Mansoor Hekmat 2000

The Situation in Iran and the Distinct Position of the Worker-Communist Party

Delivered: Third Congress of Worker-Communist Party of Iran;
: by Jafar Kafoori;
Spoken: in Persian October 14, 2000;
First Published: in Persian in “International Haftegi” No. 48 April 6, 2001.

Introducing resolution at the Third Congress of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran, October 14, 2000

Comrades, the situation in Iran and the concrete historic opportunity that is now afforded the Worker-Communist Party (WCP) for playing its important and fateful role is in fact the subject that I talked about at the beginning of the congress. I would only like to provide a reminder of my earlier discourse and make some stipulations. Moreover, I would address some specific issues. The goal of this resolution (which contains no debate-worthy issues other than to clarify whether Iran is in a critical situation, and whether the WCP is able to play a pivotal role) is about declaring our commitment to identification and recognition of the realities. In the opening speech too, I drew the congress’s attention to this point.

Throughout the twentieth century, from the constitutional revolution[1] to the 1979 revolution, Iranian politics has been influenced by activities of intellectual segments of the bourgeoisie and have reflected bourgeois tendencies. During this period traditional political parties, and parties of intellectuals and technocrats in particular, hold political control. The Tudeh party[2] and the National Front[3] were parties of western-educated individuals and the so-called crème of the society, who wished the Iranian society not remain backward, appear European, have industries, and resemble the capitalist countries they had known and studied in. They always appended the working class and prior to that the oppressed to their movements so, we never have a communist party involved in representation of the Iranian working class. Iranian worker as a political force with its independent slogans never appear in the field. Iranian communism has never played a crucial determining role with respect to Iranian political situation. If someone contends that the Tudeh Party fits the bill my response is that I do not think even the party itself believed it ever represented the radical communism in the Iranian society. Such is not stated in its constitution, or in its basic programs. The entire lifetime of Tudeh Party depicts that it is a party much like the National Front, belonging to certain wealthy section of the society seeking the reform of the Iranian dictatorial-feudalist system; some such reforms has taken place, and some has not. This traditional form of political opposition has dominated the Iranian history.

Think of the issue of Dr. Mossadegh[4] (whose icon people of all social classes carry, and not for a well-understood reason) who is portrayed as a “national hero.” Every disgruntled sole is told that there has been a Dr. Mossadegh (which of course in his couple of years of office did ban strikes, outlaw that certain act, and so on). And, he is a national hero because he attempted to nationalize the oil industry. Not to mention that the oil industry was eventually nationalized without anybody becoming a national hero for it. Thus, Dr. Mossadegh becomes a symbol of the opposition in the country. He carries the name and banner of the opposition, and as we near the 1979 revolution it is Khomeini who inherits the position.

Iran has been capitalist for sometimes. At least since the land reforms of the 1960’s Iran is capitalist. The 1979 revolution occurred in a capitalist country. The 1979 revolution was a revolution in which workers played a role. Workers crushed the government’s back. Unlike earlier events in earlier periods, the worker appeared in the field as worker and played a role. Nevertheless, the old show of predominance of bourgeois over the political arena was replayed. The government of the Islamic Republic started as a coalition of the old opposition to monarchy who all called each other progressives. It is beside the point that ultra-fundamentalists joined the ranks, and later even won the game. From a non-fundamentalist, nationalist viewpoint these fundamentalists were “principled” people who opposed an imperial despotism. No one would bring himself to admit that Fedayan Islam[5] is a reactionary movement. From the perspective of the traditional opposition they too were a part of the nation and the opposition. My point is that there is this large political clan in Iran who has determined people’s fate for years even in the 1979 revolution in which workers constitute a significant driving force by virtue of their councils and massive oil strikes, the traditional opposition is still in charge. This is simply so because although workers are out there, there is insufficient class polarization in the society for communism to materialize. In the 1979 revolution, workers are present but communism is missing, and so we see the consequences.

Presence of communism as a political force is the key issue. Could communism be present at all social levels as a significant political force in the battle for power? If not, then the ruling class parties do as they please and it will be their alternatives that determine the society’s fate. What came to power in 1979 had been politically dead for sometimes. Which late 20th century society will allow an Islamic government take the rein and dictate religious laws? Islam swept to power because there was nothing to prevent it from doing so. The progressives, the oppressed, and freedom seekers of Iran could offer no counterbalances. Meanwhile the collapse of monarchy drove the bourgeoisie government, capitalism and imperialism in Iran to so pitiful a state that these mustered no better custodians, however temporary, than an Islamic government. In the absence of the latter it is probable that Iran would have turned up similar to Nicaragua. The entire left, of the kind that had grown out of student movements, perhaps more in the ways of Fedayan Khalq[6] was capable of launching a Sandenista-like guerrilla movement. But, even that may have not been tolerated in Iran. Consequently, as it took shape, Islamic opposition became the favorite card that drew support from the West, and backing from the United States. In other words the clan’s secularist and left wing factions could form a government, but in practice religious right seized power and subdued its own left.

If one looks across the social, cultural, economic, and political spectrum of the left and right, they do appear to be a political clan. It is a consolidated political family. This is why the left and right of the system do not despise one another, and explains why the traditional left and some sections of Fedayan Khalq evaluated the Islamic Republic as progressive. They are not concerned about women’s conditions in this society. They are not concerned about the fact that persons could be executed for being non-religious. While not concerned with a lack of freedom of press and expression, the left wing of this vast political family was accusing us of supporting Bazargan’s Mizan[7] newspaper when in 1979 we had demanded unconditional political freedoms. The family defended itself by calling us idolaters [a name given to monarchists by Khomeinie]. It is true that certain groups in the clan exhibited “monopolistic” tendencies (and this does reveal much about them since branding the right wing as monopolist rather than reactionary is like asking why they had to be shut out of the ‘bonanza’? A bonanza created by the Imam), but this should be seen as a reproach within the family. As the bonanza went on for a few more months, the Tudeh party was not struck down right away and it even wielded some influence for a while. An interesting rumor at the time was that Tudeh party members believed it was just a matter of time before comrade Kianoori[8] would be asked by Khomeini to form a government. For us, the outsiders, that did not make sense but within the Tudeh movement they supposed this would be a real unique phenomenon. Why? Because they were up against the American Imperialism. The ultimate criterion being that the Iranian traditional opposition, in coalition with religious and populist factions, faced the American imperialism.

When capitalist Iran had a revolution even though workers had provided the force for change and the oil workers had been in the forefront of action, the traditional opposition chose to place its most reactionary alternative in the seat of power. Had the Fedayan Khalq guerillas come to power the government would have been less reactionary and, as I noted, might have resembled the Sandenista. The ultra reactionaries took over the government and quickly forced their own allies out mainly because that was understood to be a condition for survival. Workers were present but communism was missing, and the rest is now history.

As once again Iran moves closer to an upheaval we are about to see the repeat of the same. In the discussion of the political situation we contended that the Islamic Republic is doomed. It is so because the Islamic Republic is incapable of managing the country’s economics. Capitalism is a challenge for the pro-American, NATO-member Turkey, let alone for some mullah whose most secure tie to the world trade is the “dialog of civilizations” that occurs covertly, or by “accident” at such locals as hotel corridors and New York kabob houses! This is not practical. They will not have the economic viability. Could the regime survive politically? Who would stand against 60 million people of Iran who are already rejecting this regime? Who would stand against the Iranian women who reject the regime? Who would stand against workers who could no longer tolerate the situation? Who would stand against Iranian youths, now discussing politics of freedom, equality and the WCP on Internet chatrooms, and talk about cultural and sexual liberation? Will the cloak and turban, or the revolutionary guard brothers stop the movement? Such is not sustainable. Their process of departure has begun. If so, the old scenario might be replayed. The question before us is that will we allow the traditional opposition play the old tricks once again using a new make up? Previously calling themselves patriots, now they are non-conformists. Previously supported Dr. Mossadegh as nationalists or leftist guerillas shouting death to ‘the rabid imperialist dogs’, they now claim to be pacifists, but it’s all the same old movement. It is the same old movement with all its different variants. It is interesting to note that whenever banners are raised to unite this same clan, there is immediate following. I believe you recall the 1984-1985 period when resolutions were issued admitting past mistakes. Fedayan Khalq Majority[9] declared that they have been wrong to support the Islamic regime. In their congress the Ranjbaran Party[10] announced, “We had overplayed the bourgeoisie while being underhanded with respect to the proletariat! We had mistaken the anti-masses for the masses! We had overestimated the military, and underestimated the people power! Overestimated Islam, and underestimated wishes of the people! Pardon us for the errors!” Those being the very sentences used. How could Ranjbaran Party defend their political cousins in the government who murdered and executed political prisoners? This was not feasible, so the party pulled out of the coalition. Fedayan Khalq Majority admitted mistakes and the Tudeh Party admitted mistakes. Nevertheless, as soon as Khatami’s banner is raised, we see that the same old composition gathers around the same old establishment. This is a huge political reality, and a huge movement. This is a force, as I pointed out in my discussion of the political situation, as old as the Islamic Republic itself. I doubt if the nationalist Islamic movement, part due to opposition and part active out of the president’s office in the Information Ministry, is capable of reinventing itself as a significant publicly supported political entity in the event of collapse of the Islamic Republic. With repression in the Islamic Republic the “reformists” who promise to reform the unbearable phenomenon would still have a case. Should the phenomenon be taken down the “reformists” need to verifiably manifest their agenda. And if they do, as Hamid Taghvaie[11] put it, they may not again promise us the past. The past will not be accepted from them. It is the 21st century. The world is now truly a “world village.” People are capable of seeing the whole world. People will not put up with the past. In the same way that the rule of Dalai Lama finds no takers in remotest of villages in Tibet, a government based on Khomeinie- Mossadegh type coalition is also no longer acceptable. Our people are asking for change. It is now a simple matter to be aware of the happenings in Paris and London, in Italy, in Spain, and in America. People cannot be blindfolded. People cannot be asked not to desire. They say that people’s expectations should be lowered. Perhaps it is possible to keep people’s expectations down, but once raised it could not be lowered. It therefore follows that expectations exist, and the society is necessarily going to turn over.

The 2nd of Khordad movement[12], and the reformist movement are meaningless without the Islamic Republic, and so is “stop the violence!” slogan. Has the process not already identified the Islamic Republic itself with acts of “violence"? I too support a non-violent transfer of political power from this regime to people, the freedom of political parties and press, and not just for cousins and son in laws of Mr. Khomeinie. The opposition claims that newspapers have been shut down, as though these were free before the shutdown. For one thing we know that our paper has always been outlawed and its possession made illegal to the extent that the possession alone could get somebody killed. At one point our members were told that whatever turning up in a pocket search, let alone Weekly International[13], might be fatal. The argument being that if we distributed our paper the deadly charge of Israeli spy was waiting for us. This is not only the position of Khameneie[14], but also that of some people in the so-called opposition like Fariborz Raees Dana[15]. They know exactly what they are doing: Propping up this government to save their influence. The juniors cannot receive favors unless their seniors are in power. Meanwhile cost of having the opposition cannot be covered without tapping into people’s resources.

However, the amusement would last only as much as the Islamic Republic itself. Clearly, their analysis is that the Islamic Republic is going to stay, and ours is that it is not. If not, then we should be looking up to forces external to this paradigm that tend to influence the ensuing crisis. In early days, some comrades thought that we attached too much significance to nationalists and pro-western opinion. Particularly, the monarchists. I do not believe that monarchy is capable of staging a comeback in Iran. It is impossible to again install a Shah in this country. But, this is not really about the monarchists, it is about the pro-western rightists. We have to think what model of government the West and the United States, coalition of forces that invaded Yugoslavia and Iraq, are contemplating for Iran? The United States and the West will not be looking for the likes of Mr. Mohajerani[16], or Khatami if the demise of the Islamic Republic offers them a chance to support a different political force. They will support those capable of turning Iran into a base for the West in the region. These will be made of the pro-western forces, remnants of the old regime, and a large section of the current republicans. Constitutionalists and republicans do not have a fundamental difference. Are they not both adherents to Mossadegh’s principles? Mossadegh himself was a royalist, not a republican. The character of the royalist movement and its historical leadership allows them to double up as leaders of the republican movement. A good deal of the republicans and those now with the 2nd of Khordad movement will be signing on. Have no doubt that a large segment of “non-conformist” ex-populist intelligentsia, those who were uncompromising Maoists or supporters of Envar Xojeh and used to cry long live Stalin or even Brezsneve and Khrochkopf and so on, when we were communists, would constitute the future clientele of a right wing pro-western government in Iran. In reality, the bourgeois will be seeking a viable force capable of keeping it in power. And, there exists such a force. We are now in the era of technology, technology and capital transfer, and globalization of the capital. Even Somalis will have difficulty keeping to their own tribal government structure. There is a need for them to understand how to deal with the World Bank and the international barter system, or whether they should be signatories to the copyright laws. Would they want to engage in the worldwide satellite network? Should they buy into modern technology or not? Should they listen to the United Nations directives in case of war with a neighbor? The Iranian bourgeois wishes to create such a government and the existing 2nd of Khordad movement are not a natural surrogate for such a capitalist government. The 2nd of Khordad movement, including the “Khatami by-passers,” is still hopeful for a reformed Islamic Republic. Outside of that phenomenon, however, there are two other movements that wish to see the departure of the Islamic Republic, and interestingly those are the two opposing social poles. The left, and the right.

Every society has the left and right spectrum, and in every crisis the left and right get to pose against each other. In 1979 the right of the traditional nationalist Islamic bourgeoisie battled with the left wing of the same traditional movement. The working class looked on trying to understand the ongoing exchange between the right and left wings of the Iranian traditional opposition who aspired to create independent nationalist-populist capitalism. The two sides were in political and ideological battle. They even killed each other. But, these were the left and right of the same class. It could be that this time the left and right take on their true class meaning. Different classes. The bourgeoisie backs the right, and the proletariat backs the left. It is practical. This time, communism could be a possible option. It could become a significant political element.

Comrades! This opportunity is now in the making. Time and again we have stated that our methodology includes no fatalism. Our party, and our movement never adopted the mantra that “victory of communism is inevitable.” We always based the future on practices of the living. We always stated that humans do not achieve if they do not wish, and their goals would not be realized if they do not act. Therefore, we could say that a specific vista of opportunity for political action has now been opened. Just as in other occasions, we have the usual choice of letting others squander this opportunity. Or, we could participate in action. Because we are that alternative opposite pole. The society adores and glorifies its left even when in reality the left is miniscule. The Fedayan Khalq guerillas are the case in point. They were in organizational disarray when [during the 1979 revolution] let out of prisons. Nevertheless, on one occasion alone they were received by hundreds of thousands. Without towing their line I too was one of many who greeted them. I was asking people why not offer guns to Fedais rather than Mojahids[17]. After all they were the leftists, not mullahs. The society glorifies its left because capitalist society has a need for them. There is need for justice, because enmities of the social classes are over the wealth, over the right to live, and over the profits and wages. The left is building up, and I think if today you asked anyone, as long as it’s not one of those silly types who in their low-circulation paper declare “WCP is a non entity,” they will tell you that WCP constitutes a serious threat since it is capable of mobilizing the left. I have noted that we have destroyed bridges behind us. If we all were to abandon our activities today, parts of the society in need of communism would reconstitute a worker communist party from scratch; Complete with new leaders, and new cadre, straight visa-vise the bourgeoisie. It is compelled to. No society commits suicide, no society surrenders without resistance. We are the banner of resistance against these alternatives. I think what is hugely different between now and 23 years ago is the WCP. Other parts of the equation have remained almost the same as before. A reactionary, underdeveloped bourgeoisie regime that is no longer able to govern, a people who initiated a struggle but desire struggle no more. The traditional parties that try to have power bases like the SAVAK[18] and the army all transferred as-is, as though wishing that a Mr. Howitzer[19] shows up and hands over all this to their next guy. And, people who voice their disapproval while contemplating an uprising. It’s all as before to this point. It is a capitalist society and the workers will have to be present in the field. What is different this time is that we have the WCP as a symbol of the left. For the first time this is the most popular radical, credible, and best-known kind of communism in Iran. We did have this brand of communism in ten to twenty-strong groups back during the 1979 revolution, but then Fedayan Khalq was the town and country’s communists. The Tudeh party was not recognized as a communist party. If you claimed to be a communist, that prompted people to think of Fedayan Khalq or the Paykar group[20]. Today, however, communism in Iran is identified with the WCP. This is the fundamental difference, and we are not just a number of social assemblies. This is an organization that has, for twenty-some years, pored over how to think, how to express points, what to demand, how bold to grow, what hurdles to jump, what to take serious, and what to brush aside. We are those people who for twenty some years have been preparing ourselves for this moment. We are those people who have jumped many hurdles. This party is the product of a protracted battle with the national bourgeoisie and a survivor of an historic massacre of the left by the right in the Iranian society. This party is product of a long drawn military conflict with the Kurdistan Democratic Party[21]. This party is product of the greatest intellectual challenge that Iran’s Marxist traditions have seen, and from which it has emerged victorious. We are the product of our planning tradition and demanding attitude. Contrast our programs with the spur of the moment claims that the left used to make. Note the areas in which the WCP has stated its viewpoints, and the promises that it has made. This is a party with a deliberate charter and the knowledge of whom they are to fight, whom to get along with, dangers threatening it, and the hopes it is holding. This is very different from the bunch of leftists who were released from Shah’s prisons to join a vast popular revolt.

This party is a ready-to-act organization. It is capable of self-establishment, it could readily set itself up in towns and villages allowing people in and providing people with a venue for struggle. That is the fundamental difference with the past. But, does it mean that our victory is inevitable? Not at all! In my opinion our chances of seizing the power is extraordinarily slim. And, for that reason we carry an extraordinary burden of duty. Had it been easy we wouldn’t have been called to task. There would have been no need for all this if the tasks were so simple and automatic. Every single one of you should be looking at a strenuous period ahead, precisely because the work is hard, the circumstances are dangerous, we are being barred, and because our chances are limited. In order to have a breakthrough the party must carry out important missions. However, it will be an amazing phenomenon if we succeed. Our victory will be an amazing phenomenon. I do not define victory in absolute terms: “seize the power, or perish"! Not at all! The WCP could grow strong enough so that for a while a dual power structure may exist in Iran. The WCP is able to grow so strong that the right, even in government, could not match its power, so that the worker’s movement routs them out. The WCP could grow strong enough to guard its advancements under its own power as well as putting up decade-long effort for consolidation of worker power. The WCP could acquire part, or all of the power. The WCP could do so much as to put the Iranian worker’s movement and worker’s socialism on the political map of Iran. It might take 15 years to consolidate worker power. All these are probabilities, but seeking to become a power is what to do. And today that is our agenda. The opportunity could be lost. In an International Weekly interview about the party congress I said that this opportunity could be simply lost, and I personally think there is a high probability of that. We have a rich history of lost opportunities. I am not optimistic. But, the excitement is all about that new little light at the end of the tunnel. Until now even that light wasn’t there. For the first time a small chance is there for us to perform a grand job.

We might lose the opportunity. Even then we would still count as honest people. Having come and gone honest. Nobody could deny that for over twenty years we represented social justice and human freedom in that society. We represented the quest for eradication of alienation, superstition, and ignorance in a country. Nobody could deny that we were the first to demand unconditional freedom for the people, or defended the people right to absolute equality. They cannot deny us that. But, we have to accept that there is more to the world than that. Real change in the life of real people over a sufficient length of time, and to a sufficient extent. With a great deal of effort, we could realize this; That is if we do the Herculean work. This will not be happening in Tibet. This is not an event in some Arab Emirate. This is a country with 60 million people in a determining strategic position in the Middle East, and a permanent impression on thoughts and conscience of the Western Europe. This is a very important country for the western world in terms its effects on geopolitics and international politics. It is more important than Argentina, more important than Chile, and more important than Brazil. This turnover in Iran could recast viewpoints about the Middle East problem. The Middle East will turn over. North Africa will turn over, and the question of ethnic minorities and Moslems in Europe will be transformed.

An Iranian victory resurrects the issue of communism. The cover page of Times and Newsweek will ask if Lenin is going to return? We correctly predicted change in our last congress. This time we are in for a dramatic change. You will be compared with Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky. They will indeed be facing the question of the revival of communism. Will the world once again face Lenin’s challenge? These are all probable. A powerful communist movement in Iran puts communism back on the world map. Puts communism back in college curriculum. Puts communism back into sounds of music, and in poetry. Books of Marx will sell plenty again, and T-shirts will bear the hammer and sickle insignia (of course, if that shall be our insignia), the event we so much have talked about, the revival of communism all over the world by a victorious communist party, could occur. It is possible. It is hard and improbable, but possible.

What shall we do? Comrades, I would only say a few words! In the last two to three years, the two themes of party and power, and party and society constituted the framework in which we have conducted our debates. The debates indicate that we have not created this party to court each other or relive nostalgic pressures. The party was formed to create awareness and provide help for social change. A party incapable of providing social representation, social organization, and social agitation is not much of a political party. It could be anything, even a good thing deserving of Nobel Prize, but it isn’t a political party. Our discussion of party and society is discussion of the genesis of communism as a political party. We need to become a political party. A stronger Marxist framework should enable us to become a more popular organization. A more experienced leadership and cadre should enable us to unite more of the inexperienced individuals. The more and better we agitate, write, and publish our viewpoints, the more we help deliver the illiterate, shy, and the less candid individuals to the struggle. This is our situation. We need to do it. We need to erect a political party. The arguments of party and society are the same as arguing for construction of a political party. Going from pressure group to a political party. This is in our agenda given the next 6-7 months. In these few months we have to go after reinforcing the party. Let Iran hear the thunder of the ascent of the worker’s communism and, let them know that the WCP is here to stay and fight.

About political power: we have already shattered that taboo, but the critiques allege that we are after political power! Wasn’t Darius Furohar[22]? Isn’t Darius Homayoon[23]? Isn’t Massoud Rajavi[24]? Isn’t Sun Su Chi in Burma? Aren’t the British liberals, the conservatives, and the social democrats? Aren’t all those humans strive to change something? Why not communists? Political power defines a passage from interpreting the world to modifying it. The whole Marxist theory is the articulation of this rather obvious point that there are fixture governments guarding the status quo and preventing the world from changing. It is futile to attempt a partial change while such power structures remain untouched. In arguments regarding power we shall not disclaim our quest for power.

There are those amongst the so-called leftists that accuse us of exaggerating, of lying, and of being egoistic? But they are committing an interesting methodological mistake. They are comparing us with the post-victory Bolshevik party. Please compare us to Bolsheviks before the victory. The Bolsheviks of the 1914, 1915, or even the 1916! How is the Bolshevik’s power comparable with us? Where on Russian map were the Bolsheviks then located? In comparison to Bolshevik party prior to the defeat of the tsarists, prior to the February 1917, we are a more objective, society-oriented, forthcoming, and robust entity. We may be defeated and never gain such prominence in history. But, this is how we fare for the moment: Battle hardened, dedicated, full-time cadre given to political struggle, partisan forces who are working with the people of Marivan[25] right under the nose of the Islamic Republic. The party whose radio broadcasts provide cues for hundreds of thousands, or perhaps millions of people, the party whose denunciation is interpreted, by the entire bourgeoisie, as an exoneration from revolution. When chastised by the Islamic Republic for “mischief” in the Berlin conference[26], one of the detainees exclaimed “death to the Worker Communist Party"! Statement from a pathetic human being I believe, just in order to avoid detention and beating, just in order to be left alone. He could have been imprisoned for standing his ground. In truth they were not really after him, and he would have been released. Meanwhile, this would have been well publicized, and the world would have protested his detention. But, it’s the WCP he decides to denounce. This implies that the extent to which one is being a pacifist protester, being law abiding, being prepared to compromise, and being a reformist are all defined by the ill will and animosity that one shows toward the WCP in speeches, publications, and the media. The pro-Khameneie wing to be sure, this is also true of others ranging from the 2nd of Khordad movement supporters, to the information ministry, to Kurdistan governor. The man who claims to be a poet is cursing us; Instead of attending his trade. If asked not to, his few supporters cry out why an innocent gentleman is being assaulted. Well, he is a poet except that in prose he tends to vilify us!

Let me emphasize this one point. The WCP is the country’s hope for any peaceful transition. The WCP is the only way for the people of Iran to achieve prosperity without hardship and through peaceful, humane coexistence. Others in the running, who claim non-violence and coexistence, are going to take the country to the brink of a grim scenario. Taking us to the brink of war. People will take up arms against movements that intend to keep mullahs in power. Do they imagine it is possible to silence women by dispensing a few rights? Do they believe it is possible to relieve the suppression just a notch? They may not. The country is on the verge of exploding. Only a process that is determined to do people’s agenda would bring peace, tranquility, and real social change without violence. And that is ours. People will not tolerate the present situation. Our process does not believe in capital punishment and starting now I believe any mullah in their right mind should vouch for us (Audience applause). Ours is a process that recognizes everybody’s right to free expression and the opposition’s right to speak up. This is a process that would call on monarchists and supporters of Islamic fascism to erect parties of their own. This is a process that will not build up a secret police, and will not allow anybody walk the streets with concealed weapon. If you are in the law enforcement, you will be uniformed. Our process states that you cannot detain a human being more than 24 hours without a charge and appropriate due process. In our process demonstrations and public protests, for whatever reason, would be an indisputable right of the people. This is a process without sanctities. People would be free to ill-speak of people and objects without drawing any backlash, arrest warrant, commotion, or Fatwas[27]. Even if I were to ill-speak of God, no one will have the right to issue Fatwas.

This is the process that is going to deliver freedom, this is the process that is capable of defending freedom, and this is the process that knows freedom is derived from the political power of a social class with vested interest in and the ability to defend freedom, not from half-cooked speeches about good intentions. It is decreed, “Let us all learn how to practice becoming good democrats"! Where in the world freedom is so delivered? People have been freed only where a revolutionary party, or a revolutionary class has seized power and shut down the church and the monarchy. “Practicing democracy"! Suppose I did practice democracy a lot until just about done, but I fell ill and died. Should the next person begin practicing democracy from scratch? Freedom is an objective matter, which we shall seize and protect, and only those with vested interest are capable of doing this. Those who tell the truth see their benefit in freedom. Those who determine allegiances first by sharing their real intents with people and go for council voting later. Let’s allow people to speak up rather than have them represented by a bogus parliament; I am really surprised as to how anyone claims to be a liberal and yet call Jamila Kedivar[28] a representative of the people. In which election? Who were the candidates? At what level of campaign freedom? In this country [the United Kingdom] elections might be declared rigged if candidates claimed they had a few seconds less TV time than their rivals. In the dictionary of our reformists, however, Jamila Kedivar is a representative of the people! They wouldn’t even let Reformists participate. Could reformists be candidates? Did they allow reformist newspapers? Did they let reformists get their word out? In some election they pull their own friend’s names out of the ballot box and, ironically, those who were barred from the election call the “elected” man representatives of the people! If North Korea were to do this a war of propaganda ensue, and the affair would be deemed unacceptable. Should Millosovich attempt this he would be threatened with prosecution. But, when Khatami commits the act, he is hailed as a lovely mullah! Charming! Liberal! He played election and pulled cousins out the ballot box!

If people are after a benign, humane scenario for social change they must come along with us. The terms reformist bourgeoisie, good-hearted bourgeoisie, or civilized bourgeoisie, make no sense because their civility is as deep as their pockets, and without profits they go for the gun. With our state of technology and an economy incapable of market competition, even with the cheap labor, you cannot have a bourgeois government in Iran claim they will allow labor unions. Allowing unions would result in falling profits and a coup-d’etat that will follow. We are recognizant of this end game. There exists no “progressive national bourgeoisie.” This is our twenty-five year old statement. Only the workers, and only communism, are capable of delivering prosperity, welfare, peace, tranquility, and civility.

Would they let us have our way if we succeed? Would NATO allow that? Would the West allow that? Will they not refrain from bloodying a vast human movement? I believe we are up to meeting the threat without war. If we seize power, we will open the doors and let the political process be so transparent that no one could conspire against the country. Not only the world media, but also every world citizen will be invited to come in and see for themselves. We will put up no Iron Curtain around the country. Nobody will be gagged. Let them talk and report. Let them spy. Any passerby would be eligible to vote in our elections, and speak their mind in our people’s assembly. You may view the gathering here as a model. It will not be possible to silence this country. This will be no Iraq, or Serbia. Its free country, here the civilization has won, here the humanity has won. Progressive humanity in Europe and America will rise to defend it. It is certain that bourgeoisie powers will try their hands, but they will be even more paralyzed against us than they were against the Bolsheviks. At the end, they will have little choice but to admit that this is a government of the oppressed, and a government of those who seek freedom.

Comrades, the speech was too lengthy. This resolution is nothing more than a summons. A summons to understand the gravity of the situation, and that puts a heavy burden of duty on your shoulders, much heavier than you might think. I believe this puts to test your unison, your energy, your sharp senses, and your communism. This congress must go out there and execute this program. Defeat is possible, and not improbable, but the specter of return to suppression is equally bleak. But, certainly, we will not simply surrender our achievements. This movement is duty bound, and is indebted to the history of communism, indebted to the world’s working class, indebted to Iranian workers, indebted to all peoples, indebted to each Iranian newborn, and must do its best, for otherwise there will be a fresh round of treachery and compromising of people’s fate. At any rate, I hope that the congress is aware of this critical moment.

[] Text inside square brackets is translator’s comments.


1. The Constitutional Revolution

Iran’s constitutional revolution of 1906-1907. The popular democratic movement was inspired by increasing Iranian contacts with the European bourgeois, and the Russian democratic movement. The Iranian middle class intellectuals, and progressive tradesmen and clerics spearheaded the movement and managed to reduce the Shah’s power temporarily by establishing a parliament (Majlis). However, The constitutional movement faced formidable challenges from the Persian royal court, feudals, reactionary clerics, and the British and Russian colonial power in Asia and Middle East. The revolutionaries succeeded in dethroning of Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar in 1909 and reconvening of the Majlis through 1921 when the movement was effectively curtailed and subdued by Reza Shah Pahlavi. Thereafter until the 1979 revolution, people viewed Majlis, the most important symbol of the constitutional revolution, as no more than a political rubber stamp primarily for the aristocracy and their foreign benefactors.

2. Tudeh Party of Iran

Announced it’s founding in September 1941 under Soleiman Eskandari. The party was based on the experiences and struggles of the Iranian social democratic and communist movements formally going back to around 1904; the Communist Party of Iran founded in 1920 had been outlawed by Reza Shah in 1929. Tudeh Party of Iran existed overtly in the Iranian political scene in the periods 1942-1953 during the rein of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, and 1979-1981 in the early days of the Islamic Republic. After each period the members where harshly persecuted, exiled, or were forced underground within Iran.

3. Iranian National Front

Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh and his political allies founded the Iranian National Front in 1949. Under Mossadegh’s leadership the party came to power and attempted to nationalize the Iranian oil industry, which was at the time exclusively in the hands of British Petroleum Company under a long-term agreement signed with Reza Shah Pahlavi. Implementation of the Nationalization of Oil Industry Act of 1952 put the popular prime minister in direct conflict with the British government and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi who for all practical purposes had sided with British interests. After a year of dramatic internal conflicts, unstable internal coalitions, and British conspiracies, eventually in August 1953 a CIA backed quo d’etat ousted Mossadegh from power and reinstated the Shah. The National Front was allowed less and less free expression and overt activity under the Shah who had tried Mossadegh in a military court and kept him under house arrest until his death in 1967. The party was all but an underground resistance movement just before the 1979 revolution. At this point the Shah tried unsuccessfully to exploit the party’s popular image and aging leaders to save the monarchy from collapse. In the first couple of years of the Islamic Republic, National Front appeared to be in good harmony with Khomeini’s ideals. However, not unlike the Tudeh Party, the harmony came to an abrupt end around 1983 when the clergy tightened its despotic grip on the country’s institutions.

4. Dr. Muhammad Mossadegh 1882-1967, see Iranian National Front.

5. Fedayan Islam

6. Fedayan Khalq Organization

7. Mehdi Bazargan

8. Kianoori

9. Fedayan Khalq Majority Faction

10. Ranjbaran Party

11. Hamid Taghvaie – A member of the WCP executive committee.

12. The 2nd of Khordad movement

Also known as ‘the reform movement’, or ‘civil movement’, came to fore when a reformist bourgeoisie movement mobilized popular support for the presidential election of the moderate cleric Mohammad Khatami in June (month of Khordad in the Persian calendar) 1997. The 2nd Khordad movement aspires to reform the Islamic Republic from within through legislation in the Islamic Parliament. The same movement also elected a large number MP’s to carry out the goals of the movement. The movement, however, was rapidly stymied as the so-called hard-liner clerics headed by the supreme leader Ali Khameniei refused to chime in. The latter controls the judiciary and executive braches of the government in the Islamic Republic. Under conditions of mass unrest and disillusionment, Khatami was re-elected president a second term, as neither the movement, nor the hard-liners saw an alternative solution to their problems.

13. Weekly International – The main organ of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran.

14. Khameneie

Ayatollah Ali Khameneie, the second Faghih (supreme religious leader) in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

15. Fariborz Raees Dana

A professor of economics at Tehran University, and one of the leaders of the 2nd of Khordad movement.

16. Mohajerani

17. Mojahedin e-Khalq Organization


Acronym for the Persian name of the ‘Security and Intelligence Organization of Iran’. The notorious secret police bureau was founded with assistance of the United States and Israel first under General Taymoor Bakhtiar in 1957 primarily for the purpose of preventing a popular, or communist uprising in Iran. SAVAK became increasingly a tool for the Shah’s personal whims, and execution of his wishes against perceived enemies. In turn, high-ranking SAVAK administrators kept the Shah happy in his cocoon. At its peak SAVAK had 15000 officers in addition to its thousands of part-timers and informants. SAVAK was violently disbanded in the 1979 revolution loosing 61 of its 248 high-ranking officers to revolutionary executions. A similar organization, VEVEK, now serves the ruling clergy of the Islamic Republic.

19. General Howitzer

20. Paykar Group

21. Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)

22. Darius Furohar

23. Darius Homayoon

24. Massoud Rajavi

25. Marivan

A town in Kurdistan province of Iran, bordering Iraqi Kurdistan.

26. The Berlin conference

An academic/cultural conference entitled ‘Iran after the elections’ convened by the 2nd of Khordad movement and hosted by Heinrich Boell Institute in Berlin, Germany in April 2000. The movement hoped that the conference wins Western, and exiles support for the reformist movement in the Islamic Republic in general, and president Mohammad Khatami in particular. The conveners had a hard time with Iranian dissidents from all over Europe and clashed with WPI supporters in Berlin. Upon return to Iran the hard line clerics who did not like the outcome arrested and prosecuted a number of the organizers charging them, amongst other things, with ‘endangerment of the national security’, and ‘corruption on earth’!

27. Fatwa

Religious edict issued by credible, high ranking Moslem clergy (the jurist). The two historic Fatwas issued in recent Iranian history were those of the Tobacco Monopoly Fatwa of 1887 by Ayatollah Mirza ye Shirazi against Naserredin Shah Qajar (who had signed away the Persian tobacco trade to a British merchant), and the blasphemy Fatwa of 1989 by Ayatollah Khomeini against the Indian-born British writer Salman Rushdie.

28. Jamila Kedivar

A female member of the Islamic Majlis, elected from Tehran.