A World to Win News Service for 5 January 2018 contains three articles. They may be reproduced or used in any way, in whole or in part, as long as credited.
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– Protests shake Iran – news report
– “We will fight the Islamic Republic of Iran, we will organize people for the revolution! Death to the Islamic Republic – Fight for a new socialist republic in Iran!” – Excerpt from statement by the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) on the Underclass Uprising in Iran
– Trump on the revolt in Iran: Imperialist hypocrisy and sinister “support”
Protests Shake Iran!
The Iranian regime has been shaken by a week of intense and often violent protests in as many as 80 cities and towns all across the country.
Unlike the last political upheaval in 2009, when many urban, middle class demonstrators sided with so-called reformist factions within the regime, this time the people taking to the streets, overwhelmingly young men, were mainly from poor and lower-middle class neighbourhoods, often on the outskirts of urban areas where many have arrived from the countryside over the last decade. The regime has considered such people a key part of its social base, or at least counted on them to keep silent. Yet what has most marked this movement is the way it has targeted the whole regime and the Islamic Republic itself, including all of its factions.
The wave of protests broke out on 28 December in Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city, with a population of two million, in the country’s north-east bordering Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. The home-town of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, it is considered a stronghold of his “hardline” faction.
As part of infighting within the ruling forces in Iran, “reformist” President Hassan Rouhani had attempted to undermine his rivals by releasing details of the country’s proposed new budget. It calls for cutting back on family subsidies, increasing fuel prices (and therefore the price of many other basic necessities) and privatizing public schools. The budget disclosure also exposed the enormous increase in money going to the military (not just for arms but to enrich the enterprises of its already very wealthy leaders), religious representatives of the regime and the Islamic foundations that are the source of their vast incomes. The “hardline” faction’s local strongman, the city’s Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda who ran against Rhouhani in the last elections, struck back at Rouhani by encouraging demonstrations against rising prices. The aim of the prayer leader, known for banning public music concerts, was to use the economic demands of the poor as a battering ram to beat back the lifestyle reforms advocated by Rouhani and his faction.
This was playing with fire, and the flames soon began to target the entire structure of the Islamic Republic that all the regime factions represent and seek to preserve.
The next day the protests spread to the opposite side of the country, the city of Kermanshah in the predominantly Kurdish west. Official inaction in the wake of a disastrous earthquake there last November had already devastated belief in the regime’s legitimacy. That city is a main hub for security forces and their equipment, yet their ambulances, helicopters and earth-moving machinery remained idle as military and civilian authorities failed to lift a finger to rescue trapped survivors or help the tens of thousands of injured. This provoked the chant, “The state is dead!” – indicting the regime for its scant regard for the lives of the minority Kurdish peoples (in much the same way as the Trump regime treated Puerto Rico following the recent hurricane there). People in the streets chanted, “Freedom for all political prisoners” and “Freedom or death!”
By the day after that, the dots marking protest sites formed a thick band across the country. Word was spread by Telegram, an encrypted social media used by tens of millions of Iranians. The hardliners warned that protesters were crossing a red line by opposing the Islamic regime instead of remaining focused on economic hardships. Rouhani called for the authorities to listen to such demands while he also joined in the condemnation of the opposition to the regime. As the rulers debated whether the Islamic Republic would best be defended by an iron fist or a smooth tongue, and while the regime’s Revolutionary Guards hesitated to intervene directly for fear they could no longer portray themselves as the people’s saviour against the politicians if they massacred the population.
The forms of protest ranged from cross-town marches to rallies in public spaces and street corner lightning actions where people assembled and then dispersed before the security forces’ arrival. In the so-called holy city of Qoms, known for its clerical schools, people attacked the Basij (Islamist militia), government buildings and police stations. Water cannons and tear gas were used against small crowds in central Tehran, and dozens of students at Tehran University called on passers-by to join them.
Everywhere people chanted, “You have turned Islam into a spring board to crush the people”, a snappy slogan in Farsi, and “Down with theocracy – the Islamic Republic must be destroyed.” In Zanjan, a crowd tore down and burned a Khamenei portrait billboard. In opposition to the ayatollahs’ slogan when they took power in 1979, “Independence, freedom, Islamic Republic,” the words “Independence, freedom, Iranian republic” rang out, along with “Death to the dictator, Death to Rouhani!” Slogans in favour of the restoration of the overthrown monarchy were also heard. There are no reports of slogans in favour of the reformist Green candidates, who led people into the streets in 2009 when the presidential election was stolen from them. Also missing from this latest wave of protests was the slogan, “Allahu Akhbar”, a further indication of important changes in the outlook of the protestors. One poster simply read: “To all factions of the regime: Game over.”
By the end of a week, the Revolutionary Guards had been deployed to the provinces of Hamadam, Isfahan and Lorestan. The government announced that 22 demonstrators had been killed, along with two members of the security forces, and hundreds were arrested. The authorities organised pro-regime demonstrations in Tehran and other cities, including Mashhad, with thousands attending. “The sedition is over,” the commander of the Revolutionary Guards announced.
The regime factions, which had united around Iran’s nuclear compromise with the West in hoping for an economic boom that would lift their regime, are once again at each other’s throats. The various factions are blaming each other and trying to use the events to gain advantage against their rivals. This split among the rulers has provided a crack through which some of the people’s anger against the regime has burst through, particularly among the lower classes that have played little role in the country’s public politics in recent years, even as the urban middle classes, the main support for the reformist opposition, seem to have decided not to join that radical upheaval for the moment.
These six days of rebellion, among people who had been counted on not to rebel, has given heart to people everywhere, and thrown fear into reactionary rulers beyond Iran’s borders. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed alarm about the implications for regional stability. Even the Saudi government, while rejoicing in the Iranian regime’s troubles, has refrained from saying anything that could encourage others to rise up against religious rule. The fault lines that have broken out into the open have not been resolved. This has brought the first good news the world’s people have had for far too long.
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We will fight the Islamic Republic of Iran, we will organize people for the revolution!
Death to the Islamic Republic – Fight for a new socialist republic in Iran!
Excerpts from the Analysis of the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist Maoist) of the Underclass Uprising in Iran (the full text will be available soon):
“Marxism consists of thousands of truths, but they all boil down to one sentence: it’s right to rebel against reactionaries!” (Mao Zedong)
A massive social storm has arisen to bury the Islamic regime of Iran. We must not allow the chains of oppression to rattle, but not break, as happened in 1979. The popular movement quickly moved from economic demands and discontent about inflation to slogans like “|death to Khamenei” [the “Supreme Ruler” of the IRI]…. The masses’ uprising is not being caused by fights between different factions of the establishment.The people’s protest and uprising are caused by the capitalist economic system, which is characterized by religious tyranny, injustice and extreme discrimination, poverty, unemployment and high unemployment, supression of any form of protest… The main origin of the people’s uprising lies in the economic relations of capitalism: on the one hand, the wealth produced by the labour of millions is concentrated in the hands of a small group of parasites, and on the other, the masses are deprived of achievements of their own work and lack the most basic human rights.
In political terms this upheaval targets the whole system and its chieftains. In terms of the extent and composition of the class, of the circles involved in the struggle, of the geographical spread and the political and practical radicalism, it is unparalleled in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran… This time, mainly workers and the working class and the poor masses and unemployed concentrated in small cities are the driving forces in the movement. All the political forces of the old order, from Trump and Netanyahu to the Mujahideen and the Royalists, are struggling to stamp their reactionary names on this movement and to put forward their alternatives, which qualitatively are no different from the current order… Trump, the fascist president of the United States and his vice president, Michael Pence, who in his dark religious thoughts is not much different from the Mullahs in Iran, want to replace the regime in Iran with a power like the one in Saudi Arabia to better serve US interests.
In a movement for the revolution the slogan “in the name of humanity, we must drive out the Trump/Pence regime” should be a main slogan. The Islamic regime of Iran must be overthrown. What is the social content of this overthrow, and what kind of republic should be built on its ashes to represent the immediate and long-term interests of the majority of the people, including the workers, the toilers of the city and countryside, women, progressive intellectuals, the middle classes, different nationalities, and Afghan immigrants?
This overthrow involves the separation of religion and state … breaking the Islamic Republic’s security and military repressive system … ensuring the freedom and equality of women in the juridical system and in society … unconditional equality of all people without discrimination and distinctions …
The overthrow of the Islamic Republic is the first step to cut off the hand of the worldwide capitalist system from the economic, social and political life of this country … Without overthrowing this regime, even the first step cannot be taken to restore the environment. Many of the slogans of this movement are rich and educational and have burned important facts into people’s minds, but key demands and slogans such as the abolition of compulsory veiling and freedom and equality for women, the elimination of national oppression against the non-Persian nations, have not been expressed in any of the protests and rallies… In addition, some slogans completely violate the demands of the people. For example, slogans supporting the return of the Royal family of the Shah to Iran, which is caused by a superficial and impulsive analysis of the Islamic Republic … In the face of the brutal repression that the police and the Basij(militia ) are using against the protesters, it is the people’s obvious right to defend their lives with violent resistance …
(In addition to the violent repression), the regime’s main policy, driven by reformist leadership, is mobilizing the middle strata by terrifying them with fear of the “Syria-ization of Iran” and social insecurity. Organizing a women’s revolutionary movement in the popular movement can have a decisive effect on the quality, continuity, and popularization of the movement… A new student movement supporting the demand to overthrow the regime must rise… It is necessary that large changes take place in the thoughts and values of those involved in these struggles so that this movement can find the strength and quality to continue resisting a strong enemy. An important part of the people involved in today’s war with the Islamic Republic regime must deeply understand the alternative content of the new socialist republic and want to fight for it. The formation of such a force, even small, will greatly affect the character of the movement.
Two key documents serving this struggle will be published soon by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Iran (MLM): “The manifesto and the revolutionary programme for the communist revolution” and “The character and function of the new state: The new socialist republic in Iran”. To reach the new society we need a roadmap and leadership. In Iran, our party has taken the responsibility for leadership. The backbone of our roadmap for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic is the science of communism – the new and evolved science of communism.
Communism was founded by Marx and Engels and evolved by Lenin and Mao Zedong in the course of the great socialist revolutions of the twentieth century. After the painful defeat of these revolutions, the necessity to develop this science was met by the greatest Marxist of our era, Bob Avakian, who is the leader of the party and the communist revolution in the US. What enabled us to develop the manifesto and the programme of the communist revolution in Iran, and the Constitution of a new socialist state of Iran, was understanding and applying this science of emancipation …. All the members and supporters of the party must keep in mind that every struggle we wage today should serve the purpose of establishing the new socialist state in Iran and the emancipation of all humanity around the world.
The Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist Maoist)
2 January 2018
You can find the full document in Persian here: (www.cpimlm.com )
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Trump on the revolt in Iran: Imperialist hypocrisy and sinister “support”
“Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever,” U.S. President Donald Trump bellowed on Twitter as he called for “change” in Iran”. Trump’s representative to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, went on to add: “And let there be no doubt whatsoever, the United States stands unapologetically with those in Iran who seek freedom for themselves, prosperity for their families and dignity for their nation.”
The fact is that this monster and his regime, who banned ordinary Iranians from entering the U.S., seek to justify economic sanctions that would punish ordinary Iranians to force them to accept a government more to the U.S.’s liking. The “change” Trump wants is like what the U.S. brought to Iran in 1953, when, along with Britain, the CIA organized a coup against the secular, nationalist government headed by Mohammad Mosaddegh, and replaced it with the direct rule of a monarch. Shah Reza Pahlavi’s regime was a main pillar for U.S. domination of the Middle East for decades. Moreover, its brutality and the subordination of Iran’s economy to the West created the conditions that allowed the Islamists to seize power in 1979. Trump may hope that Americans know nothing of this, but Iranians haven’t forgotten.
The truth is that although Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is a representative of the thoroughly reactionary regime targeted by thousands of Iranians in recent days, he won an election with a far higher percentage of votes than Trump, who, in fact, was opposed by the majority of voters. They are equally (il)-legitimate. What right does a Nazi-loving, woman-hating promoter of religious rule and intolerance like Trump have to criticize his mullah counterparts!? Underlying this outrageous imperialist hypocrisy is the ominous future Trump seeks for Iran: to make it an outright neocolony whose people can be even more thoroughly crushed and squeezed dry to help “Make America Great Again” as the world’s uncontested dominant imperialist power.
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