(Translated Excerpts from the Editorial of Nameh Mardom, issue no. 1179, published Monday 10 April 2023)
The urgency of an all- out struggle against the political and economic policies of the theocratic regime
As the recent widespread popular uprisings under the slogan of “Woman, Life, Freedom” begin to subside, our country has entered another phase of the struggle for [progressive] transformation. Currently, the people and workers of the country are still in continuous daily confrontation with the regime on various fronts. [Meanwhile] the heads of the Islamic Republic, as well as those of the government propaganda [machinery] and state-authorised media, are reorganising and taking measures in an attempt to counter the damaging fallout from the recent protest uprising and recover some of the [ground] and social standing lost by the ruling dictatorship.
In confronting the internal crises [in Iran], the regime resorts, on the one hand, to the reactionary vision of the likes of Khamenei (the Supreme Religious Leader)- such as “removal of hijab constituting a Sharia sin” – while, on the other hand, trying to mitigate the [catastrophic fallout] and threats posed by the dire economic conditions facing the majority of the Iranian people at the same time as safeguarding the interests of the large financial/mercantile capital on which the survival of the regime depends. [This approach] is part of the regime’s plans to curb the popular uprisings. Furthermore, a shift [represented] in the government’s “new foreign policy”, which was supposed to bring about the lifting of sanctions, has taken place in recent weeks under Khamenei’s direction.
On Tuesday 4 April, in a “meeting with the regime’s senior officials”, Khamenei clearly stated that he and the Islamic Republic regime as a whole do not recognise [the notion of] women’s personal freedoms and social rights. Following this assertion by the “Supreme Leader” of reaction, the “legal” basis for discrimination against women [in Iran] in a Taliban-like fashion became operational under the guise of the “chastity and hijab directive”.
It was clear in Khamenei’s speech last week that the most important and worrying issue for the heads of the regime and its “leader” is the growing threat posed by the deep economic crisis and [its impact upon] the livelihoods of the majority of the people. Until today, all kinds of schemes, directives, and empty slogans about “economic progress” under the Islamic Republic regime have all abjectly failed because this regime is simply not interested in the conditions and livelihoods of the working people and providing them with a decent life.
Khamenei himself and members of his “central command” are of course acutely aware that the widespread economic crisis, the serious deterioration of people’s living conditions, the self-inflicted runaway inflation, the spread of poverty, and the huge class divisions, along with ingrained corruption, have merged to create a terrible social injustice [in Iran today] under the Islamic Republic regime. Today, public opinion openly ridicules and scorns the religious slogans and charlatanism of the reactionary [theocratic] rulers. Thus, the regime needs to find a way to ensure its survival. Last week, Khamenei rightly labelled the reason for the regime’s dangerous situation to be its “chaotic economy”, emphasising the importance and urgency of dealing with this threat. “Economy is the number one issue for the country and the most important problem is the issue of people’s livelihoods,” he stated.
The day before, on Monday 3 April, Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s president, presented a speech at a four-hour meeting grandly billed under the title; “Ramadan gathering with a group of top manufacturers and entrepreneurs”. During that meeting, not only was no mention made of any national or popular economic development plans, but the clear emphasis in Raisi’s speech indicated that, on the contrary, an increasing number of fundamental assets/resources of the national and state economy are in fact in the process of being handed over to close associates of the regime for further exploitation. Raisi’s stated vision in the presence of the so-called “entrepreneurs” is directly derived from the pure neoliberal views espoused during the Thatcherite-Reaganite period. Raisi stated; “The economy should be at the disposal of the private sector, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs – and the government should only act as guidance, support, supervision, and in a regulatory capacity… Thus, from now on, [my] government will not make any decision regarding the economic activity without consulting the private sector, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs.”
These words, in reality, mean privatisation and the auctioning-off of the nation’s assets as well as signalling a shift in the regime’s policies towards devastating economics programmes, known as the “Washington Consensus” [and a move towards economic “shock therapy”], which will have a decisive knock-on effect on all of the regime’s other domestic and foreign policies.
Against this backdrop, the agenda of the leaders of the theocratic regime will be to incorporate a degree of flexibility in its foreign policy [designed to ease its international isolation] at the same time as implementing harsh and devastating neoliberal economic programmes that trample upon trade union rights so as to suppress any protests by the country’s working class, teachers, but which safeguard the interests of the upper echelon of capitalists – especially those connected with the regime – and destroying the fundamental rights of women and dissenters, all while attempting to regain and further bolster its lost social standing.
The Tudeh Party of Iran believes that despite the relative quietening of the mass street protests, the popular anti-dictatorship movement seeking justice has by no means been brought to an end. In the current situation, it is still vital to neutralise the regime’s efforts and fight against their new round of political and economic programmes… Step-by-step forcing the theocratic regime to retreat further along a path that ends with its complete elimination as well as the comprehensive and definitive dismantlement of the Islamic Republic’s apparatuses.
The left political parties and organisations, as well as other [progressive] nationalist and progressive forces should strive to raise the level of the anti-dictatorship struggle inside the country. This must be done by consolidating the demands for human and democratic rights with opening a way towards social justice for the working class and other toilers, in conjunction with the defence of peace and the inalienable right to national sovereignty. Our struggle continues!
For the statements of the Tudeh Party of Iran and its analysis of major developments in Iran Please visit: www.tudehpartyiran.org