Nearly eight months after the start of the Jina uprising and several months after the street protests had subsided, certain committees, which were either formed during the uprising or had been active since previous uprisings, gathered for an online meeting. This meeting was held in secret, with participants using pseudonyms and altering their voices, to discuss their views on the current situation and the path forward. The meeting was organized and hosted by Slingers, a communist political organization based outside of Iran. Slingers has played a significant role in supporting domestic struggles and publishing strategic analyses in recent years. All the participating committees recognized the importance of this meeting, and six committees attended to lay the groundwork for future meetings involving other committees. In the initial meeting, Slinger solely managed the proceedings and did not intervene in the discussion.
The committees present at the meeting were as follows: the “Gilan Revolutionary Committee,” which formed during the Jina uprising in several key cities in Gilan province, located in the north of the country and along the Caspian Sea. This committee has been active in organizing demonstrations, distributing leaflets and posters, and establishing communication with the masses and trade unions in the province. The “Javad Nazari Fatahabadi Committee” is a covert committee formed during the November 2019 uprising, and its primary focus has been the establishment of secret cells. The “Red Revolutionary Youth Committee of Mahabad” is a city committee that emerged during the Jina uprising in the city of Mahabad in the Kurdistan region of Iran. It played a pivotal role in the uprising in this city, representing a communist faction in an area historically associated with the largest Kurdish nationalist party. The “Jian Group” is a core group of female fighters that formed in the early days of the Jina uprising and played a crucial role in organizing some of the most significant demonstrations in Tehran. “Street Militants Group” is another committee, predominantly composed of women, with connections to small towns where oppressed ethnic groups from Lor reside. Lastly, the “Zahedan Revolutionary Youth Core” is a committee based in Zahedan, the largest city in the southeastern region of Iran, predominantly inhabited by ethnically oppressed Baloch people. Broadly speaking, all these committees identify as “communist” and seek to establish an alternative around the political notion of council-based governance after the Islamic Republic. However, as the conversation reveals, this political orientation holds different meanings and implications for each of them.
Slingers: Thank you to all the comrades who were kind and accepted our invitation. We hope that this meeting will be fruitful and we can continue these meetings if necessary. At the same time, we hope that reports of this meeting will cause comrades from other committees to join such roundtables in future, in this or that combination because it seems that we all agree on the necessity of holding such meetings. As explained in the invitation, we try to advance the discussion on four proposed axes, which are 1- Analysis of the current situation and the situation we are in generally. 2- Prospects of struggle and the possibilities that are in front of the revolutionaries in general and the committees in particular. 3- How should reactionary alternatives be prevented from gaining power after the fall of the Islamic Republic, and what positive alternatives can be fought for? And 4- Is there a need to form an organization/party in order to continue the struggle and expand the possibilities of final victory in the battle, either negatively, i.e. overthrowing the Islamic Republic, or positively, i.e. establishing a liberating alternative, and if yes, how should we move towards such a thing? Since it is possible that we will not be able to address all four axes in this meeting, at the end of the meeting, we can decide whether to continue the meetings or not. To begin with, we requested the comrades of “Javad Nazari Fatahabadi’s Committee” to be the initiators of the discussion, and then in any order, comrades can raise their hands and continue the discussion.
Javad Nazari Fatahabadi’s Committee (JNFC)
Thank you very much, comrade. Hello and greetings to the comrades of the other committees, and while expressing our happiness for our presence in this meeting, which I think is very important, in order to save time and quickly go to the main issues in this collective meeting, in response to the questions that have been raised, I will start and talk briefly about the first question, and then I will give the podium to other comrades. The question was, what is the analysis of the current situation and the situation in which we are in general? We can approach this current situation from two perspectives. One is the situation in which we are in general after the uprising of December 2017 and the other is the situation more specifically after the Jina uprising. I brought up these two because, since the uprising of December 2017, it can be said that we have entered into a revolutionary continuum in which at least one uprising has happened every year by the masses. The most important uprisings that can be mentioned are those of December 2017, July 2018, October 2019, June 2021, and July 2022, which were named the ‘uprising of the thirsty’, and then the ‘uprising of the hungry’. Finally, we reached the Jina uprising with its slogan of ‘woman, life, freedom’. The path that has been taken proves that the movement can be considered progressive in every aspect, compared with the time when the slogan was negative [or against a concept] “Reformists, Hardliners / the game is over” until it positively reached the slogan of “Women, Life, freedom”. Many things have taken place during this revolutionary continuum and many features can be listed for it. If we mention some of these characteristics, one is that revolutionary violence since December 2017 increased, and opposition to this revolutionary violence decreased. That is, the defenders of the idea of a peaceful and non-violent movement have gone from standing firmly on this idea to defending the right of legitimate defense and are theorizing about it. The leftist and revolutionary forces emphasized the necessity of revolutionary violence from the very beginning, and this manifested itself more and more in revolts and uprisings, especially during the Jina Uprising. What does this indicate? The number of people killed by the ruling forces or the occurrence of events such as the Izeh incident testifies to the fact that society and public opinion realized the necessity of a revolutionary confrontation and the use of revolutionary violence in the face of the repression that the government has resorted to. Another dimension is that the oppressed as subjects and especially the working class had a very colorful presence in this period since December 2017, and the number of strikes has been significant. Likewise, regarding the decentralization that took place in the movement and the fact that Tehran is no longer the center of events, today we have reached a series of pulsating centers such as Sistan and Baluchistan, Kurdistan, and Khuzestan where while all the uprisings were repressed by the regime the other centers tried/try to keep the movement up. That is, if we consider the development of revolutionary violence as a feature of this revolutionary continuum, another feature is the move from negative slogans to positive slogans, then the third feature is the decentralization of the movement and the formation of revolutionary foci in other provinces of the country that manifested itself during the Jina uprising. The fourth feature was the duration of the uprising. That is, the duration of the uprisings increased from one week to six months, and the people were able to withstand the repressions of the system for a longer time and bring the system into crisis. And the last point that I think we can mention as a feature is the media representation of the counter-revolutionary movement of the right-wing opposition and its hegemony, while in reality, it was decreasing. I list two signs to prove this: one is the restoration of the dignity of the word ‘revolution’, that is, while earlier they tried to maneuver more on the term of ‘regime-change’ or ‘overthrow’ and things like these, today we are witnessing the same right-wing figures who call the Jina uprising as ‘Jina Revolution’, ‘Women’s revolution’, the Revolution of Women, life, freedom which means that the terminology of the revolution regained reputation. And while the media such as Manoto TV [A London-based, pro-monarchy Farsi language satellite TV channel] or others have tried to name the 1979 Revolution as the ‘sedition of 1979’, they once again faced the challenge that if we call the current situation a revolution, then why shouldn’t we defend 1979 as a revolution? In my opinion, the set of these five characteristics makes the situation more fertile to talk about liberating alternatives in such a situation.
To speak briefly, in addition to these five characteristics that I have listed for the new conditions, I want to consider the state of governance itself on the one hand and the regional conditions in which we are located on the other hand. I think it should be pointed out that the government has been seriously exposed to a crisis of survival, both in terms of its ideological logic and in terms of the repression it carries out. And it cannot sustain itself with this situation, and day by day the logic of commodification puts pressure on the masses of people, which throws them from a state of silence and isolation to a revolutionary state. But it seems to me that the international and regional conditions are not in favor of the movement, and this is an important factor that we should focus on. In what way is it not in favor of the movement? In the sense that Chinese imperialism once again made an important mediation in terms of opening up foreign relations, it is as if we consider this opening and the connection that was established between Iran and Saudi Arabia as a short-term rather than long-term opening. On the other hand, the confrontation that the USA, as the other wing of imperialism, has with the Islamic Republic testifies to the fact that global imperialisms, both Eastern and Western are of the opinion that until further notice, the best regime in Iran that can remain at work is the Islamic Republic. This, along with other developments in the region, such as those in Turkey and Afghanistan, i.e., the return to power of a completely fascist and reactionary force called the Taliban, seems to have made the regional allies of the Islamic Republic to be positioned in favor of the Iranian regime. The situation of revolutionary movements in the region is not very favorable for the revolutionary movement in Iran. Remember the time when revolutionary developments were taking place in Iraq and Lebanon during the uprising of August 2019 in Iran, and made us very hopeful that a regional continuity would emerge between these movements, but so far this has not been the case. But it seems that we are not in the same position. For example, when during the recent uprising ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadi’ was proposed and highlighted, a slogan belonging to the leftist movement of Kurdistan; or, during the uprising of June 2021, the Arabs of Ahvaz showed their subjectivity through their ritual dances and the Arabic slogans, or the declarations of regional solidarity during the recent uprising such as “Long live Kurdistan/Long live Azerbaijan”, all of these may send affirmative pulses to the revolutionary forces at the regional level.
Lastly, I want to point out that if we consider this domestic and national sphere along with regional issues and the state of multiple crises that the regime is dealing with, we can analyze the current situation and the general situation we are in. Let’s put together a puzzle to have key issues in relation to the organization, weighting the situation for the alternative and the future that the left movement can have within the political relations of the future of revolutionary Iran, then we can talk more clearly about these matters. Sorry for my long talk.
Street Militants Group (SMG):
Hello, to all comrades. Following our comrade’s arguments, I will say a few points. In this movement, all groups participated especially women and those related to the petty bourgeoisie, such as groups in the market or groups that were in the upper and also lower parts of the cities. But what we lack here, in my opinion, was sufficient support of labor strikes for the Jina movement, and also the relative lack of participation of the lower parts of the city in all the big cities. According to the results of a research conducted in the lower neighborhoods of Tehran, it was said that ‘we were not supported during November 2018 protests, we are not going to support anyone’. Exactly like the issue that was raised in Khuzestan, and during the uprising of the Thirsty, there was no maximum support even among the leftists for it, and, for example, in Tehran, there was only a small gathering next to the City Theater in support of Khuzestan. But the important issue that I want to emphasize here is that of ethnicity and that of women, especially the housewives, because I think that the main force that was present in the Jinnah movement was those with precarious living conditions, as it was anticipated. And that most of the children who were killed in this movement were those between the ages of 13 and 25. Now we have twenty-two million housewives, and out of these twenty-two million, let’s assume that one million have participated in this movement. So, why do I say that now the major potential of this movement lies in the housewives? Due to the fact that 16 million of these 22 million are underprivileged and most of their children and husbands are precarious workers, the housewives play important roles in the movement by which they can have different connections with different people through family relationships and also influence their husbands and children in a way that makes the movement stronger. By the way, this presence was very little.
About what our comrades said that revolutionary violence has grown; yes, it has grown, but considering that I see more revolutionary aggression in the lower areas of the city and among the workers, I think this revolutionary aggression will be limited until the lower strata become active, that is, compared to the number of casualties on the part of the security forces, we had twice of it. And contrary to the decentralization that our comrades propose, there are unfortunately many “activists” at the top who are in favor of non-violence. For instance, there was an objection to the killing of Ruhollah Ajamian, and some comrades argued “why do you use “perish” instead of being killed? This was said by active comrades who participated in the movement, and it was very strange to me that this still exists and they are still defending it. Of course, I don’t have such a pessimistic vision, but the truth is that we cannot ignore that the situation would be different if ethnicities and women had not participated in the movement. Especially the ethnic groups such as Kurds and Baluchis who rely on their leadership and the specific center they have for the uprising and latter people’s support for Abdol Hamid Ismaeelzahi, a spiritual leader for Iran’s Sunni population; or vice versa, because I don’t want to support him and this is a very different issue that requires a separate analysis. But then we have to see that Khuzestan is a hub of oil resources and the number of Lor and Arab workers was not present in the movement. Most activists and left groups did not support Izeh, and we can see that Twitter storms regarding the condition of Mujahid Korkur [who is sentenced to death for the alleged murder of Kian Pirfalak.] were limited. Why? Because the fear of being called a terrorist by the government still exists. Anyway, in my opinion, we should see the issue of Khuzestan in connection with the issue of water and see this lack of participation of the lower class. Regarding these labor strikes that are happening now, I am still skeptical if it would be possible for the striking worker to stop the strike due to an increase in his wage by 1-2 million Tomans [equvalent to $238 to $478]. And because the security situation is so compromised, political groups are so passive, and despite the ‘propaganda related to organizing activities’ claimed by them, I think most of these struggles are out of our control. That is, if we don’t want to emphasize the neighborhood-oriented function of the movement and if we don’t want to pursue the major potential of workers through housewives, in my opinion, this movement will face definite failure. Despite the fact that most of the countries of the world supported this movement and nationwide demonstrations were held, even Chile was the first country to support this movement, but under the influence of Reza Pahlavi or that of the Republicans who speak very vaguely, that is, they did not even say what their goal was, what republicanism or their minimum charter means for Iran, which I do not know, if they are left, the demands of the left should be maximum, in any case, under the influence of all these, this movement will lead to definite failure. Day by day we see disobedience even related to hijab decreasing on the streets, despite the advertising videos that go viral. My discussion is not about disappointment, but in continuation and completion of our friend’s words, I felt that these points should be said. The fact that despite all this, in this movement, we faced ever less points that should have been highlighted in this movement; those were in November 2018, such as the presence of people from the lower districts and the working class. I mean, my problem is more with the forces that are now at work, but in reality, they are not doing anything. Like Turkey, a neighboring country where many leftists are active there, the Kurds are suppressed very easily. Or in Iran, we have a massacre in the middle of the ‘women, life, freedom’ movement. Fifteen women have been killed so far, and this is an official statistic, not an unofficial one that never actually comes out. This issue shows that despite the fact that its voice has reached many places, this movement has not progressed as much as it should, in my opinion. This is what we are seeing. Although the situation will not return to our normal conditions before the Jina movement, and although the people have become political and have a political and pessimistic view of the government, examples such as not sympathizing with Izeh or with the violence of the revolution, which has not yet been accepted as such, should also be considered.
We can take a look at the views of most of the activists, and see that although the activities and the movement have been decentralized, there are still some people whose prison term is different than others, and there are some names and situations getting highlighted. Despite the existence of many women who were excluded after release from prison and got divorced. These women are very large in number and it is not known whether they will be able to participate in the next uprising or not considering their unstable position and the fact that their position has been shaken worse than before. This is what I said so far, but in my opinion, there should be a precise stance towards groups like Pahlavi and the Republicans of the opposition and the Green Movement, because on the one hand, Pahlavi wants to cooperate with the Revolutionary Guards, and on the other hand, the Republicans want the Revolutionary Guards placed on the [US/EU] terrorist list without looking at the conditions that imperialism has towards the government of Iran, including the large loan they gave to Ahmadinejad, which he spent on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
In my opinion, the World Bank will not easily pass the money that has been made available to put the IRGC on the terrorist list. Currently, these are the things that came to my mind to say in the continuation of our friend’s discussion. I had prepared other things, but I think it was more necessary to say these things and I would like to hear the opinions of comrades from other groups. Only according to the experience I had from participating in the movement, in my opinion, more than recognizing the class issue, we can see that ethnicity, the woman question, and the question of water were recognizable in this movement, which I will try to address later.
Jiyan Group (JG)
Hello to all friends! We are very happy to be with you. Friends pointed out many of the things we wanted to say in the analysis of the Jina uprising. From our point of view, the uprising was an intersection of important oppressions of gender, nationality, and class from the beginning which had many manifestations in the uprising. The everyday resistance of women in the last forty years and even before that, the activities of women fighters against the Pahlavi regime and then the Islamic Republic have become visible, this resistance under specific conditions has caused this movement to continue, and the point of departure has been the Jina uprising. For this reason, in our view, gender is very important in the Jina uprising. Regarding nationality, as friends mentioned, Kurdistan and Baluchistan were two important revolutionary forces of the uprising. And the point that our friend from SMG pointed out is the same as us emphasizing that most of those who were resisting in the streets, according to the IRI itself, the existing statistics, and also our observations, were precarious workers.
And this shows the result of the policies of the Islamic Republic in the past years, how the precarious workers have become an important part of the class and a revolutionary force. Another thing we wanted to point out is that we also believe that this uprising is a continuation of the previous uprisings, but it has outstanding features that make it different from the December 2017, October 2019, the ‘thirsty’ and ‘the hungry’ uprisings, to which our friends pointed.
Well, now we are in the decline period of the movement, but in the first months of our movement, we had the direct action of the people in the street and the spaces were occupied. Especially in the first two months, people were present in the streets and could conquer the spaces in different regions of Iran to some extent. We also agree with our comrades from JNFC that the repression of the Islamic Republic was less than the previous uprisings, at least on the ground, the number of deaths was less, but the degree of violence has increased, although compared to previous uprisings it has decreased as well so we still say that the movement is alive. This resistance of the people in the face of repression and prolongation of the movement provided space for the presence of political activists and even social activists, and in this long period of time, it gave social and political activists a chance to rethink. As a result of both repression and the decline of people’s direct action, the issue of representation, coalition, and that violent form of the right-wing affiliation came to the fore in its worst form, which of course can be talked about a lot considering the events that have happened recently. About what effect this coalition itself had on the revolutionary activism of the people and the advancement of this movement, what matters in this long uprising and the standing of the people is that the way of people’s participation in terms of class has changed.
Our friends pointed out the issue of acceptance of violence, it is true that there is still talk about criticism of violence, but compared to the Green Movement, which did not take long, this atmosphere is not comparable. The level of violence by the middle classes who were present in the street during the Jina uprising and conquered the street is not comparable to that time. Another important issue is the presence of oppressed groups. One thing that we think is a very important feature of the Jina uprising is that it provided an arena for different groups of the oppressed to come to the streets with their own sufferings and problems. The Jina uprising is a wide area of the presence of these intersections of oppression, nationality, class, gender, and even in some places disability, because we saw disabled women and men who came and got involved in the street action. This pluralism, while creating a totality and while preserving the particularity of this movement creates a problem for us as political activists; While we recognize this plurality, how can we act in the continuation of the revolution, in the continuation of this uprising, plan a strategy, how to have a revolutionary intervention and be able to be effective in advancing the uprising. What we think is that we can talk more about this in these meetings and exchange opinions.
Another comrade from JG: I would like to add one or two points in response to the last discussion raised by our comrade. You see, we were faced with two decades of predominance of the forms of demand-based social activists, while since the end of the 1990s, we have also witnessed various uprisings that seem to be changing this policy of demand-making, which is most reflected in the Jina uprising. At the same time that different groups actually took action from the specific point of exploitation and oppression that they are facing, as our friend said, a whole was also fabricated. The challenge that the fighters and political activists are facing is how to maintain this pluralism and how not to return to the form of the previously prevalent demand-making. Our friend from SMG pointed to the form of the charter, this form of the charter itself shows the residue of that demand-oriented discourse. If we come to the point of talking about the alternative form today, we will clarify more what our alternative is in front of this central demand and how council and self-management forms can be those that by handing over power to the people, they can help us suppress the issue of addressing the government. That is, while confronting that political power, it is not seeking to address the political power in its classical form. In our opinion, this was one of the most important learnings of the Jina uprising.
Finally, I would like to briefly add one point about the necessity of the left currents to deal with various forms of exploitation and oppression. I will briefly mention each intersection. In relation to gender, we know that the current whose figurehead is Masih Alinejad, during the last decade somehow confiscated the issue of hijab and symbolically the issue of gender, and this made some of the activists on the left avoid addressing the issue of hijab. Fortunately, the course of events and the social process progressed in such a way that the act of this expropriation faded away, but its danger still exists and the most important antidote is that the left movement seriously has to address the issue of gender both in its organizational structures and in its policies and ideas. So that it can actually become a pioneer of women’s liberation. Because we know that in the case of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, through the confiscation of the issue of gender by the right-wing currents, the way for imperialist military interventions was paved.
Regarding the issue of nationality, we have an analysis that according to the forty-something years of religious rule that existed in Iran, it seems that the right reactionary discourse is probably trying to gain power through nationalist ideology and even it seems that there are already very strong indications for it. That is, the reactionary discourse that will be in front of us is probably a nationalist discourse and it creates strong contradictions in the conflict between the center and the periphery, considering the problem that exists in Iran, and for this reason, it is very important that we must show great sensitivity to national oppression, both in the organizational structure and in the ideological structure. It is not just that we want to include an oppressed group or different oppressed groups in the geography of Iran. The importance of inclusion is that it can be a tool to be able to stand in front of the right discourse. In the field of class issues, historical experience has shown us that the right-wing currents raise trade union-oriented debates in front of more radical council forms, and the experience of the 1979 revolution also showed us that first parties like the Tudeh Party supported syndicalism. Regarding the issue of environment, Reza Pahlavi’s recent trip to Israel warns us that he is investing in this field because he went to Israel to discuss the water crisis, and this is a big issue, because the media discourse for years has related the issue of the environment to the lack of management and weak and ineffective management of the Islamic Republic. There is a risk that the idea will be formed that a powerful central government can solve and control this environmental and ecological crisis, which is ironically one of the most important points that can mobilize different groups, both women and oppressed nations to, as a result of our inaction, be rallied to strengthen a central government. This is another strategic issue, and for this reason, it is necessary for organizations and left groups to deal with environmental issues as well.
Red Revolutionary Youth Committee of Mahabad (RRYCM)
Hello and respect my friends. Actually, we are not analysts or theorists and we are growing and learning. Someone who is an analyst must observe all the issues and events in the global, regional, and local contexts, and we don’t have the opportunity to do this because of a lot of work to earn a living. But if we make a general analysis from our own point of view and according to what we see and have seen in this year and in these few months, I think we should first analyze the global situation. Today, there is no longer an East and West bloc or a powerful left bloc in the world arena, which can be blamed on the left if there is a global crisis or achievement. Whatever else it is today, capitalism is global and global capitalism is facing many crises that are all the achievements and output of capitalism, including the environmental crisis, global warming, discrimination crisis, the spread of poverty and widespread diseases, the war in Ukraine and Russia, the issue of the fuel crisis in Europe, as well as the economic crisis in the whole world and the dependence of developing countries on the International Monetary Fund. This is a general reference to the crises that capitalism has created in the world. We can also mention the issue of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and the rest of the world. Another part that exists is the re-entry of Yellow Vests and labor activists and the working class who came to the streets in France, the labor strikes in London that happened about two months ago, the entry of seven hundred thousand workers into the streets of Madrid, the last capital of fascism in Europe, the call of the Marxist Party of South Africa and then pouring into the streets of workers in Johannesburg, labor strikes in India, the Sri Lankan revolution, Ecuadorian issues, the Chilean revolution, these are all things that have happened in the last few years or in the last few months, all from a global perspective and they are in favor of the labor movement and the left movement. From our point of view, the Iranian left movement, the labor, communist and socialist movement in Iran is not separate from the international labor movements, and according to the global relations that capitalism has, of course, if there would be a working-class revolution, it would be global. Therefore, when workers come to the streets in Paris, they also affect the labor movement in Iran.
In the issue of Iran, we have to consider other parameters and issues, such as the possibility of Khamenei’s death and the lack of a powerful successor who has authority and can keep all the military forces together. This is the crisis that the Islamic Republic and the masters of the Islamic Republic in the West are facing, after the death of Khamenei, how can they maintain this existing structure, whether an economic structure or a political one. This crisis currently exists in Iran, and because of this, people like Alireza Nourizadeh, Iraj Masadaghi, Mohsen Sazgara, and other people who often have a history of being reformists or were among the founders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, entered the arena, and we saw how they used Reza Pahlavi as a tool to make this revolution decline and instead to strengthen the desire for regime change among the masses of people. As labor activists, leftists or communist revolutionaries, we must pay serious attention to this issue. Another issue is the Jina revolution, which happened in Iran and broke the taboo and brought the marginalized to the center of the stage, as the comrades mentioned. Oppressed nations, women, and finally industrial workers have been brought to the center stage as a power, and this is an unprecedented achievement in the last forty-four years. This solidarity and magnificent unity that was created between the working class or industrial workers, between the retirees and the Teachers’ Union Council who were in the street, was unprecedented and rare, I can even say it was unique. These complete the revolutionary process and provide the conditions for a radical revolutionary context.
The comrades talked about revolutionary violence. For revolutionary violence, we must consider the time process of the revolution and not fall into the mistake that the revolution is achieved in one day, two days, or several months, but the revolution is a time-consuming, long-term process. And for a long time, the society’s context should be prepared for it. As a spokesperson of the RRYCM, until now, seven months have passed since the beginning of this process, and I do not agree with the revolutionary violence. We are in a revolutionary situation, but we are not in a situation of the balance of power, and contrary to the opinion of some of the present comrades, I believe that the middle class has not yet appeared. The middle class is conservative due to sociological and psychological reasons and is afraid of the revolution under the influence of the media. The image that the middle class has of the revolution is a bloody one, similar to a massacre because the mainstream media has interpreted it as such. We as leftists and labor activists are currently in the qualitative stage of the revolution. Qualitative stage in the sense that we assure the middle-class person who has something to lose and still is afraid of the revolution, that the revolution is not a very terrible thing and that their survival is guaranteed, and that morally, we can break the Islamic Republic in the minds of the people who are still hesitant about it. We should be able to attract that gray and conservative spectrum to our side. Because of this, quantity is not important now, what is important is quality. Another part of this qualitative struggle is organization. The process of organizing among the masses of people, which is carried out by local organizations and committees is progressing slowly. Of course, I cannot analyze the whole of Iran from the perspective of Kurdistan, because the conditions of Kurdistan are really different from the rest of Iran and cannot be compared at all, but there is a need for the development of neighborhood committees and organizations which are not yet well-developed.
The next thing I want to say about the general situation is the gradual fall of the middle class to the lower classes. Considering the circumstances that have occurred and the economic crisis that exists and the government that cannot continue to govern itself as usual and as before; If you observe and go to the public offices, of course, in the past, they did not answer the people, but now it has become worse and more arbitrary, in a way, there is chaos in the public organizations, offices and places where the masses of people apply for. These conditions, both the economic crisis, inflation, and the conditions that have occurred over time will cause the fall of the middle class. Right now, the middle class is falling, and this is one of the factors that make the revolutionary conditions more radical and bring more masses of people into the revolutionary camp. It should also be noted that during the Jina uprising, the religious authority, the arm of the ideological repression of the Islamic Republic, failed. But in the case of the subversive right-wing opposition, this opposition is doing its best to prevent the creation of revolutionary conditions and context, and through the media they have and we don’t, they are trying to depict the coup as a revolutionary thing in the public mind, or substitute it for the concept of revolution. In this connection, another achievement of the Jina uprising was the opening of the hidden angles of the 1979 revolution, who made the revolution and why they did so, why the revolution failed, and what really happened. Especially because increasingly the real face of subversive right-wing currents, through their discourse, is becoming more and more visible to the masses of the people, it has led to the discovery of the hidden angles of the 1979 revolution for the masses of the people.
Zahedan Revolutionary Youth Core (ZRYC)
Hello to all of you, friends. The analysis of the current situation has been already shared and discussed by others in this meeting, but I have a different opinion. If we want to evaluate the current situation by considering and analyzing the political situation since the revolution in 1979, we are in the best situation; I mean whenever there is a new wave of uprising, we don’t need to start the revolutionary process from zero. Many things have changed since then to reach the point we are standing at. Take the issue of the compulsory Hijab; in 1979, the Islamist militia would attack women and fix their scarves by pressing thumbtacks on their foreheads. Now, there is widespread civil disobedience, and we see women going around in the streets without Hijabs. Of course, in the current situation, a sort of disappointment and frustration is clearly palpable in a part of society, but on the other hand, there is hope; and what is this hope? It’s us; our presence; our collectives and our committees. For sure there are other active collectives who are engaged and going on.
Coming back to the topic of the current situation: now, Iranian society is facing two challenges; one is the compulsory Hijab and the other is the economy. Considering the forced Hijab, I believe that disobedience has become much more prominent and is adopted by people in their everyday lives. On the other hand, the strikes are going on and are getting much stronger, the majority of the population is affected by the economic situation. We have no perspective, I mean the only solution is the strikes and we don’t know what we could do more than that.
Regarding the issue of compulsory Hijab, [the authorities] have announced that whoever disobeys the law by not wearing a scarf, will be fined, yet women continue the act of disobedience more enthusiastically and more bravely; at the same time, they are being supported by their families and by the society. But the crisis of the livelihood and economy takes all everyone’s strength and paralyzes them. In my opinion, we should focus more on this issue to figure out what we could do besides the ongoing strikes.
Regarding the political situation of the region, I think we could talk about its pros and cons for our movement, only when this situation practically affects the movement; until then I think it’s difficult to discuss it. I find what others have already mentioned, interesting; for instance, what SMG said about housewives. It’s a crucial issue and I, personally, haven’t seen it to be mentioned anywhere else. We need to discuss it more profoundly. On the other hand, these friends mentioned that the cases of disobedience against Hijab are declining. I don’t think so; on the contrary, I think it is getting more prominent; for example, we have the case of a pharmacist; although she knew that by not wearing Hijab, she would receive the closure order, she continued the resistance.
I also have some words on the forms of oppression: there is a book – recently translated to Farsi – about non-violent struggles. One might ask themselves why the death toll of the current movement in Iran is less than other revolutions. In my opinion, it indicates that we are stepping forward; one possible answer is that people are more aware; they have a better understanding of the oppression system, how it functions and what are our possibilities to fight it back. We all know that the Jina revolution surprised everybody, including political analysts; everybody was surprised by the slogans of the movement and the tactics the used to fight against the oppression. Right now, leftist activists in other countries are discussing it. Of course, forms of violence vary [in different cases]; for instance, the use of violence in 2009 [in the Green Movement], or in the uprisings of 2017, 2019 and 2021; in each of them, the violence used by the state was of a different form. In my opinion, the current uprising is the sum of all the previous ones; it includes all of them, the majority of people are engaged, however, everyone has their own [political beliefs].
I want to finish my words with a reminder that a militant should exclusively focus on their struggle. Of course, the ones who live in Iran are also dealing with daily difficulties, as everybody else; we should try to reduce their burden, so that they can focus only on the struggle. Another issue, I would like to shed light on, is the awareness raising. It was already asked what our alternative could be; we could distribute underground leaflets; we could publish journals and put more effort on writing; also strengthen our informative networks. For instance, ‘Sarkhat’ and ‘Black fish voice’ [two left instagram pages] are doing perfectly, they both advocate leftist ideas, and are [ideologically] close to us, but they are not as known as Manoto TV or ‘BBC Farsi’. Why is it so? We should find the reasons. Take me as an example; I go to a group of people and talk about our alternative for the future, they ask me where you have talked about this alternative. How should I answer this question? Should I say in ‘Black fish voice’? They don’t even know it. All I want to say is that besides the work our friends do in these social media, we should take the issue of media more seriously.
Gilan Revolutionary Committee (GRC)
Hi everyone, I’m glad to attend this meeting. I want to go back to the first question and try to analyze the situation in this frame. The fact is that we are experiencing a special situation and a significant historical period. As the comrades of RRYCM mentioned, we are dealing with a government which is unable to go through any kind of reform or to improve its own situation; they are practically unable to continue governing as before. There are many analytical reasons why it is so, but it is not relevant to our current discussion and by the way, I think there is no disagreement on this issue, so I don’t mention it here.
The other fact is that the society is challenged by a terrible economic crisis; there is a dramatic fall in the standard of living, particularly during the last ten years; on the other hand, we are facing an environmental crisis, to be precise of water shortage, which has affected the lives of millions of people, especially farmers; there are also internet restrictions and censorship, which affects many online businesses. The whole condition has pushed the society to a point where there is no other choice but to resist and struggle in a variety of social strata; as our comrade correctly pointed out, even the most neutral part of the society can no longer remain indifferent. The situation we have been facing for a few months, is in fact the material manifestation of what we are talking about. Although the current movement started with the state murder of Jina Amini by the morality police agents, it was just an opportunity for the accumulated resentment during years to erupt in this way.
In my opinion, we have had several unique moments in the current movement; above all, the uprising was significantly extensive; the mass resistance took relatively longer than the previous uprisings (almost 6 months). Moreover, a crucial factor was the decline of nationalist and chauvinist approaches; in previous uprisings, for instance, the Green Movement in 2009, there were some chauvinist currents, especially in Azerbaijan, which would insist through their slogans, that the situation of Turk communities, as well as their future perspectives are not the same as the rest of the society; in 2009, they would constantly repeat what was going on in the movement and the reason behind the uprising was not relevant for Turk communities in Azerbaijan.
During recent years, in many regions people didn’t join the uprisings: for instance, Tabriz was totally inactive in the uprisings of 2017 and 2019. But this time we witnessed a nationwide solidarity, precisely among minor ethnicities and subalterns; the slogans were also progressive and there were clearly fewer reactionary slogans such as ‘Reza Shah! Rest in peace!’ [Reza Shah refers to the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty]. Women also played a more prominent role. In general, as others already mentioned, we are facing a sort of radicalization in the whole society, compared to the previous movements. People are undoubtedly over with any form of reformist ideas; they lost hope for any improvement in the current governmental system. This condition will last, and the state will be unable to make any changes or improve anything, due to both its internal and regional difficulties.
Regarding the current economic situation, millions of workers have no choice but to join the protests. The recent protests and strikes could be considered a rare phenomenon since the revolution in 1979, in terms of form, extent and number of protesters. Many sectors, especially in energy industries, joined the strikes and one could predict that these strikes will undoubtedly continue; workers have truly no other choice. According to one of the officials of the Chamber of Commerce, the conditions are so terrible that some of these factories are even facing a crisis to recruit workers. Salaries are not just low but are paid with several months of delay. Many will rather work for internet taxi companies or elsewhere to earn more. It is for sure that this situation won’t last long and soon we’ll witness new waves of protests and unrest. In my opinion, we ought to discuss our responsibilities and roles in the upcoming changes. Another friend from our committee would like to add a few points to my words.
Another comrade from Gilan revolutionary committee: In addition to what my friend said regarding the current situation, I would like to say that, as is already mentioned, the economic crisis will bring the masses to the street in any case. Now, there are fewer rallies or demonstrations, but we have other forms of protest, such as graffiti or family gatherings of prisoners and casualties of the uprising. On the other hand, a promising point is the growth of labor strikes and rallies. One could claim that these labor protests are demand-based and don’t aim at the moment for the overthrow of the state. But regarding the current situation, the labor protests gain more depth and will extend every day; radical demands and slogans of the working class will be integrated into the movement, which could affect the movement in a positive way and provide the opportunity to different groups, workers and subaltern to organize themselves. I would like to shed light on this point that the growth of workers’ rallies and strikes can be a step forward, although they are not immediately connected to the goal of overthrow.
The rest of this meeting will be published soon.