It has been nine months since President Hassan Rouhani took office in Iran. His government took over by promising that he would save the Iranian economy from collapsing and will improve workers' and people's living and employment conditions by reaching a deal with the US and other western powers. Contrary to this promise, his government in practice showed that not only it doesn't have any program for improving the living conditions for the workers and the toiling people, but by stepping up the exlpoitation of the working class and promising a cheap labor force at internal and international forums, the government has been seeking to persuade both local and international capitalists to invest in the country and make huge profits.
While government officials themselves repeatedly talk of unemployment tsunami, the layoff policy continues being carried out more intensively than ever. Record high prices, hyperinflation and collapse in workers' purchasing power have caused more working class families to fall under the poverty line. Though according to officials' own words, the minimum monthly cost of a household of four is something around two million Tomans, the government has set 608 thousand Tomans as the minimum monthly wage, which is more than three times lower than the poverty line. This in fact shows the extent of government's hostility against the workers and their interests.
Besides these practical policies and the blatant violation of worker's rights, the 2014 budget plan, which is preparing the ground for more neolibral programs, shows that hoping for an improvement in workers' living condictions under Rouhani's administration is nothing but an illusion.
The continuing economic pressures and the record high unemployment and poverty rates that are inflicted on the working class and other impoverished layers of the society have left workers with no other choice but to fight with the prospect of changing this situation. The expansion of workers strikes and protests at major production centers during the few past months is an indication of this reality. The Islamic Republic has learned by experience that by giving a chance to Rouhani, by compromising with the US and by giving false hope and baseless promises to the Iranian people it cannot save its regime from the nightmare of labor and mass protests; thus it is using all in its power to deal with the risk of these spreading protests.
The Islamic Republic which has been able to elude the international pressures by striking a deal with the western powers and by taking a policy parallel to the imperial policies of the US in the region, is peparing itself for a new round of confrontation with the Iranian labor movement and the danger of social uprisings. The regime is using all means to dishearten the workers and reduce their expectations to the lowest level possible by attacking their lives and their living standards. It is well aware of the role and ability of the labor activists in organizing the workers and leading their protest movement. For this reason the regime has been stepping up its policy of arrest and incarceration of labor activists in order to make them feel insecure and curb their activities. Besides arresting and condemning labor and civic activists to long sentences, the regime also deals with labor and mass protests with more brutality now.
Rouhani's government has also been given the mission to control the labor movement by deceptive practices that serve the interests of the Iranian capitalists and the survival of the regime. Rouhani's deceptively titled "Citizens' Bill of Rights", as well as the anti-labor institutions such as Khane Kargar (Workers' House), the Islamic councils and The Supreme Center of Iranian Labor Associations which are under the control of the reformist insiders and the supporters of Rouhani's government, are all means for forwarding with their class hostility against the workers and for dominating the labor movement.
Despite enemy's brutal measures and despite Islamic regime's agreement with the imperial states, the workers have shown through their daily protests and strikes that not only they are not discouraged by these attacks and violations, but they have kept alive the hope of change and the hope of overthrowing the Islamic regime in the heart of all the disadvantaged and the oppressed of the society. The workers in Iran have not been and will not be intimidated by regime's policy of oppression and prosecution of workers and labor activists. They will not give in to the fate that the Islamic Republic wants to decide for them by relying on its anti-labor institutions and centers.
With May First, International Worker's Solidarity Day coming in and organizing rallies and gatherings on this day topping the priority list of the activists and leaders in the labor movement, the communist activists in this movement need to make a realistic evaluation of the current situation and the power balance on the ground and provide the workers with a clear prospect of every phase of the developments and advancements of the labor movement.
The workers must also notice the impact of their class power on the policies and reactions of the enemy. If the anti-labor institutions belonging to the regime have been mobilizing themselves once again during Rouhani's time, this indicates that the workers not only have been keeping up their fight and have made an influence on the society through their struggles, but have also made the reactionary front to notice their power. The reason for regime's agreement with the western powers at least in the region was not only to evade the threats targerted at it by these powers, but more than that, this deal shows regime's fear and deep concern over mass uprisings by the workers and the disadvantaged layers of the society. If the atrocities of the regime's anti-riot forces against the workers who are fighting for their basic rights is an expression of regime's power of repression, it is also an expression of this reality that the hypocritical policies and actions of Rouhani's "government of moderation" have been ineffective.
The unprecedented unemployment and poverty rate that has been imposed on the Iranian workers have made inevitable the expansion of labor protests. May First is an opportunity for the leaders and activists in the labor movement to step up their efforts in order to promote workers' demands, connect their struggles throughout the country, unite the labor movement and help establish working class mass organizations.
Iranian workers on this day, relying on their past experiences, will reprobate the minimum wage set by Iran's Supreme Labor Council. They will emphasize on their demand for a wage increase sufficient for ensuring a decent life for the workers and their families as well as demand immediate release of all imprisoned labor activists, adequate unemployment insurance for those eligible to work, the dismantle of contractor comapanies, workplace safety and workers' compensation, prohibition of child labor, the right to freedom of expression, freedom of association, organization and the right to strike, release of all political prisoners, the abolishment of death penalty, separation of religion and state, an end to discrimination against women and ensuring gender equality on all areas of economic, social and political life. The workers also need to decisively bycott all the yellow and state events that are held by Khane Kargar, Islamic associations and councils or The Supreme Center of Iranian Labor.
The May First preparations at the same time are an opportunity for the labor and communist activists to promote socialist consciousness among more workers. Just as any other part of the working class struggles, this day provides an environment for the communist activists and communist workers to promote workers' awareness about their emancipation, the role and responsibilities of the working class, workers' self-organization and the necessity to organize in a political communist party in order to prepare for the workers revolution, for the seize of political power and for running the society.
May First is also an expression of working class assertiveness and it is important that the activities and events of this day take place through workers' direct and conscious involvement. It is also important to emphasize on the class identity of this day and that workers show up united in city centers and during their rallies. For the Iranian working class, as it is for the world working class, May First symbolizes workers' consciousness of their emancipation from the oppression and exploitation of the capitalist system.
The Communist Party of Iran congratulates the workers and toilers around the world on this day and celebrates this day, this glorious symbol of international class solidarity.
Long Live May First, International Workers' Day!
Down With The Islamic Republic of Iran!
Long Live Freedom, Equality and Workers' State!
The Central Committee of The Communist Party of Iran