Workers and working people,
The Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran extends its sincere greetings to you on the occasion of May Day, the International Workers’ Day. Celebrating this day is a clear indication of the resolve to continue the struggle that the working class of our countries have pressed ahead with for more than a century.
The workers of the world – living in countries under differing political and security conditions and confronting various restrictions on their freedom – celebrate this day and treat it as an opportunity to revisit their struggles and renew their pledges to continue the fight. This year, the working class of the world celebrate International Workers’ Day at a time when they are witnessing the unleashed aggression of the monopoly capital on their rights, and the increasing exploitation of their labour. The election of Donald Trump in the United States […]; the rise of neo-fascism in Europe […]; imperialist wars and destructions in the Middle East, supported by reactionary regimes like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel; poverty and destitution in Africa, whose natural resources are plundered by the monopoly capital; the dangerous adventures of US imperialism in the Far East – all in all have created a very difficult situation for the working people around world in their fight for their legitimate rights. Despite these difficulties, the struggle of the working people and working class of all countries for an end to wars, poverty and mass destitution, and against the destruction of the environment and nature, which threatens the continued existence of humanity, has not stopped.
In Iran, May Day has been celebrated in various ways – from organizing rallies to varied marches and demonstrations – for 96 years. This is despite the fact that the reactionary regimes, whether monarchical or theocratic, have tried to ban or limit the celebrations under various pretexts and excuses.[…]
With the foundation of the Tudeh Party of Iran on 2nd October 1941, the struggle of the working class developed to a new and higher qualitative level. With the setting up of the “Central Council of Workers’ Trade Union in Iran” in March 1942 and the establishment of the first “peasants and agricultural workers unions” in June 1943, the party became renowned as the undisputable leading force of the workers and peasants in the country and the policies and programmes of struggle of the Party were welcomed and adopted by the working people. The organising of many strikes and demonstrations in the 1940s by the Party and its supporters had a substantial impact on the working class struggle and changed the political atmosphere in Iran markedly. The role of the struggle of the working people and working class of Iran during the most significant developments in the contemporary history of our nation – from the oil nationalisation movement in the early 1950s to the great February 1979 revolution, as well as the fight against the anti-workers policies and strategies of the current theocratic regime over the past 38 years – indicates the vital role of the struggle of the working people of Iran to improve life in the country. We believe that without the powerful and effective presence of organised labour in the ongoing struggle against the ruling tyrannical regime, any materialisation from the demands of the popular movement for people gaining control of their lives and determining their destiny is farfetched.
The fact remains that 4 years since the Hassan Rouhani administration took office and with the presidential election due to take place shortly, this government has not only failed to take any positive and fundamental steps to realise the rights of the working people, but the lives of the working people have worsened in various ways. Despite the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) agreement with the P5+1 (regarding Iran’s nuclear programs) which led to the lifting of some sanctions on Iran, there are no indications of an improvements in the economic situation domestically or of any attention being given by the government and authorities to alleviate the chronically poor conditions in the lives of Iranian workers and people in general. The decision of the “Supreme Council of Labour” to impose low minimum wages in 2016 and 2017; the elimination of subsidies; and the attempts of the Rouhani administration to revise the Labour Law, by removing any article that support workers rights even marginally, in favour of domestic and foreign capital; are all indications of the nature of this government and the ruling regime of bureaucratic and grand merchant capital whose class interests are in antagonistic contradiction to the interests of the ordinary working people. Labour activists in Iran have shown their stark opposition to the calculated attempts by the regime to revise the existing Labour Law and have demanded the full implementation of the ILO conventions 87 and 98 regarding the right of workers and wage earners to join trade union organisations of their own as well as their right to take strike action, and associate and organise without state interference.
The government, in coordination with employers’ circles and ‘workers’ house’ groups, are attempting to force their labour law reforms through parliament without any consultation with workers and labour organisations.
Subduing the labour protests in recent months and preventing the establishment of independent trade unions has been part and parcel of the track record of the current government of Hassan Rouhani, who came to power in the engineered election of 2013. There are currently scores of labour activists and trade union leaders imprisoned in Iran, many serving heavy sentences.
These days we are witnessing once again the regime’s campaign to urge “the participation of everyone”, even those who oppose the regime, in the upcoming presidential election. Once again, an election is being held in which all the so-called ‘qualified’ candidates have largely similar positions and track records in their devotion to the reactionary theocratic regime and its anti-freedom, anti-labour and anti-people tendencies. Therefore, this election and its outcome will not improve the lives of the working people, and its sole purpose is to guarantee a continuation of the undisputed rule of the clerics, the Islamic Guard Corps, and other dark-minded forces over the years to come. The era of choosing between “bad and worse”; falsification of the political identity and true intentions of the regime candidates; and people being concerned about the theocratic regime’s sanctity, is coming to an end. The people and particularly the workers and working people will give testament to this with their protest movements.
The experience of the 1979 revolution showed that the workers and working people of Iran have the ability to remove any barrier in their way through joint and organised struggle. The national strike of workers and public employees – and in particular the shutting off of oil valves by the workers in the oil industry – eventually broke down an armed-to-the-teeth monarchical regime. Without any doubt, the collapse of the authoritarian regime of the “Supreme Religious Leader” will be fulfilled as the workers and working people of our homeland take to the struggle and plan their united and decisive struggle for change. We should be ready for this crucial fight. The deep economic, social and political crisis that has engulfed our society could be the instigator of a process that, if organized, could open the road to democracy, freedoms, and social justice in our nation.
Throughout its history, the Tudeh Party of Iran has always been on the side of the working class of Iran – the real creators of wealth, life and history – and has lost many of its members and supporters, including many revolutionary workers, in the struggle of the working class for their rights and demands over the past 76 years.
On the occasion of May Day, let us demand decent work and pay for all working people and wage earners; elimination of discrimination against women; trade union rights and freedom to organise in independent trade unions; a world free from exploitation; putting an end to the persecution of trade union activists; immediate and unconditional freedom of all political prisoners; as well as international peace, progress and solidarity.
Iranian workers and working people!
Let us hand-in-hand create the broad anti-dictatorship front against the united ranks of the reaction and open the road for realisation of democracy, freedoms and social justice. The history of nearly a century of heroic struggle by the working class of our country heralds the victory of the people against the reactionary and authoritarian forces.
- – Long Live the International Workers’ Day, the day of combatant solidarity with the workers of all lands!
- – Greetings to the militant workers of Iran!
- – Hail to the enduring memory of all those who gave their lives in the workers’ movement and all those who sacrificed their lives in the struggle for the liberation and independence of the homeland!
- – Victory to the people’s struggle against the theocratic regime and for freedom, peace, independence and social justice!
The Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran
27 April 2017