Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/584/7443

From The Socialist newspaper, 17 June 2009

Mass protests erupt in Iran

Mass demonstrations have erupted in Iran in protest at the apparent rigging of the presidential elections by the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regime. According to reports over one million people have demonstrated in the capital Tehran and over a dozen have been killed in clashes with the police and hated Basij militia.

Tony Saunois, CWI

Reports of mass protest in other cities such as Shiraz are also emerging. With heavy press censorship, much of the movement has been co-ordinated through 'Twitter' - Iran has the highest number of internet 'bloggers' per head of population in the world.

Tehran University has been surrounded by armed police and brutal repression has been reported of students in their dormitories. Other reports speak of gunfire being heard throughout the capital during the night following the election. Ahmedinejad, who announced victory within a few hours of the polls, has apparently simply left the country and is in Russia to attend diplomatic meetings.

These mass demonstrations have taken place despite the threat by the regime to authorise the use of live ammunition against the protesters. It appears that big sections of the urban population have lost their fear of the regime and are prepared to take to the streets to protest against it.

This represents a crucial turning point in the struggle against any dictatorship. BBC footage shows protesters refusing to disperse when faced with attacks by the military police.

To the forefront have been students but with the active support of older sections of the population - especially white-collar workers. There are divisions within the regime on how to deal with this mass movement.

This, combined with the mass mobilisation of the middle class and students clearly indicates that important elements of a pre-revolutionary crisis are developing.

At this stage however the working class has not yet decisively joined the struggle and there is confusion in the political consciousness of those involved, reflected in some of the religious slogans being chanted such as "God is great". However, it should be remembered that the first demonstrations of the Russian revolution in 1905 were led by a priest, Father Gapon.

How this movement will develop is not yet clear but it has already forced the regime into an abrupt about turn. The Guardian Council has overturned its previous decision and is now allowing a recount of contested votes. This is an attempt to calm the situation as the regime fears that the protests will erupt further and develop into an uprising against the regime itself.

Fuelled by rising mass unemployment and a yearning for democratic rights, especially amongst the youth - 60% of the Iranian population is under the age of thirty - the urban youth in particular are in revolt against the theocratic repression they have suffered.

An important feature of this movement has been the mobilisation of young women demanding 'equality'. This was reflected in the enormous popularity during the campaign of Zahra Rahnavard, wife of the main opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.

But while the mass opposition in the cities has rallied to Mousavi, he is no socialist or defender of the working class and the poor. A former prime minister, his pro-capitalist programme is limited to reform of the current theocratic state. However, the attempt to rig the election by Ahmadinejad has possibly opened the floodgates to a mass movement that could topple his regime and open a new era in Iran.

At the same time there is an apparent division between the rural poor and some sections of the most downtrodden and oppressed in some of the cities and urban centres who have tended to support Ahmadinejad because of his right-wing reactionary populist stance against corruption and the rich liberal elite and his 'anti-western imperialist' stance.

The decisive question in the short term is if the working class will now move into action. Trade unions are reported to be discussing calling a general strike, which is the main fear of the regime. At the time of writing the opposition has called off a mass protest scheduled in Tehran, to avoid clashes with pro-government forces. This illustrates the fear reformist pro-capitalists like Mousavi have of unleashing mass mobilisations which can easily get out of their control and move in a more radical revolutionary direction.

Mousavi may try to reach a compromise with the existing regime to avoid bringing the masses onto the streets. Alternatively, the regime may be forced to accept Ahmedinejad's defeat in order to try to maintain control of the situation. Attempts may also be taken to wind down the protests for fear of their consequences.

However, the genie is out of the bottle and a decisive new phase of struggle has opened in Iran. The struggle for genuine democratic rights, the right to strike, to hold free elections, form free trade unions, political parties and equality for women needs to be fought for by all workers, youth and socialists. The emergence of the working class into this movement can give it the necessary cohesion and power to defeat the regime.

The formation of democratically elected committees of struggle from the workplaces and universities linking together with the middle class and urban poor can form the basis of a united struggle. The calling of a general strike and forming a defence militia along with a class appeal to the rank and file of the army are necessary steps to take the movement forward to overthrow the regime. Workers' committees could also convene elections to a revolutionary constituent assembly to decide the future of Iran.

The guarantee of democratic rights and a solution to the mass poverty and unemployment can only then be assured with the formation of a workers' and peasants' government on a revolutionary socialist programme to transform society in the interests of all working people.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 17 June 2009:

Tories or New Labour - it's cuts, cuts, cuts!

A rat on Labour's sinking ship

Prepare for class war!

News in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Iran - mass protests erupt

Only working class action can end war threat in Korean peninsula


Socialist Party editorial

Recent industrial disputes bring important lessons for the future


Postal workers

Standing up to bullying mail bosses

CWU conference: Fighting for jobs and working conditions


Lindsey Oil Refinery construction workers

Lindsey workers fight the bosses' redundancy scam


Socialist Party workplace news

Victory at Linamar! Rob Williams reinstated

National Shop Stewards Network conference

Tube workers on strike

Glasgow cleaners score success


Anti-racism

Defeat the BNP: Build a socialist alternative

Protests at BNP


Socialist Party review

Billy Bragg's Miners' Strike Tour


 

Home   |   The Socialist 17 June 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Iran:

triangleAttacks ratchet-up Syrian conflict and fuel tensions between powers

triangleSyria: Is an end to the war in sight?

triangleAfter Chilcot: put Blair in the dock

Working class:

triangleRussia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleCardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg

Protest:

triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleUprising to save the NHS!

Ahmadinejad:

triangleNovember 24: International protests against executions and to support political prisoners in Iran

triangleRegion-wide revolution of the Arab people

Democratic rights:

triangleCampaign against political repression in Hong Kong

Tony Saunois:

triangleChe Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter

International

International

18/10/17

Hong Kong

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong

11/10/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

4/10/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide

4/10/17

Catalonia

Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events

2/10/17

Catalonia

Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia

27/9/17

Germany

Germany: Election results in political earthquake

27/9/17

Catalonia

Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!

27/9/17

Germany

German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

27/9/17

France

French Labour reform protests

25/9/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Student strike called

20/9/17

Myanmar

Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis

20/9/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state

15/9/17

Germany

Berlin hospital strike

13/9/17

Korea

Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?

13/9/17

Students

Interview with leader of students' union in the Spanish state: "When we fight, we win!"

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2