For the proletariat, there is no other issue than the struggle on the class terrain in the perspective of the proletarian revolution!
The confrontation between the armored democracy of the rulers and the tepid petit-bourgeois reformism of the opposition is the result of the acute rivalries between bourgeois factions.
(«Proletarian»; Nr. 5; November 2009)
The brutal repression of street demonstrations that has hit Tehran and the larger cities shows that the Iranian government’s Ahmadinejad does not tolerate any questioning of his political power.
Accused of electoral fraud, the supporters of Ayatollah Khamenei and the incumbent president have responded with arrests, beatings and shootings; the police, the Pasdaran Basji and volunteers headed by them are the instruments of the current repression.
Iranian democracy appeared dressed in black with the so-called “Islamic revolution” of 1979, which in reality was nothing revolutionary in economic and social terms: the parasitic regime of the Shah, backed by the United States, had been replaced by a republic where religious clergy led the State and where nationalism is camouflaged by an Islamic ecumenism. Economic modernization initiated by the Shah did not stop under the Ayatollahs, but the social control which eluded the monarchy in full decomposition was forcefully restored by the reactionary regime of the Shiite clergy.
Capitalism in the countries on the periphery of imperialism as elsewhere develops using its own social and political forces rooted among the masses, whether religious in Israel or Iran, or secular as in Turkey or Iraq. The “Islamic revolution” of 1979 did not at all shake the capitalist economic structure of Iran, but instead responded to specific national interests of the Iranian bourgeoisie, entrusting to its most authoritarian faction the task of defending these interests both domestically and in its policy of regional power based on the major energy resources of the country.
By 1979 these imperialist ambitions collided with those of Israel which since its creation has acted as a gendarme of the interests of Western imperialism, and especially those of the United States. The clash between Iranian bourgeois interests and Israeli and American bourgeois interests was inevitable.
Throughout these thirty years of the confessional regime and especially after the war with Iraq (a war neither won nor lost but which helped cement the collaboration between classes), the Iranian capital has undergone significant development. The essential resources of the country are undoubtedly concentrated in oil and gas of which Iran is one of the biggest exporters, but the metal and armaments industries , and the textile and construction industries have undoubtedly increased. This development is the basis for the growth of trade with China and Russia as with Germany and Italy, but it is also its ambitions as a regional power which forced it to accelerate its nuclear program.
These thirty years of capitalist development consequently have accelerated the urbanization of the country and increased the number of proletarians. But the confessional regime, responding effectively to the requirements of capitalist development, still exercised a strong influence over much of the population, the fact that the proletariat could not profit from the present political and social tensions to reclaim the defense of its own immediate interests, economic and organizational, shows that the road to the class struggle is still long and difficult.
The international situation, marked by ever-more-frequent economic crises and growing instability in the many tempestuous zones of world capitalism – and the Middle East has long been one of those powder kegs ready to explode – shows the tendency to accentuate the centralization of political power, as it turns to an increasingly marked authoritarianism to defend essential capitalist interests. The more economic crisis strikes the major centers of world capitalism, spreading in all countries, including the most distant of these nerve centers of the international economy, increasing instability in economic and trade relations, then the more the reactionary forces are entrusted the task of defending the local capitalist interests at all costs.
According to media reports, the world finds itself divided into democratic countries, dictatorial countries, and terrorist countries. Democratic countries have the noble task of driving, willingly or by force, the dictatorships to democracy, and to oppose, especially by military power, the terrorist countries, there also paving the way for “democratization” after the defeat of “terrorism” (we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan what kind of social and economic disasters the democratic wars unleashed by democratic Western countries have ended up in).
But it appears even more clearly today than yesterday that democracy, including in the countries of older liberal tradition, is strictly conditioned by advocating bourgeois national economic, financial, political, military and diplomatic interests that regularly conflict with the others as demonstrated by the present outbreak of wars across the world. This further demonstrates that democracy is still the most effective instrument of deception used by any bourgeois faction in power to obtain a consensus of the masses rather than just programs for better management of the economy, wider distribution of wealth and improved living standards, but on the ability to energetically defend these interests.
The confessional democracy of the Ayatollahs follows the same trend; electoral fraud or not, the masses are brought willingly or by force to support the rule of the strongest: if they do not support it voluntarily, democratically, they are induced by repression to knuckle under to the commands of the government because it must take precedence above all, above the rules of democracy, above the interests of the petit-bourgeois, the masses, the proletarians, it is the “national interest”, which always corresponds to the interests of the most powerful bourgeois factions who utilize state power to their advantage.
The recourse to brute force, to open repression alongside accusations of treason against the opposition, is not only a show of force, it also reflects a fear that the proletarian masses take literally the prospect of being able to express their discontent and put forward their own demands. But what awaits the Iranian proletariat, is not the opening of an era of free expression and free organization, but rather a period in which, once it has solved its internal problems, the bourgeoisie will use the Shiite clergy to concentrate all forces in the country towards a policy of regional power even more markedly than before.
The clashes with the United States, Israel, Britain and many of the Western partners of the Americans are not only due to Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, they derive from policies related to oil and gas resources, and Iranian ambitions of an alliance with Russia and China to oppose American pressure in Central Asia. The prudence of President Obama who, despite the crackdown, affirmed the desire to maintain the possibilities of “dialogue” with the Iranian government, demonstrates the importance of the issues. It would be unrealistic to expect real actions against repression in Iran from the major “democratic” imperialists, just as there was none issuing from the repression of the students of Tiananmen Square in China, there will be none in response to the current crackdown.
In the face of the politics of nationalism and regional power conducted by the Iranian bourgeoisie, there are only two possibilities for the proletariat of this country: either break away from the death embrace of interclass collaborationism, and therefore of the nationalism which is the antechamber of war-thirsty adventures, to begin to organize the defense of its own interests, or to abandon all hope of its struggle for emancipation in resigning itself to remain docilely exploited and the manipulated cannon fodder sacrificed for the sole profit of the capitalists.
It will not be easy for the Iranian proletariat to free itself from a religious poison that has lasted for decades and from a more recent democratic intoxication, it will be necessary for them to carry out harsh and bloody struggles because the bourgeoisie will not let go of power by mere peaceful demonstrations even if they are huge and even though the demonstrators smash up the symbols of the domination of the Ayatollahs. The proletariat has no force and no future if it cannot rediscover the means of the class struggle.
It is not the demand for elections without fraud, parliamentary representation for all classes of society and democratic freedom which are the means of preventing the bourgeois pressures and repression: the demands of “freedoms” of “rights” will remain wishful thinking for the proletariat if they are not ripped away and maintained by force, i.e. by the open class struggle, independent of religious forces and class collaboration.
The proletarians of the major capitalist countries which boast of their democratic institutions and the superiority of their civilization, will provide assistance to their class brothers in Iran and elsewhere, when they also return to class positions: the more the proletariat of the imperialist countries remain subject to bourgeois interests and respectful of social peace, the more the proletarians of the world will remain exploited, crushed and repressed. The “common interest”, the “national interest” invoked by the bourgeois of all countries is nothing other than the mask of capitalist interests: the proletariat must respond everywhere by refusing any agreement with “their own” bourgeoisie and its State: class against class, proletarian interests against bourgeois interests!
The dictatorship of capital, which is manifested openly or hides under the mask of democracy, secular or religious, can be overthrown only by a greater social force, the proletariat. The proletarian dictatorship exerted by the sole authentic class party, is that necessary point of transition in Washington as in Rome, in Moscow as in Beijing or Tehran, in Paris as in Berlin, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and New Delhi. In response to the bloody laws of capital and the counter-revolution we will have the implacable laws of the revolution!
International Communist Party