Iran

Today we start the publication of a document on the perspectives for the Iranian revolution. Note: This document was written in September last year. Important developments have taken place since then and the document should be read keeping that in mind. See articles published February 11, February 16 and February 18.

As we reported earlier, the situation in Iran is extremely tense. Most factions of the regime were confident that the mass movement of 2009 was now dead. But almost like lightning from a clear blue sky the demonstration last Monday shook the entire establishment, that was taken completely by surprise. Now it seems that the movement has provoked more serious cracks in the regime than we had anticipated.

Since the mass demonstration organised by the opposition on Monday, a tense mood has gripped the streets of Tehran. The youth has been mobilised and great pressure has been mounting for the opposition to take further action. This has led to the call from an umbrella organization of the Reformist parties to stage a demonstration on Sunday, February 20, in memory of the two protestors who were killed on the demonstration last Monday. This could tip the scales and fully revive the revolutionary mass movement of 2009.

After almost a year of lull, the revolutionary movement that started after the presidential elections of 2009 seems to be resurfacing. This was displayed on Monday, February 14, when hundreds of thousands all over Iran poured out onto the streets responding to a call made by Reformist leaders MirhosseinMousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

History is indeed being written with the fall of Mubarak and as the whole of the Middle East and North Africa erupts in one revolutionary upheaval after another. This is also now having an impact in Iran as the lines are once again being drawn for a new round of battles since the eruptions that started one and a half years ago. The focus is now on the call for a demonstration on Monday, February 14.

This month, we have seen the courageous people of the Arab world rising up and fighting for a democratic system of government. Also in Iran we continue to see rising struggles, especially in the form of strikes. They come at a time of severe cuts to subsidies to food and fuel, and are sure to continue as the pinch is felt more severely.

On August 21 the Bushehr nuclear power plant was officially launched. This marked a new stage in Iran's disputed nuclear programme. In the days preceding this event, former US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, was quoted around the world as saying: "Israel has days to strike Bushehr" and further "diplomatically" hinted, “If Israel was right to destroy the Osiraq reactor [Iraqi nuclear reactor bombed by Israel in 1981], is it right to allow this one to continue? You can’t have it both ways.”

On countless occasions since June 2009, we have seen the potential power of the Iranian people, with numerous protests that have brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets of Tehran and other cities across the country. The pinnacle of the movement so far was the two-day long protest during Ashura in late December 2009, when millions directly challenged the power of the state, occupying police stations and taking control of central areas of the capital. At this point it looked like the Iranian regime was on the verge of collapse.

On the anniversary of last year’s rigged elections in Iran, there were demonstrations on the streets of Iranian cities, in particular in Tehran. But while the youth in particular organised for the day, the so-called “leaders” like Mousavi did what they could to weaken the movement by declaring at the last minute that he was calling off the rallies. This highlights one very important factor: lack of leadership and organisation. That is what is now being discussed in many underground circles and among exiles.

Last year a powerful movement erupted in Iran that shook the hated Islamic fundamentalist regime to its very foundations. All the conditions were present for a successful revolutionary overthrow of the regime. What was lacking, however, was the active participation of the working class as an organised force and, most importantly, a conscious, revolutionary leadership of the movement.

The Ashura uprising marked the beginning of a new phase in the movement of the Iranian masses that started last June. At the time we wrote that a point of no return had been crossed and that it was becoming increasingly apparent for vast active layers of the masses that the movement had to first of all topple the Islamic Republic with its state apparatus and military machinery. Ironically, the so called green movement have been seemingly in a lull ever since.

As we reported earlier several Kurdish based leftist organisations called for a general strike in Iranian Kurdistan on May 13 to protest the sudden execution of 5 Kurdish labour activists. The executions, as a part of a general wave of oppression by the Tehran regime, was clearly intended to use the temporary lull in the mass movement to intimidate the Iranian masses and get the upper hand in the revolutionary struggles that have been developing the since last June. But as seen many times before in times of revolution, the whip of the counter-revolution can serve to arouse the masses more than pushing them back.

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.

With some delay we received this report on activities in Iran on May Day. Our readers will see that there was a sizeable level of activity on the day, but most importantly that the key issue of the role of the working class is being discussed widely among activists and workers and youth in general.

The first day of spring marks the beginning of the Iranian New Year, which is celebrated with bonfires, fireworks and dancing in the streets. This year, however, there was something new in the celebrations. The masses used the celebrations to express openly their hatred of the Islamic regime, in spite of attempt by the police to stop this.

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