Down with the mullah regime! Towards a general strike!

An overwhelming popular uprising sweeps through Iran. The mass mobilisations, led by young people and women, have put the capitalist and reactionary government of the mullahs on the ropes.

At the time of writing (NT: before translating), the brutal repression unleashed by the police and the tenebrous “Revolutionary Guard” has killed at least 100 protesters  and arrested thousands more, but it hasn’t stopped the struggle.

The images showing young people setting self-defence movements and openly confronting the police, storming police stations, erecting barricades and defying martial law, and of women taking their veil as a challenge to the dictatorship, clearly show that the movement has taken a giant step.

The trigger for this insurrection was the murder of Mahsa Amini, a 22 year-old young Kurdish woman, by the “Morality Patrol” in Tehran. Her crime? Not wearing her veil correctly! The officers arrested  Mahsa in the street and told her brother they were taking her to the station and would release her after an hour-long “reeducation class”.

What really happened was very different. The people gathering at the doors of the precinct, demanding her and all other detained women release, were attacked with batons and tear gas.

Two hours later, Mahsa Amini body would leave in an ambulance straight to Kasra hospital, were health workers could do nothing but confirm her brain death, ascertaining that she had marks and bruises consistent with a brutal assault.

The explosion in the streets of Tehran quickly spread to the streets of Kurdistan, with social media used to spread images of the mobilisations to every corner of Iran. On Saturday the 17 of     September, at least 33 people were injured by police repression in Saqqez. 

The Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) and the East Kurdistan Democratic and Free Society (KODER), together with tens of rank-and-file students’ committees, called for a general strike for the 19th of September, which had a massive participation in cities like Sanandaj, Saqqz, Baneh and Mariwan!

But the strikes and protests are not limited to Kurdistan. The struggle has spread to the West Azerbaijan province in places like Urmía Bukan, and Piranshahr; to the northern province of Mazandaran and to the province of Guilan. All of Iran is in convulsion and social media is chock-full of videos and pictures of graphic witness accounts and confrontations with the repressive forces, in spite of the internet blackout.

The most popular chant in demonstrations: Down with the regime!, summarises the aim of the uprising.

The role of women and youth

Although the city of Tehran is living through a violent repression, the demonstrators have not hesitated to answer back with physical struggle, storming the offices of the public fiscal and forcing the functionaries and police forces to flee the installations.

In Qeshm, the demonstrators burnt the imam’s office to the chants “You have tortured us for forty years, this is the result.” Similar occurrences happened in tens of cities.

Following their revolutionary tradition, women and youth have taken the lead of the movement without hesitation. Thousands of women, especially young women, have joined the demonstrations and recorded videos burning their veils and cutting their hair under the slogan “Death to the mercenary dictator”, whilst men shaved their beards in protest against the Islamic Republic.

The Mullah’s capitalist regime has unleashed terror on Iranian women during the last 40 years, taking away their basic rights like travelling alone, divorce, abortion, achieve economic independence and custody of children older than seven.

But the list of attacks against the general population is also extensive.

Years of systemic corruption by the elites, where a theocratic caste has integrated with the big capitalists and landowners to rob the country’s resources, have pushed the working-class to abhorrent poverty. With an inflation already above 50%, more than 25 million Iranians are living below the poverty line, according to official sources from 2021. A figure that has grown in 2022, whilst unemployment is a scourge amongst the youth, with government figures at 26% which, in reality is probably closer to 50%.

The lack of political and labour organising freedoms, the rotten moral of the mullahs, the impoverishment of the general population which contrasts with the multimillion profits of a minority benefiting from the regime, have sowed the seeds of anger amongst the working-class and the youth. The revolutionary uprising is already spreading to more than 140 cities over the country.

Towards a general strike! Raising a revolutionary socialist programme.

The dimension the protests have taken shows that we are witnessing a profound change.

The possibility of transforming this spontaneous mass movement into an organised struggle to topple the theocratic dictatorship is at hand. It is essential that the revolutionary sectors on the vanguard of the youth and the working-class delineate a clear strategy. This is the moment to take the step into the revolutionary organisation of the struggle.

A general strike needs to be built in order to push the working-class into an active role.

Therein lies the strength to topple the mullahs and block the army from deploying: to paralyse production and build organisations of working-class and youth power in every factory, workplace, school and neighbourhood.

The workers in different sectors- oil industry, metal, education-have a long and deep tradition of struggle, underlined by their main role in the ‘79 revolution, which was usurped by fundamentalists.

Now is the moment for the youth in struggle to launch a wide, mass campaign to bring these sectors and their unions into the organisation of a general strike and the defence of a socialist alternative to the corrupt capitalism of the islamic republic!