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Issue #1852      December 12, 2018

Rally in support of Iranian workers!

Workers in Iran are currently engaged in a fight for their livelihoods, and for their basic human rights as workers. In doing this, the workers are forced to confront employers and a state apparatus that treats them and their organisations cruelly.

Families of steelworkers demonstrating in the city of Ahvaz in protest to the economic situation and solidarity with workers

In the last few weeks:

Workers such as those at the Haft Tappeh sugar mill are taking strike action over unpaid wages, in support of a return of the mill to public ownership and workers’ control. Their aim is to replace the corrupt management who have sacked, beaten, arrested and tortured workers at the hands of security forces.

Likewise, steelworkers at the massive INSIG steelworks in Ahvaz have been protesting for unpaid wages, against unsafe work conditions and lack of materials for production. Protestors have been attacked by riot police, arrested, imprisoned and beaten.

Workers at the once prestigious HEPCO engineering plant are also striking over wage arrears, mismanagement and a decline in safety standards since privatisation. They have been arrested and flogged.

Teachers on a peaceful national strike for higher wages, educational reforms and the release of teachers already imprisoned for previous industrial action, have been met with arrests, summons and threats by security forces in several cities across Iran.

Two hundred and sixty-two truck drivers, following national strikes in May, July and September, have been arrested by Iranian authorities and charged with “waging war against God” and “threatening national security” – charges that can carry the death penalty. Truck drivers have now commenced their fourth national strike of the year, demanding release of the prisoners – as well as continuing to press for unpaid wages, pay increases and better work conditions.

Since late 2017, when mass protests broke out against austerity and widespread joblessness, especially amongst youth, class contradictions have only deepened and Iran’s working class has grown increasingly militant.

This year, workers’ organisations have commemorated the 30th anniversary of “the national catastrophe” – a massacre of thousands of political prisoners carried out by the same theocratic regime that beheaded the popular revolution that overthrew the US puppet regime of Shah Pahlevi in 1979.

The regime at that time slaughtered workers, unionists, socialists and communists, as well as members of other democratic and progressive organisations, to enforce its hold on power.

Now that the criminal US state is targeting Iran for economic destruction and regime change, as part an insane strategy to enforce its global domination, this same Iranian state is responding to domestic economic crisis and US destabilisation by further suppressing the Iranian working class.

The only way the Iranian people, at whose core is the Iranian working class, will be able to withstand imperialist aggression and the threat of subjugation and recolonisation, is to have a government and state they can trust and support.

For the Islamic regime, that would involve massive concessions to the working class in terms of its fundamental rights, such as the right to strike and to organise and increasingly, to exercise the possibility of workers’ control over production.

It would mean reversing the trend of placing society’s wealth into private hands with one that reorganises the economy under public ownership and control.

This is not going to happen under this regime.

The economic crisis has not come about solely through the actions of the United States and its lackeys, though their actions certainly exacerbate a process that was already underway in Iran. The neo-liberal policies of the Islamic regime over the last two decades, have let a crony capitalism flourish and the people’s assets be ransacked, allowed unemployment to flourish and millions to be pushed below the poverty line.

The Iranian workers and popular forces are coming to realise this regime, this theocratic, bourgeois state cannot be reformed. The Iranian people must overthrow it if they are to have a chance for a better future; if they are going to have a chance to withstand the attacks of imperialism.

If crippling sanctions and threat of war from without is matched by repression of popular demands for economic, political and social justice from within Iran, then the most reactionary elements, “both inside the theocratic regime and out” will get to determine Iran’s future.

Only the elevation of the struggle of the popular movement into one for a transition from dictatorship to a system based on the economic, political and social demands of the people can prevent this outcome.

Only the progressive, democratic forces can guarantee Iran’s future!

Iranian workers’ solidarity organisations in Sydney rallied in Parramatta Town Square on Saturday November 30 to express their support for workers in Iran and their upsurge of class action. Both Australian and Iranian activists spoke on the present situation in Iran. Hundreds of flyers were handed out to passers-by to inform them of the current state of affairs.

Participants passed a resolution of solidarity with Iranian workers and a steering committee was established to promote awareness and build relations between Australian and Iranian unions and workers’ organisations.

For a strong united front in Iran of national and democratic forces to defend peace, democracy and social justice!

For removal of sanctions and threats of war against Iran by the United States and its allies, including Australia!

Next article – CPSU/CSA Delegates wage claim in WA

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