Revolution or War n°24

(May 2023)

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The Left and Leftists at Work in Iran: The “Charter of Minimum Demands”

The demonstrations and riots that followed the assassination last September of the young Iranian woman by the Islamist police because she was not wearing a veil are presented to us as a particular struggle against the ’dictatorship of the mullahs’ and which would be specific to Iran. However, even if the spark was specifically linked to the Iranian mullahs’ regime, the development and extension of workers’ strikes as well as the exacerbation of social and class antagonisms in the country are an expression and a factor of the international dynamic of struggle that we see on all continents. This is how we must understand and denounce the emergence and the putting forward of a ’democratic and leftist’ political alternative to the mullahs’ regime: diverting the proletarian dynamic from its demands and class struggle to the benefit of ’democratic demands’ and on the terrain of the people, otherwise of the nation and of capital.

With the start of the Iranian protests and strike waves in reaction to the death of Mahsa Amini, both the right and the left wing of capital formed different alliances and groups. Some of the most famous faces of the Opposition outside of Iran formed a group called “The Alliance for Democracy and Freedom” [1], a group that is made up of the son of the last Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, and other prominent rightists and leftists [2].With their formation, they published a charter to announce their presence. Around a month after the publication of this charter, called “The Charter of Solidarity and Alliance for Freedom” or “The Charter of Mahsa” [3], the “more radical” left wing of capital saw the necessity of also announcing their existence by writing something similar which can be seen as a charter in response to the “Charter of Mahsa”. Even the name of this prism shows the affiliation of these “Independent Unions and Civil Organizations” to capital and the goal of preserving it. [4]

Minimum Program, A Deprecated Tactic

In the time of the Second International, in particular when the bourgeois state still had a progressive character and when the pursuit of reforms was still a viable and tactically positive goal, the Second International parties pressured the state to enact laws and reforms in favor of the proletariat and its organizations. These tactics and demands were called minimum program as an immediate international revolution was not on that era’s agenda. With the start of the decadence of capitalism and consequently the bourgeois state losing its semi-progressive character with its imperialist wars and economic crisis, the pursuit of reforms became a reactionary and unfavorable tactic for the proletarian class over time. Minimum Program became obsolete and the first thing on the agenda was a world revolution. Any group or organization still advocating and using this tactic has been fully integrated into the bourgeois camp and fully left the proletarian camp.

The Current State of the Iranian Leftists

Apparently for the Iranian leftists the bourgeois state still has a progressive and reformable character, and ridiculously enough, this bourgeois state is the state of the Islamist bourgeois whose Machiavellianism and brutality is known by all.

The demands of “the abolition execution”, “the Separation of the religion and state” or “the abolition of oppressive organs and limiting the authority of the state” from the bourgeois state (nonetheless the Islamist bourgeois) in this era of decadence, seems nothing but some childish joke.

One of the other ridiculous demands of these organizations was the “normalization of foreign relations with other countries based on justified relations and mutual respect”. The Iranian leftists are living in the pre-imperialist times and they are still stuck in the demands of the First International.

In demand number 4 “recognition of the rainbow society LGBTQIA+, decriminalization of all gender relations and tendencies’’, they try to defend the rights of sexual minorities. However, it is impossible to fully rid capitalist society of discrimination and bigotry towards sexual minorities without a working class revolution. The events of the Russian revolution and the subsequent decriminalization of gay and trans people show this [5]. Iranian society is being ruled by the Islamist bourgeoisie whose core ideology is against the existence of gay and trans people.

Left wing of capital, preservation of capitalist relations

Once again we can see the full depth of how leftist organizations are a force with the goal of preserving capitalism (consciously or unconsciously). There is no sign of working class unity and independence in this charter. Not to mention the absence of the word “working class” or “proletariat” in this charter, but instead there are many mentions of “the people”. This shows how much the international proletariat and in particular the working class in the region of Iran need an international class party (as is said well by the comrades of the ICT [6]

The horizon of the International working class

Even with the active sabotage coming from all sides of the bourgeoisie, the proletarian strikes and struggles (on the international scale) are still alive and going. This is also true for the Iranian proletariat with different sectors and professions actively participating and joining the waves of strikes. What the Iranian working class needs is not the unity of the leftists and their nationalist scope of view, but the international party and its ability crystallize the struggles and the experiences of the international working class.

Daron, April 2023