. On the contrary, the army has to be highly specialised and highly mechanical. They do tasks like other workers and think as workers.

In this way, it makes the army very prone to respond to the workers' movements. The army is composed of the sons, brothers and relatives of the workers, peasants and middle class. We see in every revolution in history, particularly in the Russian Revolution of 1917, and in the German Revolution of 1918 how the masses of the armed forces came over to the side of the people, when they saw the possibility of a complete break with the old regime.

In Iran there were incidents such as when a soldier shot two of his officers when the command to open fire on the demonstrators was issued, and then committed suicide.

On the other hand, there was the movement of the masses, but no clear call to the army to come over to the side of the people. As a consequence, the soldiers still felt themselves under the heavy hand of military discipline and the threat of court martial for mutiny.

There were many incidents when soldiers joined the demonstrators or allowed demonstrators to climb on the tops of tanks. Other incidents show the opposite features. Officers shot five army cadets for trying to leave the barracks to join the demonstrators.

In many cases in the main towns of Iran there were similar instances of refusal to fire on the part of the troops, of fraternisation on the part of the troops and of action on the part of the army, against their officers. Many of the junior officers also, have sympathy with the movement of the masses.

The reason why the army did not come over to the side of the working class, to the side of the people as in Russia in 1917 and in Germany 1918, is that there was no organisation capable of giving a lead.

Had a socialist alternative been offered to the workers and the soldiers, undoubtedly the whole situation in Iran would have been changed. Millions of leaflets could have been issued to the soldiers. Even with an organisation of a few hundred or a thousand members, millions of leaflets could have been issued to the workers and the soldiers. They could have explained the issues that are facing Iran at the present time, and under these circumstances, it is almost inevitable that the army would have come over to the side of the people.

The revolution, like the Spanish Revolution of 1931-37 will have many ups and downs. The masses may be beaten back after a period of struggle. Reaction might be enabled to establish itself.

But it will not be possible in the immediate future for the army to establish a military dictatorship, as the imperialist West would have liked. Any attempt at military dictatorship would be answered with an even more furious movement on the part of the masses and would result in a split in the army.

The ripeness of the situation in Iran for the socialist revolution is indicated by the fact that the liberals, Iran's so-called National Front, actually have had to adopt a "socialist" or semi-socialist programme. It would be as if the Cadets (the liberals in Russia before 1911) were united in a single party with the Social Revolutionaries (the party of radical agrarian reform), and claimed to be a socialist party.

But like the liberals in Russia, the leaders of the National Front, such as Sanjabi, coming from the upper layers of the middle class (or even from within the capitalist class), manifest an enormous fear of the masses. Bakhtiar, who has nominally been expelled from the National Front, has nevertheless formed a government with the aid and assistance of the Shah, and the army.

Sanjabi, as well as Bakhtiar would like to retain the monarchy. They see the monarchy tamed to a limited extent, so that a constitutional monarchy could act as a bulwark against the revolution, against the working class. They have preserved the classical role of the liberals in revolution. Their main endeavours are to try and dampen down the revolution and get a change of regime without altering the basic structures of present-day society.

We see what Trotsky referred to as the law of combined development manifesting itself in Iran. All the elements for the socialist revolution are there. The liberals can never satisfy the aims and needs of the working people or even of the peasants. In the last analysis they are representatives of the capitalist class and of finance capital.

In an interview, Sanjabi, the leader of the National Front, declared:

"We in the National Front want to maintain the army, we want a strong army and we don't want to do anything to discourage the army…We have never called for desertions or tried to create indiscipline. But inevitably it is happening and if it continues it could be dangerous."

Imperialism and of course the Shah himself have been against the attempt to set up a military dictatorship because under present conditions it would be completely incapable of maintaining itself in the face of the resistance of the masses.

The Bakhtiar government by its very nature can only be a stop-gap and transitional regime. Even the imperialists see that the Bakhtiar regime will not be able to maintain itself for very long, and therefore are making overtures to the Ayatollah Khomeini.

Khomeini has declared that he does not wish to establish a reactionary military dictatorship or to establish a semi-feudal dictatorship. It is this element in their programme where the Mullahs have claimed to stand for freedom and democracy, which has been a powerful source of attraction to the mass of the middle class, and of course to sections of the workers as well.

But the utopian programme of Khomeini can in no way solve the problems that face the Iranian people at the present time.

Khomeini has made it clear that he will accept nothing less than the abolition of the monarchy. The Regency Council which has been set up by the Bakhtiar government will not be able to maintain control, or to keep the seat warm for the Shah. Even the abdication of the Shah would no longer be sufficient. Now it is a question of the abolition of the monarchy.

In the situation which exists in Iran, an organisation of even a thousand Marxists, a thousand revolutionaries could make a decisive difference. It is possible that such an organisation could come from the forces which will be gathering around the National Front.

The National Front itself, once it starts getting a mass basis, will inevitably split. The so-called Communist Party (the Tudeh) is dragging behind the Ayatollahs, especially the Ayatollah Khomeini. They have no perspective, no programme, no policy, other than to support the bourgeois revolution at this particular stage.

Without an alternative organisation it is possible, even probable that there will be a swift growth of the Tudeh Party. Such a growth under modern conditions would result in a split within the Communist Party. It will develop contradictions between the members and the leaders. Splits will develop as the worker members come in conflict with the middle class leadership. They wish to support the theocratic messianism of the Ayatollah without criticism or a different policy or perspective.

But the nakedness of the liberals and the mullahs will speedily be reflected during the course of the revolution itself.

Revolution by its very nature is not one act. The Iranian revolution will extend over a number of years. The masses will learn in the school of hard experience. The army will become radicalised, as the soldiers get used to the fact that it was the movement of the masses which forced the abdication of the Shah. The army will be affected by the mood of the masses, and it will not be possible for the old generals of the Shah to restore discipline, in spite of all the efforts of Khomeini, or the liberals.

It is probable that Khomeini will come to power. All the pleas of Bakhtiar that the state cannot allow the Church to play a direct and commanding role in politics will be in vain.

But once having come to power the futility of the reactionary and medieval ideas of abolishing interest while not altering the economic oasis of society will be shown to result in chaos. Maintaining intact commercial and industrial capital while abolishing interest or usury is entirely utopian. Even in medieval times, when the doctrine of both the Christian and Muslim church was against usury, nevertheless it continued to exist in many forms. It would have disastrous consequences while capitalism remained, on the economy of Iran, and inevitably would have to be abandoned.

Support for Khomeini will melt away after he forms a government. The failure of his programme of a Muslim theocratic republic to solve the problems of the Iranian people will become apparent.

The masses of the people have their aspirations not only for democratic rights but for higher standards of living. The trade unions in Iran will have an explosive growth. Already they are mushrooming as workers feel the elementary need for organisation. They will attain a mighty scope in the period that lies ahead. Just as in Portugal, where 82% of the working class is now organised in trade unions, so similar results will be achieved in Iran in the coming months and years. Possibly the majority and even the bulk of the working class in Iran will become organised.

Capitalist democracy under modern conditions with the crisis of capitalism on a world scale cannot establish itself for any length of time in Iran. The workers have already learned and will learn even more in the course of the developing struggle. If the masses are defeated and a capitalist Bonapartist military dictatorship is established it would not be stable, as we have seen with the Latin American capitalist military-police dictatorships, and the dictatorship in Pakistan.

Even in the worst resort, reaction would prepare the way for revenge on the part of the masses, at a not too distant date. It would be 1905 in Russia over again.

But such a denouement is not at all necessary. If the forces of Marxism succeed in gaining support in Iran, then it could result in a brilliant victory on the lines of the revolution in Russia of 1917.

A healthy development of the revolution would be an absolute disaster for the Moscow bureaucracy. There is a large Asiatic population that is nominally Muslim, or sections of which are Muslim, in the Asiatic part of Russia in the Caucasus. In addition to that, if a healthy workers state was established in Iran on the borders of the Soviet Union, it would have an instant effect on the workers in all the main centres of the Soviet Union - Moscow, Leningrad, Karkov, Odessa, Novosibirsk, etc.

But that could only come with the development of a Marxist tendency which had assimilated the lessons of the last 50 years, particularly the lessons of the rise of Stalinism in Russia. The Moscow bureaucracy did not desire and did not want the developments that have taken place in Iran.

But if there was a possibility of the development of proletarian Bonapartism in Iran, a totalitarian deformed one-party state as in China or Russia they would accept such a gift gratefully despite complications with the USA.

This is also one of the factors in the situation as Iran is only a semi-industrial country, and still remains a semi-colonial country. Given the lack of a mass revolutionary tradition of a Marxist character in Iran, such a development among the lower officers and among a section of the elite, leaning on the support of the workers and peasants is possible.

Moscow did not desire the Iranian revolution, but would not refuse to accept the fruit of a revolution which would strengthen their power enormously in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. They would have to explain to their imperialist rivals of the EEC, Japan and United States that this would be a lesser evil than the development of a proletarian democracy in Iran.

Any Marxist Socialist Party would begin with the demand for the freedom to organise, freedom of speech, freedom of elections, freedom of press and all the democratic rights which have been won by the workers of the West over generations of struggle.

They would demand the 8-hour day, 5-day week, and a sliding scale of wages linked to prices. These would be linked with the demand for a revolutionary constituent assembly, at the same time putting a programme of revolutionary demands for the expropriation of the corrupt gang which has controlled Iran for so long.

The expropriation of the wealth of the Shah, the expropriation of the absentee landlords who invested the money that they were given by the state after generations of neglect and exploitation of the agricultural population; the nationalisation of industry without compensation, or compensation on the basis of need only, and a workers' government; for workers' control of industry and workers' management of industry and the state.

In order to gain these things, it would be necessary to form committees of action in the working class, suggesting that these be extended also to the armed forces and small shopkeepers, small business people, linking them up in a way in which the Soviets were linked in Germany and Russia in the revolutions of 1917 and 1918. Unfortunately there is no organisation in Iran at the present time putting forward the policies of Marxism.

The Labour Movement in Britain should have as one of its foremost democratic demands: no interference with the politics of Iran, let the Iranian people decide. The advanced workers on the other hand, should assist in the development of a Marxist Socialist Party in Iran, which could lead to success.

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The Iranian Revolution

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