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
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.