From Atash (Fire), journal of the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist (cpimlm.org)
August 2, 2021 | revcom.us
Editors’ Note: Since July 15, the sustained rebellion by the people of Khuzestan, Iran has continued and is still spreading to small towns and large cities all over Iran. The uprising was precipitated by a lack of water and electricity rooted in the discrimination and oppression of Khuzestan’s minority Arab population. As of July 28, the daily and often militant mass marches and protests have spread to more than 40 cities. It has also drawn the support of very broad sections of Iranian society. Raw video footage by the Human Rights Activists News Agency shows the first 13 days of the mass protests. There are published statements in support of protesters in Khuzestan from at least 230 Iranian lawyers, 1200+ independent artists and activists, 50+ journalists, and 100+ political prisoners, activists, and relatives of protesters previously killed by the Islamic regime. Political prisoner Atena Daemi reportedly made a statement that “…despite being in prison and banished, I am by your side.”
This mass uprising is intersecting with a major strike wave across Iran for weeks. These involve retirees to truck/bus drivers to sugarcane to oilfield workers, and other sections of its workforce. This has not stopped the fascist machinery of repression by the theocratic regime. Besides roundups of protesters and shooting them with live ammo, several reports indicate the regime’s armed forces have gone to homes of activists in Khuzestan and carried out house arrests. Some arrestees have been disappeared.
In light of the rapidly developing political situation in Iran, we received and want to share these excerpts from Atash #117 (Fire), journal of the Communist Party of Iran, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist (cpimlm.org), with their analysis of the problem and solution raised by the Khuzestan uprising, specifically on the underlying dynamics of the system and the policies of the reactionary theocratic regime of Iran that are driving this crisis. Below is a slightly edited translation of an excerpt from the lead article: The Flames of Khuzestan’s Anger and the Spreading Shouts of “Death to the Islamic Republic” (IRI: Islamic Republic of Iran).
[Contrary to what others are saying] … the problem can never be reduced to “wrong decision makers” and “disregard for environmentalists” or the lack of “efficient bureaucracy”, but a purposeful plan to direct water resources and other wealth and natural resources of the country and the allocation of funds for infrastructure, education, health, etc. to achieve the goal of the Islamic Republic, that has always been to cultivate a class of Islamist monopoly capitalists loyal to the reactionary and rotten project of creating “Islamic civilization”, as well as to cultivate a class of supporters and petty leeches for this regime.
The regional rivalry of the IRI with other reactionary regimes has also been another important factor in monopolizing water resources. The control of water resources has become a strategic battle in the Middle East in which the IRI and Turkey playing major roles. The control of water resources in any country where the issue of food insecurity is visible and on the horizon has been an effective lever to dominate economic trends. In this context, sanctions on Iran by “Oil Industry/Market” makes the control of water resources increasingly more important in the accumulation of monopoly capital affiliated with different [sections] of the IRI power structure.
The problem of water scarcity and environmental destruction in general, as well as the large economic displacements that lead to unemployment, poverty and displacement, cannot be reduced to “mafia and theft and embezzlement” of government officials and government monopolies. The problem is the economic-political system, the system of capitalism ruling in Iran and its dependence on the global capitalist-imperialist system. The IRI sits at the head of a system, tied up to the global capitalist system and its characteristics and function that force it towards serious and deadly fault lines and disruptions in society. These are the economic and social contradictions that cannot be solved within the framework of the IRI.
However, an army of analysts and theorists in the pocket of the regime are obligated to hide the outmoded roots of the IRI’s political-ideological and socio-economic system. Instead, we must not only expose their hypocritical imagery and big lies, but also take a deeper look at the functioning of the system and the entities ruling this regime. It is with this study, analysis and insight, that we must examine the productive and social relations of this system that defines, draws on, and is the true driving force to show the real nature, function and requirements of the capitalist system in Iran. This theocratic regime has frustrated and drained the life out of the majority of the people and is thus against their real interests. For this reason, when this regime confronts a popular uprising of the masses of people against their oppression and exploitation, it [ultimately] has no choice and no way to deal with it but to shoot down the people.
The capitalist system in Iran has a particular character compared to the capitalist system in countries such as the United States, Europe, Japan, China and Russia. On the one hand the capitalist system in Iran is naturally integrated and dependent on the world capitalist system, which is structured according to the interests of the imperialist capitalist countries and to the needs of their capital. But on the other hand, with the 1979 overthrow of the Shah’s regime and the establishment of the IRI, the hard core of capitalists affiliated with the Shah’s regime was expelled from the Iranian economy. A new class of capitalists enshrined in the Islamist religious/theocratic regime took over the reign of power of the capitalist class in Iran with a peculiar relation with the world capitalist system. The process of forming this new class of big capitalists has not been straightforward in the face of the turmoil resulting from rivalry within the imperialist powers (especially with the collapse of the Soviet imperialist bloc in the 1990s and the subsequent rise of China as an imperial capitalist state).
But the IRI and its capitalist system, despite all its particular features, are connected to the world system of capital accumulation that inevitably creates new necessities and forces it to resort to more regional wars for its survival. It enters into a water war with Turkey, Afghanistan and Iraq and provides Iran’s underground, mineral, water, land and human resources to imperialist capital (especially Chinese and Russian). It maximizes the exploitation of manpower and territorial resources to the point of depletion…. These are all due to the main driving forces of capitalism. There is a constant competition between large and small, global and regional capital [that] exacerbates the water wars in the Middle East. These very driving forces are very strong. From this brief picture we can draw only one correct conclusion: that this system (of capitalism imperialism) cannot be reformed either in Iran or in the world. Not only can the IRI not be reformed, but it cannot even be forced to tone down its fascist rule. Regional powers cannot be persuaded to sit around the table and stop the water wars. Capitalism cannot be persuaded to act more responsibly towards the environment.
We are dealing with a regime that has dangerously looted the environment for its survival. There is no way to revive the environment and make the major areas of Iran livable except through the revolution, and this revolution must not only overthrow this regime, but also uproot the whole capitalist system on which this regime is based. To create a fundamentally new and far better society, there is a plan that includes “immediate steps.” Specifically, the third and fourth articles of the “Draft Constitution of New Socialist Republic of Iran” have immediate and specific implementation, in the field of agricultural and environmental revitalization and countering national (or ethnic) oppression, which in Khuzestan means the actual division of cultivated lands and securing water rights for active and migrant farmers and the unemployed in the Khuzestan. Neutralizing the effects of the dams with the help of local people’s councils, engineers, specialists and environmental activists, who have always been repressed by the regime, is another step that will be immediately put on the agenda after the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.
In order to overthrow this regime, its backbone military repressive apparatus must be overthrown. The Khuzestan’s July Intifada is the continuation of a new chapter in the struggle against the IRI. As in January 2017 and November, 2019 [this uprising] shows the enormous potential for liberation and real internationalist revolution in various parts of Iran. There is no other way to win. And to do so [requires] the communist leadership based on a scientific roadmap with the aim of establishing a new socialist republic of Iran. …
ART FOR KHUZESTAN by 90 Cartoonists “We ask for water, they give us bullets”