Fundamental Demands of the Working Class of Iran – Coordinating Committee to Form Workers’ Organization

Workers must unite!

Workers must unite!

Calling on Worker-Activists for Unity to Organise the Working Class against the Capitalist System

Translated by Comite Hamahangi.

1. What has been happening in recent weeks on the streets of the cities in Iran is only the tip of the iceberg of huge protest, anger, and rebellion that have piled up from the 30 years of captivity of the tyranny and exploitation on human beings. The election and the events after that were merely a pretext for the emergence of a spring of repression and disenfranchisement. The inevitable haven for this movement under the flag of a reformist faction of capitalism does not change at all the fact that this is a flame of fire that has been lit because of a brutal dictatorship and the unrestraint of capital that has entered society into a new political stage.

2. In the context of the political crisis, the pressure on the livelihood of the workers will be much more intense than before. The current economic crisis, up to now, has shaken up the components of the reproduction of total social capital and will be more precarious in the future. The immense economic problems resulting from the recent events of this period will continue to spread the waves of crisis and will make its range of impact upon the conditions of the valorization of capitals broader and more unruly. The contradictions and the old deadlocks of capitalist state planning certainly become more critical for the continuity of the survival of the current socio-economic order. Owners of capital and the capitalist state in order to protect the immense profits inevitably attack the level of livelihood of the working masses and put more pressure on the shoulders of all working class people than before. This inevitable situation will expand the resistance and rebellion of the working class still broader – even in its unorganized, scattered and desperate situation.

3. At the level of society and within the space of life and the public view of people, the political power of capital even compared to a month ago will appear as a desperate and helpless regime that to advance its agenda has no way out but to resort to bloodshed and the reliance on the bayonet. Today workers are not the only ones who see in every moment of the existence of the capitalist state the enormous suffering of their lives. Even parts of the capitalist class and their political representatives also know that this government lacks legitimacy and considers reform of its arrangement as an inevitable condition to sustain the capitalist system. This is despite the continuing growth and accelerating increase of repression and acts of wrath; however, along with all the other factors that we said it has given the opportunity to the masses to outline their demands with more courage than before. The authority and power of the capitalist state has been split and this gap will more or less make it easier for the workers to struggle against capitalism.

4. Upon their definite failure at the current stage, the reformists will continue planning and implement new tricks in order to ride on the wave of discontent and protests of the people, and will direct the flood of anger and the protest of discontented people to the deviated path of reformism and use this powerful flux of power in the interest of strengthening their own power. It is obvious that the state will begin a new period of repression of these struggles. Reformers during the recent few days announced that they will open new fields to continue the peaceful conflict and, according to themselves, legal protest against the government, and the state with its military and security forces and police have reiterated that any protest and resistance will be suppressed with greater intensity. The inevitable battle will widen the gap between the two factions more than before, and it benefits the working class because it significantly weakens the capitalist state.

5. On the global level, the capitalist state will be increasingly under more pressure and targeted with more extortion by its rivals; as well in its exchange with other capitalist states a more unstable situation will arise. Even its close partners and friends such as China and Russia will extort them immensely. The situation of economic exchange within the global capital market will be more difficult. The flow of the cost of investment and reproduction of capital accumulation will increase significantly. The range of unbridled profits and of the rate of profit will inevitably narrow. All of these events in turn put more serious pressure on the process of the reproduction of social capital. The capitalist state will directly shift all of this pressure onto the lives of the working masses, and this situation again will provide the material basis for a spreading wave of protests and the rebellion of the working class. The occurrence of these events, at the same will force different parts of the capitalist system, its internal factions, marginalized political power, and the statesmen of the wage-slavery system into an intensified fight.

6. The above factors along with many other social and political factors show that the current storm of protest and discontent will not stop. The storm will continue to exist although on its particular path will be faced with the repression of the capitalist state. However, this storm with all its power of spontaneous destruction, unfortunately, shows no sign of being a conscious class movement of workers against capital and remains under the leadership of the reformist faction of capitalism. A big chance for the reformists is that the current protest movement is at a very low level and is helpless without any anti-capitalist workers framework. As the revolution of 1979 demonstrated, as long as this movement is under the leadership of a faction of the capitalist class, it will not lead to any result but to strengthen and stabilize the capitalist system in another form. The condition for a working class victory over the capitalist system or at least pushing it back and weakening it is the independent, self-conscious and organized presence of the workers in the current movement.

7. The working class struggles against the entire capitalist system with all its factions, wings and state power in the same way. However, the necessity of the concentration of attack in order to impose the maximum workers’ demands on the capitalist system and at the same time to safeguard the independence of the working class in the class struggle require the working movement in the current situation, on the one hand, to put the main strength of its organized and self conscious struggle against political power in its totality and, on the other hand, ruthlessly unmask the reformist capitalist faction.. As a matter of fact, the unmasking of the reformist faction as part of the capitalist class, a part that misleads workers by creating the illusion of reform within capitalism and of the establishment of democratic capitalism is an indisputable necessity of the success and progress for the worker movement in the current situation.

8. The coming together of the mass of the population of the working class to struggle against capitalism and the need for promoting its material and mental ability to struggle for the abolition of the wage-slavery system requires that this class initiate its organized and conscious struggle from its fundamental demands. We have announced these in the document, “The Charter of the Fundamental Demands of the Working Class of Iran”. However, the possibility of modifying, and correcting these demands is ongoing, as long as its anti-capitalist essence and foundation remain.

9. The realization of the workers’ fundamental demands and the imposition of them on ruling capitalist state is tied to the power of the organized working class, and such power in this current situation has no meaning other than being organized within anti-capitalist worker councils. However, the aim of worker councils and joining them nationwide in the form of “the nationwide working class councils of Iran” is not merely the realization of the fundamental demands of that class. The main condition for the success of approaches such as the takeover of factories, general strike, or any kind of struggle of the working class for the abolition of the capitalist social relationship, including seizing political power, is the existence of anti-capitalist councils of that class.

10. The tactic of the independent, active and organized participation of the workers in the current movement is in line and in connection with the continuation and elevation of the workers’ struggle in the areas which were the workers main realms of struggle prior to the current movement. These realms generally are the struggle against unemployment due to factory closures, and the struggle against various forms of the intensification of exploitation in the workplace. Our proposed tactics are taking over closed down factories or those that are on the brink of shutting down in the first realm, and strike in the second realm. We still emphasize the correctness of these tactics and, especially, stress making them widespread in the current situation.

Based on the above points, we call upon all anti-capitalist activists of the working class movement to unite around the following items for organizing the working class against capitalism:

A. Agreement on the fundamental demands of the working class of Iran, which are attached.

B. Organized effort to form anti-capitalist councils of the working class within workplaces and neighborhoods.

C. Unified planning for launching strikes in all centres of work and centres of production.

D. Organized preparation for the takeover of closed factories and those on the verge of closing down.

E. Organized participation within the current movement with the aim of forming an independent line of workers for the realization of the fundamental demands of the working class.

F. Utilizing and composing the above tactics and other mechanisms for exerting organized worker power against capital.

Workers Let’s Get Organized against Capital!

Coordinating Committee to Form Workers’ Organization

Attachment:

The fundamental demands of the  Iranian working class are:

1) The minimum monthly wage for any worker must be based on the wealth they have produced for the societyand the allocation of more shares of that wealth to improve the living standards and the welfare of workers.

2) All people under 18 years of age must receive a monthly allowance from the wealth that the workers produce for the society.

3) Women’s domestic labour must be ended; until then, all housewives must receive wages equal to those of the rest of the workers.

4) Unemployment insurance, Social Security Pension, and disability must be universal.

5) All unemployed who are ready to work must be entitled to unemployment insurance. Unemployment insurance must not be less than the minimum wage of employed workers.

6) All temporary contract work must be abolished.

7) Labourers, the unemployed, domestic labourers, and children under 18 years of age must be paid by the 25th of every month.

All employees in all work centres and production centres in all shifts must be entitled to free food and transportation.

9) Adequate housing with full utilities, including electricity, water, furnishings, and means of communication are the inalienable right of every worker. This will require:

(a) The use of government buildings for workers’ housing.

(b) The government to allocate an adequate percentage of its annual budget to build new housing units for workers.

10) Health care and medicine at all levels must be free.

11) Education at all levels must be free.

12) All public transportation in society must be free.

13) Day care must be free for all.

14) All care facilities for the elderly, disabled, and handicapped must be free.

15) All child labour and employment under the age of 18 must be abolished.

16) Any sexual discrimination against women must be abolished. The fulfillment of this demand must include:

a) Women and men having equal rights in all aspects of the law including labour law, family law, and criminal law.

b) Any government intervention in the choice of lifestyle including clothing and the relationships between men and women or boys and girls must be prohibited.

c) Forming a family or ending a relationship must be by mutual and free agreement with equal rights for all concerned.

d) Prohibition of any kind of marriage before the age of 18.

e) Creating employment opportunities and facilities for women such as free day cares, kindergarten, dining room, laundry room, and must be pervasive and widespread within workplaces and residences in order to provide the basis for domestic labour to become socialized.

17) All members of society must be entitled unconditionally to political freedom such as freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of press, freedom of strike, freedom of assembly and sit-in, and demonstrating and rallying.

18) Workers must be free to form any kind of workers’ organization, including a nationwide anti-capitalist organization.

News from Iran has moved!

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Khodro Workers Support Wagon Pars Workers

Solidarity

Solidarity

Statement from Iran Khodro Workers

Workers of Wagon Pars Factory!

The right to life is your inalienable right.

The non-payment of several months of your wages is an obvious theft.

The looters of workers’ wages must be sacked and put on trial.

In order to achieve your rights, strike and protest are the only means to liberation.

We salute your battle, and send our solidarity for the demands of your rights, and we stand beside you to achieve your demands.

We call upon all workers and all worker organizations and human rights organizations to not abandon the Wagon Pars workers.

Shoulder to shoulder with them forces the government to meet the demands.
Long live worker solidarity!
Long live the struggle of the Wagon Pars workers!

Collective of Iran Khodro Workers

August 26, 2009

Workers of the Wagon Pars Factory on Strike

Wagon Pars

Wagon Pars

Workers of the  (the Wagon Pars Company was founded in 1974 and started manufacturing different types of rolling stock in 1984; it is situated in an area of 33 hectares in the industrial township of Arak, approximately 260 kilometeres from Tehran-Iran), in the continuation of their struggle for several months of their confiscated wages were on strike for five days.  On August 25, 2009, they blockaded the main entrance gate of the company by sitting on the ground and prevented all managers from entering the factory.  In response to the worker action, the managers initially through threats and intimidation attempted to disperse them; including the dismissal of the remaining contract workers, judicial complaints against senior workers, and the involvement of anti-riot forces permitting them entry into the factory.  Workers that had not received their regular wages for months were not intimidated and were not giving up with these threats.  However, they were more angry and determined to continue the resistance and not accept the dispersal of their sit-in.

Wagon Pars factory used to be one of the giant state companies, and following the announcement of Policy Article 44 related to privatization, Iran Khodro (the largest automobile producer in the Middle East) purchased more than half of the factory shares.  As soon as the factory transferred ownership the company went through a severe financial crisis.  The managers of Iran Khodro, the new owners, withdrew more than 500 billion Toman (approximately $500,000,000 USD) from the state bank which was extracted from the exploitation of workers, in the name of a loan for the restructuring of the factory.  According to the workers the enormous loan was not spent on the Wagon Pars factory, rather it was spent on subsidiaries of the Iran Khodro company and no penny of that money was allocated to the large restructuring of the Wagon Pars industry.

On Tuesday August 25th, 2009, after the protesting workers resisted against the threats of the company managers, the owners began to implement different criminal tricks.  The direct manager of Wagon Pars factory after contact with the main shareholders, announced that 250,000 Toman (approximately $250 USD) will be paid to each worker on Wednesday August 26th.  His goal along with other capitalists was first of all, to overcome the current resistance of the workers in order to put an end to their strike, and second of all, to put off the workers’ back wages which is from approximate $1500 to $2800 USD for each worker, to delay for a few more months.  After the workers returned to the factory, the capitalists in their ongoing tricks and conspiracies against workers, announced with atrocity and brutality that all overtime and benefits would be cut and all contract workers would be sacked.  The capitalists with the same brutality and atrocities added that they do this to punish workers.  The Wagon Pars workers on August 25th, 2009, stopped the wheels of work and production completely.  The workers announced that if the managers do not cancel their decision fully, they would do a new form of protest and struggle against the owners of the company.

Simultaneously with these events occurring in the Wagon Pars factory, a number of Arak municipal employees stated that some of the economic mafia of which at the head are senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards of the central province, have decided with the pretext of further development of the city of Arak, to shut down three giant industrial factories and sell their lands for astronomical profits.

This rumour has become especially strong when people noticed that there is a new highway going right through the lands of the Iran Combine Manufacturing Company and the Machine factory; they had done this very quietly and now they are paving the highway with asphalt.

August 27, 2009

Source:  Coordinating Committee to Form Workers’ Organization

Protests at the start of Ramadan outside the Islamic Republic’s Evin Prison

Families of detained, tortured and murdered protesters have been gathering daily in front of Evin Prison as well as the Revolutionary Court of the Islamic Republic. The families demands include visitation rights to see their loves ones and the immediate release of all political prisoners. These protests have been attacked by militia and security forces during the recent troubles. The video below was filmed on the first day of Ramadan (August 22).

15 Arrests at demonstration after the closure of paper Etemad Melli (National Trust)

Mehdi Karoubis Etemad-e Melli paper closed down

Mehdi Karoubi's Etemad-e Melli paper closed down

The regime has “temporarily” shut down the newspaper of defeated reformist candidate Mehdi Karoubi. has Etemad-e Melli was closed down under the orders of the prosecutor’s office and no edition appeared on the streets today (August17). It has been alleged that the paper was about to release a statement calling for further defiance.

In response to this youths and supporters of Mehdi Karoubi fought running battles with security forces at 7 Tir Square and other places in Tehran near the headquarters of the newspaper. Whilst Karoubi has been thrown into a struggle against security forces and the judiciary he and the reformist faction offer nothing but more bloodshed for the people of Iran. For the movement to be successful the people of Iran must topple both the conservative and the reformist wings of the Islamic Republic.

At this time we are aware that at least 15 people have been arrested. Below is video footage of today’s demonstrations.

Iran inmates ‘tortured to death’

One of Iran’s defeated opposition presidential candidates has said some protesters held after July’s disputed poll were tortured to death in prison.

The claim by Mehdi Karroubi comes days after he said a number of prisoners, both male and female, had been raped.

Officials deny the rape claims, but admit that abuses have taken place.

The BBC’s Jon Leyne says the opposition is using the issue to keep up political pressure without directly questioning Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s poll victory.

On Thursday, Mr Karroubi alleged that a number of detainees had been tortured to death.

“Some young people are beaten to death just for chanting slogans in [post-election] protests,” his website said.

Mr Karroubi also called for the formation of an independent committee to review his evidence in “a calm atmosphere”.

On Sunday, the defeated presidential candidate claimed that some opposition protesters were raped in detention.

The claim was supported by a number of human rights groups but quickly dismissed as “totally baseless” by the speaker of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani.

“Based on parliament’s investigations, detainees have not been raped or sexually abused in Iran’s Kahrizak and Evin prisons,” said.

Mass protests

The condition under which detained protesters have been held has been controversial, with damaging claims forcing authorities to act.

File photo of Basij militia on motorbikes during a protest in Tehran, 9 July 2009

Will Iran’s Basij stay loyal?

The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, closed the notorious Kahrizak detention centre saying it had failed to “preserve the detainees’ rights”.

Police officials have admitted that some of those held since June might have been tortured.

Both the Iranian parliament and judiciary have established committees to investigate the post-election unrest and the government’s response.

The BBC’s Tehran correspondent Jon Leyne says the issue of prison abuse is both a real concern in itself and has also become a way of criticising the government of President Ahmadinejad without directly challenging the legitimacy of his re-election.

On Tuesday, Iran’s authorities said 4,000 people had been detained during the mass protests that broke out in the wake of the 12 June presidential poll, which the opposition says was rigged.

The number was much higher than previous figures, although the authorities said 3,700 of them had been released within a few days of arrest.

Opposition leaders say 69 protesters died in the post-election violence – more than double the official figure of about 30 fatalities.

Trials criticised

Iran is currently trying more than 100 detainees over their alleged involvement in the protests.

The trials – of leading opposition figures, activists, journalists, lawyers, workers at foreign embassies and two people with foreign nationalities – have been criticised by several foreign powers, opposition groups and human rights campaigners.

But authorities insist their legal proceedings are completely legitimate and conform to international standards of justice.

Official election results awarded incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a sweeping victory in the polls.

He is in the process of selecting a cabinet, which will be submitted to parliamentary approval next week.

Foreign media, including the BBC, have been restricted in their coverage of Iran in the wake of the election protests.