Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Atena Daemi, hope for many in Iran, must be freed!



Atena Daemi is known as an Iranian anti-execution campaigner and many, among them Amnesty International, are calling for her release. Fighting against executions is just one part of Atena’s work however; there is a lot more to her and the reasons why she has been subjected to the worst of ill-treatments by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Atena Daemi stands for life and humanity – the total opposite of the Islamic regime’s core essence, inhumanity and injustice. She is a children's rights, a women's rights and an anti-execution campaigner. She fights for the rights of the first and most vulnerable victims of the Islamic regime and for the life of those who are condemned to execution.

She keeps writing even in prison under the harshest conditions, and inspires many to fight for humanity.

Atena Daemi’s father was with her when she was sentenced in the Islamic regime’s court of injustice. Her father Hosein Daemi wrote:


I'll never forget when they brought Atena to court.
Judge Moghiseh told her: Are you against execution?
Atena: Yes, I am against execution.
Moghiseh: It's none of your business, we execute whoever we want. And those “human rights people” can't stop us.
Atena: One day you will have to answer for those innocent people you hang, and that day is coming soon.
Moghiseh expelled Atena from the courtroom and sentenced her to 14 years in prison.
Atena Daemi was arrested in October 2014.
She spent the first 86 days in solitary confinement.
She was moved to Evin prison on 18th January 2015.
She was sentenced on 14th March 2015 to 14 years for ‘propaganda against the regime, conspiracy against national security, insulting the leader of the regime, insulting Khomeini, and concealing evidence.’

Interrogations, accusations, court of injustice, solitary confinement, torture, long prison sentence, harassment and arrest of her family members, persecution, and more torture for Atena Daemi because she points out the problem, the Islamic regime and its inhumanity, and proposes the solution, humanity.

In addition to campaigning against execution and for women's rights, Atena is a passionate defender of children's rights. This is what she wants to change:

In Iran
  • over 10,000 infants die every year as a direct consequence of poverty
  • over 7,500,000 children are excluded from school
  • over 500,000 Afghan children are denied education
  • over 287,000 children are married off – the Islamic regime's law allows it
  • over 5,000,000 children live on the deprived and unsafe margins of cities
  • Tens of thousands are exposed to drugs. 1189 children were treated for overdoses in 2015
  • 71 children are awaiting execution in Iran
  • 1500 children live with their mothers in prison
  • 90% of children in government care are sexually abused
  • 26,909 cases of domestic abuse against children were reported in 2015
  • 57% of schools in Iran are unsafe

These statistics are from the regime's census; the reality is disastrous. Tens of thousands of children are homeless and face all sorts of dangers including rape, exploitation in the drug trade, being victims of the body parts trade, everyday humiliation, and hunger.

It's for her uncompromising defence of the lives of the deprived and bringing hope to them that she is subjected to the most inhuman treatment. Atena Daemi is treated so cruelly because of what she stands for: bringing moments of happiness to children who are deprived of love, who are destitute, forced to work, forced to marry, forced out of schools because they are poor or foreigners, forced to live in slums.

The hope for change that Atena brings to society disarms the regime which has remained in power by taking away hope and terrorising society with executions and the imposition of brutal poverty.

There are no numbers or words to adequately reflect the “depth of the inhumanity”, but there are people like Atena who risk their life to change the life of just one child if they can. The ones who endure torture, solitary confinement, immense pressure and whose messages from behind bars are all about “passion for humanity” and “a better world for children”.

The enmity of the Islamic regime of Iran against Atena and other rights activists is because of what they bring to society: the hope of freedom from ’gender apartheid’ and its rules, the smile on a child's face and the experience of love. That experience of compassion by those who are not supposed to know about kindness and love shakes the foundation of the Islamic Republic. How can the Islamic regime secure its future, its ideology and its rules, if people experience humanity and find hope?

Atena Daemi stands for the humanity that we all share and the ideals we all hold dearly. We call on all international humanitarian organisations and workers' organisations to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Atena Daemi.


Worker-communist Party of Iran
18 December 2018

Tuesday, 4 December 2018


People of Ahvaz, steelworkers have called on you for support

Respond to their legitimate call!


People of Ahvaz. For over three weeks now, you have followed the solid and united protest of the steelworkers on the streets of Ahvaz against poverty, oppression and injustice. You've heard their vibrant chants against the thieves and the parasites.
Leaders of the workers say: “We are one body and stand as strong as steel to get our rights. The time when we were treated like slaves is over. We stand our ground until we make our demands a reality!”


Undoubtedly, all of you who are fed up with the current misery have heard the encouraging and enthusiastic words of the steelworkers’ leaders. This fight is over unpaid wages, restart of the production lines and elimination of the threat of job losses that looms over 4000 workers and their families; this is a fight in defence of workers of Haft Tapeh and for the release of the detained workers; this is a fight against poverty, high prices, oppression and lack of rights.
This fight has paved the battleground for all of you, for teachers, for retirees, for unemployed youth, for women and for all of you who are tried of the current situation in Iran. Surely you do know that and stand by the workers, as you've been doing by attending their protests; but you can play a much bigger role in this struggle. Leaders of the workers ask for your support and to take action.
We, too, along with the leaders of the steel workers, call on teachers, petrochemical workers, university students, youth, women and all the oppressed people to actively, in any way you can, support the steel workers. Support the workers and strengthen their ranks against a bunch of parasites.
Join the steel workers and their families and fight for the release of the imprisoned workers of Haft Tapeh, while voicing your own legitimate demands.
There are many more strikes that are going on in Ahvaz right now; all the strikes should be synchronised and a united strike organised across the whole city.
The city of Ahvaz must stand up as one body and show undivided solidarity with the striking workers to push back the oppressors.
The power of the parasites and their repressive forces is shrinking day by day, and you have the power to put them in their place, and, thus, just like the steelworkers and sugar cane workers, set an example of unity and solidarity for the whole society.

Asqar Karimi

On behalf of the Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI)
2 December 2018

---

Asqar Karimi is the head of WPI’s Executive Board

Friday, 30 November 2018



Hamid Taqvaee’s message to sugar cane workers of Haft Tapeh and steelworkers of Ahvaz, Iran

I send my greetings to you militant workers of Haft Tapeh and the steelworkers of Ahvaz. Your steadfast strike and struggles echo the demands and sentiments of all the workers and people of Iran. The methods of your struggle are methods that can become a blueprint for all the workers and people of Iran. You are demanding the payment of unpaid wages, you have come out against poverty and corruption, you are calling for workers to get organised and take over the running of their affairs. These are the sentiments of the people of Iran, the sentiments of the working class in Iran.

The methods of your struggle can become a model for all workers and various protest movements in society. Your families have joined your struggles and doubly strengthened your fight. By holding general assemblies and organising your struggle on a workers’ council basis, in my view you have taken a huge step forward; you have raised the banner of workers’ councils and have demanded the direct exercise of the will of workers through their council. This is a demand, slogan and aim of the whole workers’ movement and the people in Iran engaged in protest.

On the other hand, the unity and solidarity that you have shown between the two sectors of workers, i.e. the steelworkers in Ahvaz and the sugar cane workers in Haft Tapeh, if not unprecedented, is exceptional in the history of the workers’ movement in Iran. It is over three weeks, nearly a month, now that two important sectors of workers have been on strike and during your strike you have come out united and in solidarity with each other and in support of each other’s demands, slogans and struggle. This solidarity can be widened to include larger sections of the working class in Iran.

The government, faced with this powerful wave of your struggle, has no choice other than, like always, to resort to threats, repression and prison. But, as you have said in your slogans, even threats, repression and prison have no effect, and have only led to the strengthening of your struggle.

It has been reported that Ali Nejati [the head of the union of sugar cane workers] and also his son Peyman Nejati have been arrested, while their house was raided and they were brutally beaten up. It has also been reported that Esmail Bakhshi [a popular leader and representative of the sugar cane workers] has been subjected to torture and physical abuse in prison. This outrage should be answered firmly, and we should stand up to these savages, demanding the immediate release of Esmail Bakhshi, Sepideh Gholiyan, Ali Nejati and Peyman Nejati; an urgent demand that should be forced onto the government. Up to this point, your struggle and the demand for the release of Bakhshi has given rise to a huge wave of support, both in Iran and internationally. Workers’ organisations, workers’ rights personalities, writers, students, retired workers, teachers and civil rights activists and figures have started petitions and issued statements and held protest gatherings to call for the immediate release of Bakhshi, and actively supported your struggle.

Also, internationally, many trade unions, in Europe and Canada, have called for the release of Bakhshi and supported your struggles. This wave of support must be extended further, and the Islamic Republic forced to release Esmail Bakhshi, Ali Nejati, Peyman Nejati and Sepideh Gholiyan immediately and unconditionally. This fight must be continued until the release of all jailed workers and all political prisoners in Iran. In the hope of victory and success!

---

Hamid Taqvaee is the leader of the Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI) 

This is the English transcript of Hamid Taqvaee's video message in Farsi

Please note: Peyman Nejati have been released in the meantime





Sunday, 7 January 2018

To: Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party


7 January 2018


Dear Mr Corbyn

In solidarity with the heroic struggle of the people of Iran against one of the most despotic, brutal, anti-working class and misogynistic regimes in the world, and on behalf of the largest working-class party of the left opposition in Iran, I am writing to ask you to distance yourself immediately from the disgraceful comments made yesterday by the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry. I am asking you to break your silence and to come out unreservedly on the side of the people in Iran in their heroic struggle against their oppressors.

Siding with the oppressors of the people or even staying silent or prevaricating on the rightful protests by the workers, women and the youth in Iran against the corrupt and reactionary Islamic Republic, whose leaders have amassed billions, while subjecting workers to abject poverty, smashing workers’ organisations, throwing trade unionists to jail, committing state-sanctioned discrimination and violence against women and LGBT people and executing dissidents in their tens of thousands, would be a grave political folly for the Labour Party. Once this regime is overthrown by the ongoing heroic rising of the people, the people of Iran will not forget who was on their side and who sided with their oppressors.

Your declared aims of fighting for a better world, for economic equality and for social justice won you great following among millions of people in Britain and internationally, who enthusiastically supported you in your leadership campaigns and in the 2017 general election on a progressive platform to address the widening inequality and the growing injustice in the UK.

However, these are exactly the same issues - on a far harsher and more brutal scale - that have brought millions of people onto to the streets of Iran today. The workers, women and youth in Iran are protesting against grotesque levels of inequality, lack of basic political and social freedoms and a medieval religious dictatorship that is an affront to the collective conscience of humanity in the 21st Century. People in Iran do not want the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the 1% and the billionaire clergy while they try to survive on a minimum wage that is one-fourth of the official poverty line. They do not want the vile state discrimination against women, which officially defines them as minors and the property of their male guardians; they do not want compulsory veiling and gender apartheid. They do not want the imposition of a religious state and religious thought. In one word, the people of Iran do not want the Islamic Republic. They have risen up against the Islamic Republic because they want economic equality and political and social freedoms. They want a better world and a life worthy of human beings. They are right to demand this, and should have the people of the world’s unreserved support.

Siding with such an obnoxious regime and disgracefully declaring, as Emily Thornberry has, that it is not clear who is right or wrong in this struggle of the oppressed against their oppressors will forever stay in the memory of the people of Iran. It will seriously harm the credentials of a progressive and egalitarian party that you are trying to build. It will disillusion millions of your supporters who rushed to your support precisely because they believe in equality and social justice everywhere. It will alienate your grassroots from the leadership, and mark a shameful moment in the life of your new party. It will be an irredeemable political folly and a historic moral disgrace for the Labour Party.

I hope the utterances of Emily Thornberry were an isolated case, which she will come to regret and openly apologies for. In any case, I urge you, as the Leader of the Labour Party, to distance yourself in the clearest terms from those comments and to come out unreservedly and unambiguously on the side of the people of Iran in these momentous days.

Hamid Taqvaee,
Leader of the Worker-communist Party of Iran

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Only with socialism can we defeat Islamic terrorism and racism

Hamid Taqvaee’s message to the people of France following the tragic terrorist attack in Nice


15 July 2016

The terrorist attack on Bastille Day in Nice is heartwrenching. This is a crime not just against the people of France, but also against the people of the world. I send my condolences to the families of the victims, the people of France and of the world on the loss of the lives of so many men, women and children. Just like the attack on the editors of Charlie Hebdo and the massacre in Paris last autumn, what happened in Nice is an assault on humanity and civilisation. All the civilised people of the world feel for and stand with the people of France, just as they did with the movement ‘I am Charlie’ in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Following this painful tragedy, once again the question preoccupying the minds of the people is this: how can we rid the world of the menace of Islamic terrorism? The governments and ruling parties do not have an answer: by attacking Iraq and scrambling together a tribal-religious government, they are the cause of this mess; they are part of the problem of political Islam, not its solution. The solution is in the hands of people who stand up to Islamic terrorism by shouting ‘I am Charlie’; people who in battered Iraq storm the streets, chanting ‘Neither sunni nor shia, but secularism’; and people in Iran who have been defying the Islamic regime and its inhumane laws for years. The solution is in the hands of the people of France and the millions and millions around the world who have had enough.

Political Islam, in all its shapes and branches, from the Islamic State and Hezbollah to the Islamic regime in Iran, Hamas, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram, and so-called ‘moderate’ Islamists in East and West, is diametrically opposed to the values and culture that the French Revolution championed and ushered in. The attack by political Islam on the day of the storming of the Bastille by the revolutionary people of Paris, an event that set off the French Revolution, is a mark of the ossification and setback, which political Islam is trying to force on our world.

The bourgeoisie, the ruling 1% of the world, has long given up the ideals of the French Revolution. Today the banner of defending civilisation and universal human values, in the face of the onslaught by Islamism and racism, is in the hands of the left forces, the 99% of the world. Extending the values of the French Revolution brings us to the socialist critique of the world today. Only with this banner can we defeat the political Islamic movement and stop racism and Islamic terrorism in both the East and the West.

On 14 July 1789 the revolutionary people of France stormed the Bastille fortress. The terrorist attack by Islamists on the anniversary of this day says to the people of the world that the storming of the fortress of political Islam calls for the mobilisation of a radical movement in defence of freedom, equality and civilisation. Let us try to make 14 July this year the day of the rise of this movement and the beginning of the fall of political Islam.

Hamid Taqvaee
Leader of the Worker-communist Party of Iran

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Racism and Islamism in Germany

Hamid Taqvaee 6 January 2016 The assault by a group of a thousand men on women and their sexual harassment on the New Year celebrations in Cologne has become a hot topic in the German media and public opinion. According to reports, the men who committed this despicable act are refugees from Islam-stricken countries. This situation can be used as an excuse by racists to intensify attacks on immigrants from Islam-Stricken countries, and for anti-immigrant acts or policies. We must stand against racism; and the slogan “no to sexism, no to racism”, raised in the demonstration on 5th of January in Cologne, shows that the left and progressive forces are well aware of the danger that racism poses. On the other hand, the traditional left and the supporters of “cultural relativism” are trying to portray this mass attack as a routine matter and an instance of the usual sexual harassment in German society. However, this analysis and position does not address the problem either. This organized attack by a thousand-strong men on women, which involved calling women prostitutes, cannot be described as a usual sexist act that happens in everyday life in society by any logic or reasoning. This kind of analysis and position, rather than being based on realities, is rooted in “postmodernist” ideology of ‘cultural relativism’ and ‘respect for other people’s culture’; views that have led the liberal and so-called left forces in Europe to defend the political Islamic movement and its manifestations in Western societies, such as building mosques, Islamic Hijab, Sharia Laws, Islamic schools, etc. The real issue is neither cultural, nor related to refugees and immigrants from Islam-stricken countries, nor is it explainable and justifiable in the frame of the usual sexism and patriarchy in western societies. This is an assault by political Islam on women, women’s rights and women’s freedom in German society. This is the export of Islamic misogyny to Western societies, similar to the assault by the thugs of Islamic Republic of Iran on women. The incident in Cologne is not the same as usual sexism in Germany; it is of the kind that is usual in the Islamic Republic. Misogyny is a pillar of political Islam as a definite movement, and it is not a part of the values and culture of Muslim people, or, more accurately, people who have been labelled Muslim. Refugees and ‘Muslims’ who migrated from Islam-stricken countries have themselves been victims of such conditions. The people of Islam-stricken countries, in particular the people of Iran, know very well that misogyny and assault on women is an important feature of political Islam, and which the Islamic states use to intimidate the society and force it into submission. As stated by Mina Ahadi, in her speech in the demonstration on 5th of January in Cologne, this assault on women is a clear example of organized terror on women by Islamic forces. Now, the political Islamic movement, in addition to exporting Sharia Laws, Hijab, Burka, Mosque and Islamic schools to Western societies, is attempting to also export Islamic misogyny. We cannot stand up to this assault with cultural relativism, ‘respect for Islamic culture’, and so on. On the contrary, this kind of position makes the Islamists export their ultra-reactionary policies to Western societies from a self-righteous and aggressive position. Conceding to Islamism does not counter racism; on the contrary, it paves the ground for it and reinforces it. Splitting culture and civilization into Islamic, Western and Eastern cultures and civilizations is itself another way of racism; a racism that instead of throwing “the others” into the sea, advertises their tolerance! Freedom, humanity, civilization and citizenship is not divisible into “self” and “others”; it is one and universal. And gender discrimination, sexism and the view of woman as a sex commodity, of any kind and in any “culture”, is reactionary and anti-human. Islam, like any other religion, has given a divine and holy appearance to this misogyny, and like a preserve of reaction, has protected it throughout history. Misogyny was a pillar of political Christianity in the Middle Ages; it is a pillar of political Islam today. The issue is not immigrant or refugee or foreigner or German or Islamic culture or Western culture. The line is not drawn here. The issue is to defend the values, civilization and culture of humanity against racism and Islamism. Only by raising the flag of defence of universal human values and culture can we stand against both racism and Islamism. Translated by Habib Baktash and Bahram Soroush

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Mass protests in Iraq: ‘Neither Shia nor Sunni, but secularism’

The protests, which started in several cities in southern Iraq last week, quickly spread to the rest of Iraq, reaching their peak on 7 August. Around half a million people came out in Baghdad alone, chanting slogans against the corrupt and reactionary rulers. Hundreds of thousands of others have demonstrated in Samawah, Al Diwaniyah, Basra, Nasiriyah, Najaf and Amarah. Slogans such as ‘Neither Shia nor Sunni, but secularism’, ‘The religious regime has ripped us off’, show the real meaning of the protests of the people of Iraq.

Starting on 31st July in Baghdad, Basra, Najaf and Amarah, the protests spread to Sulaymaniah, Rania, Qaladiza, Chamchamal, Darbandikhan and Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan. The power and water cuts in Iraq’s deadly heat wave gave the pretext for people to voice their deep anger and discontent against poverty, insecurity, lack of rights and Iraq’s corrupt and reactionary government. According to reports from the Left Worker-communist Party of Iraq, several well known workers’ leaders, such as Falah Alwan and Saeed Nema, as well as the prominent women’s rights activist Hana Edward, spoke at Baghdad’s rally today. According to this report, left and secular forces have played a leading role in these protests.

We support the struggle of the people of Iraq for freedom and call on the people in Iran to support these protests. The people of Iran have experienced the barbaric rule of the Islamic Republic and share a common cause with the people of Iraq, and welcome the escalation of their just struggle. The slogan chanted by the people of Iraq today, ‘Neither Shia nor Sunni, but secularism’, is a key slogan of the people of Iran too. The reactionary Islamic regimes in Iraq and Iran should get lost so people can gain control over their lives.

Victory to the struggle of the people of Iraq!

Worker-communist Party of Iran
7 August 2015

Thursday, 16 July 2015

WPI statement on Iran nuclear deal

Finally, after protracted talks between the Islamic regime of Iran and the P5+1, and following the framework accord agreed in Lausanne in April, the parties have signed a deal, which will come into force after ratification by the UN’s Security Council. The Islamic Republic has conceded wide-ranging restrictions on its nuclear programme: the level of uranium enrichment, the number of centrifuges, the reconfiguration of Arak heavy water production facility and signing up to the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), allowing more extensive inspections. In return, the West’s economic sanctions against Iran are to be removed over a defined period of time. The arms embargo will remain in force for up to five years, and the ban on import of ballistic missiles for up to eight. Thus, with the Iranian regime’s capitulation to the US and European states, its nuclear efforts, which pursued military objectives, while inflicting severe hardships on the people and subjecting the society to a climate of insecurity, will be limited for at least a number of years.

There is no doubt that this deal is not tantamount to an improvement in the relations of the Islamic Republic with the West and its integration in the world economy. The conflict with the West will continue on several fronts. For the regime’s factions, too, the deal will provide another basis for the intensification of their infightings.

From the viewpoint of the overwhelming majority of the people of Iran, who wanted an end to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear efforts and the economic sanctions, this deal is a victory for them, and at the same time a huge political defeat for the Islamic Republic, paving the way for an escalation in mass struggles for ‘welfare and dignity’.

Factions within the regime and their supporters, including the so-called reformists, claim that this deal will result in an economic opening and a political relaxation, and demagogically try to persuade people to support Rouhani and await his government’s supposed miracles. However, the nuclear deal will not of itself lead to an improvement in the economic condition of the people. The regime will try to push ahead with the austerity programmes and cuts in living standards in the name of ‘economic reconstruction’ and ‘encouraging foreign investment’. So any improvement in the economic condition of the people and any political and cultural opening can only come about as a result of an escalation in strikes and people’s protests. The workers, women and the youth must unify their ranks even more to drive back the regime and enforce their demands on the parasitical rulers.

The Worker-communist Party of Iran calls on workers, women, the youth and the masses of the people to turn this development into a stepping-stone in the fight for their demands and the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.

Worker-communist Party of Iran
14 July 2015

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Greece: the countdown begins

Hamid Taqvaee
30 June 2015

Many have described the deadlock in the talks between Greece and the EU, and the call for a referendum, as the start of a countdown. But countdown to what? To a Greek exit from the Euro? To the Syriza government resigning? Or…?

The EU leaders and Troika, who insist on implementing the austerity programme, call the referendum effectively a vote on whether Greece stays with or leaves the EU; or at least they say so in order to frighten people from voting no. They know that the majority of the Greeks want to stay in the Eurozone and EU, and so are hoping, through the threat of a Grexit, to sway the result to a yes to austerity. In the meantime, Alexis Tsipras has said that if the result of the referendum turns out to be yes, he will respect people’s decision, but will not be the executor of Troika’s programme. In other words, a yes vote will mean that the Syriza government will step down.

Based on such analyses and claims, Greece now apparently stands on the brink of a choice between either leaving the EU or for the government to resign. Supposedly, the countdown is bound to result in one of these options. The truth, however, is something else.

The roots of the Greek crisis

Syriza came to power on a platform of no to austerity. The referendum too is about whether to accept or reject Troika’s new austerity package. The Greek government plans to use people’s no vote to reject Troika’s offer and sit round the table from a stronger position. Tsipras has already said this in so many words and asked Greek voters to reject the offer. It’s very likely that the people of Greece will say no to the austerity package, and also very possible that the Syriza government will be able to use this to bolster its position in the talks. However, this will not get rid of the crisis, nor even lessen it.

The root of the Greek crisis is not the austerity programme or the inability of the Greek government to repay its debts. These are the symptoms of the problem. The real problem is the economic system which for its survival needs austerity. I.e. the crisis-ridden capitalist system in Greece; the system of the top 1% in Greece and in the rest of the European Union.

Over the last decade, Greece, as one of the weakest of the European economies, has become a guinea pig for neo-liberal economic ‘reforms’. The elements of these so-called reforms include: slashing public and social services and health and education; deregulation and giving the market a free hand to set the prices, wages and all the conditions for the sale of labour power; income tax hikes, tax breaks for corporations, etc. The Greek economy, given its lower productivity, lower organic composition of capital and its technological lag, relative to the other EU members, has to drink up this poisoned chalice of ‘reforms’ in order to save capital from its crisis. However, even from the viewpoint of capital’s operability, this solution has so far failed to solve anything. The result has been nothing but financial sleaze and corruption at the top, and growth of poverty, economic insecurity, inflation and 60%+ unemployment for the rest of society. The question is: where does referendum fit in in all this? Which way’s the society heading?

Revolution or referendum?

Some left critics of Syriza in Greece and outside think that talks with the creditors and the referendum are useless, and say that the solution is revolution against capitalism. There is no doubt that the solution for Greece – and any other capitalist country – in order to get rid of the problems facing the working people, the society’s 99%, is revolution against capital, or, more precisely, the political and economic expropriation of the capitalist class, the ruling 1%. But revolution does not happen out of the blue. The class struggles have to escalate and deepen and become polarised over capital’s very existence. The ‘no’ to austerity has to grow into a ‘no’ to capital. And this can only be achieved in the process of struggle. Since the rise of Syriza to power six months ago, the class struggles in Greece have polarised over the issue of austerity. The election of Syriza, the tug of war in the talks and now the call for a referendum are all moments in the battle over austerity. In this battle, apparently the Greek government and people stand on one side, and the EU, IMF and ECB on the other. The real conflict, however, is between the camps of labour and capital; between the justified human demands and dreams of the masses, crushed under capitalism’s crisis, and the requisites for capital’s operation and profitability. Thus, as mentioned, the Greek crisis does not have a solution in itself and within the framework of either the rejection or acceptance of austerity. Whatever the outcome of the referendum, the Greek crisis and its economic and social consequences will not end - not even diminish for any lasting period - since the issue of the profitability of Greek capital, and the securing of the preconditions for this profitability, will still be there. Precisely for this reason this struggle can and must end in the deepening and growth of the general social consciousness from a critique of austerity to a critique of capital. The referendum this Sunday, just like the election of Syriza six months ago, is a link in the chain of the deepening struggle between the two camps of labour and capital in Greece.

What’s to be done?

What can and must be achieved politically within the current crisis in Greece is essentially based on the following two axes: firstly, swaying the general social discourse and climate from a critique of austerity to a critique of capitalism, relying on people’s everyday experiences; secondly, organising the masses in council-like organisations for direct intervention in their political destiny (the experience of the Occupy Movement could be instructive here).

The overwhelming majority, ‘the 99%’, should come to the realisation that, firstly, standing against them are not just the European states and Troika. The fundamental problem is the capitalist relations and the rule of the capitalist 1% in Greece itself. And, secondly, that expropriation of the capitalist class will take place not from the top, through the corridors of the talks with Troika, but from below, with the direct intervention of workers and the masses in factories and production centres, in districts, neighbourhoods and streets.

It is clear that this radicalisation of the society will not happen of itself. Only a radical communist and interventionist party, engaged in society’s everyday struggles, can and must be the agency for driving this agenda forward. This force is not the Syriza government. However, one must hope – and this is completely possible – that such a radical force will emerge and come forth in the process of the tumultuous events that lie ahead. Whatever form and shape this may take, the conditions for the rise of a revolutionary left pole in society are becoming more favourable day by day. The referendum itself could provide the conditions for the development of such a force.

Whatever the result of the referendum, Greek capitalism will emerge from this referendum more hopeless and rudderless, and, at the same time, more disgraced and discredited. A Grexit will rapidly open people’s eyes to the fact that the main issue is not merely the austerity programme or Troika but the capitalist system and relations in Greece itself. People will find out that the domestic capitalists are in fact the fourth pillar of Troika. Continuing with the status quo means remaining within the EU and cautiously implementing the austerity programme. But this will also quickly bring people to the conclusion that the problem does not have a gradual and negotiated solution; it must be resolved at the root.

So the answer to the question put at the beginning is that yes the countdown has begun, but a countdown to the society’s further turning away from capitalism and ultimately to the settling of accounts with the capitalist 1%.

------

First published in Farsi on rowzane.com, 30 June 2015. Translation: Bahram Soroush

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Iran nuclear deal: the viewpoint from the third side

By Hamid Taqvaee
2 April 2015

The Iran nuclear talks ended in a deal 48 hours after the deadline of 31st March, resulting in a joint statement by the two sides. This statement is a political understanding and a framework for the comprehensive accord to be signed by the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 by the end of June 2015. Both parties have called this initial deal a breakthrough, and each one, as is the norm in diplomatic deals, has described it as a victory for itself. The Islamic Republic’s Foreign Minister Zarif, together with the other Iranian negotiators, insists that all sanctions will be lifted and Iran’s nuclear efforts won’t stop. The USA and the other negotiators emphasise that all the paths to Iran’s acquiring a nuclear weapon will be blocked, the number of centrifuges will be cut by two thirds and Iran’s nuclear efforts will be subjected to inspection more than any country in the world.

However, from the viewpoint of the people of Iran, and as far as their interests are concerned, the results and criteria are completely different. From this viewpoint, the lifting or any easing of sanctions should translate into a reduction in poverty, unemployment and inflation and a rise in people’s living standards. People of Iran have long been opposing the nuclear project and the government’s slogan “Nuclear energy is our certain right” with their own slogan: “Welfare and dignity are our certain rights”. So, from the viewpoint of the people, any deal on the nuclear issue should lead to a rise in the "welfare and dignity" of the people. However, this will not be an automatic result of a deal between states, but only the outcome of the struggle of the people for a rise in pay, which currently is several times below the poverty line, against unemployment, inflation and economic insecurity. There is no doubt that with any opening in the state of the economy, the regime will try to tighten up the austerity belts with such excuses as reconstruction, recovery, etc. What is also certain, implementing the austerity policies and recommendations of the World Bank and the IMF - on which all factions of the regime have been in agreement - in order to attract financial credit and domestic and international investment, will more than ever come on the agenda of the regime. For the working people, this means nothing but further erosion of their rights, more economic insecurity and the greater tightening of the belts, while fresh opportunities will be opened up for the gangs inside the regime for more swindles and rip-offs.

Confronting such a situation can only be achieved by stepping up the struggle for "welfare and dignity". Politically, too, a deal on the nuclear project will pave the way for people’s protests. On the one hand, the excuses of sanctions, confrontation with the ‘Great Satan’ and the siege economy will be gone, making the regime the direct target of people’s protest. On the other hand, the nuclear deal will mean that the balance of power will tilt towards the Rouhani-Rafsanjani faction, while the Khamenei-fundamentalists faction will be weakened. This will in turn deepen the internal factional fights in the regime, creating a new opportunity for people to launch a challenge to the whole regime. However, the repercussions of a deal with the West go far deeper than the nuclear issue. Any rapprochement with the West will question the anti-West and anti-American ideological identity of the Islamic regime, and, strategically, further undermine its position within Iran and in the Middle East region. This process has already started, and will accelerate in the next few months with the conclusion of a comprehensive accord - if that happens. The totality of these conditions means the creation of a more favourable economic, political and social situation for the rise in the struggle of the people in all areas: the fight over pay and better conditions, for women’s equality, for political and civil rights, and for cultural liberation and a happy and modern life. Before, and rather than, indicating a success for any one of the negotiating parties, the nuclear deal will open the way for the advance of the ‘third party’, the people, who are yearning for "welfare and dignity".

----

First published in International, a Farsi-language weekly of the Worker-communist Party of Iran, 3 April 2015. Translation: Bahram Soroush