Statement of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Iran on the occasion of May Day (2016)
This year Iranian workers celebrate May Day, their own international and class solidarity day, after almost one year since the Lausanne nuclear deal and few months since the lift of economic sanctions after reaching the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Unlike the promises made by president Rouhani’s government and his supporters, who have been saying that a compromise with the US and the lift of sanctions will improve the living conditions of workers and the poor, workers have not seen any real improvement in their living conditions and on the contrary have witnessed even more cruel attacks on their lives and living standards. If during the nuclear crisis and the confrontation with the West, the working class carried the heavy burden of the sanctions, after the deal as well the Islamic regime has been continuing its attacks on workers’ lives and rights in order to attract more foreign as well as domestic investments in the production section.
Defining a minimum wage of four times below poverty line for year 2016, the plan to remove support from more than 20 million people and the continuation of privatization and layoffs are part of the stringent austerity measures that have caused more poverty and economic hardship for the low income and poor layers of the society. Another side to these policies of the Islamic regime is intensified repression, continuous arrest of labor and other social activists as well as exerting increasingly tighter grip over society. The regime is worried about social unrests and is trying by all means to eliminate any possible source of real change in the society.
Under the current circumstances, neither the government nor any of the different factions of the Iranian bourgeoisie has an immediate solution to the tragedy of unemployment and public poverty. While one faction bangs the drums of resistance economy, Rouhani’s government and parts of the Iranian bourgeoisie see the only way out of this situation in full normalization of relations with the West, in Iran’s full integration into the capitalist world system, in joining World Trade Organization and in attraction of large investments. The outcome of both these policies is the tightening of economic belts and intensification of austerity measures in the short terms and the expansion of social problems and deepening class division in the future.
The question the activists and leaders in the labor movement need to answer now and in the run-up to May Day is whether the working class will allow the Iranian capitalist system and their regime to continue their criminal and parasitic life by continuing to ruin workers’ lives.
A joint statement by the Iranian labor organizations, institutions and different groups of labor leaders and activists on the minimum wage set for 2016 and their emphasis ahead of May Day on the necessity of fighting for putting an end to the current catastrophic situation as well as their protests and struggles during the recent years show the class determination by the Iranian working class to transform this situation. These developments in the labor movement during the last two decades give a clear picture of the current shape of the labor movement and show that the class determination of the labor activists to put an end to current situation has a real ground.
Workers’ expectations during the last two three decades have gone up and these expectations cannot be met by the ruling capitalist system. The increase in labor struggles, the creation of several independent unions and institutions, the existence of a wide range of labor leaders and activists well known for the society, raising political and economic demands that reflect those of the majority of the Iranian people during May Day activities and events all show the great advance and growth of the Iranian labor movement.
The radical and socialist leaders and activists of the Iranian labor movement need to prepare themselves for answering the needs of this phase of the class struggles in the society. Only class determination and real grounds are not enough for advancing. Having a clear vision and a roadmap are vital in order to advance. At the moment, the top priority for these labor activists and labor leaders should be their active involvement in the current labor struggles and to try to connect these scattered struggles. Expanding these struggles and protests and trying to connect them are the real ways to help form workers’ class and mass organizations and this requires consistent cooperation and unity among the independent labor organizations, institutions and labor activists. Workers’ organization within a political party and more specifically their organization within a communist party has now and properly become a matter of discussion among a significant number of labor activists. In this regard it is necessary that the discussions on this important matter address all the capacities available in the Iranian labor and socialist movement. These discussions should revolve around the fundamental principles of a socialist strategy that sees social revolution and organization of a socialist economy as the task of the working class. Now that we are approaching May Day, international working class solidarity day where the top priorities of labor activists and leaders is to organize gatherings and activities for this day, it is also important to use this opportunity to address the issues that are facing the Iranian labor and socialist movement as well as the things that need to be done.
In the run-up to May Day, raising the demands of the working class, organizing workers’ fights around these demands and trying to connect these fights on a national level are vital steps for the advance of the Iranian labor movement. In the current situation and considering the united struggles by the workers and teachers for a higher pay during last year, cooperation by the teachers’ movement countrywide this year can have undeniable role in organizing even more glorious May Day rallies.
Iranian workers on this day will once again reject the minimum wages set by regime’s Supreme Labor Council and will demand a wage increase that can afford them a human life. At the same time they will insist on their demands for immediate and unconditional release of all imprisoned trade unionists, for adequate unemployment insurance, the dismantle of contractor companies, 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 and an end to discrimination against women and ensuring gender equality on all areas of economic, social and political life. Since the government and the reformists close to the government will try to use anti-labor institutions such as Khane Kargar (Workers’ House), Islamic councils and other trade associations to mislead the workers’ movement, it is important both politically and class-wise to boycott all the sham gatherings and activities held by these institutions on this day.
The Communist Party of Iran appreciates all the efforts and activities that are done ahead of international workers’ day and congratulates all the workers around the world on the occasion of May Day, the symbol of workers’ class and international solidarity.
Down with the Islamic Republic of Iran!
Long Live Freedom, Equality and Workers’ State!
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Iran