(Translated Excerpts from the Editorial of Nameh Mardom, issue no. 1183, published Monday 5 June 2023)
The consequences of the economic crisis, the Achilles’ heel of the theocratic dictatorship, and the role of the left and progressive nationalist forces in Iran
In the four decades since the anti-dictatorship 1979 Iranian Revolution, the main reason for the decline of the country’s economy has been the process of concentration of large unproductive capital and its dominance across many economic and political spheres. Especially following the end of the Iran-Iraq War [1980-1988], both legal and illegal [forms of] brokerage as well as speculative transactions, which have proved to be worthless, have played a key role in the emergence and functioning of the current capitalist system in Iran, both at macro and micro economic levels. The starting point of this process can be seen in the early 1980s. During this period and following the changes pursuant to the establishment of “Political Islam”, based on commercial and traditional capital, the revolutionary process to realise the people’s demands for economic and social justice was decisively and deliberately halted.
The continuation of this process over the next four decades has led to the widespread infiltration of big business and powerful financial and commercial oligarchies that, hand in hand with the rentier bureaucratic bourgeoisie linked to the base of the “supreme leader” – including the IRGC [mafia] empire and the various factions of the regime’s power bloc – dominate all areas of economic activity in the country.
Over the past three decades in particular, the core of the Islamic Republic’s economic strategy – under the direct orders of “supreme leader” Khamenei – has been primarily focused on strengthening and “protecting” the regime [i.e. to shore up and ensure the survival of the regime]. This was done by attempting to boost economic growth through “free market” policies in order to quickly reap huge profits from the accumulation of large private and semi-private unproductive capital. Thus, [on the basis of this logic,] the majority of [Iran’s] big capitalist have their capital wrapped-up in wholly unproductive sectors of finance-mercantile capitalism – in other words, in those very parasitic activities that are prone to corruption and bribery.
On the one hand, the theocratic dictatorship has always sought to cover up such financial corruption and these rentier activities with all kinds of religious deceptions. Thus, whenever such corruption is uncovered amidst factional rivalries and regime in-fighting, the “supreme leader” usually issues a directive to halt further exposure or investigation saying under the pretext of “not dragging it out”, so as to “protect” the regime. On the other hand, over the last three decades, the theocratic regime has positively adopted [embraced] the macroeconomic system tied to the neoliberal model of the “free market” in order to enable and facilitate large-scale and quick profiteering. Under the banner of creating a “free (unregulated) economy”, capitalists linked to the power pyramid [in Iran] have the freedom to exploit labour and natural resources as much as possible, to use the latest technologies and harshest management methods, and thereby accumulate more private and quasi-private capital. After three decades, the end result of this highly destructive combination, i.e. the mixture of “Political Islam” and “economic neoliberalism”, can be expressed in these terms:
1) The incorrigibility of the present extremely unjust “political economy” in Iran, which represents an irreconcilable contradiction with the demands of the country’s working class and other labourers, i.e. the majority of the people, and is against the national interests;
2) The possibility and growing scope afforded to imperialist powers to, in various ways, exploit the serious weaknesses manifest in [Iran’s] economic mal-development as well as the rampant corruption;
3) The strengthening of the upper strata of the bourgeoisie [whose capital interests are tied-in with the regime, in a mutually-dependent relationship]. These capitalists will not countenance development-oriented economic growth or indeed any fundamental and substantial socioeconomic changes for the benefit of the people and Iran’s national interests;
4) The complete inability of all [regime] governments/administrations, regardless of which faction or person is at the helm, to resolve the multi-faceted socio-economic and environmental crises for the benefit of the people, even supposing they were inclined to do so.
The fact remains that under the shadow of the “supreme leader”; the parasitic capitalist relations have become so strong and interwoven the fabric of the political system that their vital interests, i.e. the interests of unproductive finance-mercantile-rentier capital, are now a decisive factor in ultimately determining the regime’s domestic and foreign policies.
Iran today finds itself in a critical and delicate situation. A considerable section of the country’s population, especially the working class and other toilers, want fundamental changes. Even a brief look across the entire spectrum of political forces, as well as the recent experience of protest uprisings, shows that in the event of the formation of a functioning campaign by nationalist and democratic forces, the emergence of an “alternative” trusted by the people and composed of left and progressive nationalist forces to advance the popular movement is not far away.
The necessities of the current struggle in the present critical situation in Iran present an important task, especially for the Iranian left. This task should be approached with vigilance by utilising the experiences and scientific knowledge of the class struggle to realise social transformations. In view of our country’s current situation, especially the consequences of the hopeless economic crisis – which should be considered as the Achilles heel of the theocratic regime – the Tudeh Party of Iran believes that the following objectives should be considered in articulating a common platform to be shared by Iran’s left and national progressive forces:
* Complete elimination of the absolute rule of the “supreme leader”, complete separation of religion from state (including all executive, legislative, and judicial institutions) and from all matters of social planning;
* Complete halt to the neoliberal economic programmes within all key sectors of the economy;
* Defence of Iran’s national sovereignty and opposition to any foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs;
* Release of all detained trade union activists, political prisoners, and prisoners of conscience;
* Freedom for all political parties, organisations, and trade unions.
For the statements of the Tudeh Party of Iran and its analysis of major developments in Iran Please visit: www.tudehpartyiran.org