A few days ago the hated Islamic Republic of Iran executed five militant youth. Komalah, the Kurdistan Organization of the Communist Party of Iran, has called for a general strike throughout Iranian Kurdistan. It is a call that the IMT fully supports. The regime can only be brought down by the mass action of the workers and the actions in Kurdistan should be spread to the whole of Iran, involving the whole of the working class.
Every night they bring a star down from this sky and yet,
This sad sky is filled with stars.
Siavash Kasrayi (Iranian communist poet)
A few days ago, the Islamic Republic of Iran committed a heinous crime that shook us all: five militant youth, five political prisoners of Kurdistan and Iran were executed in Tehran. Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili, Shirin Alamholi and Mehdi Eslamian were executed based on fake charges fabricated by the Intelligence Ministry, in a most cowardly manner, without even letting their families know. They have become the latest martyrs in Iran. This news comes as a shock for many of us.
Farzad Kamangar, a famous Socialist teacher in Kurdistan, was especially respected and had attracted the solidarity of tens of thousands across the world. His letters and poems were translated into different languages and read all over Iran and the world. His brother said in interviews that his lawyer and family had been told he would be freed. This shameless act of the regime is not incidental. This is a calculated political move to attack the people and their revolutionary movement.
Show of power, out of desperation
The outbreak of the Iranian revolutionary movement in June 2009 was the beginning of the end for the Islamic regime. This regime has been in a total blind alley ever since.
On February 11, around the anniversary of the 1979 revolution, the regime succeeded in overcoming the main tactic of the revolutionary movement, .i.e. demonstrations on set days and occasions, and thus the hopes of the movement were dashed on a hopeful day. Without a programme and leadership, demoralisation was infecting vast layers of the unorganised masses. Sensing this, the regime mobilised all its forces, so as not to allow another successful mass mobilisation. After that we saw a short period of hopelessness on the part of the revolutionary masses.
The positive thing was that the movement realized it requires organization and leadership to go forward. On Chaharshanbe Soori, the Fire Festival on the last Wednesday of the Iranian year, we again witnessed a local show of power by the people, despite the fatwas of the Great Dictator, Khamenei himself. Thus people began the New Year with greater hope, sitting at their New Year Haft Sin tables with the desire to overthrow the regime.
The regime had aimed at giving a decisive blow to the mass movement on February 11. This did not materialize, but the temporary setback opened up a period of discussion and reassessment of the aims and methods among the vanguard of the movement. Among the issues that were, correctly, raised was that of organisation, leadership and the entry of the working class onto the scene.
In the days leading up to May Day, international worker’s day, we saw a lively discussion throughout the entire movement, all over the country, about the role of the workers and the working class in pushing forward the movement and in the celebrations of this day, tens of thousands all over Iran participated and people learnt more about the workers and their key role. Callings of people and different parts of movement on the workers are now a routine matter.
Now that we are getting close to June 12, the anniversary of the outbreak of the current revolutionary movement, the Islamic Republic is gripped with more fear and insecurity and these executions, to quote Nazila Fathi, a New York Times Iran Correspondent who writes from Toronto, are precisely the result of this “insecurity”.
By murdering some of the most popular heroes, and sons and daughters of the people, in addition to other measures, such as the execution of Afghan refugees and the arresting of several hundred youth in Tehran for “playing and having fun” (a crime under Islamic law!), the regime is trying to rule through intimidation and terror and also testing the ground to see what kind of opposition to expect if it tried to drown the whole movement in blood. They are also sending people home prior to the coming June days. This is an act of desperation and we will see how it will turn against them.
Forward to a general strike!
What the regime did not expect was that this would further increase the people’s hatred towards the rulers and most importantly it would set on fire their revolutionary rage and the demand for revenge.
The execution of Farzad and his four comrades had an impact not only in Kurdistan but all over Iran and it became the main topic of discussion within the movement. Farzad’s family immediately declared that it regards “the Supreme Leader himself” responsible for this crime. The people of Sanandaj, Farzad’s city in the heart of Kurdistan, and other cities immediately started protest gatherings (Iranians abroad also had spontaneous demonstrations all over the world and on at least one occasion in Paris they attacked the embassy of the Islamic Republic, bringing down its banner).
It got to a point where even Mousavi was forced to issue a declaration and described “the sudden execution of five citizens” as part of an “unjust procedure”. But more importantly, people all over Iran gave special attention to Kurdistan and its question. This, better than any book, practically shows the people of Iran and Kurdistan that they need a united struggle against their common enemy, the state of the Islamic Republic . If the Kurdish Question, .i.e. the historical national oppression of Kurds in Iran, has led some people of Kurdistan to look with mixed feelings on the revolutionary movement or the “green” movement, it is now a good time for them to see that the enemy of the people of Iran and Kurdistan is one and the same and that the only sustainable way of adressing the problems of the masses all over Iran, no matter what national identity, is united struggle and first of all with the aim to topple the Islamic Republic.
Komalah, the Kurdistan Organization of the Communist Party of Iran, by calling for a general strike on Thursday, May 13, all over Kurdistan has taken an important step by taking practical measures to bring the working class to the fore. This call, also supported by the Worker-communist Party of Iran, has the aim of moving “a vaster social force” to respond to the regime (after the initial wave of protests in Kurdistan) and it indicate the correct path that needs to be followed. The International Marxist Tendency adds its full support to this action.
But we must also emphasise that the mere calling of general strikes is not enough. Since last June many have called for a general strike, but we have yet to see one. What is needed is a programme and leadership that puts forward the most bold demands based on the most pressing concerns of the masses. Committees must be set up in all major industrial units and neighbourhoods to lead and the coordinate the struggle and develop demands. Democratic demands such as the right to self determination, a living wage, etc., preferably tested on the factory floors, must be put forward in the most clear fashion
All these slogans must also be connected with the perspective of bringing down the present regime - which would be the first condition for achieving any demand at the moment - and the setting up of a revolutionary constituent assembly. This issue must be raised, first of all, because it serves to unite the vast majority of the masses, who are all, in one way or another, greatly oppressed by this machine of violence. But it is also important because it is the best slogan to guarantee the participation of the workers. Every worker would think twice before challenging a military state without the perspective of crushing it, for he or she knows that the regime would take revenge in the most bloody fashion. Therefore there should also be a clear plan; for the continuation of the struggle towards an indefinite national general strike, linked to the democratic mass movement that we have already seen and with the aim of toppling the regime.
The declaration of Komalah clearly explains the details for strike as well:
“We call on all the people of Kurdistan to a general strike on Thursday, May 13. We ask everybody to cease working on this day. The employees of public and private offices should not go to work; workers of factories and workshops should stop working. Students of primary, middle and high schools and universities of Kurdistan should not go to school; shops and Bazaars should all be closed. So we would have a general, all-out strike in all of Kurdistan and the only places that should be open are those that take care of people’s immediate and vital needs...
“This action can at the same time give energy and guidance in an all-Iran scale. This strike will have a historic role in driving the Kurdistan revolutionary movement forward. Let the Strike of Thursday, May 13, accomplish all these aims.”
A positive point of this call is that it comes from Komalah. Komalah has shown that it is capable of mobilizing in Kurdistan and organising general strikes. This is exactly what we need. This is precisely the best way to take revenge for Farzad and his other comrades and this is an action toward advancing of the movement and getting rid of the Islamic Republic.
The one-day general strike in Kurdistan should be the beginning of an all-Iran mobilization of the revolutionary movement with the clear aim of toppling the Islamic Republic and convening a revolutionary constituent assembly. As Komalah has noted, this day should not be limited to Kurdistan. Workers and toilers of Kurdistan can show their power on this day and show all the people in Iran that when the working class comes onto the scene, everything stops and the question of power is posed in society.
A successful general strike would not only strengthen the movement in Kurdistan and mobilise people more in these important days, but it would show the working class elsewhere in Iran that the revolution is impatiently waiting for them. The workers all over Iran should organize a general strike to bring the regime down. This is the most decisive and immediate way to achieve the victory of the movement.
The workers should put themselves at the head of the people and lead the movement. The future of the oppressed people of Iran who have had to go through 31 years of a nightmare, known as the Islamic Republic, is with the workers. This is the immediate task before the current workers’ leaders that just recently organized a successful May Day.
This would also be the best message to all the oppressed nationalities in Iran. All those who are suffering from national oppression would know that the voluntary and free union of all in the revolutionary movement against the Islamic Republic serves everybody’s best interests. Iranian toilers have no interest in continuing the oppression of other nationalities living within the country and with emancipation from the Islamic Republic, they would grant freedom and the right to self-determination to these nationalities so all of us together, and with the rest of the working people in the region, would be able to move towards a better world.
The Islamic Republic wanted to intimidate society by executing Farzad and his comrades. But the revolutionary movement will respond to these intimidations with a new surge, on a higher level and sooner or later it will take revenge for Farzad and the thousands of freedom martyrs.
Forward to Thursday’s general strike all over Kurdistan!
We will take revenge for Farzad and his comrades by advancing the revolutionary movement!