Interview with Marzieh Nazeri and Abbas Mansouran, members of Central Committee and International Bureau of Communist Party of Iran
As the hundreth day of the rebellion was coming, we had a short conversation with our comrades, which also touched on the historical background of today.
The resistance, which started at the end of three quarters of the last year according to the Western calendar, turned it over to the new year as a breathless rebellion.
We tried to ask questions from which we can learn lessons, in an effort to “report a Z” of the proggress that have taken place in the months since our first interview with comrades from the Communist Party Central Committee and the International Bureau.
The answers we received to the questions we asked about the proggress of the rebellion and the revolutionary movement, and their analysis for the future, gave us further hope for the revolutionary transformation of our region, along with lessons for the year of struggle that we are about to pass the first month of.
To put it in the comrades’ own words, “Due to the spirit of the rising masses, the current movement has gone through a growing process and despite the current murderings and crimes by the Islamic capitalist regime, that you have rightly pointed out, there is no sign of a decline in it. Thousands and thousands of people accompanied by mourning, music, poetry, hymns and fighting slogans participated in the memorial ceremonies for the killed protesters in an unprecedented way in Iran as a way of continuing their struggles and determination for the continuation of the revolution.”
Moreover, we heard the sentences and the following which are written without too much enthusiasm as a “Vamos Bien” with the temperament of our geography about ‘efforts to bring the left and socialist forces closer, regarding the proggress of left, socialist, revolutionary forces’: “Since 2018, there have been six leftist and communist currents, including the Communist Party of Iran, which have come together in a council named the Left and Communist Forces Cooperation Council. Also two weeks ago, a call was given by the Communist Party of Iran and the Labor-Hekmatist Communist Party to form a left and socialist bloc in Kurdistan in order to bring the dispersed leftist and communist individuals”.
Finally, the following answer, which was given without going through the whole interview, should be remembered as our reality today, and should be heard: “Pro-Western opposition is only seeking regime change and not a revolutionary overthrowing, meaning wanting to transfer power from one capitalist political power to another. In the current situation, the prospect of the collapse of the regime as a result of the advance of the movement and the overthrow of the political rule of capital seems probable. We can consider the ongoing situation as a class struggle in Iran. The entry of the working class into a nationwide general strike and leading the movement and labor and socialist movement joining together is not a dream and it can come true.”
1. The wave of rebellion that started after the murder of Mahsa Jina Amini completed its third month. Women in particular, but also high school students, university students, workers, shopkeepers, all segments of society became a part of the rebellion and resistance during this wave of rebellion and resistance that has gripped the whole country from Iran’s Kurdistan, Khuzestan, Balochistan to Azerbaijan. The Jin Jiyan Azadi slogan has become the common slogan of all Iranian people in all languages. In addition, slogans such as “death to the mullahs” and “death to the dictator” began to come to the fore. Despite all the pressures, the rape, torture, massacres, and latest the executions of the Iranian state, the reactions and resistance continued to increase. Can you comment on the current condition of the resistance that is completing its 3rd months, by also emphasizing the prominent, advancing and declining aspects of the resistance by emphasizing it?
Before we discuss the prominent aspects, progress or decline of resistance and the current conditions of the revolutionary movement on its 100th day, it is necessary to pay attention to two central slogans that you have mentioned too: “women, life, freedom” and “down with the dictator!” We believe that woman, life, freedom is a response to a historical demand that goes back to captivity, slavery and historical oppression of women. With the classification of human societies, women were the first human group to be exploited and slaves who were subjected to the double oppression of class and patriarchal relationship. Women were treated as goods and means of production and not as human beings, and this slavery has continued from the era of ancient slavery until now in modern capitalist relations. Life also depends on the freedom of women and society, and freedom in the true sense is freedom from any class oppression. Without the abolition of the capitalist commodity relations and the abolition of private ownership of the means of production, the freedom and liberation of society and women from double oppression is impossible. With this attitude, woman, life, freedom is not a slogan, but a manifesto of human society and has a philosophical foundation and expresses a historical desire. The sloagan “death to dictator!” although refers to the ruler’s dictatorship, but it only refers to the superstructure of the oppressive relations of the ruler. Though it is not the dictatorship that has created the current situation, but it is the special relations in the peripheral capitalist countries that resort to the dictatorship to protect the capitalist relationship. This slogan is not a radical slogan, because it does not deal with the root of the current conditions and the Islamic rule of capitalism, but criticizes the form of dictatorship and its superstructure. This slogan can create an illusion in the minds as if the problems of the society will be solved with the death of the dictator. In fact tyranny roots from the nature of capitalist relations and ideological tyranny is specific to countries like Iran and Turkey and other peripheral countries that form the double absolutism. Without double absolitism it is impossible to manage capitalist relations in peripheral countries. This slogan indirectly confirms parliamentarism and bourgeois civil society, that is, it forgets the inherent tyranny of capitalism.
In the political revolution of 1978, such slogans were common and had harmful consequences under more than such 43 bloody years. Of course, the socialist movement and leading workers and progressive students raise many class slogans such as “bread, work, freedom, council self-management!”, “Poverty, corruption, high prices; We won’t stop until we overthrow this regime!”, “Freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom!”, “Death to the whole system!” and so on. Due to the spirit of the rising masses, the current movement has gone through a growing process and despite the current murderings and crimes by the Islamic capitalist regime, that you have rightly pointed out, there is no sign of a decline in it. Thousands and thousands of people accompanied by mourning, music, poetry, hymns and fighting slogans participated in the memorial ceremonies for the killed protesters in an unprecedented way in Iran as a way of continuing their struggles and determination for the continuation of the revolution. In these ceremonies on the graveyards, religion and conventional religious traditions have the least presence and role, and this has been almost unprecedented in the historical struggles of Iran. In these ceremonies, a strong and irreversible will can be seen in the current movement. Day and night, in every region of the ccountry, the will and the presence of the protesting and brave people are imposed on the repressive forces of the capitalist Islamic regime. The struggle continues day and night without wavering. New tactics are created and the government is in trouble and in a paralaysed situation.
2. We observe an almost irreversible transformation in the actions. However, we see that the movement, which has started to find its social reflections -the headscarf ban is no longer recognized in practice, the social legitimacy of the mullahs is being questioned and the veil of fear is torn, etc.- has not yet been able to find a politically leading group. From the beginning of the resistance to the present, do the efforts of the revolutionaries in this direction find more response among all social segments, especially workers, youth and women? How do you see the development of organization among revolutionaries and communists?
Compared to the first days of the current movement, the slogans have become more radical and taken on a class color; the organization of the neighborhood committees in urban areas, universities, among high school students, nationwide and especially labor strikes in the last month among oil, gas and petrochemical workers, iron and steel smelting and automobile industries, etc, the women’s committees, solidarities between Kurdistan, Baluchistan and Azerbaijan and all regions of Iran, are all manifestation of the progressive current struggl, its increasing radicalization, role of class, and the role of leftist and socialist forces in this era. Bourgeois forces, including monarchists, reformists, and the bourgeois opposition in general, are trying to confiscate the revolutionary movement . Inside Iran, however, these forces do not have much influence. It can be said that the leadership of the movement in Iran is collective, neighborhood oriented and regional, and individual leadership is not acceptable in common. In order to impose its leadership and ride the wave of this movement, the bourgeoisie is crying out about the lack of leadership in order to impose its individual leadership on the movement. Most of all, the People’s Mojahedin, especially by ignoring the slogan of “women, life, freedom” came to a standstill and revealed its nature, because the beliefs and reactionary nature of this sectarist reactionary group could not be compatible with women and freedom. The leader and women of this sect did not even agree to move back a millimeter of their religious hijab in support of removing, throwing and burning the compulsory hijab by Iranian women.
Efforts are underway to bring the left and socialist forces closer together. Since 2018, there have been six leftist and communist currents, including the Communist Party of Iran, which have come together in a council named the Left and Communist Forces Cooperation Council. Also two weeks ago, a call was given by the Communist Party of Iran and the Labor-Hekmatist Communist Party to form a left and socialist bloc in Kurdistan in order to bring the dispersed leftist and communist individuals. The call was well received, the bloc has been now organized and has had few meetings so far. The revolutionary overthrow of the Islamic government, the alternative of the people’s councils, consisting of workers, women and poor layers of the society, and the effort to bring about socialism are among the common goals of this alliance.
3. We have come across analyses that suggest that the demands of the social groups, which caused the rapid growth of the protests and were also influenced by this process, are demands that cannot be met by a capitalist administration in general. Has there recently been a transformation in the demands of the movement?
The demands of this revolutionary movement are the same demands of the passed 120 years; from the movement of constitutionalism in Iran, which started with the slogan of justice and constitution in 1900s, which, due to the reconciliation of aristocracy, bazaar, clergy, dependent capitalism and imperialists, was faced and ended by two royal coups, to the overthrow of the Shah in the winter revolution of 1978. These accumulated demands were faced with the 44-year brutal repressions of the Islamic regime.
Since 2019 the movement has entered a more class phase.The leading and courageous presence of women in the current movement has been unprecedented. Responding to the requests of this movement is not only beyond the power and will of the Islamic government, but also far from the responsibility and capability of the opposition which is claiming a secular and civil society. Because the preservation of capitalist relations and the continuation of exploitation in countries like Iran can only be achieved with a double authoritarian government tool. The slogan of “poverty, corruption, high prices; we won’t stop until the overthrow of the regime”, the protest against unemployment and the demanding of the council administration and committees throughout Iran all indicate a council-based approach and are against the central power and conventional governments.
Solidarity between the peoples of all over Iran is an approach that has messed up all the plans and efforts of the Islamists, as well as royal and imperialist powers. There is a creative and vanguard force, especially among women and youth, in the current movement, which does not reflect individual dominance and backward relationships. Although the working class of Iran does not hold the class leadership in this movement, it has the largest presence in the movement, the arrested and the victims of this movement are all from the working class, poor layers of the society or allies of the working class.
4. News that the Irshad forces were abolished by the regime appeared in the media, but they were also denied. Are there any steps taken by the regime towards the Irshad patrols?
The abolishing of Hijab and Ershad were among the deviant and false news to negatively affect the progress of the movement. The movement was more awake than these tricks. The regime’s attempt was to reduce the revolutionary demands to degrade the level of demands to the lowest level of headscarf and hijab, and removing the guidance patrol. The movement reacted and emphasized its major demands, by shouting slogans such as: The guidance patrol and removal of the veil is only an excuse, oure goal is the overthrowing the whole system! Actually it was the resistance and struggle of the people that paralyzed the guidance patrol and the imposed hijab in practice. In fact no one pays attention to the compulsory hijab and the regime’s forces. The regime cannot impose its will and laws on the society in compare with the past. The masses do not obey the regime’s regulations and wil not return to the past. This does not mean that there is a revolutionary situation yet, but the society is living a revolutionary period.
5. The regime lately started using the death penalty. In the face of this, the attitudes of the resistors on the way to the execution and the actions that emerged after the executions show that the policy of intimidation and suppression that the Iranian regime wanted to escalate with the use of executions did not work. We read the news that some death sentences are broken. How do you evaluate this situation?
According to the latest statistics, more than five hundred people have been killed, nearly 20,000 have been arrested and hundreds have been injured and blinded by shotguns. The announcement of only two people being officially hanged is only a government claim. Dozens of those arrested have been murdered in detention centers and have not been announced as executed. Many have died under torture. Many others were kidnapped and few days later their bodies were found. Many teenagers have have so far committed suicide after being released from regime’s detention centers, because these teenagers had been forced to take psychotropic drugs and raped when in custody. Raping young boys and girls and shooting shotguns at girls’ genitals has become a tactic by the regime to create horror and fear among the women and youths. Of course, the Islamic regime of capiral is afraid of the continuation of official executions, otherwise it would have massacred tens of thousands of people like in the 1980s. Ali Khamenei announced in the first week of the recent revolutionary movement that “the God of 2022 is the same as the God of the 1980s”, but he forgot that in In the 80s, revolutionary and opposition forces were massacred, and the opposition movement was not comprehensive and nationwide like today. At first, the Islamic government turned to the policy of quiet containment and repression, but with the nationwide unity, the regime is now faced with a collapse in its repression forces, the danger of collapse for the whole regime and the movement’s entry into the process of overthrowing the regime. Controlling the movement and returning to the previous position has become impossible for the government and the rising masses.
6. How do you see the future of resistance? What are your predictions with regards to the next developments? What are you planning to do?
Considering the progress of the movement, the structures of the resistance, the economic and political crises of the government and the collapse of the repressive forces, and the feeling that the movement will not return to the past conditions, regime’s helplessness and with the imperialists and governments of the region having lost their hope in the Islamic rule of capital in Iran, the current movement in Iran has taken a revolutionary approach. It means the revolutionary overthrow of the Islamic government is going to become a reality. Pro-Western opposition is only seeking regime change and not a revolutionary overthrowing, meaning wanting to transfer power from one capitalist political power to another. In the current situation, the prospect of the collapse of the regime as a result of the advance of the movement and the overthrow of the political rule of capital seems probable. We can consider the ongoing situation as a class struggle in Iran. The entry of the working class into a nationwide general strike and leading the movement and labor and socialist movement joining together is not a dream and it can come true. Imperialist intervention and global capitalism has begun to think about replacing the political power, and we can see that in paralel with the advancement and intensification of the revolutionary movement inside Iran, the policies of the metropolitan governments are also changing. In Europe, more pressure is put on the Islamic regime of Iran than the Democrats led by Biden, although the politics of secret diplomacy and relationship with Islamic state in Iran is continuing.
We are trying to keep the streets until we reach the level of street barricades, the general labor strike and the final phase of the military mass struggle against the armed forces. But we consider it premature and dangerous to enter the military phase early by the masses of people in the streets. According to our analysis, Kurdistan has the capability and is more prepared to be liberated sooner than the other part Iran. But there is an incredible unity and solidarity throughout Iran, which makes the nationwide revolutionary potential more fruitful. Our goal is a countrrywide unity, the leadership of the working class in the revolution, the revolutionary overthrow of the Islamic regime and the establishment of a council alternative in Iran that can strengthen and continue the labor revolution towards socialism.
7. We see that Iranian bourgeois opposition in diaspora is trying to recover with imperialist incentives, and a counter-revolutionary front is organized with the participation of the monarchists. There are indications of attempts of ISIS-like structures being formed in Sunni regions. Iran is one of the main topics in Western media. Do you analyze any changes in imperialism’s interventions and position against your country, not only militarily, but also socially, economically, politically and culturally?
As mentioned through the previous sections, the global capitalist states, except for China and Russia who support the Islamic Regime of Iran, are trying to bring their political alternative to power right after the overthrowing the Islamic government in Iran. Propaganda media are highly organized in this field and they are trying to build their own characters for the revolution. The issue of Iran is tied to the Middle East, to states such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Syria, and even influencing Russia and the Ukraine war, Central Asian countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen, ISIS and other villainous Islamic forces. Global capital needs to control the capitalist crises which are the root of all proxy wars and all other crises. Therefore, the transfer of political power in Iran is not easy for global capital and the neoliberalism. However the working class and the left tendencies as a whole in this movement is the third factor that can upset many of the political equations of the global capital. The direct military intervention is not the option on the table for the world capital after the experience they had in Iraq. Now, they creepily pursue policies of promoting secular alternatives, civil society, human rights, and other demagogueries in order to bring the quasi-parliamentary bourgeois alternative to power in the peripheral countries during the collapse of the regime. A combination of monarchists, constitutionalists, Kurdish nationalists, and all anti-worker and anti-socialist forces are preparing themselves to replace the Islamic regime to promote and protect capitalist relations through political, economic, and media interventions of powers such as Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates, and Israel.
A criminal force such as ISIS, which has been deliberately strengthened by the Islamic regime in Iran, especially in the provinces of Baluchistan and Kurdistan, can be a nuisance in some areas of Iran, but cannot be considered a threat to the revolution.
Wıth the best wishes
01 January 2023