- New circumstances have arisen from the civil disturbance towards the repressive rule and inhumane policies in existence. Both national and international attention on the fundamental and class movement has increased. Perhaps the people’s war with the government on the streets is not in the manner of the films and reports we witnessed in the days immediately following the elections, but it is the ash that with the slightest breeze will be a flame lit anew.
The aim of the plan approved by the Islamic Council is the eradication of “government subsidies” in the sale of energy such as oil and gas and petrol and electricity…and in addition some basic food stuffs. It has been predicted that in implementing this plan a figure in the region of 20 billion dollars (a quarter of the country’s annual budget) will impose directly n the cost of living of the masses. The removal of subsidies is not a phenomenon particular to the Islamic republic but a common Bourgeois exercise for the so-called “efficient” economic function of the government. A directive that Ahmadinejad intends to implement so that the economic burden and budget deficit falls on the shoulders of the hardworking masses. But the other issue is that this plan corresponds with other bourgeois streams without consideration to political matters.
From multiple national-Islamic streams to pro-West nationalism to conservatives, from Dariush Homayoun to Khatami and Rafsanjani and Bani Sadr…all are in favour of this plan and this can be concluded from their queuing in front of the working class. Meanwhile the Islamic Republic is busy killing humans in the economic and welfare wheel in a far more lethal and inhumane way and it’s not without reason that the entire so-called streams are sitting silently.
But Washington will put another plan - for “wider economic sanctions” -into action. US Congress with this decision that was apparently made in the face of Iran’s nuclear programme, will put the people of Iran under the most severe economic and social pressure so that in the end through the people’s remonstration it can be victorious at high level economic and political discussions. The direct outcome of approval of both these plans is unbearable pressure for the people of Iran. Economic sanctioning is a weapon of mass destruction, a weapon that is used by both poles against the people. The outcome of economic sanctions in the not too distant past and in Iraq show that close to 5,000 children and elderly lose their lives each month because of the effects of such sanctions. This figure should be multiplied for a 10-year period to see the effects of these weapons of mass destruction more clearly. Just as economic sanctions did not succeed in weakening Saddam Hussein’s government , they will not succeed against the inhumane policies of the Islamic Republic, but instead open the hands of the mafia gangs and government factions to loot the people all the more. Years of treatment against workers and various industrial sectors by the Islamic Republic – particularly in recent months – are testament to the country’s economic mafia. A mafia that was even drawn into pre-election television debates, and whose cases became the subject of discussion in front of people’s eyes.
As a result of the current situation, every day a large section of the news is devoted to the workers and this alone is a small corner of the common pain that every day resounds and punches and rebels from the dilapitated low ceilings of the lower classes of society. Iran’s workers know well that they must stand against inhumane policies and with their own strength change the status quo to the benefit of the majority. They have organized and created independent unions on this same principle many times before and their actions have been suppressed with prison sentences and flogging. The Islamic Republic knows well that the assembly of workers in the class struggle is very dangerous and the cause of collapse of the foundations of order. For this reason the regime reacts to any sign of worker action with inhuman sentences, against the most diligent members in the community, making itself the most damned of all time in its downhill slope. Before this the Islamic Republic had issued flogging and prison sentences to workers in Sanandaj. Their crime was the participation in International Worker’s Day on 1 May. The Islamic Republic by suppressing syndicate leaders like Mansour Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi for the strike action of bus drivers, has shown that it will stop at nothing in its attack of workers and their rightful demands. But in recent days there is different news in the papers. Yes, more prison sentences for worker leaders and this time the syndicate leaders of Haft Tappeh Neishekar, who in recent years have represented well the workers’ struggle against the government. The Islamic Republic has issued prison sentences for these workers. Their crime is establishing syindicates and organizing strikes in an effort to collect their overdue wages. This is a clear and shameless attack on the workers that must be answered by people nationwide.
A few days ago the workers of Ahvaz Pipeworks and Wagon Pars took to the streets in protest against anti-worker laws and non-payment of overdue wages. Setting fire to tyres and taking control of the roads surrounding the town and factory, they sounded the siren of the workers revolt. Though insignificant and reactionary slogans may be heard these days, the breath of the workers’ fight for their rights with national organization gives hope for the future of the workers’ movement. Workers’ protests are of the most popular forms of protest in society as we have witnessed in recent days when the people of Ahvaz in their hundreds joined the workers’ protest, shouting slogans against the policies of the government. Before this, in the run up to elections the workers announced that they would not participate in the elections and that they believed that they would not take place in democratic conditions to the benefit of the majority. When Moussavi visited the south of Iran, workers carrying countless placards announced that all the election candidates were of the same ilk and that none had a distinguishable programme for the welfare and improvement of workers’ conditions. Therefore not only would they refrain from taking part in the elections but they also take exception to the status quo. As such the workers’ presence on the streets cannot be on account of the reformists and representatives of Moussavi and Khatami and seized in the name of the green movement. The desires of this movement were clearly stated on 1 May, International Worker’s Day. I will end this piece with a statement from the Free Workers Union of Iran, which expresses and represents the workers’ voices directly:
Iranian Workers’ May Day Resolution
The present financial crisis and its destructive consequences for the working class around the world is yet to spread its ominous shadow on the everyday life of the Iranian workers; But the injustices they suffer is nothing but the outcome of the rule of the Iranian capitalist class.
Injustices such as:
Wages that keep workers under the poverty line, Widespread layoffs, Withholding of workers’ wages for months, Imposition of temporary and blank contracts on workers by companies, Imprisonment and flogging of workers in order to inhibit disobedience and resistance, The absence of fair and legal contracts.
These are not problems that have emerged in Iran with the new wave of economic crisis. Such injustices have existed in Iran for many years and the crisis is deepening every year. We shall not keep quiet in the face of such abhorrent and inhumane practices, and will not allow them to infringe upon our rights any more than they already have. We are the principal producers of wealth in the society, and we deem it our lawful right to live according to the highest standards of living.
1 May is an international day of solidarity among the working class and a day of workers around the world’s struggle against the oppressive rule of capitalism and an expression of their desire for a world free of oppression and exploitation.
This year the working class is celebrating May Day as the world capitalist system is mired in an increasingly destructive economic crisis and is struggling to free itself from this quagmire by any means possible.
The present economic crisis has demonstrated the inability of the capitalist system to deal with its problems, having found no alternative but to transfer the brunt of the crisis onto the shoulders of the working class around the world. This bears witness to the fact that in the post Eastern Block era and the declaration of the end of history by the decadent capitalist world, there remains no other alternative for the working class and the civilized world but to free itself from the inhumane capitalist relations of production.
We deserve a decent lifestyle and we will make sure we alleviate these problems by forming unions, which are independent of government and company influence, and by our ongoing solidarity.
Therefore, our workers demand the following as a minimum programme to take effect immediately:
1-Job security for all workers and the abolition of temporary, blank and newly-formulated contracts.
2-We consider the minimum wage set by the high council of labour as the imposition of gradual death on millions of working class families, and we insist on the immediate increase of the minimum wage on the basis of workers’ legitimate demands, conveyed by workers’ real representatives and their independent unions.
3-The Formation of independent workers’ unions, the right to strike, protest, free gatherings and free speech are our legitimate rights, and these demands must be granted unconditionally as the inalienable rights of all workers.
4-Workers’ unpaid wages must be settled immediately and from now on, this exercise must be deemed a criminal act, prosecutable in the courts of law and the consequences enforced.
5-Firing of workers by using various excuses must stop and all those sacked, or newly entering the job market, should benefit from employment insurance suitable for a decent living standard.
6-We demand equal rights for men and women in all aspects of economic and social life and we demand the abolition of all existing discriminatory laws.
7-We demand a decent pension plan for all retirees and we condemn any discriminatory practices in the payment of these pensions.
8-We firmly support all the demands put forth by teachers, nurses and all other hard-working white collar workers, and we consider ourselves their ally in their struggle. We also demand revocation of Farzad Kamangar’s death sentence.
9-As seasonal and construction workers are deprived of the necessary social insurance rights, we support their struggle to achieve their humanitarian rights and a decent living.
10-Capitalism is the driving force behind child labour. We demand that all children, irrespective of their gender, ethnicity and religion, be able to benefit from equal educational, health and hygiene opportunities.
11-We demand the release of all incarcerated workers from prison, including Mansour Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi, and the revocation of all judgments rendered against them, and an end to the arrests and harassments of workers.
12-We hereby pronounce our support for all freedom-loving and equity seeking movements, such as the student movement and women’s movement, and we strongly condemn the arrest and imprisonment of their activists.
13-We are part of the international working class movement, and as such, we condemn the random sacking and the double exploitation and harassment of Afghan and other migrant workers in Iran.
14-We are grateful for international working class support for our struggle in Iran, and we are their allies in solidarity with their struggles against the hardships imposed by the capitalist system.
15-1 May must be declared a civic holiday in the Iranian calendar and any ban on May Day celebrations must be revoked and prohibited.
Long live May Day!
Long live the international solidarity of the working class!
May 1, 2009
May First Committee
Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company Syndicate of Workers of the Haft Tappeh Sugar Plantations
Free Union of Workers in Iran
Founding Committee of the Syndicate of Builders and Decorators
Collaborative Council of Labour Organizations and Activists
Coordinating Committee to Form Workers’ Organizations
Committee to Pursue the Establishment of Free Workers’ Organizations
Centre for Workers’ Rights in Iran