(Translated Excerpts from the Editorial of Nameh Mardom, issue no. 1191, published Monday 25 September 2023)
The struggle continues until victory; towards raising the level of the popular movement with a progressive agenda…
An objective and in-depth examination of recent developments in the country shows that – contrary to the hasty analyses and conclusions reached by certain sections of the opposition, [some] theorists, and the regime’s propaganda apparatus – not only has the people’s protest movement not failed; on the contrary, the popular movement in recent years, especially the widespread “Woman, Life, Freedom” uprising, reflects the awakening and shift of a significant portion of the population, particularly the youth, away from the current dictatorial rule based on “Political Islam” and the interference of religion in governance.
Although now, one year on from the beginning of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” uprising, owing to the wane in its presence on the streets, the outward appearance and projection of the anti-dictatorship protest movement may seem somewhat diminished [when compared with before]; the popular movement is by no means inactive and its overall impact has thrust the theocratic regime into a situation of instability and constant fear. The recent wave of arrests and unjust imprisonments of civil rights activists – especially the intense pressures on the advocates for the people’s movement as well as the families of those who lost their lives in the “Woman, Life, Freedom” uprising – underlines this reality.
The reality is that in the developments over the past decade, it has become manifestly clear to various classes and strata of society that the ruling regime rooted in “Political Islam” has blocked any path or possibility of change to navigate out of the current multifaceted crises. Regardless of who the “supreme leader” selects as the “president”, the regime will continue to rule with the same policies.
The regime’s leaders with Khamenei at its top, have realised that “Political Islam” and theocratic rule have been rejected by public opinion and thus the ordinary people of Iran have long been seen as a dangerous “enemy” to the theocratic dictatorship. It has been a long time now since the leaders of the theocratic regime reached an impasse in addressing the “threat” posed by the people as well as ways of reviving the credibility of the religious government. Apart from ineffective cosmetic changes in the daily lives of the people, the regime has nothing to offer but deception, repression, and superficial gestures in the international arena.
While, on the one hand, it is abundantly clear that the majority of the people of Iran have rejected both the notions of authoritarian monarchy and theocratic rules with full conviction; on the other hand, the experience of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protest movement has revealed the weaknesses of the wider popular movement as well as the necessity of elevating the level of struggle against the ruling dictatorship. The reality is that despite the widespread nature of the popular movement and its crossing of the regime’s red lines, it did not lead to a significant and effective change in the balance of political power to the detriment of the regime. Some forces and political activists also believed that organising protests abroad, engaging in social media activities (which are indeed valuable up to a certain point), and relying on foreign governments’ support or holding demonstrations in front of the European Parliament to push for sanctions on the IRGC, could fundamentally disrupt the internal power balance and thereby overthrow the theocratic dictatorship.
If the present political forces continue their current approach of being unprepared to cooperate in the period preceding an uprising or not having a common foundation and effective operational unity overall, it is evident that come the start of the next wave of widespread popular protests, the political power balance will once more largely remain in favour of the ruling dictatorship.
The Tudeh Party of Iran emphasises the fact that the struggle of the popular movement for freedom and justice against the religious dictatorship is unstoppable and that it will always present a challenge to the theocratic regime in various forms and ways. The current conditions in [Iranian] society, especially the complete rejection of “Political Islam” and the loss of credibility religious rule among the majority of ordinary people, have created a very favourable opportunity for the left and the national and progressive forces to seize upon them and, relying on the immense power of the popular movement, push the dictatorship into retreat – ultimately removing this repressive theocratic regime comprehensively and definitively from the country’s political scene.
The only way forward in the fight against the ruling dictatorship is to challenge it based on the immediate demands of the people for their rights and democratic social freedoms. For example, this can be achieved through direct opposition to the reactionary “chastity and hijab” bill and linking the protests of workers, employees, pensioners, farmers, and the deprived, with the civil and liberation protests of the youth, women, and environmental activists. The parties and organisations of the left, as well as other national and progressive forces in Iran, have a duty to support this struggle. They are the country’s only political forces that can and should, through cooperation with each other, unite the demands for freedoms and social-economic justice, along with the defending of peace and national sovereignty, into a common progressive programme aimed at removing “Political Islam” and the religious regime from the scene, thus elevating the level of the national movement and forming a credible and popular alternative against the theocratic dictatorship. This unity and cooperation could well lay the foundation for the formation of a future national democratic government.
For the statements of the Tudeh Party of Iran and its analysis of major developments in Iran Please visit: www.tudehpartyiran.org