May Day demonstration report by an activist of Workers' Action Committee (Iran)

"We send our greetings to vanguard worker comrades who, with their radical intervention during the Labour House ceremony, were able to have a significant effect on the rank and file and the mass of workers." Workers' Action Committee

We send our greetings to vanguard worker comrades who, with their radical intervention during the Labour House ceremony, were able to have a significant effect on the rank and file and the mass of workers. Workers Action Committee

Today, May Day 2005, the workers of Tehran and other cities, through their effective presence, were able to demonstrate their growing radicalism by posing their own demands and slogans at the ceremony organised by the Labour House.

On this day, International Labour Day, the workers demonstrated on the route that had been decided and announced from before, and with their radical slogans, totally overshadowed the slogans proposed by the Labour House and the regime’s officials.

The Labour House and the hirelings of the regime attempted to have this ceremony as show in favour of Hashemi Rafsanjani in the June presidential election. They did not achieve their task.

During the march the workers shouted slogans like “Down with Hashemi”, “Workers, unity, unity”, “The parliament’s laws are for the capitalists”, “Down with capitalism”, “Our message to the government is to boycott the election”, “To go on strike, to go on strike, is our undeniable right”, “Temporary contracts must be cancelled”, and “Get rid of the capitalist government.”

On the route a group of workers wanted to spread out to the streets and motorways, but because of the influence of Labour House elements among them, and the absence of a specific programme, the prerequisite for which is a capable and conscious leadership, this demand was not achieved.

Despite this when they arrived at Azadi stadium, the venue for the ceremony, the slogans against the election and parliament were at their height. This reached such an extent that those responsible for organising the ceremony became afraid and tried to calm down the workers.

With great effort the workers eventually entered the 12,000 seat hall of Azadi stadium.

Here the workers’ protest became so widespread that about half of the programme that had been planned was cancelled and only the Labour House resolution was read out by Sadeghi (the General Secretary of Labour House).

The workers did not in any way let the officials and speakers dictate slogans to them and even to speak.

This situation reached its height with the cancellation of Hashemi Rafsanjani’s planned speech. The officials were also booed.

In the end the workers also protested by leaving the hall of the ceremony, which at this time had completely come out of the political and even trade form and was more like a battlefield.

In the opinion of the writer of this report the issues that were very visible at this ceremony, and among the workers, were:

  1. The strong growth of radicalism.
  2. The lack of consciousness, and even before, that a capable leadership.
  3. A greater tendency towards unity among the workers.
  4. The workers’ loss of hope in the Labour House and the slogans of the officials of the Islamic Republic.
  5. The great and daily growing fear of the agents of the system of capital of the working class, the effects of which can easily be seen in the far-flung venue of the ceremony and also the presence of armed security forces in against the most defenceless class in society and the active presence of the regime’s infiltrating elements among the masses.
  6. The unity of the two radical layers in the gathering, i.e., workers and students, was very clear against reaction at Tehran University yesterday, and also today’s ceremony.

Following this account the suggestion of the writer of these lines is that the working class has a pressing need for being organised and united. This position has today become one of the most central demands of the workers.

Many organisation exist (especially abroad) that claim to be the leadership of this class but all of them are either not present [in Iran ] or their parties have been deeply penetrated by opportunism and sectarianism.

Doubtless at present the most important duty of a revolutionary and vanguard workers is to attempt to create the foundations of the future working class party.

With the hope of seeing that day

Mehrdad Bakhtiari
Activist of Workers’ Action Committee ( Iran )
1 May 2005

Other slogans of the radical vanguard workers during the May Day rally:
A human life is our right.
The freedom to organise is our right.
The High Labour Council, the capitalists’ advocate.
Independent organisation is our right.
The workers are human; they are fed up of contempt [shown by the authorities]
Temporary contracts must be cancelled.
Independent organisation is our intention, is our intention.
Unity, unity, against the capitalists.
The sacking of every worker strengthens the capitalist.
The right to strike is our obvious right.
Unity, organisation; organisation, unity.
The workers’ solution: organisation.
Workers, workers; unity, unity.
'Barricade-mates', our solution is unity. Workers, our solution is unity.
The capitalist, the enemy, the enemy.
The sacking of every worker, is a crime, is a crime.
Shame on the cause of every redundancy.
We don’t want factionalism, we want decent wages.
Unity, organisation are our main strength.
Our demands are organisation, wages, and a human life.
We demand decent wages, we don’t want handouts.
Our main weapon, independent councils.
Child labour, is a crime, is a crime.
Shame on you hireling of the capitalist, shame on you hireling of the capitalist.
Our next action, organisation, organisation. Our next action, factory occupation.
Capitalist government, shame, shame. Capitalist government, crime, crime.
The policy of capital, ruin of the worker.
Official hiring, is our demand, is our demand.
Factory shutdowns are our main problem. Factory occupation is our next action.
Workers’ strike, the beginning of a better day.
Our death warrant, a carte blanche contract.
Temporary contracts mean misfortune and hardship.
The sacking of every worker is the death of a family. What does the tyrant capitalist have to offer other than misfortune?