Friday, June 19, 2009

The Iranian People: “Death to the Dictatorship”

by Farshad Azadian - BASICS #14 (June / July 2009)

On Sunday, June 12th, results from the Iranian “elections” showed an overwhelming victory for Ahmadinejad. That same day in Tehran, hundreds of thousands of Iranians hit up the streets to express their opposition the election process, followed by protests in the major cities of Esfahan, Shiraz, Mashhad and Rasht among others.

Unexpectedly, the uprisings were met with fierce state repression at the hands of Basij thugs and the police. Recent reports indicate that, during the first week of protests, dozens of protestors have been killed, that universities and homes have been raided and that the Islamic regime has mobilized tanks into Tehran. The Iranian people, however, have refused to budge.

Corporate mainstream coverage of the post-election turmoil has framed the uprisings as largely resulting from people’s loyalty to Moussavi, the opposition candidate. What is often left out is that both Moussavi and Ahmadinejad are representatives of different factions of the same repressive and reactionary ruling class, and that Moussavi has a long bloody history of involvement within the ruling Islamic fascist establishment. Regardless of Moussavi’s politics, the power struggle between the two candidates has provided an outlet for opposition to the Islamic Regime as a whole, after 30 years of intense repression of women, working class people, students, and, in particular, revolutionary activists.

Of particular concern to the Iranian people is the way that imperialist countries may intervene in the current situation, taking advantage of the social unrest. For years, the West has threatened sanctions against Iran (and imposed some) and has openly displayed aggression. At the same time, much of the mainstream media has portrayed the Iranian protesters as being in support of the West, and perhaps even desiring intervention.

Instead, most Iranians are oppositional to the US and other imperialist powers, as they have not forgotten the bloody history of US and British intervention in the country. A quick look at the millions who have been murdered by the US, British and Canadian imperialist forces in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 8 years shows that this opposition to Western interference is not unwarranted.

The movement in Iran continues to grow and mature, with labour activists beginning to play a prominent role through organized walkouts, work slowdowns and statements of condemnation towards the Islamic regime. Our solidarity must lie with the radical youth, workers and women’s movements in Iran that have openly and militantly challenged the Islamic dictatorship.