· Greetings to the workers of the National Steel Company in the city of Ahvaz, in their heroic and steadfast struggle, and all the workers and working people of the nation!
· The Supreme Leader of the theocratic regime should be reminded that the definition of anti-revolutionary is clear. It is the force that diverted the revolution from the path of its core slogans for freedom, sovereignty and social justice, and which has imposed the rule of a medieval and despotic theocratic regime on the nation.
In his speech of 2nd February addressing the “organisers of the ceremony honouring martyrs of the workers’ community”(a pro-regime outfit connected to the regime’s ‘Popular Mobilisation’ militia forces), Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the ruling regime in Iran, reacting to the escalating labour protests against the oppression by the theocratic regime and the grand capitalists of the country, stated: “In the battle field, whether during the 8-year defence [Iran-Iraq war], or against the political groups before that during the revolution years, and after that in various armed or unarmed conflicts, we witnessed the significant presence of the workers. I have mentioned this several times in front of our dear workers that from the beginning the anti-revolution forces targeted the workers, in an attempt to somehow provoke them against the Islamic Republic… one of the main acts of our enemies is to create slow down or slump in our labour complexes [factories], particularly in the large factories… forcing the workers to do so.”
In response, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic regime should be reminded that the definition of anti-revolutionary is clear. It is the force that diverted the revolution from the path of its core slogans for freedom, independence and sovereignty and social justice, and which has imposed a medieval and despotic theocratic regime on the nation.
The anti-revolution is those forces that promised the rule of the “underprivileged” against the “privileged”, but today whose heads and leaders have amassed billions of dollars ransacked from the national resources of the nation, who are living lavish lifestyles in palaces guarded by thousands-strong security forces and who have made the life for millions of the working people of the country miserable. The anti-revolutionaries are those whose macro-economic programs in support of grand capitalists have turned the productive and economic state of the nation into such a disaster as it is today. Anti-revolutionaries are those who, contrary to their promises, deprived the workers of their basic rights – such as the establishing of independent trade unions – and who have tortured hundreds of trade union rights activists and imprisoned them in their dungeons.
Mr. Khamenei, the outcome of your own 30-year rule and that of the despotic regime, whose leadership you are in charge of, is that today millions of Iranians live in absolute poverty and deprivation and are frustrated by the ongoing oppression and tyranny of your cronies.
Khamenei’s fear of the growth of the peoples’ protests, particularly the protests by the working class of Iran, and his accompanying warnings, are not inadvertent. His remarks and the choice of the exact time for their publicising are an indication of the fear of the Supreme Leader of the growth of the protest movement of the workers and working people, the increasing role of the masses in these developments, the changes in the political landscape and the complicated shifting political formations – particularly in the period since the early-January 2018 uprisings. Khamenei’s objective with these remarks is to place emphasis on a series of planned programs of the ruling regime in order to curb the labour protests; force the protest movement onto a defensive footing; prevent the labour and trade union movement from moving beyond this to a more active and assertive position; and, ultimately, to eliminate the factor of the presence of the masses – and in particular the working class and toilers – from the equations that make up the political arena of the country.
As the plenum of the central committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran in early February pointed out, the developments ensuing the right-seeking struggles of our people in recent decades have notably changed the face of the country.
The Tudeh Party of Iran has always maintained and emphasised that the class base of the theocratic regime and its leading figures and operatives in the oppressive forces and in the judiciary, executive and legislative branches, has been that of grand capitalism.
The ever-growing monopoly of power and political-economic affluence in the hands of a handful of mercantile capitalists (mercantile bourgeoisie) and the bureaucratic capitalism (bureaucratic bourgeoisie) nurtured in the deeply corrupt ruling system and, under its protective umbrella, the destruction and winding-up of a significant portion of the productive industries, driving a large swathe of the middle strata of society towards the boundaries of deprivation and poverty, paints a different picture of our society.
In addition, the suffering of millions of working people – to the extent that it is defined even by sources within the Islamic Republic regime as falling below the poverty-line – the rapid collapse of the social base of the regime and the ever-growing discontent of the masses and their willingness to challenge the theocratic regime, draw the main lines of this picture.
The fear of Khamenei and the heads of the despotic regime is from the ever-growing protests of the workers and working people in the current year. The broad and continuing participation of the teachers and education workers in the protest; the unprecedented strike of the Hepco and Azar-Aab workers and their march in the streets of the industrial city of Arak; the protest of the workers and employees of the of the Persian Gulf International Transport Company; the unprecedented fervent general strike of the Haft Tappeh sugarcane workers; the strike of more than 3,500 workers of National Steel Company in Ahvaz city and their heroic march in recent days, are just a few examples in the last few months.
The recent workers’ industrial actions are in protest against: privatisation of the factories and driving them to shut down (for asset stripping); unpaid wages; temporary, short-term and blank-signed contracts; the violation of workers’ rights; and, the lack of attention of the powerful and rich to the increasing poverty and deprivation of the workers. Khamenei and the leaders of the regime are well aware that if the labour struggle matures and becomes organised and unified, it could pose a serious risk for them and the regime.
While expressing its categorical support of the demands of the workers of National Steel Company in Ahvaz city and all the workers and working people of Iran, the Tudeh Party of Iran believes that the regime could be forced to retreat through a joint and organised struggle based on concrete slogans. The Tudeh Party of Iran fights alongside the workers and working people of Iran for:
· Payment of unpaid wages of the workers that have been delayed for months;
· Setting the minimum wage based on the costs of the basket of essential goods and services for a working family and the real rate of inflation;
· Job security and an end to temporary and white contracts;
· Recognition of the rights of the workers to establish their independent trade unions;
· Ending the prosecution of labour activists and ensuring the unconditional and immediate release of all detainees arrested during the December uprising as well as all detained labour activists;
· Securing the retirement pay and social security pay for the workers.
Hand in hand, for achieving the violated rights of the workers and working people of Iran and to push back the theocratic regime of oppression and ignorance.
Tudeh Party of Iran
February 26, 2018