Statement of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Iran on the occasion of May Day International Workers’ Day
Iranian workers this year are going to mark May Day, their class and international solidary day in an atmosphere that is full of elections hype and propaganda by the Islamic Republic of Iran ahead of the sham presidential election and the City and Village Councils Elections which are held simultaneously on May 19. The regime appear to be in a more chaotic situation than ever. After the Iran-Iraq war and the massacre of political prisoners and the implementation of austerity programs by Rafsanjani, none of Iranian presidents has been able to create the slightest improvement in the living and working conditions of the Iranian people; neither reformist Khatami who came with the slogans of employment, political development and dialogue among civilizations, nor fundamentalist Ahmadinejad who took office by promising to fight corruption, to curb the influence of business magnates enjoying political patronage and to bring the oil money to the table of the poor people; nor moderate Rouhani who was supposed to make people’s life easier through the "heroic compromise" with the West.
During Rouhani’s term, poverty and unemployment have taken tragic dimensions. The number of executions have witnessed a thirty percent increase compared to Ahmadinejad’s time; more activists have been arrested; about ten million households in Iran are stuck with the problem of addiction; a world record death due to work accidents and unsafe roads; air pollution that has reached a critical point in Tehran, Ahvaz and other major Iranian cities and Transparency International’s latest assessments which has ranked the Islamic regime as one of the most corrupt regimes in the world. It is with this record that in the upcoming elections Rouhani is going to be the main rival of the other presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi, one of the perpetrators of 1980s executions and one of the officials in the regime’s anti-human judiciary. In fact, none of the governing factions with their criminal records have any plan out of the current catastrophic situation. The leadership of Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Khamenei are aware of the fact that Iranian people have tested all the governmental factions and it is with this knowledge that they have been rushing to engineer the elections sham and try to bring people to the polls.
Iranian workers not only have not given in to this situation, but have given new dimensions to their fights. Wide protests against unpaid salaries, against successive layoffs, against low wages and unsafe work conditions are only few examples of workers’ struggles for better working and living conditions. Rouhani, in order to encourage local and international investors, modified the already anti-union labor laws more in favor of investors to leave workers with no legal means to pursue their rights and passed a salary rate that is four times below the poverty line. But neither these efforts nor the oppressions against the protesting workers or the arrest and lashing of the labor activists in the public have been able to stop the growing labor protests and demonstrations in Iran.
The objective situation of the labor movement and the frustration of the Islamic regime in the face of the demands of the working class has widened the prospect of the emergence of the labor movement in Iranian society. Activists and leading communists in the labor movement need to actively participate in the current struggles and in this way prepare themselves for any future upheavals by the working class. In the absence of this preparation and in the absence of the hegemony of the revolutionary and socialist alternative there is the concern that the working class will fail to lead the future political developments and the capitalist class will continue their rule in new forms, with new political arrangements and through imposing more difficult conditions on the society and the working class.
Socialist activists in the labor movement need to provide a clear roadmap and vision that both meet the immediate needs and objectives of the current practical and political struggle of the workers and at the same time help the advancement of the class movement in line with socialist policies.
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 workers’ scattered struggles. Expanding these struggles and protests are the real ways to pave the grounds and help form workers’ class and mass organizations. If socialist activists in the labor movement can take active part and show clear and effective advancement roadmaps for these struggles, they will be also able to convince more labor activists about the necessity to organize in a communist party. The discussions around workers organizing in a political party should be based on the fundamental principles of a socialist strategy that sees social revolution and organization of a socialist economy as the task of the working class.
Iranian workers in their resolutions for May Day should reject the minimum wages set by regime’s Supreme Labor Council and demand a wage increase that can afford them a human life. The workers also need to declare that the basis for determining wages in not poverty line but workers’ welfare line. Workers should also insist on their demand for immediate and unconditional release of all imprisoned labor activists, 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.
It is also necessary that workers on Workers’ Day declare in a loud voice that since none of the economic and political demands of Iranian workers and oppressed people for which they have been fighting for years will be met by any of political factions within the regime, they will not participate in the regime’s elections sham. Going to the polls practically means becoming a reserve for the discords and tensions among the factions of government over how to ensure capitalists’ benefits and how to ensure the survival of the regime and will not do any good for the workers at all. In a continuation to the great scenes of their just struggles, workers can gain better position to continue their fight by not going to the polls, not by choosing between bad and worse.
Since the reformists and moderates nesting in anti-labor institutions such as Khane Kargar (Workers’ House), Islamic councils and other trade associations will try to hold formal gatherings on May Day as an opportunity to hunt for more votes and mislead workers, it is important to boycott all the state-held gatherings and activities on this day.
The Communist Party of Iran hails workers’ glorious protests as well as 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. The Communist Party of Iran also calls up on all women's rights activists, fighting teachers, children's rights activists, environmental activists and all fighting people of the society to support workers struggles by participating in their gatherings and activities on May Day.
Down with the Islamic Republic of Iran!
Long Live Freedom, Equality and Workers’ State!
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Iran